Daily news summary

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One person drowned,another missing in flash floods in Olomouc region

One person drowned and another is reported missing in flash floods that hit the eastern parts of the country on Sunday night following several hours of torrential rain.

The situation was worst in the towns of Uničov and Šumperk in the Olomouc region where the water level rose by a metre necessitating the evacuation of inhabitants from dozens of houses.

Firefighters also saved several people who were trapped in their cars. Extensive damage to property and infrastructure is reported.

Plane makes emergency landing in Prague due to health emergency

A plane from Glasgow to Budapest made an emergency landing at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport shortly before 1pm on Monday.

According to the airport’s spokesman ,Roman Pacvoň, the pilot requested an emergency landing due to a passenger’s health problems. No further details were released.

According to the news site novinky.cz the passenger was escorted from the plane by paramedics.

Further easing of coronavirus restrictions

A further easing of restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus epidemic came into effect on Monday June 8. As of that day public events and gatherings may involve up to 500 people, opening the way for weddings, exhibitions and fairs.

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls are no longer bound to respect strict social distancing rules that severely limited the size of the audience and pubs and restaurants no longer need to close by 11 pm.

Face-masks remain compulsory in enclosed public spaces such as public transport, shops, hospitals and institutions. Schools have reopened for secondary school students, although attendance is not compulsory.

Interior Ministry proposes amending National Security Act

The Interior Ministry has proposed amending the National Security Act in a way that would enable the government to respond more flexibly to crisis situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, who presented the proposal to the National Security Council on Monday, said at a press briefing that the change of law would entail the introduction of a “state of danger”, which would be a milder form of the state of emergency which the government used to manage the crisis.

Minister Hamáček said that the state of danger could be a follow-up on the state of emergency, giving the government the chance to rule by government decrees in the event of a pandemic or cyber-attack. According to the amendment, the cabinet should be given the opportunity to declare a state of danger for the whole or part of the Czech Republic.

In dealing with the coronavirus crisis the government was criticized by the opposition for extending the state of emergency for longer than strictly needed. The change of law would require a constitutional majority in the lower house and will now be debated with the opposition.

Expelled Russian diplomats board flight to Moscow

The two Russian diplomats who were expelled by the Czech government last week left the country on Sunday, boarding an Aeroflot flight to Moscow.

The news was confirmed by Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who said the Russian side had rejected Czech efforts to resolve the matter in a discrete manner leaving the government no option but to declare the diplomats persona non grata, giving them 48 hours to leave the country.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Friday that the two men were involved in a bogus information plot in which the Czech counter-intelligence service BIS was fed information that a Russian agent had been sent to Prague to kill elected Prague officials with the poison ricin.

The prime minister said the incident, which resulted in a large scale investigation and severely strained bilateral relations, stemmed from a dispute between Russian embassy staffers. Such behaviour could not be tolerated, he said.

The head of Russian civil intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, called the diplomats expulsion a "vile provocation" by the Czech authorities, saying reciprocal action would follow.

World Press Photo exhibition on show in Prague

The winning photographs of the 63rd World Press Photo competition, offering the best in visual journalism, went on display in Prague on Monday, in the first public showing since the exhibition’s recent premiere in Amsterdam.

The collection of winning photos, including the overall winner, titled "Straight Voice", taken by AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, which captures the atmosphere of the popular uprising in Sudan, is complemented by photographs by domestic photographers relating to the coronavirus crisis.

The exhibition ends on June 28.

Tribute to Milada Horáková on 70th anniversary of her death

A new book on the tragic fate of Milada Horáková, the politician who was sentenced and executed in the hard-line 1950s, is due to come out on the 70th anniversary of her death on June 27.

The title of the publication "I'm going with my head held high" is a quote from the last letter that the Czech lawyer and politician addressed to her family.

The book is based on a series of personal interviews with Horáková’s daughter Jana Kánská in which she confides the painful details of that terrible time, when she was just 15 years old, including the last meeting with her mother a few hours before her execution.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.