Daily news summary

Babiš: Ťok “too soft” as transport minister

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has publicly criticised the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, who is an appointee of his own ANO party. In an interview published by iDnes.cz, the prime minister said the transport chief was “too soft” on his subordinates and needed to be tougher and more thorough. Mr. Babiš replied in the affirmative when asked whether the minister needed to fear for his position.

For his part, Mr. Ťok told Novinky.cz that he did not wish to be a clone of Mr. Babiš and that his style was not to shout at people.

The country’s biggest motorway, the D1, has been beset by problems recently and Mr. Ťok was derided by critics for saying they would have been avoided if it had started snowing later in December.

Polish miner remains in critical condition after deadly blast

A Polish miner who suffered serious injuries in a methane explosion at a mine in Karviná in the Moravian Silesian Region on Thursday remains in a critical condition. The man has severe burns on more than half of his body. He is being treated at a hospital in Ostrava, where another miner injured in the blast and fire is also receiving care.

Thirteen miners, 12 of them Polish, died in the blast, which occurred almost 900 metres underground in the ČSM mine.

Sirens rang out around the Czech Republic in honour of the victims at noon on Saturday.

Pakistani site: Czech charged with heroin smuggling says she was studying Islam

A Czech woman detained in Pakistan last January after being caught with nine kilogrammes of heroin has testified that she visited the country to study Islam, the Pakistani news site Mera Mirpur reported. The trial of Tereza H., who is 21, began in March and is expected to conclude soon.

The woman is accused of trying to smuggle the drug to the United Arab Emirates. Mera Mirpur said she had originally confessed but has since amended her testimony.

MP facing criminal complaint for dubbing Havel “one of biggest traitors”

MP Lubomír Volný of Freedom and Direct Democracy is facing a criminal complaint of defamation and false accusation for saying Václav Havel had been “one of the country’s biggest traitors,” iDnes.cz reported. Mr. Volný made the comment in connection with the seventh anniversary of the dissident turned president’s death this week.

The legal action has been taken by citizen Martin Pilc, who reported the matter to the police after Mr. Volný attacked Havel in a Facebook post. The MP says he is “looking forward” to the Chamber of Deputies lifting his immunity so he can face trial over the matter.

Ledecká becomes Sportsperson of Year by record margin

Double Olympic champion Ester Ledecká has been crowned Czech Sportsperson of the Year. The 23-year-old came first in the poll of sports journalists by a record margin after stunning the world at the Winter Olympics in February with gold in both alpine skiing’s super-G category and the snowboard parallel giant slalom.

Speed skater Martina Sáblíková finished second in the poll, ahead of biathlonist Michal Krčmář in third. Sáblíková took silver in the 5000m at the Winter Olympics while Krčmář earned silver in biathlon sprint.

Biathlon star Koukalová on comeback trail

Biathlon star Gabriela Koukalová has returned to training after an extended period on the sidelines. The 2017 biathlon sprint world champion missed the Winter Olympics in February due to problems with her calves and said at the time she could not imagine returning to competition.

However, Koukalová told reporters at the Sportsperson of the Year awards on Friday that she had begun intensive training and would see in a few months what shape she was in. She said coming back was so difficult that she had fainted while training.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with the chance of rain in the Czech Republic on Sunday, with temperatures of up to 6 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will fall to 4 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve, when rain and some snow are expected.