Daily news summary

Ex-Prague Imam Samer Shehadeh in custody for allegedly promoting terrorism

A former Prague-based Islamic cleric, who faces charges of supporting terrorism, has given up his right to lodge a complaint against his detention and so will remain in custody pending a trial, along with two other suspects.

Imam Samer Shehadeh could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges of supporting, promoting and financing terrorism. According to media reports, the other suspects are Shehadeh’s brother Omar and his brother’s wife.

The Czech intelligence services began investigating Imam Shehadeh in 2016. While in Prague, he had allegedly tried to radicalise Muslims and told them attending a Christian mass in a show of solidarity with people of different faiths would amount to a betrayal of Islam.

Recordings of Imam Shehadeh preaching elsewhere indicate that he was more radical than the Czech Muslim community, which expelled him, may have suspected at the time.

The Islamic cleric later briefly preached in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, from where he was also forced out. He was captured in Jordan and flown to the Czech Republic this week.

Gen. Pavel: Russians, Chinese greater threat to Czechs than terrorism

Former Czech Army chief of staff Gen. Petr Pavel has said that Russia and China pose a greater threat to the security of the Czech Republic than international terrorism does.

He was speaking at a debate in Prague on Thursday held by the CEVRO Institute titled “NATO in the 21st Century and the Czech Army: a Way Forward”.

Gen. Pavel said that Czech politicians often point to international terrorism as the greatest danger but few speak of the greater danger of Russian propaganda, information warfare and hybrid attacks on NATO allies and aspiring members.

Ruling Prague coalition to publish agenda on Nov. 12

A Prague coalition comprised of five parties is due to sign and issue their joint programme statement on Monday.

The coalition comprises the civic initiative Praha Sobě (PS), the Pirates, and United Force for Prague (TOP 09, the Party of Mayors and Independents, and the Christian Democrats).

Their 35-page statement calls for significant new housing construction and transforming Prague into a “multi-layered, self-confident and successful city” comparable with the likes of Berlin or Barcelona.

Apart from the programme statement, they have also agreed to put forward Pirate party chairman Zdeněk Hřib as their candidate for mayor of Prague.

As a party, the Pirates got more votes in the municipal elections. But on an individual level, Praha Sobě leader Jan Čižinský was the voters’ clear favourite for Prague mayor.

Soc Dem leaders meet in wake of first vice-chairman Zimola’s resignation

The leadership of the centre-left Social Democrats (ČSSD) is meeting in Prague on Friday afternoon to discuss the impact of the resignation of party first vice-chairman Jiří Zimola.

When resigning on Wednesday, Mr Zimola said making significant changes in the party was impossible given the current power structure. He also spoke of shady regional operators who latch on to the party leadership like parasites.

The first vice-chairman post will remain vacant until the next congress of the Social Democrats, to be held in March 2019.

The Social Democrats had disastrous showings in the parliamentary elections of 2017 as well as in the municipal and senatorial elections this October.

Growth in consumer prices slowed down in October

Growth in consumer prices slowed down to 2.2 percent in October from 2.3 percent in September, the Czech Statistics Office said on Friday. Compared to the previous month, prices increased by 0.4 percent in October.

Compared to October 2017, housing and fuel prices grew, while prices of food and clothing have dropped.

Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová to retire after Fed Cup in Prague

Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has announced that she will retire from the sport after the Fed Cup contest against the US team in Prague this weekend.

Strýcová, now 32, won the Fed Cup for the first time when she was only 16. She won again in a double’s team with Karolína Plíšková. She achieved her highest WTA singles ranking, a world No. 16, in January 2017. This May, she peaked at No. 7 in the doubles rankings.

Meanwhile, Plíšková has pulled out of the Fed Cup due to a calf injury. She will be replaced by Barbora Krejčíková, who leads the WTA doubles rankings with her partner Kateřina Siniaková.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová will be leading the Czech team for the best-of-five series on indoor hardcourt at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Weather outlook

Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast throughout the country. Daytime highs should howver between 9 to 13 degrees Celsius.

Rain is expected on Sunday in western Bohemia and southern Moravia.