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EU Summit: Czechia among eastern states to derail 2050 climate target

The Czech Republic and three other post-Communist countries voted to stop the EU from adopting a clear long-term climate neutrality goal at the summit in Brussels on Thursday evening.

Along with Poland, Hungary and Estonia, the Czech Republic rejected a proposed carbon neutrality target for 2050, arguing against a concrete date. The measure will be taken up again in late October, at a summit that will be Jean-Claude Juncker's last as European Commission president.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said Thursday the EU should rather focus on short-term goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement set for 2030. He said the rejected proposal would endanger the Czech economy and jobs.

Slovak president expresses support for anti-Babiš demonstrators

The newly installed Slovak president Zuzana Čaputová, who visited Prague on Monday, expressed her understanding for people who are demonstrating against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and for independent judiciary.

Speaking at a concert in her honour at Prague’s Kampa island, the Slovak head of state said drew analogy with last year’s demonstrations in Slovakia against the government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico. "What these demonstrations have in common is their peaceful tone", Mrs Čaputová said.

A series of protest took place in the Czech Republic in recent weeks against PM Babiš and his appointment of Marie Benešová as justice minister. The most recent rally in Prague was attended by an estimated 120,000 people. Another demonstration is due to take place on June 23 on Prague’s Letná plain, the venue of the largest anti-regime demonstrations of November 1989.

Medical marihuana: Czech MPs approve health insurance coverage levels

The Czech lower house of Parliament has approved a cabinet proposal that would see medical marihuana mostly covered by public health insurance.

According to the proposal, which will now go to the Senate, insurers would cover 90 percent of the cost of for medical marihuana per month on a maximum of 30 grams per patient.

MPs rejected an amendment by Pirate deputy Tomáš Vymazal to make the payment 100 percent and set the monthly limit at 180 grams.

Prague councillors reject Marian Column replica instalment

Prague City Hall councillors have rejected an initiative to install a replica of the Marian Column, erected in 1650. It was torn down shortly after Czechoslovakia was founded by an angry mob who saw it as a symbol of Habsburg rule.

Members of the Association for the Renewal of the Marian Column had gathered on Prague’s Old Town Square on Sunday, collecting signatures in support of rebuilding the structure.

The day before, sculptor Petr Váňa had attempted to place part of a balustrade he had consutructed in the Marian Column's original location.

Czech poet Petr Král among French Academy honourees

Czech poet and translator Petr Král, who also writes in French, was among 64 people honoured by the French Academy on Thursday for their contributions in the cultural field.

The jury awarded Král, now 77, Le Grand Prix de la Francophonie not only for his book Critical Articles and Essays of Vlastizrady, but also for his entire body of work, including as an émigré.

As a translator and publisher, he has striven to bring Czech poetry to French readers, including the poems of Nobel Prize-winner Jaroslav Seifert. He also translated many French avant-garde writers, including André Breton, into Czech.

Král left Czechoslovakia for France after the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968 and returned to his homeland in 2006. Three years ago he received the Czech State Prize for Literature.

Tender announced for renovation of Karlštejn Castle

The Czech National Heritage Association has called a public tender for the renovation of Karlštejn Castle. The costs of the renovation are estimated at 104 million crowns.

The Gothic castle, built in 1357 by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV as a treasury for the crown jewels and other precious royal artefacts, is one of the most visited sites outside the capital.

Renovation works are expected to start in September this year and continue until October 2022. Among the places to be reconstructed will be the Imperial Palace and the Burgrave House. The castle will remain open to the public, although some areas might be temporarily closed.

ČEZ selling Bulgarian assets to local firm Eurohold for 335 mn euros

Czech state-run power group ČEZ has announced plans to sell its Bulgarian assets to local investors Eurohold for 335 million euros, subject to approval by regulatory authorities.

ČEZ entered the Bulgarian market in 2004. The prospective sale concerns seven of its local units.

Last February, a rumour that ČEZ might sell major Bulgarian assets to small firm called Inercom sparked protests over alleged corruption that led the Minister of Energy to resign.

Weather outlook

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday throughout the southern half of the Czech Republic and in northern Moravia. Daytime highs should range between 22 to 25 degrees Celsius.