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ANO committee backs further coalition talks with Social Democrats

ANO’s national committee has backed further negotiations with the Social Democrats on forming a coalition government, the party’s deputy leader, Jaroslav Faltýnek, said on Tuesday evening. Mr. Faltýnek said a deal on a minority coalition, which would be supported by the Communists, should be ready by the end of the week.

The Social Democrats are pushing for a proviso under which ANO chief and acting PM Andrej Babiš would have to step down if found guilty of abusing EU subsidies. They also want to see the position of Freedom and Direct Democracy on lower house committees weakened. However, ANO have as yet been unwilling to accede to these demands.

ANO and the Social Democrats appeared on the verge of striking a coalition deal previously only for negotiations to collapse.

Number of long-term unemployed in Czechia drops

The number of long-term unemployed in the Czech Republic has continued to go down, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday.

The number of Czechs who have been unemployed for more than a year has dropped over the past year by 7.8 percentage points to 31.4 percent (of the total number of unemployed). It is one of the lowest figures in the EU, with the exception of Scandinavia and the UK.

The number of unemployed between the ages of 15 to 24 stands at 6.3 percent, which puts the Czech Republic in second spot in Europe, right behind Germany.

New TV series festival starts in Brno

A new festival dedicated to television series begins in Brno on Wednesday. The first edition of Serial Killer will screen noteworthy shows produced for TV and internet distribution at a number of cinemas in the Moravian capital and will get underway with the first two episodes of the Czech-produced series Most!

Festival organiser Kamila Zlatušková, formerly a well-known Czech Television producers, says Serial Killer aims to support original work and new formats. The event will come to a close on Saturday.

People pay last respects to late author Pavel Šrut

People have paid their last respects on Wednesday to the late writer, translator and lyricist Pavel Šrut who died last week at the age of 78. Mr Šrut was one of the Czech Republic’s most respected authors of poetry and books for children. His popular trilogy Lichožrouti or Oddsockeaters won him the Magnesia Litera Award for literature.

Apart from his work for children, he was also a translator from English and Spanish. His translations include books of Robert Graves, D.H Lawrence and John Updike.

He also authored lyrics to many songs, including hits sung by Michal Prokop, Vladimír Mišík and Petr Skoumal.

German hockey club Eisbären Berlin gunning for Jaromír Jágr

German club Eisbären Berlin are hoping to land Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday, citing the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. The 46-year-old forward and the second most productive player in the history of the NHL joined his hometown club Kladno from Calgary at the end of January this year.

His name has also appeared among the 16 players listed on Kladno’s roster for the 2018–2019 season, which was published on the club’s website.

Several German newspapers reported earlier that the Berlin club’s management was already in contact with Jágr before the playoffs.

Kvitová through to quarter-finals of J&T Prague Open

In tennis, Petra Kvitová has advanced to the quarter-finals of this year’s biggest tennis tournament in Prague, the J&T Banka Prague Open. Kvitová eased past Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6:3, 6:1. She will next face the winner of the match between Kateřina Siniakova and Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Kvitová, who is currently placed ninth in the WTA rankings, last played in a Czech tournament seven years ago.