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News site: Hackers accessed Foreign Ministry email data over period of months

Hackers broke into email accounts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and downloaded data over a period of several months, Neovlivni.cz reported on Tuesday. Among the accounts hacked were those of the minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, and his deputies, the investigative news website said. The news site Lidovky.cz quoted Mr. Zaorálek as saying it was a very sophisticated attack; he said an “unknown state” was evidently behind the cyberhacks, which were of similar nature to those carried out against the Democratic National Convention in the US. Neovlivni.cz quoted security sources as saying thousands of pieces of data – including classified information – had been gradually downloaded from the email accounts. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied that the stolen materials included secret information, adding that the extent of the hacking had not yet been ascertained. Neovlivni.cz said the situation was all the more serious as it also concerned data concerning allies of the Czech Republic.

Babiš planning to file complaint over Czech TV “bias”

The Czech minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, plans to file a complaint against Czech Television over reports on two of its news programmes, the news website iHned.cz reported on Tuesday. Mr. Babiš says the investigative show Reportéři ČT recently celebrated its 20th “manipulated report” about his business ties. The billionaire businessman and ANO leader recently accused journalists from Reportéři ČT of being corrupt. Mr. Babiš said it and the show 168 hodin were not balanced and that Czech TV should not take part in political battles. The two programmes have raised questions about some financial operations involving the minister’s company Agrofert.

Zeman discussing with close associates whether to run again, says spokesman

Czech President Miloš Zeman has begun discussing whether to run again for head of state with a number of close associates, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Tuesday. Mr. Ovčáček said Mr. Zeman, who is 72, had not yet reached a decision on whether to stand in elections next January. The former Social Democrats leader plans a major news conference for March 10 and there has been speculation he will use that occasion to announce plans to seek a second and final five-year term. Mr. Ovčáček said that he was taking advice from his chancellor Vratislav Mynář, advisor Martin Nejedlý and Hynek Kmoníček, the head of the foreign affairs department at the Office of the President.

Czechs detained in Lebanon to sue state after compensation plea rejected

Four of five Czechs who were kidnapped in Lebanon in 2015 are planning to take legal action after the state refused their request for financial compensation. Czech Radio reported on the plan on Tuesday, quoting one of the four, lawyer Jan Švarc. Mr. Švarc and the others argue that the Czech secret services could have prevented their kidnapping if they had been better coordinated. However, the Ministry of the Interior says the organisers of their trip are to blame. The day after the abductees’ release in 2016 the Czech authorities freed Ali Fayad, a Lebanese man wanted in the US on terrorism charges. The Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, later said an exchange had taken place.

Czech men’s tennis team preparing for Davis Cup encounter Down Under

The Czech Republic’s men’s tennis team trained on the centre court at Melbourne’s Kooyong Club for the first time on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s Davis Cup first round tie with Australia. Non-playing captain Jaroslav Navrátil say he plans to select Jiří Veselý and the Davis Cup debutant Jan Šátral, who is 26, for the opening doubles rubber on Friday. In the absences of names such as Tomáš Berdych, Lukáš Rosol and Adam Pavlásek, the remainder of the Czech team will comprise veteran Radek Štěpánek and Zdeněk Kolář, who is 20.

Weather forecast

It should be cloudy and snowy on Wednesday in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 0 degrees Celsius expected. The rest of the week is set to see daytime highs of up to 2 degrees Celsius.