Daily news summary

Pompeo: US concerned about threat of cyber attack on Czech health sector

The United States is concerned by the danger of a cyber attack on the healthcare sector in the Czech Republic, the country’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said on Friday. Mr. Pompeo said anybody carrying out such activities could expect consequences.

The top American official tweeted that any state or non-state actor considering cyber activity that impairs the ability of healthcare systems to deliver critical services during the Covid-19 crisis could cause deadly results.

Two Czech hospitals reported thwarted attacks on their computer systems on Friday. The previous day the country’s National Office for Cyber and Information Security issued a warning about possible cyber attacks on hospitals and other important targets and released a set of comprehensive recommendations for devices that may be at risk.

On Saturday the hospital in Karlovy Vary said it had been the subject of an attempted cyber attack overnight.

Russian Embassy changes official address after renaming of location after Boris Nemstov

The Russian Embassy in Prague has changed its official address, after the Prague authorities renamed the square in front of it after Boris Nemtsov, the news site Aktuálně.cz reported. The embassy is now officially located at the nearby Korunovační St., where it has up to now had a consular department.

Prior to this formal move the Russian Embassy’s website still gave its address as Pod Kaštany, despite the fact the place had been renamed náměstí Borise Němcova in late February.

The renaming ceremony took place on the fifth anniversary of the murder of Russian opposition leader Nemtstov in Moscow.

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said he found the Russians' move strange as even President Vladimir Putin had condemned the killing of Nemtsov.

Animator Gene Deitch, resident in Prague since early 1960s, dies at 95

The US-born animator Gene Deitch, who had lived in Prague since the early 1960s, has died at the age of 95. He won an Oscar for the animated short Munro and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons in cooperation with Czechoslovakia’s famous Bratři v triku animation studio.

Deitch started out doing illustrations for jazz magazines and produced a series of popular cartoon characters, as well as creating an animated version of The Hobbit with Czech artist Adolf Born.

Professor Milan Fryščák dies in New York

Professor Milan Fryščák, an important figure in the Czech community in New York, has passed away with complications related to Covid-19, the city’s chapter of the Czechoslovak Academy of Arts and Sciences announced on Facebook.

Professor Fryščák, who left Czechoslovakia for the US in the late 1950s, headed the New York Czechoslovak Academy of Arts and Sciences for several years. He taught at New York University and wrote the book Say it in Czech.

Minister: No plan for state to take over companies systematically

The minister of industry and trade, Karel Havlíček, says he does not expect the Czech state to take over private companies in a systematic manner in connection with the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the economy. The minister said if it did so, it would be in absolutely exceptional cases, adding that no list of potential companies had been drawn up.

Both Mr. Havlíček and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš had previously said the state could enter key companies if they got in trouble.

Earlier this week the minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, said that the state should buy Czech Airlines.

Prymula: Tests to establish number infected with Covid-19 but symptom free to be done within week

Around 28,000 people taking part in a study aimed at establishing what percentage of the Czech population have had Covid-19 but not shown any symptoms of the disease should be tested within a week. The project has been delayed after initial problems with the tests, the deputy minister of health, Roman Prymula, said after a government meeting.

Experts say that establishing how many people without symptoms have gone through Covid-19 would help better predict the future development of the epidemic.

As of Saturday morning, 176 people with the coronavirus had died in the Czech Republic. A total of 6,553 cases have been detected to date, over 160,000 tests have been carried out and nearly 400 people are hospitalised with the illness.

China’s CITIC acquires majority stake in Soukup media group

The Chinese state concern CITIC has acquired a majority stake in one of the largest Czech media houses, Médea, the news site Hlídací pes reported on Saturday. It previously held a 30-percent share in the company but has exercised an option to obtain more and now possesses a greater stake than second owner Jaromír Soukup, who is a frequent presenter on the Médea television station Barrandov. The media group also includes magazines such as Týden and Sedmička.

Hlídací pes said the main drivers of the deal had been former defence minister Jaroslav Tvrdík and President Milos Zeman’s advisor Martin Nejedlý. The news site says the deal could give the Chinese group greater influence on the Czech media landscape.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be sunny in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 12 degrees Celsius. More clear skies are expected through the week.