Daily news summary


PM Babiš says Czechs ready to approve Brexit deadline extension

The Czech Republic is ready to agree with the United Kingdom’s request to extend the Brexit deadline of March 29 at the EU Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said at Wednesday’s European Affairs Committee meeting in Prague the deadline sought would likely extend to June 30. He said he could not imagine any EU Member State would seek to block the summit meeting, which would lead to a no-deal Brexit.

A June 30 deadline would means that the UK would not take part in the European Parliament elections.

Czech model sentenced by Pakistani court for smuggling heroin

A young Czech woman has been sentenced by a Pakistani court to eight years and eight months in prison for drug trafficking, Pakistan's Geo TV station reports.

The now 22-year-old, a professional model, was arrested in January last year at the airport of the East Pakistani city of Lahore with several kilograms of heroin in her possession.

She was accused of trying to smuggle the drug to the United Arab Emirates.

Zeman to meet Putin in Beijing next month

Czech President Miloš Zeman will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin again at the end of next month, Seznam Zprávy reported. The two leaders are expected to hold informal talks while both are in the Chinese capital Beijing. Mr. Zeman will be in China between April 23 and 28 on what will be his fifth visit to the country as Czech head of state.

The Czech president has cultivated warm relations with Moscow and Beijing since his election six years ago.

Party founder Soukup not intending to head List or run in any elections

Media owner and TV presenter Jaromír Soukup is not planning to head the recently registered List party or to stand in any elections. He made the announcement in a news release on Tuesday. List is not among the 40 groupings that have submitted candidates for European Parliament elections in May.

Mr. Soukup announced plans to launch a party on his own Barrandov TV station in January. He said at the time that he wished to defend Czech national interests against corrupt politicians and oligarchs.

Škoda Auto sold record 1.254 mn cars last year

Czech carmaker Škoda Auto announced on Wednesday it sold a record 1.254 million vehicles last year, up 4.4 percent in annual terms.

Sales revenue also increased by 4.4 percent compared to the previous year and achieved the best result in its history.

Unconsolidated profit after tax fell 9 percent to CZK 28.89 billion, a drop the Volkswagen Group unit attributed in part to a 22 percent increase in investments into tangible assets last year.

Škoda Auto, the top Czech exporter, invested more than 500 million euros directly in plants and facilities in the Czech Republic in 2018.

Police file charges over Troja footbridge collapse near Prague Zoo

Police have filed charges of negligence against two people over the 2017 collapse of the Troja footbridge near the Prague Zoo, Czech public television reports.

Four people were injured in the accident, two of them severely. The incident set off a flurry of technical inspections of bridges stretching across the Vltava River and beyond.

A broad inspection also revealed that nearly 1 in 4 bridges on the country’s second and third class roads are in very poor condition.

Czech choirs stage “Sing for UNICEF” concerts to fight infant mortality

Choirs across the Czech Republic are holding concerts on Wednesday as part of a charity drive called “Sing for UNICEF”.

Proceeds will go towards helping implement a United Nation’s programme aimed at reducing the high infant mortality rate in underdeveloped countries.

At last count, 182 local choirs had joined the effort, with 64 concerts scheduled for Wednesday. It is the biggest project by the local UNICEF branch since its founding in 1991.

Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks to start NHL season in Prague

Two NHL teams will begin their 2019-20 campaigns overseas. The Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks will start next season in the Czech capital, Prague.

Both teams have Czech-born players on their rosters: Radko Gudas and Jakub Voráček play for the Flyers while Dominik Kahun and David Kampf are with the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks last opened their season in Europe back in 2009, when they played the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be sunny throughout the regions of Bohemia and Vysočina and partly cloudy in Moravia. Daytime highs of between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius are forecast.