Daily news summary

Social Democrat Senators against coalition headed by Babiš facing charges

Social Democrat members of the Senate have come out strongly against a possible coalition government with ANO headed by an Andrej Babiš facing criminal charges, iDnes.cz reported on Wednesday. The Social Democrats’ Senate speaker Milan Štěch said that Mr. Babiš, who should be the chief representative of the executive, was constantly suggesting that the charges against him were a stitch-up.

Social Democrat senator Petr Vícha said that when Mr. Babiš insisted he would not stand down even if found guilty of abusing EU subsidies he was doing his utmost to ensure a Social Democrat internal vote on a coalition with ANO would not pass.

The chairman of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, said he did not understand why his party’s senators were making such resolute statements when coalition talks were still ongoing.

Police officer among Dutch group arrested over waiter attack

Dutch media have published the identities of seven men arrested by Prague police following a brutal attack on a waiter at an outdoor restaurant in the centre of the city on Saturday. One of the group is a police officer from Amsterdam, iDnes.cz reported, quoting a Dutch news site.

IDnes.cz cited somebody close to the investigation as saying all of the men had martial arts experience. Video footage shows them beating up a waiter, who had told the group they were not allowed to drink their own alcohol at the restaurant. The victim later required surgery.

Babiš sues over StB claim in Slovak paper

The acting Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, is suing the publishers of a Slovak newspaper over an interview in which former StB man Ján Sarkocy said Mr. Babiš had knowingly collaborated with the communist-era secret police. The Slovak-born ANO leader is seeking EUR 1 million in damages from Nový Čas, which is the country’s best-selling daily. The Czech PM is also suing Mr. Sarkocy.

In January a Slovak court rejected an action taken by Mr. Babiš, who said he had been wrongly listed as an agent of the StB in the now archived files of the secret police.

Mr. Sarkocy – who is himself a former StB agent – made headlines earlier this year after claiming to have met the leader of the UK’s Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, while he was stationed at the Czechoslovak Embassy in London in the 1980s.

Plzeňský Prazdroj reports record year

One of the Czech Republic’s best-known brewing companies, Plzeňský Prazdroj, produced a record 11 million hectoliters of beer last year, a spokesperson said on Wednesday. That was a volume increase of 3 percent year on year for the brewer, which makes Pilsner Urquell. Exports grew by 8 percent in 2017.

Last year Plzeňský Prazdroj was bought by the Japanese group Asahi from SABMiller.

Slav Epic paintings to go on show in Brno

Some of the massive paintings from Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic series will go on display in Brno from May 26. Nine of the largest works in the 20-piece series will be on show at the festival Re:publika 1918-2018 alongside dozens of posters by the Art Nouveau artist, the mayor of Brno, Petr Vokřál, said on Wednesday.

Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová, a councillor from Prague, which owns the Slav Epic, said the city had had to overcome objections from restorers, who didn’t want it to be transported anywhere. However, the famous paintings attracted two-thirds of a million visitors in Tokyo and should also draw tourists to Brno, she said.

2018 Book World Prague set to be biggest ever

This year’s edition of the Book World Prague will welcome a record 404 exhibitors from 22 countries, organisers said on Wednesday. The trade fair will run at the city’s Výstaviště from May 10 to 13.

The themes of the 24th edition of Book World Prague will be comics and the revolutionary 20th century. Last year the event attracted around 45,000 visitors.

Weather forecast

Thursday should see bright spells and some rain in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 15 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs should rise to the mid-20s Celsius at the weekend, when it will be quite sunny.