Daily news summary

Ivan Bartoš re-elected head of Pirate Party

Ivan Bartoš was re-elected head of Pirate Party at the start of it’s two day conference in Ostrava on Saturday. He received an exceptionally strong mandate getting 606 votes out of 653. Seven candidates are running for the four deputy chair posts.

Bartoš said his aim would be for the party to increase the number of its regional mandates tenfold and to be part of the country’s next government.Speaking of the country’s future Bartoš said he envisaged “a free, digitally connected society where people were considerate of each other and had the potential to grow”.

According to a December poll by the CVVM agency the Pirate Party would win 14 percent in general elections, after the ruling ANO party which would get 29.5 percent.

Válková to refuse nomination for ombudswoman amid scandal over her past

The government‘s commissioner for human rights, Helena Válková, who has been hit by allegations that she defended laws used against dissidents under communism, has said she will refuse the nomination for ombudswoman.

Válková is under pressure to resign from her post following allegations by the news ste info.cz that she had defended laws against dissidents during the Communist regime and collaborated in her professional work with the former state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.

Válková told journalists that the claims made by the news site info.cz were untruthful and insulting and that she planned to sue the site for slander. She said she could only be criticized for having joined the communist party.

Great Czech film director Ivan Passer dies at 86

The great Czech director Ivan Passer, who authored films such as Intimate Lighting and Cutter's Way, has died at the age of 86, the news site Variety reported.

Ivan Passer was a leading filmmaker of the Czech New Wave and a close friend of the late Milos Forman with whom he fled Czechoslovakia in 1968 and forged a celebrated career in Hollywood. Passer co-wrote several of Forman's first films, including the Oscar-nominated Loves Of A Blonde and The Fireman's Ball, a colorful satire of life under communism which was banned by the regime.

After moving to the U.S. Passer began making films with some of the top actors of the era, including “Born to Win,” in which George Segal plays a heroin addict opposite Paula Prentiss and Karen Black; cop satire “Law & Disorder,” starring Carroll O’Connor and Ernest Borgnine; and crime comedy “Silver Bears” with Michael Caine and Cybill Shepherd.

Presidential couple host charity ball at Prague Castle

President Miloš Zeman and his wife Ivana hosted a charity ball at Prague Castle on Friday night.

The event, held annually to raise money for charities which the president and first lady support, was attended by close to a thousand guests, among them politicians, cultural figures and business leaders.

The ball opened with a waltz by the president and first lady.

Last year the ball raised 2.3 million crowns, the proceeds of which went to organisations helping orphaned children and children at risk.

Prizes in the traditional raffle included Jaromir Jagr’s hockey jersey and a wild boar.

Amateur treasure hunter finds precious 16th century coins

An amateur treasure hunter found 50 silver coins, probably from the 16th century, using a metal detector in the Moravian Karst in Blansko. Another dozen coins were unearthed when archaeologists combed the site.

The coins are now being inspected and will need to be conserved before being shown to the public at the Blansko Museum, the ČTK reported.

Medieval coins have been unearthed in the Moravian Karst in the past. Several silver coins from the 13th century were discovered in 2016.

Plíšková beats Osaka staying on course for third title at Brisbane

No.2 seed Karolina Plíšková stayed the course for a third title at the Brisbane International with a marathon semi-final victory over No.3 seed Naomi Osaka.

One point away from seeing her title defence end in the semi-finals, the Czech rallied for a marathon two-hour and 48-minute victory 6-7(10), 7-6(3), 6-2 to advance to a third career final in Queensland, and a first-ever meeting with American Madison Keys.

“I think it was great tennis. She (Osaka) is always tough to play,” Plíšková said. “I think I did a great job to stay after a tough first set and second (set) and just kept fighting and it paid off.”

Weather forecast

Sunday should be partly cloudy with morning fog and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.