Daily news summary
Cabinet supports proposal to legalise same-sex marriages
The government has given its formal support to a draft proposal allowing for same-sex marriages. With the cabinet’s support, the proposal, which would require amending the Civil Code, will now go to the lower house of Parliament for debate.
Current Czech civil law only allows for same-sex couples to have registered partnerships, an institution that would no longer be in place if same-sex marriages become legal. Thus far, 46 MPs representing six different parties in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies have signed on to the draft proposal.
Names of ANO’s proposed new Defence and Justice ministers reported
The names of several new key cabinet members put forth by the ANO party of Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš have been leaked to the media.
The new Defence Minister is Lubomír Metnar, the current interior minister. He replaces Karla Šlechtová, who had highlighted alleged irregularities in many military contracts.
The incoming Justice Minister is Taťána Malá, an MP who has advocated postponing an investigation into an alleged EU subsidy fraud now dogging Mr Babiš. Some members of the Social Democrats, ANO’s coalition partner, have objected to Ms. Malá’s candidacy.
During her tenure as defence minister, Ms. Šlechtová contacted the military police after finding a number of alleged irregularities in a deal to buy mobile radar stations from Israel for CZK 3.5 billion under an agreement reached, but not signed, by her predecessor, Martin Stropnický (ANO).
Ms. Šlechtová, an independent, had previously served as Minister for Regional Development under Mr. Babiš’s predecessor, Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats).
PM calls security meeting on possibility of Germany rejecting migrants at border
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has called a meeting of the State Security Council on Friday to discuss the protection of Czech borders if Germany decides to turn migrants away at its borders. He said on Thursday that a crisis plan was already in place for such a scenario under which the Czech police, customs and possibly the army would be deployed.
Mr. Babiš said that his Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, had said at a Visegrad Four plus Austria meeting on Thursday that his country would take similar action if Germany started turning migrants away.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a new deal at EU level over migrants. However the junior partner in her coalition government wants the police to be allowed to reject undocumented migrants at the border.
Natural water sources on verge of being “untreatable”, expert says
The quality of water being fed into Czech reservoirs is rapidly declining, an expert from the Academy of Sciences told a conference in Prague on drinking water, and in some areas is on the verge of being untreatable, meaning it cannot be readily filtered to become potable.
Martin Pivokonský, director of the Academy’s Institute of Hydrodynamics said the biggest threat comes from rising levels of cyanobacteria and pesticides in natural water sources.
Cabinet approves police chief Tuhý becoming ambassador to Slovakia
The government has approved police president Tomáš Tuhý’s departure for the post of Czech ambassador to Bratislava, the news site Neovlivní.cz. reported. However, Mr. Tuhý had previously said he had no intention of leaving the force and on Thursday wrote on Twitter that he had no information about such a move.
The news site Aktuálně.cz reported that Mr. Tuhý would only become ambassador to Bratislava when his mandate as police chief expired next year.
Five-Petalled Rose festival blooms in Český Krumlov
The annual “Festival of the five-petalled rose” is now underway in the picturesque southern Bohemian town of Český Krumlov. This weekend, the town will be transported back to the Renaissance period when under the rule of the noble Rožmberk family.
The town’s streets and squares will be filled with the knightly tournaments, historical crafts fairs, banquets and medieval music. Among the most popular events each year is the jousting tournament, recalling a past legend about cutting roses.
Weather on Saturday
The forecast is for more rain on Saturday throughout much of the country. Cloudy skies will see average temperatures hovering below 17 degrees Celsius.