Daily news summary
Sobotka: Party considering presidential candidate to stand up to Zeman-Babiš “tandem”
The Social Democrats are considering fielding a candidate for the Czech presidency, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. The party’s leader said the Social Democrats did not at present see any left-wing candidate who could stand up to the “power tandem” between President Miloš Zeman and ANO chief Andrej Babiš. Mr. Sobotka ruled out running himself. Mr. Zeman is a former leader of the Social Democrats but Mr. Sobotka said he had lost a lot of support in the party over his handling of the current government crisis. The president has refused to follow the PM’s call to dismiss Mr. Babiš as finance minister.
Secret service should look into Babiš recordings, says Bělobrádek
Deputy prime minister and Christian Democrats chairman Pavel Bělobrádek has proposed that the BIS secret service examine leaked recordings featuring the voice of ANO leader Andrej Babiš. Mr. Bělobrádek suggested on Tuesday that the recordings, which have been posted online, could represent a threat to the essence of the Czech constitutional system. They appear to show Finance Minister Babiš giving orders to a journalist and being handed materials by the same reporter from an ongoing police investigation. The ANO boss says that they are fake and are part of a campaign against him.
Czechs given suspended sentences for espionage in Greece to appeal
A court in Greece has given two-and-a-half year sentences suspended for three years to two Czechs found guilty of espionage, Czech Television reported. Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta immediately appealed. The pair, who are software producers, were accused of filming by military installations near Greece’s border with Turkey in 2012 for the purposes of producing a video game. They say they were on holiday and merely took photographs and made videos as regular tourists.
Supreme state attorney: Czech police lack experts to combat cyber crime
The Czech police have too few experts in computing to combat cyber crime, according to the supreme state attorney, Lenka Bradáčová. Speaking at the Senate on Tuesday, she said the state needed to find such specialists and pay them accordingly. Ms. Bradáčová said crime was moving online and that property crime conducted across borders and by anonymous perpetrators was not the only issue; privacy is also under threat while sexual crimes, including against children, are increasing, she said.
Economic growth accelerates to reach 2.9 percent in first quarter
The Czech economy saw accelerated growth in the first quarter of this year, with GDP reaching 2.9 percent year-on-year. The information was released by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. Analysts had expected slower growth, the Czech News Agency said. The figure was up from 1.9 percent in the final quarter of 2016. The rise has been attributed to stronger international demand supported by increasing household consumption.
Baroque Kuks complex earns prestigious European prize for renovation
The renovation of a Baroque complex and gardens in Kuks, Eastern Bohemia has earned the main prize in the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. The director of the Czech National Heritage Institute, Naděžda Goryczková, picked up the prize in Turku, Finland. She said it represented an historic success for the Czech Republic as it was the first time a Czech project had received the honour.
It should be sunny in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 21 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs of as much as 24 degrees Celsius are forecast for Thursday.