Daily news summary

Expelled Russian diplomats to leave the country on Sunday

The two Russian diplomats who were expelled by the Czech government this week will leave the country on Sunday, the deputy head of the Russian government agency Rossotrudničestvo Michail Bryukhananov, for whom diplomats work, told the TASS news agency. The head of Russian civil intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, called their expulsion a "vile provocation" by the Czech authorities.

The Czech government on Friday announced its decision to expel two unnamed Russian diplomats, giving them 48 hours to leave the country. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the two were involved in bogus information that a Russian agent was sent to Prague in March to kill elected Prague officials using the poison ricin. He said the bogus plot, which severely strained bilateral relations, stemmed from a dispute between Russian embassy staffers.

Tatra expedition members arrested in Iran

The members of an expedition called Tatra Around the World have been detained by police in Iran for filming with a drone in an area where filming is prohibited.

The head of the expedition, Marek Havlíček told Czech Radio on Saturday, the group had been unaware of the fact that filming was prohibited in the area and attempts to clear up the matter were hampered by a language barrier since none of the officers questioning them spoke English, Russian or German.

The trip around the world in a specially adapted Tatra T 815 truck is expected to take three years, covering 270,000 kilometres across 70 countries and five continents. However the expedition’s progress has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prague Spring Music Festival concerts streamed by 1.2 million people

A total of 1.2 million people in the Czech Republic and 53 countries around the world streamed the 11 live concerts featured within this year's Prague Spring Music Festival which went online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The festival closed with a live concert on June 4, in which the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jakub Hrůša performed selected works by Ludwig van Beethoven adapted for a string orchestra.

The festival's spokesman, Pavel Trojan Jr., said the organisers consider the festival a big success despite the complications and last-minute change of plans due to the pandemic.

To date, tickets worth 13 million crowns have been refunded, and tickets worth 1.5 million crowns were donated by listeners to the festival.

Labour Ministry pleased with OECD analysis of Czech pension system

The Czech Republic has received an analysis of its pension system from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which it requested last year in view of pending reform. The report is to be published at the end of June.

Labour Minister Jana Maláčová from the ruling Social Democrats said she was pleased with the outcome, which confirmed the ministry’s own conclusions. She said the OECD analysis and recommendations made would be discussed by the pension commission at the end of June.

The government has listed pension reform among its top policy priorities, but has been criticized by the opposition for dragging its feet on the matter.

Majority of Czechs will holiday at home despite reopening of borders

More than half of Czechs (57 percent) who were planning holidays abroad have cancelled their plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the results of a poll conducted by the company Fair Credit. Those who do plan to go abroad will most often go to Slovakia, Croatia or Greece.

Almost half of the respondents who will spend their summer holidays in the Czech Republic will stay at home, with relatives or in their own country cottage. Holidays abroad are slightly more likely to be favoured by younger people under the age of 35, who are generally less worried about the risk of infection.

Greenpeace files criminal complaint against OKD over coronavirus

Greenpeace has filed a criminal complaint against the mining company OKD and its management on the argument that it failed in its duty to protect public health in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to Greenpeace the company made a serious error of judgement when it failed to suspend operation at the Darkov Mine in Karviná after an outbreak of COVID 19 among its employees. The company has not so far commented on the development.

To date 385 people have tested positive for coronavirus at the Darkov Mine, among them 253 miners and company employees and 125 relatives. Among the infected employees are 19 Polish commuters. The remaining seven are people from other companies who regularly conduct maintenance in the mine.

Road check in Zlin region uncovers hazardous hospital waste from Italy

During a routine road check on the D55 motorway in the Zlín region, customs officers discovered a truckload of mixed waste from Italy, for which the driver failed to produce the necessary documentation.

According to Dušan Janiš, a spokesman for the Customs Office for the Zlín region, the waste included waste from hospitals including syringes and other used material, which given the coronavirus pandemic could be considered as “hazardous waste”. The matter is being investigated.

Weather forecast

Sunday should bring overcast skies and rain, with storms in places, and day temperatures between 16 and 23 degrees Celsius.