Daily news summary


Zeman and Babiš seemingly at odds over Poche nomination

President Miloš Zeman says that the Social Democrats’ nominee for minister of foreign affairs, Miroslav Poche, has not been proposed to him as a cabinet member by the prime designate, Andrej Babiš of ANO. The president said in an interview on Sunday that there had been a blank space by foreign affairs in a list of ministerial candidates he received from Mr. Babiš.

Mr. Zeman is opposed to Mr. Poche heading the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accusing him of being soft on migrants.

However, Mr. Babiš said that the information provided to the president had been informal. The ANO leader told reporters he does intend to include Mr. Poche when he officially informs the president about his cabinet nominees on Monday.

The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, said that if Mr. Babiš failed to nominate Mr. Poche it would represent a breach of the outline coalition agreement between his party and ANO and would make further negotiations pointless.

Mr. Zeman said he would very probably appoint the new government on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Mr. Babiš has said that the prospective two-party minority coalition – which would be supported on key votes by the Communists – could undergo a vote of confidence in the lower house on July 11.

Ceremony marks 76th anniversary of annihilation of village of Ležáky

The razing to the ground of the village of Ležáky in Eastern Bohemia and the murder of the local community by the Nazis was remembered on Sunday, 76 years after those terrible events took place. Hundreds of people attended a memorial at the spot where the atrocities occurred.

Among those who spoke at the ceremony was Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who highlighted the importance of the EU and NATO in safeguarding peace in Europe.

Some 33 residents of Ležáky were executed by the Nazis on 24 June 1942 as part of reprisals for the assassination of governor Reinhard Hedyrich. A similar fate had earlier befallen the village of Lidice near Prague.

Analysts: Central bank may increase basic interest rate next week

The board of governors of the Czech National Bank could increase the basic interest rate by 0.25 percent to 1.0 percent at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the Czech News Agency reported, citing the views of analysts.

The experts say that the main reason for such a move would be the fact the Czech crown is weaker toward the euro than the central bank estimated. In addition, wage growth and inflation are higher than the bank expected.

The analysts believe that if the CNB doesn’t raise interest rates this month it will likely do so at the start of August.

RAF veteran Pavel Vranský dies at 97

One of the last remaining Czechs who served with Britain’s RAF during World War II, Pavel Vranský, has died at the age of 97. Mr. Vranský was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by the president last year.

The war hero, who came from a Jewish family in Ostrava, joined the RAF in 1942 and served with the 311 Squadron, which was a Czechoslovak-manned bomber squadron. Prior to that he had fought in Syria and at Tobruk.

New Czech ice hockey strip splits opinion

Opinion has been divided by the new strip of the Czech national ice hockey team, which sees the traditional state symbol replaced by a large illustration of a lion wearing a crown.

The vast majority of respondents in a poll by the iDnes.cz news site said they did not like the national team’s new look, while the Czech player of the season David Pastrňák said he didn’t understand it and goaltender Ondřej Pavelec described it as a disgrace.

In contrast Martin Nečas, who was part of the Czech squad at this year’s world championships, said the jerseys were far nicer than the old ones. Now retired ice hockey great Patrik Eliáš said the lion was a national symbol and it was a great idea to use it as the symbol of the Czech team.

Metronome festival climaxes with David Byrne and Chemical Brothers

Prague’s Metronome music festival reached a climax on Saturday night. The UK electronic music veterans The Chemical Brothers played a career-spanning set to a huge and appreciative audience on the main stage following an innovative and entertaining show from former Talking Heads leader David Byrne on a smaller podium.

The two-day event held at the city’s Výstaviště exhibition grounds had earlier featured Massive Attack, John Cale and Tom Odell, among others.

Weather forecast

It should be largely overcast and wet in the Czech Republic on Monday, with temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. More rain is expected through the week but daytime highs will climb steadily.