Daily news summary
Czech interior ministry report says SPD party similar to extreme right
The Czech parliamentary party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of leader Tomio Okamura expresses itself in a way similar to extreme right wing parties and share many views with them, according to a report into extremism by the Ministry of Interior.
The report was leaked early on Wednesday by the news server Aktualne.cz before having been given final approval by the interior minister or undergoing consultations with other ministries. Representatives of the SPD party said it was scandalous that parts of the report had come out in this way and denounced it as a move to discredit the party.
Freedom and Direct Democracy won 22 seats in last year’s elections to the 200-seat lower house making it jointly the third biggest party in parliament. It ran on an anti-immigrant, anti-EU platform.
Czech police detain armed man who threatened to ignite explosive
Police in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava shot and captured a man who barricaded himself in a flat on Wednesday. The man was reported to be armed and had threatened to ignite an explosive device.
Police captured the man soon after midday after shooting him in the leg.
A large area surrounding the site of the incident had been closed off by police with helicopters hovering overhead as part of the response.
Some media reports said the detained man was a former policeman.
Czech PM says communists have no problems with Mali, Iraq, and Afghan missions
Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš has said the communist party has no problem with strengthened Czech army missions in Mali, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The ANO leader is seeking support from the communist party for a possible ANO-Social Democrat coalition government.
Communist party leaders warned they could withdraw their support for such a government if Czech army missions abroad were boosted. The list of problem missions also included participation in a rapid reaction force in the Baltic States. The lower house of parliament is due to discuss the army missions on Friday.
Czech PM confirms end June target to name new government
Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš confirmed Wednesday he intends to submit the composition of his new government to head of state, Miloš Zeman, by the end of June. That target had previously been set with the aim of getting a full government in place eight months after elections to parliament last October.
President Zeman has said he will give the ANO leader a second chance at winning backing for a government regardless of the outcome of an internal party referendum with the Social Democrat party about whether they will join ANO in a coalition. The outcome of that referendum is expected by June 15.
Murdered journalist Babchenko left Prague over residence concerns
Russian opposition journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was shot dead in Ukraine’s Kiev on Tuesday, lived in Prague for several months last year but left the city in July because he was unsure whether the Czech authorities would give him a residence permit, Lidovky.cz reported.
An acquaintance of his, the Czech journalist Ondřej Soukup, said that the slain journalist had lost hope of acquiring residence but did not wish to apply for asylum.
Babchenko had fled Moscow after receiving death threats. The Ukrainian authorities accuse the Russian government of being behind his killing.
Ukraine's secret service later said it had known about the murder attempt before it happened and had foiled it.
Government approves bill letting customers get money back from dodgy exchange offices
The acting Czech government has approved legislation aimed at reining in exchange offices that rip off customers. Under the bill it will be possible to abrogate a transaction and receive one’s money back for a period of up to two hours. The change was proposed by the Czech National Bank.
The minister of finance in resignation, Alena Schillerová, said it was no secret that the practices of some exchange offices were giving the Czech Republic a bad name.
The minister said tourists might receive only CZK 15 to the euro from some currency exchanges on Prague’s Old Town Square. The standard rate at present is almost CZK 26 to the euro.
Czech lawmakers bury wider funeral service ad ban
Czech lawmakers on Wednesday defeated a proposal to widen an advertising ban on funeral services to the surroundings of hospitals and social and health centres.
The ban was proposed by Christian Democrats who wanted the advertising ban to apply to a half kilometre zone surrounding facilities. Bans on funeral parlours advertising their services already apply to Czech hospitals themselves. The Christian Democrats argue such advertising is unethical and insensitive.
Opponents of the proposal said the move was impractical and would be difficult to police. They added that some hospitals were in any case sited right next door to cemeteries where such ads are allowed.
Sparta Prague manager says three to four players to join squad
In football, manager of Sparta Prague Zdeněk Ščasný has said he is not counting of former national defender Michael Kadlec nor French midfielder Rio Mavuba in the upcoming season.
The manager though confirmed that Sparta is keen to sign Bohemian 1905’s Ghana striker Benjamin Tetteh.
After their disappointing fifth place in the league last season, Ščasný said he is looking to bring in three or four new players to boost the squad.
Thursday is expected to be cloudy with rain and storms across the west of the country. Top daytime temperatures will range between 27 and 31 degrees Celsius.