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Tension mounts in ruling coalition

Tension is high in the Czech ruling coalition after Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats indicated he might dismiss Finance Minister Andrej Babis over his private financial transactions. The prime minister hit out at Mr. Babiš on Thursday, accusing him of hurting the reputation of the government and the Czech Republic by failing to explain his controversial business activities. The lower house of Parliament has asked Babiš to provide a satisfactory explanation by the end of April. Following a verbal cross fire on Thursday, when the finance minister hinted he was ready to go if the prime minister wanted to sack him, M. Sobotka said he would wait for his explanation before deciding on how to proceed. Babiš has denied any wrong doing and is reported to have sent the speaker of Parliament a letter explaining his business transactions relating to tax-free bonds.

Thousands of households left without electricity due to heavy snow

Around 10,000 Czech homes were left without electricity on Friday morning following heavy snowfall at night, particularly in the South Bohemian region. The heavy and wet snow also felled trees, complicating conditions on roads and causing delays on the country’s railway routes. A state of calamity is currently in place in a number of districts in South Bohemia. In north Moravia and Silesia, the lowest level of flood alert was declared in places after persistent rain caused some rivers to swell. Heavy rain is expected to continue in the region until noon on Saturday.

President Zeman only EU head of state to attend summit in China

Czech President Miloš Zeman will be the only EU head of state to attend a summit on a new Silk Road to be held in Beijing in May, the daily Lidové noviny reported Friday. The summit is to be attended by dozens of heads of state from Asia along with Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU countries are either sending their prime ministers or ministerial delegations to the summit. President Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said the fact that Miloš Zeman would be the only EU head of state present played to the country’s advantage. It will be President Zeman’s third visit to China since taking office.

Convoy of US military veterans rides through Prague

A convoy of historical U.S. military vehicles set off on its traditional ride through Prague on Friday at the start of celebrations marking the country’s liberation from Nazi rule. The convoy stopped at the US Embassy and in the coming days will ride through South Bohemian towns and villages which were liberated by the 3rd U.S. army under General George Patton´s command. It will culminate with a ceremonial parade through Plzen next weekend, the highlight of the town’s Freedom Celebrations.

Czech film Ice Mother wins award at Tribeca Film Festival

The Czech film Ice Mother directed by Bohdan Sláma has won Best Screenplay in the International Narrative Feature Film category at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film which tells an unusual love story with warmth and humour had its international premiere at the festival. The prize comes with a financial award of $2,500.

Škoda Karoq to replace Škoda Yeti

The new generation of Škoda Yeti will be known as the Škoda Karoq, the Czech car-maker Škoda Auto has announced. The new compact SUV will have its world premiere in Stockholm on May 18 and will go into production in the second half of 2017. The new generation of Škoda Auto’s SUV will be manufactured in the company’s plant in Kvasiny. The Karoq name refers to the language of Alaska’s indigenous people.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be overcast and rainy around most of the country with day time highs between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.Sunday should be sunnier with day temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.