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MPs want defamation of president punishable by year in prison

Sixty MPs have proposed making public defamation of the Czech president a crime punishable by up to a year in prison. The proposal has the backing of deputies from the Social Democrats, ANO, the Communist Party and Dawn. Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka dismissed the idea, saying it would lead to the law being used in political battles; MPs should focus their energies on dealing with other matters, he said. The bill’s drafters say that defaming the president was illegal in the interwar First Republic. It was also banned under the communist regime before being removed from the statute books in the 1990s.

Sobotka: Prague wants balanced trade and investment partnership with Beijing

The Czech Republic would like to have a balanced trade and investment partnership with China, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said at the ceremonial opening of the Czech-China Investment Forum at Prague Castle on Tuesday. At present, China exports over 10 times as much to the Czech Republic as it imports from the country. Mr. Sobotka said relations between the two states were developing dynamically, particularly in the engineering sector but also in transport, science and research and healthcare. He also told the Chinese delegates that the Czech Republic was interested in a dialogue with Beijing on human rights.

Zeman to sit out events marking anniversary of Revolution

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is not planning to take part in events on Thursday marking the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, SeznamZpravy.cz reported. His spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the news website that Mr. Zeman would not follow the usual practice of laying a wreath at the spot where the revolution began in 1989 but would “leave that to other politicians”. The head of state is planning to quietly remember the events of that November 17, most likely at his residence at Lány near Prague, his spokesman said.

Hundreds of police to be deployed in Prague on November 17

Hundreds of police officers are to be deployed in Prague on Thursday, which is a state holiday and marks the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. Národní St. will be closed to all traffic for a street party celebration entitled Thank You That We Can, while around 30 other marches, demonstrations and gatherings are also set to take place in the capital. Officers from around the country are being sent to Prague as reinforcements.

Prague Velvet Revolution monument moved short distance

A memorial to the 1989 Velvet Revolution on Prague’s Národní St. has been moved, the news site SeznamZpravy.cz reported. The memorial, which takes the form of outstretched hands above the date 17.11.1989, is no longer in a passageway through the Kaňka Palace but on the building’s façade. Building owners the Chamber of Advocates said there was a fear that the many candles lit at the original location could cause a fire.

Economic growth slows in third quarter

The Czech Republic’s economic growth contracted in the third quarter of the year, slowing to 1.9 percent year-on-year from 2.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter. The news stems from a provisional gross domestic product estimate published by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. Analysts had been expecting slightly higher growth in the July to October period.

Weather forecast

It should be cloudy with some snow in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures ranging from -1 to 5 degrees Celsius. Daytimes highs should jump to 9 or 10 degrees Celsius later in the week.