Daily news summary


Czech PM says cyber security concerns should be resolved at EU-level

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said cyber-security concerns should be resolved at EU-level.

The Czech prime minister met with the president of the Huawei executive board Ken Hu within the framework of the forum, to inform him about the present situation.

He said that in the wake of a security warning regarding Huawei products by the National Cyber and Security Information Agency, Czech experts were analysing the possible security risks to the country’s infrastructure.

When the warning was released a few weeks ago Prime Minister Andrej Babiš ordered the Office of the Government to cease using mobile phones produced by the Chinese company. Other Czech government bodies have followed suit.

Lower house approves Working Definition of Antisemitism

The Czech lower house of Parliament on Friday approved the Working Definition of Antisemitism, a non-legally binding definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

In a debate devoted to the problem of antisemitism in Europe today MPs marked Holocaust Remembrance Day which is on Sunday.

Close to six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, 250,000 of them from the former Czechoslovakia.

President’s chancellor withdraws court appeal over security clearance

President Miloš Zeman’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynař, has withdrawn an appeal filed with the Administrative Court against the decision of the National Security Office not to give him top-level security clearance. The chancellor said he did not trust the judge to rule impartially on the matter.

According to the president’s spokesman Chancellor Mynař will remain in office despite failing to get security clearance.

The matter has been debated since 2013 with politicians and the media pointing out that the chancellor regularly attends events where security clearance is expected.

In 2015 President Zeman said that if Mr. Mynař failed to get it, he would dismiss him from the post.

Opposition deputies have criticized the chancellor’s decision and the stated reasons for it, calling the move arrogant, cowardly and dangerous.

President Zeman: church restitution tax could fund repairs to monuments

Money from church restitution taxes could be used to fund repairs of cultural monuments, President Miloš Zeman said in a televised interview on Thursday. He said he would propose this to Minister of Culture Antonín Staněk (Social Democrats).

Czech MPs on Wednesday approved a tax on the billions in annual payments the state is making to the country’s 16 churches and a Jewish organisation to compensate for assets seized by the Communist regime.

Critics say the tax – proposed by the Communists and supported by the minority ANO-Social Democrat government – is unconstitutional.

If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Zeman, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to the religious groups under bilateral agreements.

The Catholic Church, the largest single denomination with over 1 million followers, is slated to receive about 80 percent of the compensation package.

Ennio Morricone in Prague within 90th Birthday Tour

The legendary film composer Ennio Morricone will conduct his music at Prague’s 02 Arena on Friday night.

His appearance in Prague is part of his 90th Birthday Tour which started in Krakow on January 19th, moving to Berlin and Budapest before coming to Prague. The tour ends in Stockholm on January 28th.

In Prague Morricone with conduct the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble with which he has cooperated for over ten years.

Third annual Czech “Night of Hotels” offers discounted city stays to locals

Some 145 hotels and pensions in Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Karlovy Vary and newly in Ostrava are taking part this Friday in the third annual “Night of Hotels” event, which offers discounted room rates to residents.

The main aim of the “Night of Hotels” event is to thank local residents in areas with heavy tourism, so they too can experience a city stay. Guests are also offered special discounted tours, including to sites not generally open to the public.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be overcast around the country with snow or rain showers and day temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.