Daily news summary
Transparency claims Babiš still controlling Agrofert
Transparency International Czech Republic has filed a complaint against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on the grounds of information which suggests that although he put his billion-crown conglomerate Agrofert into a trust fund to comply with the conflict of interests law, he is still the person controlling the company.
Transparency says that in the Slovak Register of Public Sector Partners the company Agrofert has five controlling persons on record. Four of them can be removed by the fifth person who is at the same time irrevocable. This controlling person and one of the end users of benefits is reportedly Andrej Babiš.
Transparency says the findings may have serious implications both as regards the conflict of interest law and EU funding policies.
Prime Minister Babiš has dismissed the accusations as nonsensical.
Deputy PM Hamáček requests special session over pensions bill
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats has asked the speaker of the lower house, Radek Vondráček, to call a special session of the Chamber of Deputies to debate the pensions bill that was recently returned by the Senate in view of proposed changes.
The bill envisages a pensions hike for all pensioners with a special focus on those older than 85. It needs to win approval by the end of August so that it may come into force on January 1 of next year.
Demolition of footbridge near Nymburk
A footbridge on the Labe River, near Nymburk has been pulled down for safety reasons. The footbridge was deemed dangerous both to pedestrians and boats passing under it and has been closed to traffic since June. The footbridge had the same construction as that which collapsed in Prague’s Troja district late last year.
The Labe is a busy waterway which connects the cities of Melnik, Nymburk and Kolin with Berlin and the Baltic Sea. There is no alternative waterway. Work on clearing up the debris of the demolished bridge is expected to last until August 12.
Fire alert in place in ten regions
A fire alert is in place in ten regions of the Czech Republic, including Prague, because of the hot dry weather. Many regions have issued a ban on lighting fires out in the open.
The incidence of fires rose sharply in the month of July. Fire crews were called to 2,700 fires that month which is the highest number in twelve years.
Small entrepreneurs doing well
The Czech Credit Bureau reports that the number of bankruptcies among small Czech entrepreneurs is the lowest in five years.
According to statistics there were 60 company bankruptcies in the month of July and 377 bankruptcies of small entrepreneurs which is 108 less than in the preceding month.
The drop in bankruptcies among small entrepreneurs is ascribed to the healthy economy, higher wages and growing demand for their products and services both from companies and individuals.
Farmer finds young wolf in his sheep enclosure
A farmer in the Krkonoše Mountains found a young wolf in his sheep enclosure, according to the ctk news agency.
The animal appeared frightened and although there was a flock of sheep in the enclosure none of them were harmed.
It is thought that the young wolf was a lost member of a pack that is somewhere in the vicinity. The animal was released back into the wild.
According to the head of the Krkonoše National Park Jakub Kašpar such an incident is exceptional.
The hot and dry weather is expected to continue with Saturday’s temperatures between 31 and 35 degrees Celsius.