Daily news summary
Czech authorities deny Russian reports about health of alleged international hacker
The Czech prison service and Ministry of Justice have denied Russian media reports about the worsening health of alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin.
Russian reports, in the paper Isvestia amongst others, reported a worsening state of the Russian since he has been in Czech custody since October 2016.
The alleged international computer hacker was arrested in Prague. He is subject to an ongoing tug of war between United States and Russian authorities which each demanding his release to them. The US says that the Russia hacked US companies.
A Czech court has said Nikulin can be extradited but the final decision must be made by the Ministry of Justice.
Czech president to accept government’s resignation on January 24
Czech president Miloš Zeman will accept the resignation of prime minister Andrej Babiš and his cabinet on January 24.
The date for the personal meeting between the head of state and ANO party leader was confirmed by the president’s spokesman on Thursday.
The timing is later than originally indicated and just two days ahead of the start of second round voting in presidential elections in which Zeman is seeking a further five year term. Zeman’s spokesman said the head of state could not find a gap in his programme earlier.
Zeman in expected to give the ANO leader another shot at forming a government but has said he wants to see proof of a majority in the lower house this time round. The minority government decided to resign on Wednesday, a day after failing to win a confidence vote.
Czech Republic seen boosting tourists to 15.8 million in 2017
The Czech Republic hosted 15.8 million tourists in 2017 according to preliminary figures from the Ministry for Regional Development.
That figure would represent an increase of 6 percent on the previous year.
Minister Klára Dostalová said there was some success in getting tourists to visit other cities and attractions outside the capital, Prague. She said the problem is that most of these visits are currently day trips and what is needed is trips of two or three days.
The minister denied that Prague now has too many tourists and could experience the backlash against them which has occurred, for example, in Venice and Barcelona.
Much of last year’s increase in tourists was due to ever increasing numbers from China and South Korea.
Czech tv says presidential debate to be moderated by Witowská
Czech public service television broadcaster, Czech Television, has confirmed that it will host a debate between second round presidential candidates Miloš Zeman and Jiří Drahoš and January 25 with Světlana Witowská as moderator.
The tv debate is the sole one confirmed so far amid a tussle between the candidates about where and how many times they might appear. Zeman, who took part in no debates ahead of the first round, has said he would like four debates with Drahoš maintaining two is sufficient.
Czech Television’s usual moderator for such events is Václav Moravec. He already said on Sunday he would not host any second round debate. Moravec is reported to be disliked by current head of state Zeman and his camp.
Zeman and Drahoš won the most votes in the first round of voting and made it through to the face off second round last Saturday. Voting takes place on January 26 and 27.
Czech exports expected to reach record 4.2 trillion crowns in 2017
Czech exports in 2017 reached a record level of 4.2 trillion crowns, up 5.0 percent on the results in the previous year. The figure was given Thursday by the Czech Exporters’ Association which was hosting a conference together with Raiffeisen Bank. Participants said that last year’s figure is unlikely to be beaten this year because of the ever strengthening crown and shortages of workers and spare capacity across Czech industry and services.
Slav Epic likely to go on show for Brno Czechoslovak centenary exhibition
The mayor of Brno has said that Alphonse Mucha’s series of massive paintings, the Slav Epic, is likely to go on show in the city as part of an exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
Mayor Petr Vokřál says there is a 90 percent chance that the loan from the paintings’ owner, the City of Prague, will be made for the Re-publika exhibition taking place from the end of May and start of June this year.
Mucha regarded the series of 20 massive paintings depicting the history of the Slavs as his finest work. They were painted between 1912 and 1926.
Prague courtship of WTA finals fails
Prague has missed out in its bid to host the top year end women’s tennis event, the WTA finals.
The sport’s governing body, the WTA, announced Thursday that the Chinese city of Shenzhen has been picked to host the event from 2019 through to 2028.
The competition stars the best eight singles and doubles players over the previous season. Singapore will host the finals this year for the fourth time in a row.
Prague had, along with Manchester, England, and St. Petersburg, Russia, been bidding to host the prestigious event.
Some players complained in reaction that the big money offer from Chinese cities was the deciding factor.
The weather on Friday is expected to be cloudy with snow likely especially in central regions. Top temperatures will range between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius.