Daily news summary
Senate passes bill making it easier for descendants of Czech exiles to get citizenship
The Senate has passed a draft law that would make it easier for the children and grandchildren of exiles from Communist Czechoslovakia to obtain Czech citizenship.
The legislation pertains to descendants of Czechs stripped of their Czechoslovak citizenship prior to 1989. Applicants must provide documentation detailing when and how their parent or grandparent lost their citizenship in order to be eligible.
The bill, which went through several readings in both houses of Parliament, must be signed by the president to become law.
According to the Interior Ministry, the change in law could lead to applications from hundreds of people, including families of former Czechoslovak citizens living in crisis-torn Venezuela.
Counterintelligence service head outlines main challenges ahead
International terrorism, growing cyber threats and right-wing extremism are the main challenges the Czech counterintelligence service BIS will have to face in the immediate future, its head Michal Koudelka said in an interview for the CTK news agency, on the occasion of the service’s 25th anniversary.
He said the service was also having to counter the growing activities of foreign agents in the country. In recent years the service has reported on a growing number of Russian and Chinese agents in the country.
The head of the Czech counterintelligence service received a top award from America’s CIA earlier this year. He said the George Tenet Award, which recognises international cooperation, was a tribute to the work of the whole counterintelligence service.
EC postpones deadline for Czech response to draft audit on PM
The European Commission has agreed to postpone the deadline by which the Czech Republic must respond to the Commission’s first draft audit on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ suspected conflict of interest until September 2, Czech Radio reported.
The European Commission originally set the deadline for the beginning of August, but the Regional Development Ministry requested a month-long extension, arguing that the audit was complex. According to the EC’s preliminary findings the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate he founded.
Ban on beer bikes in Prague city centre postponed
A ban on beer bikes in the centre of Prague which was so have come into force in August will have to be postponed due to a complaint filed by firm supplying the Beer bike Prague company with beer.
The postponement was confirmed on Friday by Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, who said it would take a matter of weeks to respond to the complaint.
Prague City Hall has been fighting to restrict various commercial activities in the city centre which are kitschy or tarnish the image of Prague.
These include various Disneyland characters on Old Town Square, Segways which were banned at the end of 2016 and most recently beer bikes which city hall has described as “alco-tourism”.
“Dominator” goalie not ruling out running for president
The legendary Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek, dubbed The Dominator, has not ruled out running for president, when Miloš Zeman’s second term in office expires in 2023.
Hašek said in an interview for Radio Impuls that he could well imagine himself in the top post, although he was not actively preparing for such a move now. “Who knows what may happen in three years’ time - anything is possible,” he told the radio host.
In his 16-season National Hockey League career, Hašek played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators.
During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. The crowds at home welcomed him with the chant “Hašek na Hrad” or “Hašek at Prague Castle”. He retired in 2012.
Lendl no longer coaching Zverev
Former world number 1, Ivan Lendl, who coached Alexander Zverev to his only major title at the ATP Tour Finals last November, has announced that their cooperation is over, effective immediately.
One of the most successful partnerships in the annals of tennis ended on a sour note, with Zverev accusing Lendl of not devoting himself properly to the job and Lendl saying Zverev’s off-court issues prevented him from working in a way that was consistent with Lendl’s philosophy.
Meteorologists are predicting severe storms at the weekend, with hailstones in places. Day temperatures should range between 27 and 31 degrees Celsius.