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Regional Development Ministry sends reply to EC audit on Czech PM

The Regional Development Ministry has replied to the European Commission’s preliminary audit on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ suspected conflict of interest.

According to the ministry the reply was handed over in person to officials at the Czech Republic’s Permanent Representation at the EU in Brussels.

In an interview for the Czech newspaper Deník N, Regional Development Minister Dostálová said the detailed reply contained contradictions to every sentence on every page of the audit.

According to the audit’s conclusion, Mr. Babiš has retained some influence on his company Agrofert,despite having placed it in trust funds, and therefore has a conflict of interest.

As a result, the Czech Republic may be forced to return about CZK 450 million in EU funding drawn by Agrofert.

The head of the Pirate Party, Ivan Bartoš, has called for the reply to be made public.

Czech top officials attend ceremony marking 75th anniversary of Slovak National Uprising

A top-level Czech delegation on Thursday attended a commemorative event in Bratislava marking the 75th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising launched on August 29, 1944.

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová spoke about the crucial role of the national uprising saying that without it Slovakia would not have developed into a country with an anti-fascist and democratic tradition.

The aim of the armed resistance was to overthrow the government of Jozef Tiso, who collaborated with Nazi Germany. Although the resistance was suppressed, partisans continued with subversive operations until allied forces liberated the country in 1945.

The Czech Republic was represented at the ceremony by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the speakers of both houses of Parliament.

Czech Republic stripped of its “measles-free status”

The World Health Organization has stripped the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Greece and Albania of their "measles free status" after a marked increase in cases in all of the said states.

The WHO announced the move in an annual report on the incidence of contagious diseases in Europe.

Thirty- five out of 53 European countries have retained their measles-free status.

The Czech health authorities registered 579 cases of measles in the first seven months of this year, compared to 203 in the previous year.

As in many other countries suffering renewed outbreaks, the spread of measles in the Czech Republic is attributed to the growing reluctance of some parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease.

Czech ambassador to Lebanon: There is growing hostility to Syrian refugees

The Czech ambassador to Lebanon, Michaela Froňková, says the country is exhausted by the migrant crisis and would prefer for international aid streaming to the country in connection with migrants to go directly to Syria.

In an interview for the ctk news agency the ambassador said that that there was a notable change of mood in the country with growing hostility to the large number of Syrian refugees in the country.

"Before they welcomed aid from the Czech Republic and other states, now they are saying – take your money and help the Syrians in Syria," Fronkova told the news agency.

There are now over one million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, and the authorities say there are around 550, 000 more Syrians who are unregistered. Many are employed illegally and the locals feel that they are taking away their jobs.

Czech companies taking part in international trade fair in Damascus

The Czech Republic is one of 38 countries whose companies are taking part in the 61st International Fair in Damascus, despite the US sanctions levelled against the country.

The US Embassy in Syria warned on Thursday that foreign companies doing business with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are exposing themselves to the possibility of US sanctions.

According to the ctk news agency there are around twenty Czech companies represented at the fair. According to the news agency they deal in products and services that are not affected by the sanctions.

Slavia beats Cluj and secures spot in Champions League

Slavia Prague has secured a spot in the group stage of the Champions League after beating Romanian side Cluj 1:0 in the second leg of the play-offs. Slavia’s opponents will be decided at a draw on Thursday evening in Monaco. The team has also secured a CZK 393 million for making it into the group stages.

Slavia won the previous leg in Cluj 1:0 and although the first half-hour of the game saw chances on both sides, the Czech team eventually became more dominant in the second half. The only goal of the game was then scored in the 66 minute when Slavia defender Jan Bořil scored with a hard shot in the penalty area.

It is only the second time in history that the Prague team has managed to advance into the group stages of Europe’s most prestigious tournament.

Weather forecast

Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scatted showers and day temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.