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Babiš rules out having Šmarda in his cabinet

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will not be in a government with Michal Šmarda, the Social Democrats’ nominee for arts minister. Miloš Zeman said this week that he would not appoint Mr. Šmarda and Mr. Babiš told reporters on Friday he shared the president’s view that he was not a good candidate.

Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček pointed out that the prime minister had himself originally proposed Mr. Šmarda for the cabinet post.

Mr. Zeman has rejected Mr. Šmarda’s nomination despite being required under the constitution to appoint ministers proposed by the head of government.

Mr. Babiš is due to discuss the post of arts minister with the president on Tuesday and says the situation must be resolved next week.

The Social Democrats have threatened to quit the government over the matter as the culture ministry is their domain under the coalition agreement.

Ostrava’s first ever LGBT pride parade takes place

The first ever LGBT pride parade in Ostrava took place on Saturday afternoon. An estimated 300 mainly young people participated in the procession, which passed through the centre of the Czech Republic’s third city before culminating in an event offering music and talks at the Komenský sad park.

Around 30 opponents of the parade also gathered in the centre of the city, many of them bearing symbols of local football team Baník Ostrava. Riot police kept them away from the pride participants.

Okamura party MP investigated over anti-Muslim hate speech

Police are investigating comments made by an MP from Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy. In a Facebook post in January Karla Maříková compared Muslim migrants to invasive species of plants and animals that ought to be banned from the entering the European Union. She is suspected of incitement to hatred.

A Ministry of the Interior report on extremism for the second quarter of this year referred to an investigation into Ms. Maříková’s comments.

Host of events planned for 30th anniversary of revolution

This year’s November 17 is the 30th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution and more events than usual are planned for the state holiday, the Czech News Agency reported. These include the opening of a new permanent exhibition at Prague’s National Museum focused on 20th century Czech and Slovak history.

The biggest events for the public will take place at the capital’s Albertov, Národní and Wenceslas Square, which are locations closely associated with the demonstrations that led to the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.

Most of the events taking place will be co-ordinated by Festival of Freedom. A candle-lit procession will take place, the event Národní Promenade will again be held and a Concert for the Future is set to draw crowds to Wenceslas Square. Post Bellum will present its annual Memory of the Nation awards to those who stood up to totalitarianism.

Cabinet to discuss tax on coal and gas heating next month

The Czech government is preparing a carbon tax that will concern coal and gas heating, the news site iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. Cabinet members are set to discuss the proposal, which is aimed at reduced greenhouse gas emissions, at the end of September. The move is required under the Czech Republic’s commitments to the European Union.

The minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, told newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes that the government had decided that those who pollute the environment ought to pay.

The carbon tax will not concern municipal gas heating systems as heating plants already pay a tax in the form of emissions allowances, which is factored into prices.

Plíšková misses out on chance to be world number one after Cincinnati defeat

Karolína Plíšková has missed out on the chance of becoming women’s world tennis number one after being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters in the US. The Czech was beaten 3-6 7-6 3-6 by Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours.

Plíšková, who is 27, was previously world number one for two months in the summer of 2017. She has never won a Grand Slam tournament.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be mainly sunny in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius. The following days are expected to see some rain and daytime highs in the mid 20s Celsius.