Daily news summary
Senate speaker to take decision on Taiwan trip by end of June
Speaker of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil of the Civic Democrats said on TV Prima he will take a decision about whether to travel to Taiwan at the latest by the end of June. He said he will first discuss the idea with foreign policy experts, economists and human rights advisors.
The trip to Taiwan had been planned already by his predecessor Jaroslav Kubera, who then died suddenly in January. The trip has been heavily opposed by the Chinese Embassy and the Czech president. China does not recognise Taiwan and there are fears, as stated in a letter from the Chinese Embassy, but possibly penned by the Office of the President according to some media reports, that the trip would result in punishing economic measures by China on Czech businesses.
Mr Vystrčil said after a meeting with President Zeman two weeks ago that, if China dictates terms, his trip to Taiwan will become “ever more realistic”.
Saturday sees lowest rise in new coronavirus cases in over a week
There were 34 new registered cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the Czech Republic on Saturday, the lowest rise in nine days. No casualties were reported. In total there have been 9,233 infections in the country over the past three months, since the first infection case was registered in the country. However, the amount of tests carried out, some 2,796, was the lowest since March 23.
A large segment of new infections was registered around the Darkov Mine complex, which has been declared one of the hotspots of the epidemic in the country.
Prague tourism councillor: Lack of tourists in capital will be felt by whole country
The massive decline in the number of tourists visiting Prague this year as a result of coronavirus border restrictions will be felt by the whole country with many businesses in the service sector also being dependent on tourism, the Prague Councillor for Culture and Tourism Hana Třeštíková told Czech Radio’s news site iRozhlas.cz in an interview published on Sunday.
She said the real size of the losses caused by the pandemic will be counted in the autumn of this year, but she also stressed the positive fact that no large cultural institution has thus far been forced to close.
Ms Třeštíková also said that the sudden crash in tourism could be used as an opportunity to reform some of the tourist locations in Prague, removing what has been called the “visual smog” in the capital, such as the many Thai massage parlours.
Earlier this week, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib posted on his Facebook account that the city had created a new “Manual for a Cultivated Prague”, which delineates visual esthetic practices for the capital’s businesses.
Coalition Social Democrats will not support government proposal to ease public tender legislation
The Social Democrats, who are currently in a minority government with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party, will not support the government’s proposal to ease the legislation regarding the issuing of some public tenders, the leader of the Social Democrat deputies in the lower house Jan Chvojka told Czech Television on Sunday. He said future support could only come if the current proposal were further amended by the Chamber of Deputies.
Meanwhile, Pavel Kováčik,the leader of the deputies of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, which supports the minority government, said that his party would be in favour of the proposed change in legislation. However, only under the condition that it would be used in a state of crisis, such as the one declared during the coronavirus pandemic.
The government justified the amendment by saying it would ease the administrative burden on issuing tenders in times of crisis. The proposal has been condemned by anti-corruption organisations Transparency International and Reconstruction of the State (Rekonstrukce státu).
Body of four-month-old baby found dead after police search
The body of a four-month-old baby boy was discovered after a two-day-long police search in the Central Bohemian village of Hořín. The search began on Friday after the mother called police saying she had lost the baby and the carriage in the village park. Police used a helicopter and drones in their search. The exact location of the discovery has not yet been released to the public.
An autopsy found that no outside actor had been responsible for the baby’s death. Police spokeswoman Lucie Nováková said further information will be released on Monday.
More than a half of Czech adult cyclists do not use helmets, study finds
Some 56 percent of adults in the Czech Republic and 13 percent of children do not wear a helmet when cycling, according to a new analysis conducted by the Transport Research Centre in Brno. The latter number is particularly alarming given the fact that not wearing a helmet among cyclists below the age of 18 is illegal.
The author of the analysis, Kateřina Bucsuházy, says that the head is the most likely place of injury on the cyclist's body in case of an accident and that if a cyclist wears a helmet their likelihood of an injury statistically decreases by 28 percent.
International Roma festival Khamoro to be divided into smaller events this year due to coronavirus
The International Roma festival Khamoro, which would normally have started this Sunday, had to be called off due to the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, organisers say that individual events will be taking place from June to December 2020.
The first of these is a visual exhibition by the artist Emília Rigová in the ArtivistLab gallery in Prague. The exhibit presents a project on which Rigová began to work during her stint in New York two years ago. It is partly focused on raising the profile of Romani culture or searching for its aspects in non-Roma majority culture.
Prague has hosted the Khamoro festival since 1999. It has regularly attracted around 10,000 visitors in recent years and includes Romani musicians, singers and dancers.
Temperatures are expected to rise markedly on Monday, ranging between 18 to 23 degrees Celsius. Minor clouds are expected above most of the country, except for parts of North West Bohemia which could see completely open skies.