Daily news summary


State attorney who halted case against PM says no political pressure was exerted

Prague State Attorney Pavel Šaroch, who halted the investigation into suspected EU subsidy fraud involving Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and members of his family, has said he did not come under any political pressure in making the decision, although at first the media pressure surrounding the high-profile case was considerable.

In an interview for Czech Radio, State Attorney Šaroch said work on the case had been intensive but standard in every way. He said the reason why he had halted the case was that there was simply not enough evidence to indicate criminal activity on the part of those charged.

His superior, Chief Prague State Attorney Martin Erazim, upheld Šaroch’s decision a few days later. That decision may still be invalidated by the Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman.

Three people found guilty of fraud in Kladruby stud farm reconstruction

The regional court in Hradec Králové has found three people guilty of fraud in connection with manipulated public tenders for the reconstruction of the National Stud Farm in Kladruby.

They were served hefty fines and in one case a suspended sentence. Twenty-two people were charged altogether in the case that involved five construction firms. The verdicts are not legally binding.

The National Stud Farm in Kladruby nad Labem is one of the oldest establishments of its kind in the world, and is home to the oldest indigenous Czech horse breed - the Kladruber.

The Painted Bird to represent Czech Republic in Oscars race

Vaclav Marhoul’s film The Painted Bird has been selected as the Czech Republic 's official Oscar entry in the international feature film category. The Czech Film and TV Academy announced its decision on Monday, saying the film had been selected from a shortlist of ten entries. The Oscar nominees will be announced on January 13, 2020.

The American magazine The Hollywood Reporter included the The Painted Bird, in its selection of the top twenty films from this year's film festivals. The film, which the magazine described as "a grim and violent reflection on the cruelty of human nature," was selected alongside movies such as the psychological thriller Joker with Joaquin Phoenix, the historical drama The King, starring promising young actor Timothée Chalamet, the comedy drama Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver or The Two Popes with Anthony Hopkins.

The Painted Bird was screened at festivals in Venice and Toronto and premiered in Prague on September 11.

Bus passenger takes the wheel to prevent disastrous crash

The passengers of an intercity bus narrowly escaped a disastrous crash as the bus driver collapsed and fell out of his seat on a busy highway on Monday morning.

One of the passengers promptly jumped behind the wheel and drove the bus safely to the nearest petrol station.

Witnesses say the driver fainted and was thrown from his seat as the bus swerved and hit the guardrail on the roadside.

Police have commended the passenger for his fast response and courage. There were about 50 people travelling on the bus at the time of the incident.No one was hurt.

The bus driver is in hospital undergoing tests.

Plíšková wins Zhengzhou Open in China

Tennis player Karolína Plíšková won the Zhengzhou Open in China on Sunday beating Croatia’s Petra Martic 6: 3 and 6: 2, in a rain-interrupted final. The Czech player, top seed at the event, only dropped one set all week on her way to the title. The victory in the Zhengzhou Open is her fourth title this year and fifteenth overall in her career.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should bring overcast skies and rain with day temperatures ranging between 14 and 18 degrees C. Moravia could see afternoon highs reaching 21 degrees.