Daily news summary

Czech PM leaves for official visit to US

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has left for an official visit to the US. On Thursday the Czech prime minister is due to hold talks with President Trump at the White House.

According to the Czech Office of the Government the meeting should cover cyber-security, the international situation, and maintaining barrier-free trade between the US and Europe. The prime minister is also due to visit the CIA headquarters.

Andrej Babiš is the first Czech prime minister in eight years to be invited for talks to the White House.

Prime Minister Babiš also wants to make use of the opportunity to further bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and research.

On Wednesday he is scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of American universities and research institutions.

Twenty-three injured in train collision in Brno

Twenty-three people were injured in a train collision at Brno’s main railway station on Tuesday morning.

Paramedics say that eleven of them were transported to hospital, the others suffered lighter injuries.

Emergency workers evacuated 250 people from the trains, which met in a head-on collision.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

Czech Railways has had a heightened number of accidents in recent days.

Five people were injured in a train collision in the Chrudim region on Monday, and on February 19th a runaway train travelled six kilometers without a driver eventually coming to a stop on an uphill slope.

Czech complaint against EU firearms directive being heard at European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice has started dealing with a Czech complaint against a new European Union directive restricting possession of firearms.

The Czech Republic was vehemently against the directive saying it would damage responsible gun-holders, hunters associations and result in a large number of firearms being sold on the black market.

The Czech government would like to see the directive abolished. The Czech delegation at the hearings is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek.

There are more than 800,000 firearms of all categories registered among 300,000 gun permit holders in the Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.6 million.

Pirate Party calling for results of EC investigation into Czech PM’s alleged conflict of interest

The Pirate Party has urged the European Commission to make public the results of its investigation into an alleged conflict of interest on the part of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in connection with the company Agrofert, which he placed in trust funds two years ago.

The Commission‘s auditors launched an investigation into the matter on the grounds of a complaint made by the Czech branch of Transparency International and the Pirate Party who claim that Mr. Babiš is still able to influence Agrofert despite having placed it into trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law. They also say that as prime minister he has influence over negotiations on the EU budget and the use of European funds in the Czech Republic.

The Pirate Party has urged the Commission to make public its findings as soon as possible in view of the upcoming European elections.

The European Parliament voted in December to suspend subsidies to Agrofert until the matter is cleared up.

The Czech prime minister has denied any wrongdoing saying the affair is a politically motivated slander campaign against him and his ANO party.

Lion kills private owner in Moravia

A lion attacked and killed its owner in Moravia early on Tuesday.

The breeder, who kept two lions without the required permits from the veterinary authorities, was found dead in the lions’ cage.

The police had to shoot a male lion and a lioness who was expecting young in order to get to the breeder.

The incident is being investigated.

Skoda unveils ambitious plans ahead of Geneva Motor Show

Car maker Skoda Auto will unveil more than thirty new models by 2022, at least ten of them electric-powered, company chair Bernhard Maier said ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

The first electric-powered models are to appear on the market this year, the Superb plug-in hybrid model and Citigo.

Skoda will unveil its latest model – the Skoda Kamiq - at the Geneva Motor Show which take place from 5 to 17 March. The brand’s third and smallest SUV is expected to hit the market in autumn this year.

In 2018 Skoda produced 886,100 vehicles, a 3.3 percent growth year-on-year and a new production record for the company.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius.