Daily news summary
President says he was deeply offended by criticism by Václav Klaus Institute
President Miloš Zeman has said he was deeply offended by an institute founded by his predecessor Václav Klaus, when it issued criticism of the head of state for parts of his recent inaugural address. He made the statement on Thursday on TV Barrandov, where the president appears with regularity. The Václav Klaus Institute had criticized the inaugural address as an inappropriate vehicle for what it called his vengeful settling of accounts with his opponents; during the speech the president criticized businessman Zdeněk Bakala and journalists who work for the Economia group as well as Czech TV.
The institute is not alone in criticizing the president for his speech: some lawmakers walked out even before it was over and students and other citizens have taken part in demonstrations around the country taking issue with Mr Zeman’s singling out of journalists and public broadcaster Czech TV.
Completion of renovation of D1 highway to be delayed until 2021, says minister
The ongoing reconstruction of the D1 highway will take a year longer than originally expected to complete, Transport Minister Dan Ťok has said, confirming that the 2020 deadline would not be met due to delays in some tenders.
The beginning of some projects would be delayed by half a year to up to one year, the minister said. Some construction permits were challenged by the environmental organization Friends of the Earth.
The D1, connecting Prague and Brno, is one of the main highways in the country. By completion, its renovation is expected to cost 19 billion crowns.
Winter of 2017/18 one of warmest since end of 18th century
The winter of 2017/2018 is one of the warmest in the Czech lands since the end of the 18th century, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has said. According to the institute, the average temperature of 3.1 degrees Celsius tabulated for the winter months was three degrees higher than the long-term average of 0 degrees Celsius.
Data has been calculated at Prague’s Klementinum since 1775. The warmest of winters ever recroded was in 2006/2007, when the average temperature was 5.8 degrees Celsius.
Concrete barriers added at sites with Easter markets
Concrete barriers have gone up in parts of the Czech capital to boost security at sites holding Easter markets. Barriers preventing entry by trucks or vans, which could potentially be used in terrorist attacks, went up at the start of Opletalova Street.
Barriers have already been up long-term on Prague’s Old Town Square.
Czech Catholic Church aims to boost tourist potential
The Czech Catholic Church and Forum for Czech Tourism have signed a memorandum aimed at boosting church and monastery tourism in the country.
The two sides have pledged to cooperate in boosting such tourism both for Czech and foreign visitors. The cooperation should cover joint promotions and partnership on special projects.
Temporary stays at monasteries are already offered for those not seeking a long term religious sanctuary.
Viktoria Plzeň knocked out of Europa League
The last Czech football team in European competitions, Viktoria Plzeň, has been eliminated from the Europa League and hopes of getting through to the last eight.
Plzeň clawed back a two goal deficit from the away leg against Sporting Lisbon at home on Thursday night thanks to two gaols from Marek Bakoš. But Sporting Lisbon found the net in extra time to dash the West Bohemian club’s hopes.
Lisbon had earlier hit the post and missed a penalty in regular time.
Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy with daytime temperatures hovering at around 0 degrees Celsius.