Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has reversed his decision to resign following a meeting on Thursday with the head of state, Miloš Zeman, and would now just seek the sacking of ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš. The prime minister’s original aim was for the entire cabinet to step down as a means of removing Mr Babiš from his post over continuing corruption allegations and unexplained financial dealings. But, Mr Sobotka said he had changed his mind after the president indicated he would treat the resignation as the prime minister’s own, a move which would have left Mr Babiš in place. Such a response, the prime minister made clear would render his effort meaningless. The ANO party of Andrej Babiš said earlier it would insist on the leader remaining as finance minister, a view echoed by President Zeman in a TV interview on Thursday.
A district court for Prague 1 on Friday ruled that deputy education minister Simona Kratochvílová, charged for allegedly manipulating subsidies programs for personal gain, will remain in custody. The court also decided the same applies to the head of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, also charged. The website seznam.cz, citing police records, suggested Ms Kratochvílová and Mr Pelta had decided on subsidies to benefit themselves or associates. Police raided offices of the Czech Football Association this week.
Czech leaders marked the 72nd anniversary of the Prague Uprising at the Czech Radio building on Friday, a focal point of the uprising in which Czechs took up arms against the Nazis. The radio station itself became a beacon for resistance when the call went out in a broadcast for the rising to start and for citizens to come and help defend the radio building against German attempts to retake it. Among those attending Friday’s memorial event were the heads of both Czech house of parliament, Milan Štěch and Jan Hamáček, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman has said that the Terezín Memorial should remind visitors not only of the horrors of the Holocaust but also serve as a warning. The minister made the statement while attending a ceremony marking 70 years since the memorial’s completion two years after the end of World War II. The minister reminded attendees that some survivors who had been held in the Terezín ghetto or been held in the Gestapo prison at the Small Fortress were still living that it was the duty of society to cultivate the memory of what had happened at the site into the future. The minister said that his own grandmother had been one of those imprisoned at the Gestapo prison at the Small Fortress during World War II. The Nazis used Terezin as a ghetto and camp for the internment of Jews who were later sent on to death camps such as Auschwitz.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, at the centre of a government crisis over unexplained finances, has said that leaked recordings in which he can be heard speaking to a journalist from the daily Mladá fronta Dnes about sensitive information on a number of politicians, including the prime minister, has said the material was manipulated; he also called it a provocation on the part of the journalist. Speaking in Plzeň on Friday, he said he felt he had been the subject of surveillance for years and blamed the interior minister, Milan Chovanec, charging there was a coordinated campaign to “destroy him”. The recordings appeared online this week; the ANO leader has filed a criminal complaint over the matter.
Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has been knocked out of the J&T Banka Prague Open, losing in the semifinal on Friday against German player Mona Barthel. It is the first time this season she hast lost a WTA semifinal. Fellow Czech player Kristýna Plíšková could still advance.
Saturday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. Daytime highs of 17 degrees Celsius are expected.
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