Daily news summary
Justice Minister Jan Kněžínek steps down
Minister of Justice Jan Kněžínek has announced his decision to step down amid growing speculation that he would also be part of a pending government reshuffle. Mr Kněžínek said he had considered resigning for some time.
Mr Kněžínek will be replaced in the post by Marie Benešová, who served as justice minister in the government of Jiří Rusnok.
The Minister of Justice said he would leave office on April 30. The two other ministers to be replaced are Transport Minister Dan Ťok and Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Nováková.
Czech Republic slides further down on press freedom index
The Czech Republic has slid further down the press freedom index published by the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders.
On a list on 180 countries, the Czech Republic now ranks 40th on the ladder, down from 34th the previous year.
In the press freedom index for 2014 the country ranked 12th in the world.
The US has also seen a marked slide and now ranks 48th, while press freedom is thriving in Norway, Finland, Sweden and The Netherlands.
Bottom of the ladder are North Korea and Eritrea.
Head of Prague’s National Gallery dismissed
Culture Minister Antonín Staněk has dismissed the head of Prague’s National Gallery Jiří Fajt and the head of the Museum of Art in Olomouc, Michal Soukup. At a press conference on Thursday, the Minister of Culture said his decision was made on the basis of an audit carried out in the institutions. He said he had lost faith in the directors’ ability to efficiently manage the institutions’ budgets.
Mr Staněk has also filed two criminal charges against Mr Fajt over an allegedly suspicious CZK 1.2 million contract and lease agreement. The chief post at Prague’s National Gallery will be temporarily filled by Ivan Morávek.
PM Babiš says national investment plan not to be made public
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has refused to make public the so-called national investment plan encompassing 17,000 projects worth 3.5 billion crowns, despite his previous promise to do so.
Reacting to an inquiry by Social Democrat MP Zbyněk Stanjura, Mr Babiš said the plan was an internal material and was not intended for publication. The 11-year national investment plan summarizing the country’s infrastructure improvement needs was presented by the ANO party leader last November.
Jourová on Time list of 100 most influential people of 2019
The EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová is on the list of 100 most influential people of 2019 published by Time magazine.
Jourová said the placement was an honour not just for her but for her whole team and reflected the growing influence of the European Union in the digital world.
Jourová, a Czech politician, businesswoman and lawyer, has served as EU commissioner since November, 2014.
New-born boy found in Mělník baby-box
Officials at Mělník hospital say a healthy new-born boy was left in their baby-box on Wednesday evening. According to the founder of the Czech baby-box system, the boy was in good condition and was given the name Vladislav.
Since the system was introduced in 2005, altogether 188 children unwanted by their parents have been saved through baby-boxes. There are currently 76 such facilities, monitored by doctors, across the Czech Republic,
Friday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime highs ranging between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.