Daily news summary

Police raid Agriculture Ministry

Police raided offices at the Czech Agriculture Ministry early on Thursday in connection with suspected subsidy fraud.

The raid was conducted by the country’s special unit for fighting organized crime. Its spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej confirmed the raid was in connection with a criminal investigation but refused to provide further details.No one has so far been detained.

According to the news site idnes the raid was conducted in connection with billion-crown subsidy programmes. The ministry, headed by Miroslav Toman of the Social Democrats, has made no comment.

Reuters: Czech Republic suspends Russian crude oil deliveries due to contamination

A number of EU member states including the Czech Republic have suspended imports of Russian crude oil via the Druzba pipeline, citing contamination, the Reuters news agency reported on Thursday.

Reuters said Poland and Germany had stopped accepting deliveries and the Czech Republic had also halted purchases, although the Belarusian pipeline company said customers along the southern leg were still receiving oil.

The quality problem arose last week when an unknown Russian producer contaminated the oil with high levels of organic chloride. The Russian energy ministry said Transneft was trying to fix the problem as soon as possible, giving no timeframe.

Foreign minister: Conference on 5G networks security not aimed against specific company

An international expert conference on the security of 5G networks due to be held in Prague next week is not aimed against any given country or company, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said on Thursday.

He said the aim of the meeting was to reach consensual, non-binding recommendations on how to proceed safely with the introduction of 5G networks. The recommendations should also contribute to discussions within the EU and NATO on a common approach to cyber threats.

The conference will take place at the Czech Foreign Ministry headquarters on May 2 -3 and will be attended by EU, NATO and OECD representatives.

Czech president overseeing investment deals in China

President Miloš Zeman who is on an official visit to China aimed at further boosting trade and investment between the two countries on Thursday attended the signing of a memorandum on investments between the Czech Republic and the Bank of China and the company CITIC.

The agreement envisages investments into the Czech economy to the tune of one billion dollars over the next two years. Bank of China representatives also signed an agreement with the Czech Chamber of Commerce regarding loans for Czech businesses to the tune of two billion dollars.

The Czech president is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart and attend the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday.

Metronome to feature 40 artists and use Prague planetarium as venue

Organisers say this year’s Metronome music festival in Prague will feature 40 different artists while the city’s planetarium will become a venue for the first time. Appearing at the event on June 21 and 22 will be international acts Kraftwerk, Primal Scream, Liam Gallagher and Morcheeba, alongside a host of well-known local artists.

This years will be the fourth edition of Metronome, which takes place at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds. Attendance last year was 18,000.

Dry and warm weather sparks fire warnings

Meteorologists have issued fire warnings in the Czech Republic in response to the unusually dry and warm weather the country has recently been experiencing. People have been told not to light fires in wooded areas or parks, not to drop cigarette butts and not to cook or barbeque in the countryside.

Rain is expected in most of the country on Friday night or Saturday, after which temperatures will fall markedly. Forecasters recently said that this month looked set to be the driest April on record. The Czech Republic has experienced major droughts in recent years.

Weather forecast

Friday should bring partly cloudy skies with rain in the late afternoon and evening and day temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.