Daily news summary

PM Babiš names new ministers of Trade, Transport

Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková will step down, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced on Wednesday, two days after Transport Minister Dan Ťok announced his own departure.

Rumours of a cabinet shuffle that would see the pair replaced by mid-May had been circulating for weeks.

Ťok is being blamed for the state of the country’s permanently congested D1 highway. Nováková is under fire over an incident when a representative of Taiwan was forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the request of China’s ambassador.

Babiš said following a meeting with President Miloš Zeman that Ťok will be replaced by Vladimír Kremlík of the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs and Nováková by Karel Havlíček of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Craftsmen.

Survey: One in five Czech medical students hope to work abroad

About a fifth of medical students, especially men, hope to leave the Czech Republic for work after finishing their studies, a survey by the Health Care Institute shows.

A third of those who would like to work abroad say they would go for a decade or more, according to the survey, presented at a press conference on Wednesday. Higher pay is the main motivating factor.

The Institute’s last such survey, taken in 2017, showed one in four medical students were looking to leave the country after graduation.

Charter 77’s František Kriegel prize goes to Roma, LGBT activists

Charter 77 Foundation awards František Kriegel prize to activist David Tišer, a co-founder of the Ara Art NGO supporting Roma art and the Roma LGBT community.

LGBT and Roma rights activist David Tišer has been awarded the František Kriegel prize recognizes civic courage by the Charter 77 Foundation.

Also awarded was Karel Karika, a municipal councilor of Roma origin from Ústí nad Labem, North Bohemia, who works with the homeless and people near the poverty line.

The František Kriegl Prize was founded in Stockholm in 1987 in the name of the one Czechoslovak government representative to refuse to sign the Moscow Protocol after the Soviet invasion of 1968.

Pirates call for debate on Army’s needs, Nato’s defence spending target

MP Ivan Bartoš, chairman of the Opposition Pirate Party, has called for a debate to be held about what the Czech Army truly needs rather than fixating on the country’s Nato commitment to devote 2% of GDP to defence.

Earlier, fellow party MP Mikuláš Ferjenčík said on Facebook the spending target was nonsensical, the daily Právo reports.

The money now being allocated for new armoured fighting vehicles, he said, could keep the depleted pension account balanced until 2035, Ferjenčík said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO said casting doubt on the country’s Nato commitments was irresponsible populism, and evidence of the Pirates being unfit to lead.

Václav Klaus Jr. to launch new party after Euro elections

Václav Klaus Jr. says he plans to launch a new political party following next month’s European elections, Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday. The news site Blesk.cz said that his father, former prime minister and president Václav Klaus, would also join the grouping.

Klaus Jr. was recently expelled from the opposition Civic Democrats. He fell foul of the party’s leaders after supporting a Freedom and Direct Democracy candidate in Senate elections and comparing the acceptance of European Union regulations to Jews being forced to choose who went on transports during the Holocaust.

Nearly 850 candidates to contest Czech European Parliament seats

Some 844 candidates from 33 parties will be in the running for 21 Czech seats at the European Parliament in next month’s elections, according to data posted on its website by the Czech Statistics Office. The number of people standing is slightly lower than in 2014, though the number of non-affiliated candidates has risen.

Czechs will take part in European Parliament elections for the fourth time at the end of the third week in May. Turnout last time was 18.2 percent.

Move to link minimum wage to average wage falters, industry group says

Employers have dropped the idea of linking the minimum wage to the average wage, Confederation of Industry Vice Chairman Jan Rafaj told the business daily Hospodářské noviny.

He said no agreement could be reached with the Social Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government, and the labour unions, many of which believe they can negotiate a higher minimum wage without an automatic adjustment.

Hockey: Czech women beat Germany, face hosts Finland in World Championship quarter-finals

The Czech women’s ice hockey defeated Germany at the World Cup in Finland by a score of 2: 0 on Tuesday. Both goals were scored by team captain Alena Mills.

The unbeaten Czechs thus secured victory in group B. They will next face hosts Finland at the World Championship quarter-finals.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be cool and cloudy, with rain likely in northeast Moravia. Daytime highs should range between 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.