Former head of Academy of Sciences, Drahoš, files candidacy with Interior Ministry
Jiří Drahoš, the former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, has officially filed his candidacy with the Interior Ministry to run in the presidential election in January 2018, with the deadline of November 7 looming. The presidential hopeful gathered more than 142,000 signatures for his bid, a minimum 50,000 was needed.
The candidate said the total was even higher but that some 15,000 signatures were disqualified for irregularities.
Mr Drahoš told journalists that he wanted to serve his country and fight not only for the Czech Republic but also for “a better and safer Europe”. Since announcing his intention to run, betting agencies have had Mr Drahoš in first and second place against the incumbent, Miloš Zeman.
Prague Mayor: City authorities to investigate Prymula’s restaurant visit10/23/2020
Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirate Party) announced via Twitter that City Hall and the regional hygiene authorities will investigate a visit by Health Minister Roman Prymula (independent) and MP Jaroslav Faltýnek (ANO) to a local restaurant that should have been closed under anti-coronavirus restrictions.
Hřib said the municipality will conduct administrative proceedings into the actions of legal and natural persons, meaning the businesses and people involved. “Although apparently some may think some people are more equal than others, the rules here still apply to everyone equally," he tweeted.
Opposition party leaders called on Prymula to resign for having violated a state of emergency restriction to contain the spread of Covid-19 that he himself pushed for. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said he would recall Prymula if he did not step down and is looking to replace him quickly.
Scientist Michal Švanda wins Littera Astronomica award for popularising astronomy10/23/2020
Astrophysicist and author Michal Švanda has won the Littera Astronomica award for the popularisation of astronomy. Laureates usually receive the prize awarded by the Czech Astronomical Society ČAS at the autumn book fair in Havlíčkův Brod, but the event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Švanda works in the Solar Department of the Academy of Sciences of the Academy of Sciences in Ondřejov and at the Astronomical Institute of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University.
The 40-year-old scientist researches the dynamics of phenomena on the Sun and its effects on Earth. He said in a pre-recorded acceptance speech that he considers it part of every scientists’ mission to explain their work to the public using everyday language.
PM asks Prymula to resign for violating Covid-19 measures by visiting ‚closed‘ restaurant10/23/2020
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has asked Health Minister Roman Prymula (independent) to resign just weeks into the role for having violated a state of emergency restriction to contain the spread of Covid-19 he advocated for. Babiš said he is looking to replace Prymula quickly and will discuss the matter with President Miloš Zeman on Friday afternoon.
Prymula, an epidemiologist, pushed for stricter measures such as closing schools and restaurants. But he met MP Jaroslav Faltýnek, head of the ruling ANO party’s parliamentary group, in a restaurant on Wednesday evening.
The tabloid newspaper Blesk published corresponding photos, which showed the health minister outside the establishment, not wearing a facemask.
Faltýnek took responsibility for arranging the meeting and apologised, saying on Friday morning that he knew the restaurant’s owner well and put no one at risk. Babiš said on Friday he has asked Faltynek to resign as the first vice-president of the ANO movement due to the incident.
Opposition leaders have called on Prymula to step down, accusing him of arrogance and hypocrisy. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats) said the health minister had lost all credibility by failing to comply with the government guidelines he advocated and shown contempt for people fight the pandemic on the front lines.
"The rules are valid for everyone without exception (...) the state and coalition government cannot be represented by people who do not respect the measures put in place by that same government," Hamáček told the Czech press agency ČTK.
New footbridge to open in Troja10/23/2020
A new footbridge linking Stromovka park and the Prague Zoo is due to open to the public on Friday.
The original bridge collapsed three years ago, injuring four people and sparking a wave of bridge inspections around the country.
An examination later showed that corrosion of the steel support cables had weakened the bridge.
Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has promised that the new footbridge will be safer and wider, so it can also serve as a cycle path.
The footbridge will open without a ceremony so as to prevent people from gathering during the coronavirus epidemic.
Second-highest daily increase in Covid cases registered on Thursday10/23/2020
Over 14,000 coronavirus cases were registered in the Czech Republic on Thursday; the second time that the daily increase has crossed the 14,000 mark. Overall 223.000 cases have been registered in the country.
The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has reached 4,777, of which 735 are in a serious condition. The death toll currently stands at 1,845.
Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius.
Government formally approves foreign aid as crises deepens10/22/2020
The government has given its formal approval to foreign aid in helping to fight the worsening coronavirus epidemic.
A team of 28 doctors from the U.S. National Guard in the states of Nebraska and Texas is expected to arrive in the Czech Republic next week in order to help Czech doctors.
The aid was offered by the U.S. military and agreed on during a phone conversation between the US Ambassador Stephen King and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Negotiations about possible aid are also underway with Germany.
Supreme Court sets limits on concentration of drugs in blood serum of drivers10/22/2020
The Supreme Court has issued a binding legal opinion stating the concentration of drugs in the blood which will allow criminal charges to be filed against drivers without the need for a medical examination to determine the degree of influence.
For example, a person who has 10 nanograms of THC per millilitre or 75 nanograms of cocaine per millilitre in their blood serum is considered unfit to drive a car.
The legal opinion, which the court published on its website on Thursday also sets a ceiling on amphetamines and morphine.
Health minister actively fighting coronavirus-related fake news10/22/2020
Health Minister Roman Prymula is concerned about the growing amount of coronavirus-related fake news circulating on social networks, which influence the behaviour of thousands of people.
The fake news currently circulating claim that the pandemic is an international conspiracy, a weapon from a secret laboratory or deny the existence of victims.
Some claim the pandemic does not exist, others question the severity of the virus and the potential risks associated with it, undermining government efforts to bring it under control.
The health minister has started refuting the individual claims on his own social accounts and has appealed to people to use their common sense and protect themselves and others.
Traditional award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle cancelled10/22/2020
The traditional award-giving ceremony held at Prague Castle on Czechoslovak Independence Day, October 28, will not take place this year due to the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář said at a press briefing on Thursday.
The chancellor said that the president had bowed to mounting pressure from the health minister, experts and politicians who pointed to the health risks of holding such a ceremony.
Mr. Mynář said the president would hand out the respective state awards sometime next year.
Nation-wide restrictions are currently in place to try to bring the epidemic under control.