Daily news summary


Hamáček: electing anti-Semite to Czech News Agency council could lead Soc Dems to quit gov't

Social Democrats party chairman Jan Hamáček told journalists on Monday that his party could withdraw from the coalition government if its senior partner ANO votes to elect far-right journalist Michal Semin to the council of state news agency ČTK.

Semin, who has blamed American elites for the 9/11 terror attacks, heads the ultra-conservative movement Akce DOST. Last week, the Federation of Jewish Communities protested against his candidacy, citing his alleged anti-Semitic statements

His candidacy for the ČTK council was proposed by the far-right opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party. It was also backed by ANO deputies in a first-round vote earlier in June.

Hamáček said that Semin was an “unacceptable” candidate. If ANO voted to support him in the second round on 20 June, there would be no point for the Social Democrats to continue in the coalition government, he said.

Later on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who founded ANO, said his party had not supported Semin’s candidacy and would not back him in future. He said he did not understand why Hamáček said otherwise, calling it “a nonsense”.

China ‘postpones’ Prague Philharmonic’s tour over political rift with mayor

The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra announced on Monday that its planned tour this September of China will not take place.

It said that Chinese authorities had postponed the concert tour indefinitely, without explanation. But earlier, they had threatened to do so over statements made by Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) in support of Taiwan and Tibet.

After being elected mayor in November, Hřib reportedly pushed to remove a clause in a sister-city agreement between Prague and Beijing stating that Taiwan is Chinese territory, in line with the Communist country’s “One China” policy.

Prague Philharmonic Orchestra was due to tour China from 17 September to 5 October.

Czech Centre annual meeting underway, Velvet Revolution tops agenda

Directors of all Czech Centres, agencies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged with promoting the country abroad, are now holding their annual week-long meeting in Prague.

Topping the agenda are preparations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in November.

Czech Centre directors will also discuss a new programme strategy to effectively highlight accomplishments of Czech scientists, deepen cooperation with foreign universities, and teach the Czech language abroad.

There are 24 Czech Centre branches around the world, including its headquarters in downtown Prague and the Czech House in Moscow. Last year, they organised more than 2,000 events (exhibitions, fairs, lectures and presentations), receiving more than 2.8 million visitors.

Czech Army to modernise battle tank fleet, buy military transport planes

The Ministry of Defence is looking to spend nearly 1 billion crowns to replace the country’s ageing fleet of tanks and 2.3 billion crowns to buy two military transport aircraft.

Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar is expected to present details to the government on Monday about the proposed purchases.

The MoD wants to buy 33 tanks of the T-72M4CZ variety, an upgraded Czech version of the Soviet-made T-72 battle tanks, and two new CASA C-295MW transport aircraft. The order price includes spare parts and training.

Police raid illegal cigarette factory in Liberec region

Police raided a large-scale illegal cigarette factory in the Liberec region at the weekend and detained a foreign national allegedly running it on charges of tax evasion.

A spokesman for a special police unit for fighting organized crime (NCOZ) said agents had seized nine tons of raw tobacco in addition to equipment.

The accused planned to import machinery and several tons of raw tobacco to expand the illegal cigarette production line, NCOZ spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said.

Czech producer price inflation slowed in May

The Czech Republic’s producer price inflation slowed in May after rising the previous month, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday.

The producer price index rose 3.8 percent year on year in May, slower than 4.3 percent increase in April. The biggest increase was in ‘electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning’ prices, which rose by 8.6 percent annually in May.

Prices of ‘mining and quarrying’, and ‘food products, beverages and tobacco’ rose by 7.5 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. Among the main industrial groupings, energy prices grew the most, rising 8.1 percent in annual terms.

Monoxylon III expedition returns to Czech Republic

The Czech-led experimental archaeological expedition Monoxylon III returned to the Czech Republic on Sunday. The team of architects from University of Hradec Králové covered 400 kilometres in the Aegean Sea in a replica of an 8,000-year-old vessel, chiselled out from a single trunk.

The aim of the expedition was to trace ancient sea routes and verify hypotheses about human migration in the Neolithic age. Members of the expedition will present their findings at a press conference at the Hradec Králové University on Monday.

Some 40,000 people attended this year’s Prague Quadrennial

Some 40,000 people attended this year’s Prague Quadrennial, the world’s largest exhibition of performance design and theatre architecture, organisers announced on Sunday. The Golden Triga Prize for best exposition was awarded to a team of authors from North Macedonia for their project This Building Truly Talks.

Prague Quadrennial was established in 1967 to bring the best of design for performance, scenography, and theatre architecture. The event traditionally takes place at Prague’s Exhibition Grounds and brings hundreds of events covering all kinds of modern dramatic and visual arts.

Galia, Luzumová named handball players of the year

The handball players of the year were announced on Sunday. They are national goalkeeper Martin Galia and national team captain Iveta Luzumová.

Galia, who plays for Górnik Zabrze, was awarded the honour for a second time. Luzumová, a striker for Thüringer HC, defended her title and has now received the honour four times in her career.

Weather outlook

Tuesday should be sunny and warm in the regions of Bohemia and Vysočina, with rain, and possibly thunderstorms, likely in Moravia. Daytime highs should range between 25 to 29 degrees Celsius.