The winning photographs of the 63rd World Press Photo competition, offering
the best in visual journalism, went on display in Prague on Monday, in the
first public showing since the exhibition’s recent premiere in Amsterdam.
The collection of winning photos, including the overall winner, titled "Straight Voice", taken by AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, which captures the atmosphere of the popular uprising in Sudan, is complemented by photographs by domestic photographers relating to the coronavirus crisis.
The exhibition ends on June 28.
A new book on the tragic fate of Milada Horáková, the politician who was
sentenced and executed in the hard-line 1950s, is due to come out on the
70th anniversary of her death on June 27.
The title of the publication "I'm going with my head held high" is a quote from the last letter that the Czech lawyer and politician addressed to her family.
The book is based on a series of personal interviews with Horáková’s daughter Jana Kánská in which she confides the painful details of that terrible time, when she was just 15 years old, including the last meeting with her mother a few hours before her execution.
The Interior Ministry has proposed amending the National Security Act in a
way that would enable the government to respond more flexibly to crisis
situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, who presented the proposal to the National Security Council on Monday, said at a press briefing that the change of law would entail the introduction of a “state of danger”, which would be a milder form of the state of emergency which the government used to manage the crisis.
Minister Hamáček said that the state of danger could be a follow-up on the state of emergency, giving the government the chance to rule by government decrees in the event of a pandemic or cyber-attack. According to the amendment, the cabinet should be given the opportunity to declare a state of danger for the whole or part of the Czech Republic.
In dealing with the coronavirus crisis the government was criticized by the opposition for extending the state of emergency for longer than strictly needed. The change of law would require a constitutional majority in the lower house and will now be debated with the opposition.
The two Russian diplomats who were expelled by the Czech government last
week left the country on Sunday, boarding an Aeroflot flight to Moscow.
The news was confirmed by Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who said the Russian side had rejected Czech efforts to resolve the matter in a discrete manner leaving the government no option but to declare the diplomats persona non grata, giving them 48 hours to leave the country.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Friday that the two men were involved in a bogus information plot in which the Czech counter-intelligence service BIS was fed information that a Russian agent had been sent to Prague to kill elected Prague officials with the poison ricin.
The prime minister said the incident, which resulted in a large scale investigation and severely strained bilateral relations, stemmed from a dispute between Russian embassy staffers. Such behaviour could not be tolerated, he said.
The head of Russian civil intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, called the diplomats expulsion a "vile provocation" by the Czech authorities, saying reciprocal action would follow.
One person drowned and another is reported missing in flash floods that hit
the eastern parts of the country on Sunday night following several hours of
The situation was worst in the towns of Uničov and Šumperk in the Olomouc region where the water level rose by a metre necessitating the evacuation of inhabitants from dozens of houses.
Firefighters also saved several people who were trapped in their cars. Extensive damage to property and infrastructure is reported.
Finance Minister Alena Schillerová has said she would not support a
state-guaranteed loan for the Smartwings aviation group.
She voiced the stand in a debate on Prima TV in connection with a report on the news site Lidovky.cz according to which the company is preparing to ask the state for a loan of 900 million crowns.
In line with a rescue plan debated by the company’s executive board, the company’s shareholders should invest roughly one billion crowns towards its consolidation.
The Smartwings Group served 8.2 million passengers last year. It is now facing severe financial problems due to the decline in air travel due to the coronavirus crisis.
Senate chair Miloš Vystrčil has said he will undertake a business mission
to Taiwan, as planned by his predecessor, the late Jaroslav Kubera, despite
fierce opposition from China.
Senator Vystrčil confirmed his intention to undertake the trip in a debate on Czech Television on Sunday.
The Senate chair said he would be accompanied by a delegation of business leaders and considered it appropriate for the group to travel on a government plane.
Senator Vystrčil said he would disclose the date of the planned business mission along with further details on June 9.
The late Jaroslav Kubera came under enormous pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Prague, as well as President Miloš Zeman over the planned visit, with the Chinese side warning it would harm bilateral relations and trade.
Finance Minister Alena Schillerová has said she will ask the government to
debate a proposed amendment to the law on the state budget, which would
increase this year's deficit to 500 billion crowns.
In a debate on commercial TV Prima on Sunday, the finance minister said she wants to submit the proposal to the lower house by the end of June.
The Chamber of Deputies has already agreed to increase the 2020 deficit to 300 billion crowns in view of additional expenditures relating to the coronavirus crisis.
Prior to the pandemic, the budget deficit was projected at 40 billion crowns. Minister Schillerová said she expects large budget deficits in the years to come as well.