Daily news summary
Czech PM begins three-day visit to US
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will meet with business leaders and academics at the start of a three-day official visit to the US.
On Wednesday he is due to hold talks at the US Chamber of Commerce and visit the University of Maryland.
On Thursday the Czech prime minister will meet for talks with President Donald Trump at the White House.
The meeting should cover cyber-security, the fight against terrorism, and maintaining barrier-free trade between the US and Europe.
The prime minister is also due to visit the CIA headquarters.
Police investigate possible tax evasion at PM’s ‘Stork’s Nest’ farm
Czech police have started an investigation into whether the management of the Stork’s Nest farm engaged in tax evasion. Aleš Cimbala, spokesman of the Municipal Public Prosecution Office in Prague, told news server Neovlivni.cz that cases of illegal deduction of VAT, hundreds of millions of crowns spent on advertising, and other tax offences are suspected.
It is not the first time that suspected tax offences related to Stork’s Nest management have been reported by tax officials. In 2014, a German tax office had doubts about the payments for alleged advertising of the German branch of Agrofert at the farm, located near the central Bohemian village of Olbramovice.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) is currently also being prosecuted in connection with alleged subsidy fraud related to the construction of the Stork’s Nest.
Cardinal Dominik Duka presses charges against perpetrators of sex abuse within the Church
Czech Cardinal Dominik Duka has issued a criminal complaint against perpetrators of sex abuse within the Czech Catholic Church whose acts were documented in an investigative report on Czech Television’s programme '168 hodin'.
According to a spokesman, Cardinal Duka also wants to appeal to members of Parliament to draft an amendment to the criminal code that would make reporting rape and sexual abuse of minors compulsory.
Last week he and 100 other senior Catholic bishops attended a special summit in Rome focused on sexual abuse within the clergy. According to Cardinal Duka, the Czech Catholic Church currently registers roughly one case of alleged abuse every three years. However, most perpetrators receive a suspended sentence due to a lack of evidence.
Press: Head of Czech intelligence set to accompany PM’s visit to Langley
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš revealed to journalists on Tuesday that part of his ongoing trip to the United States will involve visiting the CIA headquarters in Langley.
Now the Czech daily Lidové Noviny writes that a Czech Intelligence source said that Czech counter-intelligence service (BIS) cheif Michal Koudelka has also flown to Washington and will accompany Mr Babiš on his CIA visit. Official BIS channels refused to comment, but the newspaper says that a US source has confirmed the information.
The visit to Langley is not part of Mr Babiš's official programme, whose main highlight is a meeting at the White House on Thursday with President Donald Trump.
World renowned violinist Vanessa Mae set to perform in Prague and Ostrava
The popular violinist Vanessa Mae will return to the Czech Republic after three years to perform her most famous pieces of music this October, concert organiser Roman Helcl told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. Accompanying her will be Ms May’s band, the Czech String Orchestra and eight vocalists. The first concert is set to take place in Ostrava on October 15. Two days later the Ms. Mae will perform in Prague’s O2 Arena as well.
The renowned violinist said that she looks forward to working with Czech musicians and that apart from her most popular pieces she will also play some rare compositions.
The 40-year-old Britton, who was born in Singapore is known for her pop interpretations of classical music and has millions of fans across the world.
Czech Railways management debating safety measures in wake of accidents
The management of Czech Railways will meet to debate safety issues on Wednesday following a spate of accidents and near-accidents around the country. The management is likely to agree on stricter safety measures and tighter controls.
The number of "incidents“ and "accidents“ at Czech Railways has seen a sharp increase since the start of the year with inspectors investigating 220 cases.
There have been two accidents this week alone, with twenty-three people injured in a head-on collision of passenger trains in Brno on Tuesday, and five injured in a train crash in the Chrudim region just a day earlier.
Trade union head says locomotive drivers are overworked
Locomotive drivers in the Czech Republic are overworked and often find themselves in crisis situations, Jaroslav Vondrovič, President of the Czech Federation of Locomotive Drivers told journalists on Wednesday. He says the great amount of overtime work and little rest is a big problem that leads to locomotive drivers making mistakes.
His comments came as Czech Railways management convened a special meeting Wednesday in the wake of back-to-back train collisions and a steep rise in reported accidents and ‘incidents’. They will likely agree on stricter safety measures and tighter controls.
Currently, there is a shortage of at least 300 locomotive drivers in the Czech Republic. Inexperienced young drivers are often put into situations where they can make errors, railway authorities say.
Human rights film festival “Jeden Svět“ opens in Prague
The One World Film Festival, known in Czech as “Jeden Svět“ launched on Wednesday afternoon in Prague. The festival opened with a lecture by the President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, who spoke on the current situation in Tibet. The lecture will be followed this evening by the Nicaraguan farmer activist Francisca Ramírez receiving the Homo Homini Award by festival organisers and human rights NGO People in Need.
Apart from dozens of thematic films, the festival features a number of workshops and lectures. It will run until March 17.
Temperatures should hover around 17 degrees Celsius on Thursday, reaching up to 20 degrees in the north-east. Rainfall is expected in most of Bohemia, while in Silesia and Moravia the sky will be cloudy.