Daily news summary
Top EU and NATO officials to attend Prague security conference
The Czech government is to hold a conference on defence and security in cooperation with the European Commission in Prague next month. The cabinet approved the meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters. Among those due to speak are the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. Mr. Sobotka said the conference was part of the Czech Republic’s efforts concerning the future of the European Union. It will take place at Prague’s Žofín.
Sobotka rejects Schillerová as ANO nominee for finance minister
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats has rejected ANO’s nominee for the post of minister of finance, Alena Schillerová. Mr. Sobotka said on Monday that Ms. Schillerová, who is currently a deputy finance minister, was not unqualified and would represent the “extended arm” of the present occupant of the post, ANO chief Andrej Babiš. He called on ANO to put forward another candidate. The PM has requested that President Miloš Zeman dismiss Mr. Babiš as finance minister but the head of state is as yet holding out on such a move. The ANO head said on Monday that Mr. Sobotka’s position was making it harder to solve the government crisis. He said his party would put forward another name by Wednesday.
České Budějovice annuls honorary citizenship for Stalin and Gottwald
České Budějovice has annulled honorary citizenship it awarded in the past to Czechoslovak Communist politician Klement Gottwald and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Councillors in the South Bohemian city voted for the move on Monday. Both Gottwald and Stalin received the honour in 1945. České Budějovice mayor Jiří Svoboda said there had been reasons to recognize them then, prior to their actions of the 1950s. The most recent recipient of honorary citizenship in České Budějovice was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1979.
Czech Radio: FA chief and deputy minister decided makeup of subsidies commission
Czech Football Association chairman Miroslav Pelta and deputy education minister Simona Kratochvílová, who have been charged with corruption, are suspected of themselves choosing the members of a commission that decided on almost half a billion crowns in grants. Czech Radio reported on the story on Monday, referring to police documents surrounding the case. Ms. Kratochvílová is suspected of giving the commission members a list of 21 projects, all of which they later approved. Mr. Pelta and Ms. Kratochvílová were arrested earlier this month. The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, resigned in connection with the affair.
Random explosives tests launched at Prague Airport
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport began checking passengers’ luggage for traces of explosives on Monday. Airport security staff may now randomly open selected luggage to take smears of the contents that are run through an explosive materials detector. The process will be carried out in a special hall and travellers will learn it has taken place from a tag subsequently attached to their luggage. Passengers have been instructed to use locks that can be opened without their cases being damaged.
Karlovy Vary’s Och to sit on Un certain regard jury in Cannes
The artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karel Och, is to sit on the jury of the prestigious Un certain regard competition at this year’s Cannes film festival, which gets underway in the south of France on Wednesday. The jury will be headed by US actress Uma Thurman. Mr. Och became artistic director of the Central Europe’s top film festival in 2011.
It should be quite sunny in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, with temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. The following days are expected to see similar weather and daytime highs of as much as 24 degrees Celsius.