President Miloš Zeman has withdrawn his nomination of Helena Válková for
the post of ombudsman. Ms. Válková, who is government commissioner for
human rights and a former justice minister, became embroiled in controversy
over a link to a notorious Communist-era prosecutor.
Mr. Zeman’s new candidate for the post is Stanislav Křeček, a former deputy ombudsman. Mr. Křeček, who is 81, had serious disagreements with current ombudswoman Anna Šabatová while in that position.
Social Democrat MP Kateřina Valachová says she should not at present be
included in the conversation over who should become the Czech Republic’s
next ombudsman. President Zeman suggested she could be a suitable candidate
after his previous choice, Helena Válková, became embroiled in
controversy. Mr. Zeman said he would put her name forward if Social
Democrats leader Jan Hamáček nominated her. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
of ANO says, however, that the next holder of the post should not be a
Ms. Valachová said one reason she should not be in the running was that her good friend Vít Alexandr Schorm had been nominated for ombudsman by the Senate.
The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, says cooperation with the Chinese city
of Shanghai brought the Czech capital little benefit. He told the Czech
News Agency it was at present more advantageous for Prague to work closely
with the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, with which it signed a sister city
agreement on Monday.
Shanghai, which previously had a similar partnership with Prague, responded to the new pact by saying it had cut all official ties to the Czech capital.
Prague originally came into conflict with Shanghai when the former’s leadership rejected a clause in the pair's sister city deal recognising Beijing’s One China policy.
Josef Svoboda, who was a political prisoner in his native Czechoslovakia,
has received a major honour in his home of five decades, Canada. Professor
Emeritus Svoboda was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada earlier
this month for his pioneering work on Arctic tundra ecosystems and his
mentorship of other scientists.
Svoboda was arrested as a student in 1949 and sentenced in a Communist show trial to 11 years imprisonment, spending five of those years in the uranium mines. He moved to Canada in 1968 at the age of 37.
The Prague transport authority has begun providing information about
departure times from stops in real time. The information is available at
the web address kdymitojede.cz. At present the system only supplies data
about the location of a vehicle when it leaves a stop and does not provide
In the coming weeks the information should also appear on online maps run by the capital’s transport authority and other non-commercial transport information websites.
The fruit harvest in the Czech Republic declined by 27 percent year-on-year
in 2019, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The reason for
the decline was frosts in the spring, experts said.
With the exception of apricots, raspberries and blackberries, all types of fruit recorded a year-on-year fall in yield last year. The overall volume of fruit harvested in 2019 was 18 percent below the average over the last five years.
A weekly TV interview show with President Miloš Zeman will evidently no
longer be aired, the website Mediaguru reported. Week with the President
was not aired on the private station TV Barrandov last Thursday and a
different programme is scheduled for its previous slot this week.
Mr. Zeman’s spokesman said his team was currently preparing new regular media activities for the head of state.
Week with the President was presented by TV Barrandov owner Jaromír Soukup. He also appears in several other of the station’s shows.
The computer virus used during the December cyber-attack on a Czech
hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov was probably of Russian
origin, Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál reports.
Known as Ryuk the virus targets institutions and companies that work with sensitive data. If the attack is successful, the hacker group can then ask for a ransom in return for making the institution’s data accessible again, Miroslav Dvořák from the Eset anti-virus internet security company told Czech Radio.
Central Bohemian Region Governor Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová says that she does not know of any ransom money being paid or even demanded and that only a relatively small amount of data had been lost.
The attack paralyzed the institution for days since staff were unable to use x-rays, ultrasound or laboratory instruments and could not exchange information with other hospitals.
China’s biggest city, Shanghai, has cut all official ties with Prague,
news agency Reuters reported on Tuesday. The move came after Prague City
Hall signed a partnership agreement with the Taiwanese capital of Taipei on
Monday and is seen as the latest exchange in Czech-Chinese diplomatic
Prague previously had a sister city agreement with the Chinese capital of Beijing, which included a clause recognising the One China policy. However, following elections in 2018, Prague City Hall’s new ruling coalition said it wanted to remove the clause, sparking a series of tit-for-tat moves that led to the cancelling of the agreement.