Daily news summary

PM Sobotka approves ANO nominee for transport minister

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has approved the nomination of Dan Ťok for the post of transport minister, Mr Ťok told reporters after meeting with the prime minister on Saturday. Dan Ťok, who has served as CEO of Skanska, one of the country’s biggest construction firms, was nominated by the ANO party to replace Antonín Prachař who resigned earlier this week. Mr Ťok said he had dispelled the prime minister’s concerns of a possible conflict of interest, and answered all of the prime minister’s questions about his plans in the post. It is not yet clear when Mr Ťok could be appointed minister.

President Zeman: Velvet Revolution triggered by false “dead student” report, not police brutality

The Velvet Revolution of 1989 was triggered by a false report of a student death rather than by police brutality against protesting students, President Miloš Zeman said at a debate on the 25th anniversary of the events in Prague on Saturday. The student march on November 17 which was attacked by communist riot police was one of many similar protests, and the police did not behave more brutally than on other such occasions, according to the president.

Air pollution alert declared in north-eastern most Moravia-Silesia region

An air pollution alert has been declared in parts of the Moravia-Silesia region in the northeast of the Czech Republic. Pollution exceeded permitted levels in the Ostrava, Karviná and Frýdek-Místek districts. People with chronic breathing disorders, elderly people and small children are recommended to refrain from outdoor physical exertion, while drivers have been asked to leave their cars at home if possible. The Ostrava region, with heavy industry and intense traffic, is one of the most polluted areas in central Europe.

Thousands attend mass honouring St Agnes of Bohemia

Thousands of believers attended a mass in honour of St Agnes of Bohemia in St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle on Saturday, the news agency ČTK reported. The service, attended by President Miloš Zeman and other Czech officials, was celebrated by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican’s secretary of state, along with the head of the Czech Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka. Cardinal Parolin said the canonization of Agnes, a mediaeval royal princess, in November 1989 was a prelude to the Velvet Revolution which ended communist rule in then Czechoslovakia.

Audit: Prague hospital wastes 3.4 billion

Prague’s Na Homolce hospital “ineffectively, uneconomically and unaccountably” spent 3.4 billion crowns, or nearly 154 million US dollars, over the past five years, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday quoting a Health Ministry audit. Another more than 350 million crowns were spent without proper authorization, according to the report which is to be presented to the lower house of Parliament. In June, the hospital’s former director was arrested on corruption charges, along with several of his collaborators.

Service on part of Prague metro’s A line suspended over the weekend

Service on a section of the A line of Prague metro is suspended at the weekend and on Monday due to maintenance and repair work, the city’s public transport company said. People travelling between the Náměstí Míru and Depo Hostivař will have to use tram to reach their destination. This is the fourth weekend in a row when sections of the Prague metro are closed for repairs.

Second edition of Theatre Night held in Czech Republic

Nearly 120 theatre ensembles in 29 Czech cities and towns are participating in the European Theatre Night on Saturday. The event, which is held for the second time in the Czech Republic, offers shows free of charge, and hold open doors days for visitors. Some theatres also put on special programmes including bicycle rides, photography contests, and other events. In total, 11 European countries are taking part in Theatre Night 2014.