Daily news summary
Social Democrats would accept Babiš as PM in exchange for top ministerial post
The Social Democrats say they will accept Andrej Babiš as prime minister despite him facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies if their party gets the post of minister of finance or interior in a coalition with Mr. Babiš’s ANO. Following further talks on Tuesday evening between the parties on forming a minority government, representatives said a number of issues remained to be resolved between them.
ANO are offering the Social Democrats four seats in cabinet but the latter are demanding five. Other sticking points include various aspects of taxation.
Winners ANO received almost 30 percent of the vote in elections in October. The Social Democrats got less than 7.7 percent and finished sixth.
There have been suggestions the two parties could create a minority government supported by the Communist Party during important votes.
High Court confirms 15-year prison sentence for Radovan Krejčíř
High Court in Prague has confirmed a 15-year prison sentence for fugitive Czech criminal Radovan Krejčíř. Krejčíř was sent to prison in 2015 for attempting to asset-strip the company Čepro and plotting the murder of a customs officer. The sentence also included previous punishments for massive tax evasion and other crimes of which he was convicted earlier.
Krejčíř was sentenced in absentia having fled the country during a police raid of his villa in 2005. He is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for attempted murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking in South Africa.
A South African court ruled earlier this month that Krejčíř can be extradited to the Czech Republic, but the decision has not taken effect yet.
Czech national anthem gets new arrangements
New versions of the Czech national anthem got their first public airing on Wednesday in the building of the Czech Radio in Prague. The new arrangements were created by composer Miloš Bok at the initiative of the Czech Olympic Committee.
According to the initiators, the Czech national anthem, which was composed by František Škroup in 1834, should sound more dignified and patriotic. The four different arrangements of the anthem, entitled Kde domov můj? or Where is My Home? were recorded last December by the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
Many bridges on second and third-class roads in poor shape
Over 20 percent of bridges on the country’s second and third-class roads are in poor condition, according to data released by the Czech Chamber of Construction Engineers and Technicians (CKAIT), on Wednesday. Nearly 3,000 out of 12,579 bridges are in bad shape and over 100 of them are in hazardous condition.
Among the main reasons behind the poor state of bridges used for traffic is pressure to lower construction costs and lack of maintenance on the part of owners. Only 1,470 bridges, which is less than 12 percent, were in a perfect state last year.
Joan Baez to perform at Prague’s Congress Centre on Wednesday
US folk singer Joan Baez is set to perform at Prague’s Congress Centre on Wednesday evening. The event is part of what she has declared her final tour, presenting her most recent album called Whistle Down the Wind.
Joan Baez, who is 77, has performed several times in Prague since the fall of Communism. She was a long-time friend of the late president Václav Havel, whom she first visited in 1988, and was also a vocal supporter of Czechoslovak dissidents.
Two Prague restaurants retain Michelin stars but Alcron loses out
Two Prague restaurants have succeeded in holding on to their Michelin stars in the latest edition of the Michelin Guide Main Cities of Europe, which was released on Tuesday. La Degustation Boheme Burgeoise and Field have retained the prestigious rating, but Alcron – which first earned a star in 2012 – is not listed in the 2018 edition of the dining guide.
Alcron representatives said the restaurant would carry out changes in response to the downgrading.
Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with occasional rain showers and daytime highs ranging between six and ten degrees Celsius.