Daily news summary
PM Babiš defends Czech stand on migrants in Brussels
The newly-appointed Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is representing the Czech Republic at a two-day EU summit in Brussels, has reaffirmed the country’s negative stance to mandatory migrant quotas, highlighting its strong engagement in helping to resolve the situation in the countries of migrant origin. The Czech prime minister met with the heads of government of the Visegrad Four states and with EC President Jean Claude Junker to discuss the ECs decision to sue the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary over their unwillingness to accept migrants.
The Visegrad Four announced at the summit that they will contribute 35 million euros to strengthen Libya’s borders and alleviate the plight of migrants in the country.
Babiš government unlikely to win confidence vote in parliament
The newly-appointed minority government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is unlikely to win a vote of confidence in the lower house. Only the Communist Party has indicated that it might be willing to support the government under certain conditions. The Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy, which was considered a possible ally, said it has no reason to support the government since it will not implement the party’s policy priorities.
Prime Minister Babiš said he would seek support from parties across the political spectrum as soon as he returns from the EU summit in Brussels.
The majority of opposition parties have said the new government should not make important policy decisions until it gets a vote of confidence. The new prime minister has indicated he will request a vote of confidence in January of next year.
President, new defense minister thank Czechs serving in foreign missions
President Miloš Zeman contacted Czech soldiers serving in the country’s foreign missions on Thursday to thank them for their work in the fight against terrorism. In a video-link with soldiers serving in Afghanistan, Mali, the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights and Iraq, the president thanked them for their dedication and courage in serving the country abroad and wished them well in the New Year.
The country’s new defense minister, Karla Šlechtová, also exchanged greetings with the heads of foreign missions.
The Czech Republic currently has close to 500 soldiers serving abroad. Their numbers could rise by several hundred next year as the country wants to increase its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. The country’s new prime minister, Andrej Babiš, would also like to send Czech soldiers to help protect Libyan borders.
Czech car production reaches record high
Czech car makers are set to produce a record 1.4 million vehicles this year, which is about 50,000 more than last year, according to figures released by the Czech Automotive Industry Association.
Production of cars, trucks, motorcycles and busses grew by 4.5 percent between January and November, to 1.3 million, the association reported. Skoda is the driving force behind the growth in production followed by Tatra and Jawa Moto.
Biggest case of online sex abuse of children reaches court
The regional court in Usti nad Labem has opened the biggest case of online sexual abuse of children reported to date. The man charged allegedly abused over 150 girls under 15 years of age in this manner getting them to send him photos and videos of themselves and threatening to put them online unless they deliver more.
The suspect faces seven different charges and if convicted could get up to 12 years in jail. The case has highlighted the need for parents to be more aware of their children’s activities on the Internet.
Strong winds batter Czech Republic
Strong winds battered the Czech Republic on Thursday complicating traffic in many parts of the country. Traffic police reported a heightened number of accidents due to adverse weather conditions and the D8 highway leading from Prague through central and north Bohemia to the German border was closed after a strong gust of wind overturned a truck on the road. Drivers have been warned to exercise caution.
Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered rain or snow showers and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.