Daily news summary


Zeman: Beijing nixed meeting of ministers over Huawei warnings

President Miloš Zeman says Beijing cancelled a meeting between China’s foreign minister and his Czech counterpart in response to Czech warnings over Chinese-made Huawei technology. Speaking in a TV interview on Thursday evening, he said China had also postponed a meeting of an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation without offering a new date.

However, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the intergovernmental committee meeting had been rescheduled and that this had been confirmed by Chinese officials.

The Czech cyber watchdog agency said last month that using Huawei or ZET products could prove a security threat. In addition, the country’s most important organisations have been ordered to carry out assessments of the risks involved in using such Chinese technology.

Mr. Zeman said he would like to meet the head of Huawei to clear the situation up during a visit to China in April.

Concert by neo-Nazi bands in Palach’s memory to go ahead despite protests

A concert by Italian neo-Nazi bands in memory of the Czech student martyr Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, will go ahead in Verona despite efforts by Czech and Italian officials to prevent the misappropriation of his legacy.

Although the concert venue at Verona’s Teatro Stimmate was cancelled following protests, the organizers have received permission to hold the event elsewhere. Czech diplomats negotiated with local officials to try to prevent the misuse of Palach’s legacy for a neo-Nazi event.

The concert, held under the motto Country and Freedom will take place on the 50th anniversary of Palach’s death.

The Italian daily La Republicca wrote in connection with the concert that the tendency on the part of ultra-right groups to misappropriate Palach’s legacy “polically and culturally“ has been evident for some time.

Czech PM expresses interest in strategic partnership with India

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is on a business-oriented tour of South Asia on Friday met with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The two officials discussed ways of boosting business and trade cooperation, bilateral ties and relations between India and the European Union.

Attending the Vibrant Gujarat business forum in Gujarat, the Czech prime minister said his country was interested in developing a strategic partnership with India, saying that Czech-India business ties not only had a long tradition, but had great potential for the future.

Prime Minister Babiš will wind up his visit to India in Delhi where he is scheduled to meet with President Shri Ram Nath Kovind.

Germany reports increase in illegal migrants from Czech Republic

Germany has reported an increase in the number of illegal migrants entering the country from the Czech Republic. According to data released by the German Interior Ministry the police intercepted over 3,900 illegal migrants trying to cross the border from the Czech Republic between January and November 2018, an increase of 10.8 percent as compared to the previous year.

According to the Czech Interior Ministry the statistics are misleading, due to the fact that the numbers include persons who had already been granted asylum in Germany and who failed to produce proof of this after making a brief trip across the border. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told journalists the increase in the given period was by 19 persons, rather than close to 400, as the German statistics suggest.

Poldi Steelworks sold to Optimo Trade in fourth auction

The bankrupt Poldi Steelworks was auctioned off to the company Optimo Trade on Friday selling for 140 million crowns. Poldi, a former leader in Czech steel production, has been in insolvency since December 2017.

Friday’s auction was the fourth in over a year. The first three fell through after the anonymous bidders failed to pay the bidding price within the set time limit.

Optimo Trade, which was established in 2017, has already paid 90 million for the purchase and should cover the entire cost within 15 days.

Berdych and Kvitová into fourth round at Australian Open

Tomáš Berdych has reached the fourth round at tennis’s Australian Open. The Czech lost a set for the first time in the competition on Friday as he overcame Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 5-7 6-3 7-5 6-4.

Berdych’s compatriot Petra Kvitová is also through to the last 16 in Melbourne. The Czech women’s number one overcame Slovak-born Swiss player Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4.

Weather forecast

Saturday should bring partly cloudy skies and day temperatures between 1 and -3 degrees Celsius.