Daily news summary

Minister opens Czech Consulate General in Manchester

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, opened a new Czech Consulate General in the UK city of Manchester on Tuesday. It is the Czech Republic’s second diplomatic mission in the UK after its embassy in London and is intended to serve people living in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Petříček said that the Consulate General would help Czech firms to continue operating in the UK after the country leaves the EU. He said the Czech Republic wished to maintain good relations with Great Britain following Brexit, adding that his government was interested in fostering cooperation in the field of innovation with UK partners.

An estimated 100,000 Czechs are resident in Great Britain.

Speaker Vondráček to have audience with Pope Francis Thursday

The speaker of the Czech lower house, Radek Vondráček, will have a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday. Mr. Vondráček told journalists on Tuesday that he would discuss church-state relations with the pontiff. The ANO politician said he would also raise the issue of the Roman Catholic Church’s charity work in the Czech Republic.

Mr. Vondráček will be accompanied by the speaker of the Slovak parliament, Andrej Danko. While in Rome the pair plan to mark the anniversary of the death of St. Cyril 1150 years ago.

Demolition of Prague Brutalist building to start within weeks

Demolition work will begin on the Prague centre Transgas building at the turn of March and April, a representative of the company that owns it said. Campaigners had fought in vain to preserve the Brutalist structure, which is located between the National Museum and Czech Radio. The demolition work will last for several months.

The owners of Transgas said last month that they were planning to either sell the building or the empty site that remains after its demolition, depending on how soon they could complete a sale.

Klaus: Earlier expulsion of son from Civic Democrats would have allowed him to stand for new party in Euro elections

Former president Václav Klaus says that if the Civic Democrats had expelled his son, Václav Klaus Jr., a few weeks sooner, the two would have had time to found a party under which the latter could have stood in elections to the European Parliament in May. He made the comment in an interview for the newspaper Blesk published three days after Václav Klaus Jr. had his membership of the Civic Democrats revoked.

Mr. Klaus also said that the Civic Democrats should change their name as, he argued, they bear no resemblance today to the party he founded in the 1990s.

Four Czechs found to have contracted brucellosis on Armenia trip

Four people from Opava contracted brucellosis, a disease that was eradicated from Czech territory six decades ago, the head of the infections department at a hospital in the city told reporters on Tuesday. The four caught the highly contagious illness last summer after consuming unpasteurised milk while on holiday in Armenia.

Working with veterinarians, doctors in Opava identified the rarely seen disease after two of the victims sought treatment toward the end of last year.

Sevilla keeper Vaclík named Czech footballer of year

Goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík was named Czech Footballer of the Year 2018 at a ceremony in Prague on Monday evening. The 29-year-old has been a regular at Spanish top flight side Sevilla since joining them last summer from Switzerland’s Basel.

On Tuesday it was announced that injury had forced Vaclík, who has 23 international caps, to pull out of the Czech squad to face England on Friday and Brazil four days later.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be quite sunny in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 9 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will then gradually increase to reach up to 15 degrees Celsius on Saturday.