Daily news summary


European Ombudsman: EC should publish Oettinger letter to Babiš in part

The European Ombudsman has proposed that at least part of a letter from outgoing EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger to Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) regarding an ongoing conflicts of interest probe be made public, Czech Radio reports.

Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s recommendation comes in reaction to a complaint filed by Czech opposition Senator Lukáš Wagenknecht (affiliated with the Pirate Party) about the EU Commission’s allegedly nontransparent approach in the case.

In May, O’Reilly opened an inquiry into whether EU authorities were withholding or delaying the release of information as regards the Babiš case, and if so, why.

In the letter she wants partly published, Oettinger allegedly explains to Babiš how he could free himself from conflicts of interest regarding subsidies to the Agrofert conglomerate he founded and was forced to place in a trust in 2017 under a new Czech law.

A spokesman for O’Reilly said the Ombudsman is expecting a response from the EU Commission regarding the by 20 September.

Bark beetles endanger large swathes of forest in Krkonoše Nat'l Park

Up 40,000 cubic meters of wood infested by bark beetles in the Krkonoše National Park may need to be felled this year, about 20 percent more than in 2018, a park official says.

The bark beetle infestation affecting spruce forests throughout the Czech Republic in 2018 was said to have been the worst in the past 200 years.

Due to the infestation, the country’s largely coniferous forests face extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.

Skirmish in Kutná Hora leaves FC Viktoria Plzeň fan dead

A fan of the football club Victoria Plzeň has died following a skirmish in a pub in Kutná Hora. The man died of his injuries on Friday at a hospital in Prague.

Police say they have identified a suspect in the death of the 36-year-old Plzeň supporter and have filed a motion for his arrest.

The suspect is allegedly a regular at the Kutná Hora pub, where the deceased had been watching his team play a televised away game against a Belgian club.

It is unclear whether football featured in the clash between the two men.

DOX exhibition of architect Eva Jiřičná’s work has drawn 40,000 visitors

More than 40,000 people have visited an exhibition of work by London-based Czech architect and designer Eva Jiřičná at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague in celebration of her 80th birthday.

The DOX exhibition, which closes on Monday, showcased no less than 700 projects of the architect, whose firm Eva Jiricna Architects is famous for its sleek boutiques and dramatic staircases.

Her iconic works include the interior design of the Lloyd’s of London headquarters, the home of fashion designer Joseph Ettedgui as many of his stores, and a convention centre in Zlín, Moravia, where she was born.

Train collision with passenger car at crossing near Olomouc injures two

A passenger car collided with a train at a barrier-free railway crossing on Sunday morning near Olomouc leaving the car’s driver and a passenger injured.

The accident comes after renewed calls to install barriers at crossings and take other safety measures in the wake of 10 death at crossings in July alone.

According to the Rail Safety Inspection Office, over 740 collisions and other extraordinary events were recorded on the Czech rail network in January through July. Those crashes left 130 people dead.

Plans are afoot to install barriers at railway crossings on most of the country’s first-class roads by 2023. By the close of 2019, they should be in place on 132 of the 164 around the country.

WTA semi-final: Czech qualifier Marie Bouzková loses to Serena Williams

Czech tennis player Marie Bouzková lost to American star Serena Williams in the semi-finals of the WTA tournament in Toronto on Saturday by a score of 6-1, 3-6, 3-6.

Ahead of the match, Bouzková, a 21-year-old qualifier ranked 91st in the world, had gone six matches without dropping a set.

She said it was a dream come true to take on Williams, seeded 8th in the tournament.

Bouzková broke the American three times to take the first set in less than half an hour. But Williams rallied in the second set, slashing her unforced errors and won the last four games to force the decider.

Weather outlook

Rain and thunderstorms are anticipated in the west (Bohemia) on Monday, where highs should range from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. In the east (Moravia), skies should be mostly clear during the day, with temperatures hovering at around 30 degrees Celsius. However, a storm warning is in effect for Moravia in the evening.