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Minister: All parties behind fast-track legislation to protect Brits

No parties in the lower house will veto a fast-track process under which legislation will be passed ensuring the rights of British citizens in the Czech Republic following the UK’s departure from the EU, the Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček, said on Thursday. The bill should be debated and approved in its first reading, he said.

Mr. Hamáček said the amendment would introduce transition periods in 18 different areas under which British people would have the same rights as EU citizens until the end of 2020. He said he expected the London government would reciprocate and protect Czechs living in the UK.

Top judge says Zeman’s office attempts to influence court rulings

A former chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court, Josef Baxa, says President Miloš Zeman’s office has attempted to influence courts with regard to the outcome of cases. In an interview with newspaper Deník N the judge said this concerned some of the Czech Republic’s higher courts.

Last week the weekly Respekt reported that President Zeman’s right-hand-man, Vratislav Mynář, had contacted a number of judges, including Mr. Baxa. He confirmed this in the new interview.

Mr. Mynář denies the allegations, saying he had merely been relaying the president’s opinions.

Prague considering naming street after slain Polish mayor

Officials in Prague are considering naming a street after the slain mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, the newspaper Pražský deník reported on Thursday. The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, has requested that the city’s street names committee find a suitable location in the coming weeks.

Pawel Adamowicz died after being stabbed at a charity event last weekend. He oversaw the naming of a street in Gdansk after Václav Havel not long after the former Czech president’s death in 2011.

Police note rise in number of foreigners illegally in Czech Repubilc, overstaying visas

Illegal migration to the Czech Republic has stabilised since the migrant crisis of 2015, with fewer than 5,000 people found to be in the country last year without required papers, the Foreign Police say.

The majority of the 4,992 foreigners found to be in the country illegally were Ukrainians, followed by Moldavians, Vietnamese, and Russians. In total, that is 254 more people than in 2017.

The number of foreigners who arrived legally but overstayed their visas rose by 165 to 4,653.

Controversial TV Barrandov tycoon Jaromír Soukup forms political party

Czech media and advertising tycoon Jaromír Soukup has announced the formation of a party bearing his name with the stated aim of “defending national interests against corrupt politicians and oligarchs”.

Soukup hosts a popular talk show on the private cable channel TV Barrandov, which he took over in 2012. It is now the fourth-largest channel by viewership in the Czech market after TV Nova, ČT1 (the public broadcaster’s first channel) and Prima TV.

Critics say TV Barrandov panders to voters of populist and extreme right-wing parties and politicians. President Miloš Zeman is a regular guest on Soukup’s programme. The connection with Zeman has reportedly secured Mr Soukup cash from China and Russia to finance the station.

Soukup himself helped finance the 2006 electoral campaign of the Green Party, but has since veered to the right of the political spectrum. He ran for the European elections in 2009 without success.

Men’s group promotes seventh edition of Dry February

A Czech men’s group is planning to encourage reflection on the dangers of alcohol again this year with the seventh edition of Dry February. The director of the League of Open Men, Josef Petr, said the rules were simple – not one drop of alcohol for the whole of the month.

The group’s dedicated website offers tips on exercises and alternative non-alcoholic drinks, as well as advice from psychologists. Czechs rank among the top five nations in the world in terms of annual per capita consumption of pure alcohol.

Karolína Plíšková into third round in Melbourne but twin Kristýna exits

Karolína Plíšková has reached the third round of tennis’s Australian Open in Melbourne. The 26-year-old Czech overcame Madison Brengle of the US 4-6 6-1 6-0 in Wednesday’s match.

However, her twin sister, Kristýna Plíšková, has been knocked out in the first Grand Slam of the year. She lost 3-6 5-7 in the second round to Zhang Shuai.

Weather forecast

Friday should see bright spells and the chance of snow in places in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs of up to 2 degrees Celsius. Temperatures should then fall to below freezing point for several days.