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Divisive Ondráček to step down as police oversight committee chief

Zdeněk Ondráček is to step down as chairman of the lower house committee overseeing the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces, the agency that monitors the police, Czech Television reported on Tuesday.

The Communist MP, who beat protesters as a riot squad officer prior to the Velvet Revolution, had been facing removal by the Chamber of Deputies.

Most of the parties in the lower house had given their backing to a motion tabled by the Civic Democrats to strip him of the position at a session on Tuesday.

On Monday evening thousands of people protested against Mr. Ondráček’s appointment in Prague, Brno and other Czech cities.

Demonstrators also criticised the prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš of ANO. Some of his party’s deputies backed Mr. Ondráček in a vote on Friday but two days later Mr. Babiš said he was for the removal of the divisive committee chairman.

Report: Czech Republic eight most attractive state for manufacturing

The Czech Republic is the eighth most attractive country in the world for manufacturing, according to a survey of 42 states by real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield. The Czech Republic ranked third among 19 European countries, behind Lithuania and Hungary. China topped the overall rankings.

Cushman & Wakefield said rising labour costs in Central Europe were leading firms in labour-intensive industries to look beyond the region.

Fake precious gems uncovered in National Museum collection

Some of the “precious gems” in the collection of the National Museum in Prague are in fact artificial imitations, Hlídací pes reported. The fakes include ordinary cut glass standing in for a five-carat diamond, while a purported 19-carat sapphire was in fact created in a laboratory, the news site said.

The deputy head of the museum’s collecting and exhibiting department, Michal Stehlík, said some fake gems had been uncovered but more work was needed. There are around 5,000 items in the institution’s precious stones collection.

Prague firm shares in effects Oscar glory

Some of the effects created for the winner of this year’s Academy Award for Visual Effects, Blade Runner 2049, were the work of the Prague production company UPP, the firm pointed out in a statement. Over 200 shots involving tricks in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi movie were done at UPP.

Miniatures of the city in Blade Runner 2049 were made in Prague, while the studio was also heavily involved in a scene showing the creation of the film’s replicants.

French star Catherine Deneuve set for Febiofest

The French star Catherine Deneuve will be among the guests at this year’s edition of Prague’s Febiofest film festival, organisers announced on Tuesday. The veteran actress is known for such films as Belle de Jour, 8 Women and Indochine, for which she received an Oscar nomination. Other guests at the 25th edition of Febiofest will be singer Charles Aznavour, TV writer and actor Mark Gatiss and directors Leos Carax and Arnaud Desplechin. Czech actress Daniela Kolářová will be one of five recipients of the festival’s Kristián award. Febiofest begins on Thursday next week.

Sparta fire coach Stramaccioni

Sparta Prague football club have fired their manager Andrea Stramaccioni, officials announced on Tuesday. The Italian took the reins ahead of the current season but unimpressive results have left the country’s richest club in fifth place in the league and 14 points behind leaders Viktoria Plzeň.

Pavel Hapal, a former international who was with the club during his playing career, has been hired as a replacement for Stramaccioni.

Weather forecast

Wednesday is expected to bring snow and rain in the Czech Republic, along with temperatures of up to 7 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs should reach up to 13 degrees Celsius at the end of the week.