Daily news summary
Senate wants tighter membership rules for government council for EU funds
The Czech Senate wants to make changes to the amendment on the government’s Council for European and Structural and Investment Funds.
According to a proposal made by the Senate’s Committee for Public Administration, the amendment should clearly state that the chairman or a member of the Council cannot be in conflict of interest, as defined by the European Union.
Until last December, the Council was chaired by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who, according to an EC audit, is in conflict of interest over EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert holding he founded and placed in a trust fund two years ago.
The proposal should be debated at next week’s session of the upper house.
Fridays for Future representatives say meeting with Babiš unproductive
The representatives of the global youth climate change initiative "Fridays for Future" described the meeting with the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš as unproductive.
The group’s spokesman Petr Doubravský said after the meeting on Friday that the protests will continue.
"The Prime Minister has refused to support carbon neutrality for 2050. He said he would oppose it again at the next EU summit, which is a position with which we absolutely disagree," Mr Doubravský said.
For his part, Mr Babiš said he offered to cooperate with the students but they didn’t seem interested.
Andreas Gajdošík awarded 2019 Chalupecký Prize
This year’s Jindřich Chalupecký Award for young artists has been presented to Andreas Gajdošík, a graduate of the Intermedia Studio of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Brno University of Technology, for his on-line project Nelidské zdroje or Inhumane Sources.
Gajdošík’s work consists of interventions in social media and the media sphere, programming hoax software and creating fictitious websites to form a space for critical reflection of the established structures of the art world as well as politics.
The award – which is open to artists under the age of 35 – includes CZK 100,000 towards an exhibition and catalogue and a six-week stay in New York.
Dozens attend mass in honour of late Josef Hasil
Dozens of people attended a commemorative mass in the village of Lažiště in South Bohemia on Saturday in honour of the late Josef Hasil, who died in the United States in November at the age of 95.
Mr Hasil, also known as the "King of Šumava", was a former border guard who helped people cross the tightly guarded Czechoslovak-German border after the onset of communism.
In 1949 he was exposed and arrested, but managed to escape from jail and serve as an agent for the CIA. He eventually emigrated to the United States.
"He was both courageous and devout, and saved dozens of people from imprisonment and death," the event’s organizer, Pavel Horešovský, said during his speech at the church.
Ester Ledecká wins her first World Cup downhill
Czech skier Ester Ledecká secured her first World Cup win, by clinching the downhill at Lake Louise on Friday.
She crossed the finish line in 1:31.87, 0.35 seconds ahead of leader Corrine Suter of Switzerland, who was hoping to claim her first career World Cup victory. The 24-year-old Czech was wearing bib number 26 as she did in South Korea, where she famously captured the Olympic super-G.
The Olympic and world champion in Alpine snowboarding had a previous best Alpine skiing World Cup finish of seventh. She is the first Czech skier ever to win a World Cup downhill.
Ski season launched in Czechia
The Czech skiing season has started in most parts of the country, despite lack of natural snow. According to ski-operators, there are between 30 and 40 centimetres of artificial snow on the slopes.
Ski centres opened in the country’s highest mountains, the Krkonoše, in north Bohemia, as well as in the Jeseníky and Beskydy in the north-east of the country.
The Czech Republic’s cross-country ski trails remain closed due to poor ski conditions.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy with occasional rain showers and daytime highs ranging between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.