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Sobotka: Sanctions on Russia should remain in place in current form

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says European Union sanctions against Russia must remain in place in their current form unless progress is made in resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Speaking before flying to an EU summit in Brussels, Mr. Sobotka told the lower house’s Foreign Affairs Committee that he would not support a tightening of the sanctions against Moscow as he did not possess an analysis of the possible impact of additional measures. He said supporting the sanctions had not been easy for the Czech Republic as the decision had negative implications for the country’s economy.

Chovanec: CR must be ready to combat disinformation

The Czech Republic must prepare to combat disinformation and hybrid threats, the country’s interior minister, Milan Chovanec, said on Thursday. Speaking at a NATO conference on the subject in Prague, Mr. Chovanec said the government needed to untangle the misleading information spread by “successful” disinformation websites. Speaking at the same conference, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel highlighted the particular dangers of Russian and Islamic State disinformation. A new Czech centre focused on the fight against terrorism, hybrid threats and foreign propaganda is to be created in January.

Government signs contract with GE for aviation engines plant

The Czech government has signed an investment contract with the US company General Electric for a plant to develop, test and produce turboprop aircraft engines. The centre is expected to create around 500 jobs. The Czech News Agency said the deal was worth at least CZK 1.35 billion, considerably less than the CZK 9.5 billion previously reported. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka tweeted in connection with the contract that “cheap assembly was not the future!” for the Czech Republic.

Russia says it wants suspected Russian hacker sent home

The Russian embassy in Prague has requested that the Russian national who was arrested in Prague this week on suspicion of involvement in recent political hacks in the United States be extradited to his homeland. Andrej Kolmakov, a spokesman for the embassy, said Russia would fight any extradition attempt to the United States. The man was detained by Czech police in cooperation with the FBI. According to ABC TV he is suspected of having orchestrated a massive hack on the Linkedin network in 2012. The man is currently in custody awaiting a court decision on his extradition to the US.

Zeman refuses to meet minister’s proposal to promote prisons head

President Miloš Zeman is refusing to promote the head of the Czech prisons service, the Czech News Agency reported. The minister of justice, Robert Pelikán, has proposed that Petr Dohnal be made general major and the advance in rank was approved by the cabinet earlier this week. Mr. Pelikán’s suggestion that Mr. Dohnal’s deputy be promoted is also being ignored by the president. The news comes soon after the justice minister criticised a statement from Mr. Zeman and three other senior officials reassuring China that the Czech Republic’s position on Tibet was unchanged despite a Czech minister receiving the Dalai Lama.

Governor: Central bank could maintain weak crown policy to 2018

The Czech National Bank could under certain circumstances maintain its policy of keeping the crown weak until 2018, its governor Jiří Rusnok told the newspaper E15. Mr. Rusnok said, however, that the second quarter of next year was still the most likely date for ending the policy. It is, however, certain that it won’t be discontinued before then, he said. Since November 2013 the CNB has spent nearly CZK 600 billion on the currency markets keeping the crown at around 27 to the euro.

Weather forecast

We can expect rain and temperatures of around 11 degrees Celsius on Friday. Daytime highs should be similar at the weekend but some sunny spells are due.