Daily news summary


Opposition says electronic registers debate breaks rules

Lawmakers in the lower house of the Czech parliament started a debate Friday on the adoption of electronic cash registers. The measure is a flagship move by finance minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš aimed at cracking down on tax fraud. But two of the main opposition groups, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09, have vowed to block the measure saying it will force the closure of many small businesses. The opposition lawmakers said Friday that they would appeal to the Constitutional Court after the government forced its programme for debate.

Forecasters downplay chances of White Christmas

Dreams of a white Christmas in the Czech Republic look like they will remain just that. Weather forecasters in their first appraisal have given the chances of snow on Christmas Day at just 20 percent. Chances of snow on higher ground are estimated at around 20 to 40 percent higher. In the past five years the Christmas temperatures have often hovered above freezing point. The last Prague Christmas with snow was 2010.

Czech PM explains immigration stance at German Social Democrat congress

Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka is attending Friday the party congress of the German Social Democrats in Berlin. Sobotka was scheduled to meet with party leader and vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir. The Czech prime minister has said he will explain the Czech stand over the recent immigration crisis, in which the opposition to quotas opened a rift with Berlin, and discuss the fight against terrorism. The Czech prime minister stressed Prague is willing to contribute to humanitarian help for the immigrants.

Hyněk Kmoníček tipped to be next US ambassador

The next Czech ambassador in the US will be Hyněk Kmoníček, the current head of the president’s foreign affairs office, the daily Právo reported Friday citing informed sources. Kmoníček refused to confirm the information but said he expected to work in the president’s office for most of the next year. The current ambassador is former Civic Democrat minister Petr Gandalovič. Kmoníček is better known for his expertise on the Middle East.

ANO party still in front according to Median poll

The ANO party remains in front according to an opinion poll conducted by the Median agency in November. The survey put ANO in first place with 23.5 percent of preferences. The Social Democrats are a close second with 22 percent. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia are third with 12.5 percent. Centre-right parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats follow with 10 and 9 percent respectively. The Christian Democrats have improved slightly to 7.5 percent.

MEP Miloslav Ransdorf admits acting on behalf of Vladimír Huněk

Embattled communist MEP Miloslav Ransdorf has confirmed that he was acting in Switzerland on behalf of Vladimír Huněk, a man on police files for more than 12 years and convicted of fraud. The MEP said he is convinced documents concerning an inheritance in Swiss banks are genuine. He added in an interview with Czech Television that Huněk wanted to give the Swiss proceeds to humanitarian causes. Ransdorf was detained by Swiss police last week on suspicion of fraud. He has since resigned his membership of the left bloc in the European Parliament until he clears his name.

Norway’s Orkla to take over Czech food giant Hamé

Norwegian company Orkla has prepared a 4.7 billion bid for the Czech food giant Hamé. The multifaceted Orkla, whose assets range from chemicals to branded goods and financial products, is already the owner of the Czech company Vitana. The deal will have to be approved by the Czech competition office.

Photo trap captures wolf in Broumov National Park

The presence of a wolf near Teplic nad Metuji in the Broumov National Park has been confirmed by a photo-trap set up there a month ago. Zoologists say the spotting in the north-east of the country is a unique event. The nearest confirmed populations of wolves are around Lusatia in Germany or South-Eastward around Beskydy on the Slovak border. The possibility that the wolf escaped from captivity has not been ruled out. In recent times wolves have been spotted in the Šumava National Park and around Kokořín.

Slovan Liberec exit Europa League after Marseille defeat

In football, in the Europa League Slovan Liberec lost 2:4 at home to Olympique Marseille at home on Thursday night. The result means the north Bohemian club ended in third place in the group and fail to progress in the competition. Sparta Prague, who had already qualified for the next stage, won 3:1 against Nicosia and Viktoria Plzeň drew 3:3 with Villareal.

Jaromír Jágr equals fourth highest NHL goal record

In ice hockey, Jaromír Jágr ended his eight game goal drought and scored in Florida Panthers’ 4: 1 victory against Washington. The goal takes Jágr’s NHL goal tally to 731, a total which equals that of Marcel Dionne. Dionne is the fourth highest scored in NHL history. Jágr needs 10 more goals to equal the record of third placed Brett Hull.