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Babiš signals change in position on carbon neutrality

The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has signalled a change of attitude toward a European Union plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Mr. Babiš said that bringing about carbon neutrality in the Czech Republic would require billions of crowns in investment. He said his government had ideas about how to acquire supplementary funds to achieve the EU target.

At an EU summit last month the Czech leader described carbon neutrality as nonsense and asked why a decision should be made 31 years in advance on what would happen in 2050.

On Monday Mr. Babiš said the Czech Republic needed the freedom to base its energy production mix on nuclear power. He said he wanted to start a broader debate so that China, India, Russia and the US respected the Paris Agreement.

Second person charged with online support for Christchurch attack

Czech police have charged a second person for expressing approval of the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, the Czech News Agency reported. Martin Bílý from the Supreme State Attorney’s Office in Prague said both cases were in the preparatory stage so no further information would be released.

The accused could face up to 15 years in prison and the seizure of their property if found guilty of the online support and promotion of terrorism.

Newspaper Deník N. reported on the first such criminal charges in May. It said at the time that police were investigating another four internet postings linked to the Christchurch attacks, in which an Australian right-wing terrorist killed 51 people.

Outgoing minister Staněk blames own party for replacement stalemate

The outgoing minister of culture, Antonín Staněk, has blamed his own party the Social Democrats for the protracted way in which he is being replaced. Mr. Staněk, whose last day in office is Wednesday, said the party should not insist on a candidate to whom President Miloš Zeman is opposed. The soon to be ex minister first offered his resignation to the head of state in May, but it was only accepted on Monday.

The Social Democrats insist that the post of arts minister go to their candidate Michal Šmarda and have threatened to exit the government if their wish is not respected.

However, Mr. Zeman is opposed to Mr. Šmarda’s appointment. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the president will decide on the matter by mid-August.

Government approves funding for forestry owners hit by bark beetle

The Czech government has approved CZK 2.5 billion for the non-state owners of forestry affected by a major bark beetle infestation in recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday. The money is intended to compensate for the lower price of wood caused by the bark beetle crisis and will be available this and next year.

The minister of agriculture, Miroslav Toman, said the price of coniferous wood had fallen sharply in the last two years. For this reason forestry owners do not currently possess funding for renewal and cultivation. The funding is not intended to fund the felling of damaged trees, he said.

Large tender issued for removal of illegal billboards

The Roads and Motorways Directorate has launched a tender process for a contract to remove almost 200 billboards from the side of Czech motorways. Around 1,000 roadside billboards have already been taken down since a ban on them came in almost two years ago, but several hundred remain.

Directorate spokesperson Jan Studecký said the new tender was the biggest yet. There were around 1,500 billboards by Czech motorways when they were prohibited in September 2017. Of that number, 845 have been removed by their owners. However, owners continue to erect new ones or to bring back old ones and move still others, Mr. Studecký said.

Russian denied compensation after being cleared of arson attack

The Prague 2 District Court has rejected a compensation claim made by Russian anarchist Igor Shevcov, who was cleared of an arson attack on the home of then foreign minister Martin Stropnický, Aktuálně.cz reported. Mr. Shevcov faced additional charges of involvement in the spray painting a prison wall but was also found innocent on that count.

He was seeking 1.4 million in compensation but the claim was rejected on statute of limitation grounds.

Mr. Shevcov was held in custody for three months after his arrest in 2015. Following his release the Ministry of Justice awarded him CZK 360,000 over the unlawful handling of his case.

Weather forecast

It should be mainly overcast with the chance of storms in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 26 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will remain in the mid 20s Celsius in for the remainder of the week.