Daily news summary

Visegrad Four summit in Israel cancelled over diplomatic row

A Visegrad Four summit in Israel has been cancelled after Poland announced it would not be attending the meeting over a diplomatic row with Israel.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said just hours before his scheduled departure for Israel that the summit would be replaced by bilateral talks. In addition to talks with Israeli officials the Czech prime minister will pay a visit to the Czech House in Jerusalem and lay a wreath at the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelled his participation at the summit after media reported remarks by Israel's prime minister suggesting Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Although Israel insists that the prime minister’s words were misinterpreted, and he had only referred to individuals, the row has deepened and Poland said on Monday that no Polish representative would be travelling to Israel for the summit.

Trial resumes over decade-old Studénka train disaster that left 8 dead, 95 injured

Over a decade since one of the worst railway accidents in Czech history, the attempt to bring those responsible for the tragedy to justice is back at square one, the news site Novinky.cz reports.

In August 2008, a bridge undergoing reconstruction in Studénka, northern Moravia, collapsed onto railway tracks minutes before an international express train ploughed into the debris. Eight people died in the accident and 95 passengers were injured, some partly handicapped for life.

On Monday, only four of the ten defendants – absolved of guilt in an early trial – were in attendance. The appeals court hearing began with lawyers objecting strongly to the presiding judge calling for testimony from experts, as a wide range of opinions as to the cause have already been heard.

Earlier judges ruled there was insufficient proof to hold any of the defendants responsible for the tragedy through negligence or otherwise.

Prague City Hall to negotiate with Zdena Masin on exhuming her mother’s remains

Prague City Hall has agreed to start negotiating with Zdena Mašín about the possibility of exhuming her mother’s remains from a mass grave in Prague’s Ďáblice cemetary. The city hall earlier ruled out the possibility in view of the complications of exhuming remains from a mass grave.

Zdena Mašín, sister of the Mašín brothers, who dramatically escaped from Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s, requested the exhumation so as to be able to give her mother a dignified burial.

Her mother Zdena Mašínová was a freedom fighter jailed by the Nazis and later by the Communists. She was convicted of espionage and treason in a communist show trial and later moved from jail to a labour camp where she died in 1956.

Press: NWR's British liquidator threats to sue Czech state over ‘nationalisation’ of OKD miner

The British liquidator of New World Resources (NWR) is threatening to sue the Czech state in connection to it taking over the coal miner OKD, formerly a part of the energy company, the business daily Hospodářské noviny reports.

A regional Czech court in October 2017 approved the reorganisation of OKD as proposed by its management and approved by creditors. Two months later, the European Commission approved the takeover by state-owned company Prisko, which paid CZK 80 million for OKD’s mining assets. Appeals by NWR and others against the OKD reorganisation plan were rejected by a Czech court in June 2018.

A partner at NWR’s liquidator, Jenner & Block, has now said in a letter to Prisko, taken to be a pre-litigation challenge, that OKD’s mining business was in effect illegally nationalised, resulting in damages of hundreds of million of euro against NWR, according to Hospodářské noviny, which has seen a copy of the letter.

OKD creditors have filed claims of over CZK 20 billion in court, but the administrator has rejected the lion’s share of the claims. OKD continues to mine coal and employs around 9,500 people.

Czech banking clients fall prey to Google Play malware

Czech banking clients have become a target of new malware on Google Play’s Word Translator, according to Eset, Czech Republic.

The IT security company says there were over 10,000 downloads before the malware was removed. Half of the security breach incidents were reportedly registered in the Czech Republic, 40 percent in Poland and less than five percent in Italy, Mexico and Australia.

Czechia to nominate Vamberk lace for place on UNESCO list

The region of Hradec Králové is seeking to get Vamberk bobbin lace a place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Czech Republic is expected to make a nomination before the end of the month.

The town of Vamberk has been known for its exquisite lace production since the 17th century and the first school of bobbin lace opened there in 1899.

Among the Czech items already on the list are The Ride of the Kings, a colourful festival celebrated in just four Moravian villages in the spring, the Czech craft of indigo dyeing with block printing (modrotisk) or the art of Czech puppetry.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should bring clear to partly cloudy skies with day temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius. Night time lows between 0 and -4 degrees.