Daily news summary
ANO leader Andrej Babiš says police move part of political battle to discredit him
ANO leader Andrej Babiš said he was surprised by the police move to seek the lifting of his parliamentary immunity. He said he had recently been told that he would just be treated as a witness in the so-call Stork’s Nest affair. Babiš added that the move was part of a political battle and attempt to discredit him and preventing him from standing in elections to the lower house scheduled for October. ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltýnek said he would not prevent any moves to push ahead with the police investigation. He added that he had been expected to be treated as a witness as a former board member of the agro-chemical group Agrofert. He added he was being victimised by the police.
The lower house committee dealing with immunity issues is likely to meet on August 18. The first meeting of the lower house of parliament to deal with the issue is seen on September 5. The Stork’s Nest affair focuses of 50 million crowns in European funds for small and medium sized business claimed for a hotel and recreation centre linked to Andrej Babiš’ company Agrofert.
Cereals and rape harvest seen sharply lower for 2017
The grain and rape harvest is predicted to be a lot lower in 2017. The cereals harvest is predicted to be 13.2 percent lower than last year’s above average yield at 6.7 million tonnes. The rape harvest is seen down 11.8 percent at 1.19 million tonnes. The area under cereals cultivation was slightly down this year while that under cultivation for rape was 0.3 percent higher. The harvest for poppy seed is seen down by almost a fifth with the area under cultivation down by 8.3 percent.
Škoda Auto cars subject to Russian recall
Škoda Auto models sold in Russia have been recalled by mother company, Volkswagen, due to technical problems. The recalls affects 3,463 cars in total with Octavia, Yeti, and Rapid models build by the Czech Republic’s biggest carmaker included. It is not the first time that Škoda cars sold in Russia have been subject to a recall this year. Earlier, a much bigger recall of 43,000 cars built between 2012 and 2016 included near all models in the Czech carmaker’s range.
Czech university announces new type of rabbit fever
A Czech university has announced the discovery of a new strain of rabbit fever. The discovery has been announced by the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno after the sudden deaths of scores of rabbits across the country in July. They found a previous version of the fever as well as a newer once which often lasts longer but appears to have a reduced death toll of up to 70 percent compared with the 90 percent death rate of the older fever. A vaccine against the new version is expected to be ready in August.
Would be bidders sought for parts of major Czech engineering firm
An insolvency manager has called for would be bidders for parts of one of the Czech Republic’s biggest engineering companies, Vítkovice Power Engineering, to register their interest by August 21. A court earlier this week approved the start of bankruptcy proceedings at the firm after they were requested by managers. They argued that attempts to keep the company alive through reorganisation were pointless. Vítkovice Power Engineering employs around 800 and is renowned for its nuclear engineering operations. Creditors have registered claims of around 71 billion crowns.
Registered partnerships total 137 in first half of year
Registered partnerships between same sex couples have taken place 137 times in the first six months of 2017, 81 of those were between gay men and 56 between women. That’s a slight reduction on the first half of 2016. In the 11 years since registered partnerships were recognised there have been 2647 gay ‘marriages.’ Around a third of them are in Prague. Since a Constitutional Court ruling in middle of last year, 325 same sex couples have expressed interest in adopting children. The figures were compiled by the equal rights group, Proud.
Zuzana Hejnová fourth in 400 metres hurdles final
One of the biggest Czech medal hopes at the athletics world championships in London, Zuzana Hejnová, came fourth in the 400 metres hurdles on Thursday night. Hejnová, who performed well in the qualifactions, had a time of 54.20 seconds, behind the 53.07 of race winner Kori Carter.
The weather on Saturday is expected to be overcast with sunny intervals. Top temperatures will range between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius.