Czech politicians have strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Barcelona which killed 13 people and injured over a hundred others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a driver ploughed a van into a crowd on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas. Prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on his Twitter account that it was another outrageous attack on innocent people. “I feel compassion for the victims' families and I wish a quick recovery to those injured,” Sobotka tweeted. Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek has also condemned the attack, saying that while no security measures were 100-percent reliable, it was good to keep reinforcing them.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at midday Friday that it had no news of any Czech victims among the dead and injured from the attack at Barcelona and nearby. The ministry cautioned though that although victims came from 34 countries, it had not been possible to specify where they all came from. Fourteen people were killed and over 100 injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians on one of Barcelona’s most famous and crowded streets. The ministry cautioned Czechs in Spain to be extra cautious and vigilant.
A lower house parliamentary committee began discussions Friday morning on whether the immunity of ANO leader Andrej Babiš and party deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltýnek should be lifted so that a police criminal investigation can continue into the so-called Stork’s Nest affair. The affair focuses on suspected fraud of 50 million crowns for a farm and recreation centre connected to the ANO leader.
The committee broke up quickly so that the two members of parliament can be present at the session. Babiš had earlier called for all police documentation about the case to be made available to him. Police called for the two ANO leaders’ immunity to be raised earlier in the month. The lower house of parliament, which meets again at the start of September, would have to vote on any immunity recommendation made by the committee.
The French ambassador in Prague, Roland Galhargue, has sent a letter to the Czech Ministry of Transport criticising the conditions for companies to take part in a tender for monitoring and gathering toll payments from vehicles on Czech motorways. The ambassador said that the conditions clearly discriminated against French firms which provide similar services in the United States and Canada by refusing to recognise that as a qualifying criteria.
He added that the tender appears tailor made for current toll operator, Austrian company Kapsch. A ministry spokesman says it will respond to the letter but rejects the criticism.
French president Emmanual Macron is seeking to re-start a neglected dialogue with leaders in Central and Eastern Europe and attempt to show that he is not conducting diplomacy solely with Berlin, the European weekly Politico writes. Macron is due to meet with Austria’s chancellor Kern as well as Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Slovak prime minister Robert Fico on August 23 in Vienna. The weekly says Macron wants to explain his plans for European reform but also wants to raise the issue of so-called posted workers which Paris regards as a form of social dumping.
Czech universities are expecting a last minute rush of applications from students with many saying they still have places vacant, according to public broadcaster Czech Television. Brno Technical University said it had around 600 places free after 1,200 places were filled in the first round of the process. Around 224,000 Czech students enrolled for higher education last year.
In football, Czech club Viktoria Pilsen has taken a first step towards taking part in the Europa League after winning the first match of the fourth pre-qualifying round against Larnaka on Thursday night. The Czechs won 3:1 with goals coming from Bakoš and Kolár. The return leg takes place in Cyprus next week.
In football, illness has hit former Czech captain and Sparta Prague midfielder Tomáš Rosický. The 36-year-old was expected for the first time to be in Sparta’s starting line-up in the evening match against Slovácko on Friday night but was struck down by angina. Rosický was sidelined for nearly all of last season with an Achilles tendon problem.
Rain is expected across most of the country on Saturday though it is expected to hold off in the west. Top temperatures will range between 19 and 24 degrees Celsius.