Daily news summary
Government agrees priorities for Rome informal EU summit
The government on Wednesday agreed prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s mandate for the informal EU summit taking place in Rome at the weekend. The two main themes for the Czech premier will be unity and security, according to the government programme. The Rome meeting is meant to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding treaty of what was to develop into the EU. But the main focus will probably be on discussions over the future direction of the EU. Prague, along with its Visegrad regional block partners, is opposing the further development of what could be a multi-speed EU.
Škoda Auto sees 2016 net profit jump by more than a third
Škoda Auto, the biggest car maker in the Czech Republic, said 2016 net profit climbed by 34 percent to 25.7 billion crowns. Company turnover for last year was around 10 percent higher at 370 billion crowns. The car maker delivered 1.127 million cars in 2016, more than a quarter of those were destined for China where deliveries totalled 317,000 cars.
Two-thirds of country threatened by water shortages: report
Around two-thirds of the Czech Republic could be severely affected by drought especially if there were increased demands for water t because of a lack of groundwater reserves, the daily Právo reported on Wednesday. The report drew on the conclusions of a report by the Czech Geological Service which mapped the state of groundwater reserves across the country. In the case of the sort of droughts which have occurred over the last five years, serious shortages across large parts of the country are threatened, the report concluded. The government has started to make preparations for saving water and creating more local water reserves that can be drawn on in times of drought.
Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek in international talks over Islamic State
Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek will take part Wednesday in international talks in the United States focusing on the fight against so-called Islamic State (ISIL) and plans for the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria once the conflict there has finished. Representatives from 68 states are expected to attend the two-day event hosted by the US State Department in Washington.
Director of Spejbl and Hurvinka theatre, Helena Štáchová, dies
One of the greats of the Czech puppet scene, Helena Štáchová, has died at the age of 72. Štáchová was from an early age connected with the puppet scene becoming a puppet master, scenarist, and eventually the director of the well known puppet theatre Spejbl and Hurvinka. She also worked with radio and television and was for example the voice of Lisa Simpson in the Czech version of the cartoon series, The Simpsons.
Government backs proposed law on hunting which triples fines
A proposed law which would triple the maximum fine for those who ignore bans on entering the forest or other areas because of hunting was given government support on Wednesday. The proposed new law has been drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and increases the fine to 30,000 crowns. A petition against the bill had been signed by around 46,000 people. Those in favour of the proposed changes argue that the fine would only be imposed for the most serious infringements.
National football team welcome Lithuania for first game of 2017
The Czech Republic’s footballers are preparing for their first game of the year, a friendly against Lithuania in Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday evening. The game precedes an away World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Sunday. The Czechs need to win all their remaining qualification games if they are to stand a realistic chance of coming second in their group – where Germany dominate – and reaching Russia next year.
The weather on Thursday will be cloudy with sunny spells most likely in the east and south of the country. Top daytime temperatures will range between 11 and 17 degrees Celsius.