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HN: Stance on Huawei may help Babiš secure White House meeting with Trump

During a trip to Washington, the Czech foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, will discuss the possibility of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. Mr. Petříček will raise the matter with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, in late February.

Mr. Petříček told Hospodářské noviny that the Czech authorities’ stance toward Chinese telecoms giant Huawei had helped to bring about the possible meeting with Mr. Trump, which is mooted for this spring.

Organisations crucial to the running of the Czech state have been ordered to review their use of Huawei products in view of a potential security risk. The US authorities have accused the Chinese firm of the theft of technology and other crimes.

Prague agrees in principle to deal with Czech state to create government district

The Czech capital has agreed in principle to provide the state with land towards creating a special government district in the Letňany area, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said.

Some 10,000 civil servants at the Ministry for Regional Development and dozens of other state bodies could be relocated there. A new hospital and apartment buildings would also be built in the area.

In return, Prague wants 60 billion crowns to complete the city ring road, to build apartments at the current Na Bulovce Hospital, and transfer ownership in dozens of buildings, including many now vacant.

PM Babiš said his government will send a specific offer to the city within 14 days. It is not yet clear how specifically the proposed exchanges should take place.

Earlier, the Prague City Councillor asked the prime minister for an unused state building that could serve the city instead of the Škoda Palace, which it now rents.

Czech Republic net beneficiary of CZK 45.3 billion in EU funds in 2017

The Czech Republic obtained CZK 45.3 billion more from the coffers of the European Union last year than it put in, according to figures released on Thursday by the Ministry of Finance. The difference in 2017 was CZK 56 billion.

Ministry officials said the gap had decreased partly because of higher Czech contributions to the EU and partly because a rise in the use of EU funds for the 2014 to 2020 period had not offset a decline in EU budget revenues in the previous seven-year period.

The Czech Republic has been a net beneficiary of EU funds every year since it joined the bloc in 2004.

Booze-free Dry February being held in Czech Republic for seventh time

The seventh annual Dry February, aimed at highlighting the dangers of excessive drinking, will begin in the Czech Republic on Friday. The event is organised by the group League of Open Men but is also encouraging women to not drink a drop of alcohol during February.

The group has a dedicated website offering 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 consumption of pure alcohol per head.

Survey: 90 percent of people in Prague feel safe

Nine out of 10 people in Prague say that they feel safe, suggests a survey carried out by the agency Ipsos Public Affairs. In some parts of the city, as many as 98 percent of respondents said they had a feeling of safety.

Under 30s were the population group who considered themselves most in danger, according to the results of the study, in which over 1,100 Prague residents and 100 tourists were interviewed.

Respondents identified drug-related issues, vandalism and street crime as the city’s biggest problems.

October 8 set to become Sokol Memorial Day

The Senate has approved October 8 being made Sokol Memorial Day in honour of the Czech gymnastics and sports association. If the president signs the legislation, the date in question will become a “day of significance” rather than a state holiday.

Sokol was founded during the Czech National Revival in 1862, making it one of the country’s oldest organisations. Around 1,500 of its members were arrested by the Gestapo on October 8, 1941.

Senators also voted to have November 17, the Day of Struggle for Democracy and Freedom, officially mark International Students’ Day in the Czech Republic, as it did in the past.

Weather forecast

Friday should be overcast in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 3 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will climb to 7 degrees Celsius on Saturday and rain is expected at the weekend.