Daily news summary
Court: Police confiscation of Tibetan and Taiwanese flags during Xi visit unlawful
Prague’s Municipal Court has ruled that a police intervention in which officers removed a Tibetan and a Taiwanese flag from two men during a visit to the city by the Chinese president was unlawful. The two had taken the case against the police force. In a binding verdict, the court ruled on Tuesday that the police had only been justified in checking the identity documents of the plaintiffs. An internal police review had previously decided that the confiscation of the flags had been legitimate.
The incident took place during a visit to Prague early last year by Xi Jinping. There were clashes between protestors and supporters of the Chinese president while he was in the city and Chinese flags were erected on flagpoles on the road to the airport and near Prague Castle.
Police officers reportedly arrested after raids on law firms
The General Inspectorate of the Security Services on Tuesday launched a series of raids in Prague in connection with the alleged influencing of criminal proceedings. The Czech News Agency said that officers from the inspectorate, which polices the police, had carried out searches of the premises of law firms. One was reported to be on Wenceslas Square.
The news site Novinky.cz said that several civilians and members of the security services had been arrested. Another news site, Aktuálně.cz, reported that four of those detained were police officers.
PM Babiš to create post of commissioner for sport
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is planning to appoint a new government commissioner for sport, the newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday, citing Mr. Babiš himself. The first appointee to the post will be Milan Hnilička, a former ice hockey player who was a member of the Czech team that won at the Winter Olympics in 1998.
Mr. Hnilička will be charged with setting up a new state agency that will oversee sports matters. Mr. Babiš said that once up and running the organisation would then establish rules for the allocation of sports funding from state coffers and work on sports policy.
ANO ministerial nominees to lay wreath at Masaryk’s tomb before appointment Wednesday
Nominees for the new ANO minority government will lay a wreath at the tomb of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk at Lány on Wednesday morning before being appointed later that day, an ANO spokesperson said. The ministerial candidates will travel by bus to the presidential retreat, which is near Prague.
The ANO cabinet will be named by President Miloš Zeman a week after the head of state appointed the party’s leader, Andrej Babiš, prime minister. ANO are currently trying to find support or at least tolerance for the party’s minority government, which must undergo a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies.
Zeman visits Slovakia on final foreign trip during presidential term
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, on Tuesday visited Slovakia on the final foreign trip of his term as head of state. He was received in Bratislava by his Slovak counterpart, Andrej Kiska, at his Grassalkovich Palace residence in Bratislava. The two presidents were due to lay wreathes at the Memorial to Czechoslovak Statehood and the Milan Rastislav Štefánik Memorial, which is dedicated to one of the founders of Czechoslovakia.
Mr. Zeman is standing for reelection as Czech head of state in January and leads in the opinion polls.
Czech population rises in first nine months of year
The population of the Czech Republic grew by 18,700 in the first three quarters of 2017, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The country’s population stood at 10,597,500 at the end of September. The rise has been mainly attributed to immigration, in particular from Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.
The number of births in the Czech Republic in the first nine months of the year was very slightly down on the same period in 2016, while the number of marriages grew. Thirty was the most popular age for men to marry, compared to 27 for women.
It should be cloudy with some rain in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 8 degrees Celsius expected. Daytime highs in the following days will fall to 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, with some snow expected later in the week.