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Mayor: Cooperation with Shanghai brought Prague little benefit

The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, says cooperation with the Chinese city of Shanghai brought the Czech capital little benefit. He told the Czech News Agency it was at present more advantageous for Prague to work closely with the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, with which it signed a sister city agreement on Monday.

Shanghai, which previously had a similar partnership with Prague, responded to the new pact by saying it had cut all official ties to the Czech capital.

Prague originally came into conflict with Shanghai when the former’s leadership rejected a clause in the pair's sister city deal recognising Beijing’s One China policy.

Virus used in cyber-attack on Czech hospital was probably Russian

The computer virus used during the December cyber-attack on a Czech hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov was probably of Russian origin, Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál reports.

Known as Ryuk the virus targets institutions and companies that work with sensitive data. If the attack is successful, the hacker group can then ask for a ransom in return for making the institution’s data accessible again, Miroslav Dvořák from the Eset anti-virus internet security company told Czech Radio.

Central Bohemian Region Governor Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová says that she does not know of any ransom money being paid or even demanded and that only a relatively small amount of data had been lost.

The attack paralyzed the institution for days since staff were unable to use x-rays, ultrasound or laboratory instruments and could not exchange information with other hospitals.

Valachová rules herself out of discussion on next ombudsman

Social Democrat MP Kateřina Valachová says she should not at present be included in the conversation over who should become the Czech Republic’s next ombudsman. President Zeman suggested she could be a suitable candidate after his previous choice, Helena Válková, became embroiled in controversy. Mr. Zeman said he would put her name forward if Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček nominated her. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO says, however, that the next holder of the post should not be a politician.

Ms. Valachová said one reason she should not be in the running was that her good friend Vít Alexandr Schorm had been nominated for ombudsman by the Senate.

Regular Zeman TV show evidently finished

A weekly TV interview show with President Miloš Zeman will evidently no longer be aired, the website Mediaguru reported. Week with the President was not aired on the private station TV Barrandov last Thursday and a different programme is scheduled for its previous slot this week.

Mr. Zeman’s spokesman said his team was currently preparing new regular media activities for the head of state.

Week with the President was presented by TV Barrandov owner Jaromír Soukup. He also appears in several other of the station’s shows.

One-time political prisoner Josef Svoboda receives major honour in Canada

Josef Svoboda, who was a political prisoner in his native Czechoslovakia, has received a major honour in his home of five decades, Canada. Professor Emeritus Svoboda was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada earlier this month for his pioneering work on Arctic tundra ecosystems and his mentorship of other scientists.

Svoboda was arrested as a student in 1949 and sentenced in a Communist show trial to 11 years imprisonment, spending five of those years in the uranium mines. He moved to Canada in 1968 at the age of 37.

Frosts cause fruit yield to fall by over one-quarter in 2019

The fruit harvest in the Czech Republic declined by 27 percent year-on-year in 2019, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The reason for the decline was frosts in the spring, experts said.

With the exception of apricots, raspberries and blackberries, all types of fruit recorded a year-on-year fall in yield last year. The overall volume of fruit harvested in 2019 was 18 percent below the average over the last five years.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be mainly overcast in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 5 degrees Celsius. Thursday is expected to be sunny before cloudy weather returns for the remainder of the week.