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Babiš wants new candidate for arts minister by Friday

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he wants the Social Democrats to nominate a new candidate for the post of arts minister by the end of the week. The party’s previous nominee, Michal Šmarda, withdrew his name on Monday, citing disrespect from Mr. Babiš. The PM had joined President Miloš Zeman in rejecting Mr. Šmarda’s candidacy.

The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, has so far refused to mention any potential names.

Mr. Šmarda himself suggested Martin Netolický and Jiří Běhounek, who are regional governors for his party, or Kateřina Kalistová, who is at present a deputy minister of culture. She was also previously referred to as a possible candidate by the prime minister.

Speaking after talks with President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday, Mr. Babiš said he would propose a new candidate as soon as one was put forward by the Social Democrats.

The post of minister of culture has been a major political issue since May, when the previous occupant of the job, Antonín Staněk, offered his resignation.

Talks on Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs budget bear no fruit

Budget talks on Tuesday between the minister of finance, ANO appointee Alena Schillerová, and the minister of labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová of the Social Democrats, produced no results. The two had been due to meet for one hour but in the end spent over five hours locked in negotiations.

Ms. Maláčová is pushing for CZK 11.7 billion more in 2020 than Ms. Schillerová is offering.

The two ministers are due to hold further talks in the coming days. Minister Schillerová has recently been holding budget negotiations with the heads of all government departments.

Jourová eyes digital, internal market or trade portfolio in Commission

The Czech Republic’s candidate for the post of the country’s European commissioner, Věra Jourová, says she would be interested in securing the digital agenda, internal market or trade portfolio. She made the comment to members of the Czech lower house’s European Affairs Committee in Prague on Tuesday.

Ms. Jourová is currently the European commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said that his government will formally nominate her next Monday.

New map shows where and how victims of Soviet-led invasion died

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has launched an interactive map showing where victims of the 1968 invasion met their deaths. It details the victims’ names and where, when and how they died in connection with the Soviet-led invasion between August 1968 and August 1969.

The map’s co-creator, historian Milan Bárta, said that while people initially died in big cities, later victims met their deaths on country roads as the result of traffic accidents as soldiers were barred from entering cities and withdrew to the regions.

Link to map (in Czech): https://obetiokupace.dejepis21.cz/

Tatra Trucks wins half billion crown contract to supply army

The company Tatra Trucks is due to supply 71 new trucks to the Czech Army at a value of CZK 570,000 in the coming years, a spokesperson for the company said. The firm, which is based in Kopřivnice in the Moravian Silesian Region, signed a contract on the deal with the Ministry of Defence last week.

All of the trucks will be delivered before 2024. The Czech Army currently uses more than 3,000 Tatra vehicles.

Havel’s widow wins millions in libel case against tabloid

The Prague Supreme Court has ordered publishing company Bauer Media to pay CZK 4 million in compensation to the widow of Václav Havel. One of its tabloid titles, Pestrý svět, falsely claimed that actress Dagmar Havlová had other lovers when the former president was dying.

It is unusually high payout in a libel case in the Czech Republic. The panel of judges said the award had been based on the extreme nature of the violation of the victim’s rights.

The publisher has also been ordered to apologise to Mrs. Havlová.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be bright with some rain in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 21 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to climb to around 30 degrees Celsius at the weekend.