• 05/14/2021

    Russia on Friday formally designated the Czech Republic, as well as the United States, as “unfriendly states”, in a list included with a government decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

    The Czech embassy will be allowed to employ no more than 19 Russian nationals and the US embassy none at all, Moscow said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow remained open for dialogue, stressing that there were only two nations on its “unfriendly states” list.

    Tensions between Prague and Moscow have spiralled since the Czech government accused Russian military intelligence of being behind a deadly ammunition depot explosion in 2014 and expelled Russian diplomats, triggering escalating tit-for-tat expulsions.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    Supreme state attorney Pavel Zeman, who has held the post for over a decade, is stepping down on June 30. He told reporters he felt pressured by the Minister of Justice, Marie Benešová, who last week threatened him with a disciplinary charge for having spoken to reporters about the 2014 blast in Vrbětice.

    Benešová said she did not expect the resignation, which came in a letter to the cabinet, but respected his decision. No replacement has yet been appointed. Zeman replaced Renata Vesecká as supreme state attorney in 2011.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    Karolína Plíšková has made the semi-finals of the Italian Open in Rome after staging a stunning comeback against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (4:6, 7:5, 7:6). She saved three match points in a thrilling third set.

    Plíšková was the WTA tournament winner in 2019 and a runner-up to Simona Halep of Romania last year. She will next face Petra Martić of Croatia, who in her semi-final match beat Jessica Pegula of the US in two sets (7:5, 6:4).

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    The police have concluded a six-year criminal investigation into whether Prime Minister Andrej Babiš illegally acquired 2 million euros in EU subsidies meant for small companies, by temporarily changing the status of his Stork’s Nest complex over a decade ago.

    The police have summoned Mr Babiš and an expert in subsidies, Jana Mayerová, to hear the investigation’s conclusions in late May, after which a report is expected to be made public.

    In related news, the prime minister’s son and namesake, Andrej Babiš Jr., who suffers from schizophrenia, repeated his long-standing assertion in an interview for Czech Radio that he was “kidnapped” years ago while in Crimea so that he could not testify in the Stork’s Nest case.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has asked Health Minister Petr Arenberger to explain in full detail how he came to rent space he owned to Vinohrady Hospital, of which he was director until joining the cabinet in April.

    Seznam Zprávy reported on Thursday that Arenberger’s property in Netřeba, north of Prague, has housed the hospital’s archive since 2013, when he was deputy director for Science and Research.

    Arenberger has not disclosed how much he charged in rent but says it was the most advantageous offer, which is why it was awarded a contract. His 2020 asset declaration has also raised suspicions, as Arenberger declared far more assets and income than in previous years.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    Saturday should be mostly cloudy and rainy throughout the country with occasional isolated thunderstorms. Daytime highs should range from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius.

  • 05/14/2021

    An open-air exhibition entitled The Red Century, marking 100 years since the founding of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, opened on Friday at Prague’s Kampa Park, where it is to remain until August 1.

    The 24-panel exhibition is organized by the Kampa Museum and the Museum of 20th Century Memory and illustrates key dates in the party's history, such as when it came to power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948 in what many consider a coup d’état.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany have agreed to accept Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued in their respective countries as of May 15, without them having to go into quarantine.

    Anyone who has been vaccinated with one or more dose in the Czech Republic at least 21 days earlier can return from medium- and high-risk countries without the need to take a coronavirus test.

    Negotiations are underway with Slovakia and Slovenia. Earlier, the Czech government said it wants to negotiate similar bilateral agreements with Croatia, Greece and Bulgaria, which are among the most popular holiday destinations for Czech tourists.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    The Czech national ice hockey team defeated Sweden 3-2 in overtime in the second game of the ongoing Czech Games in Prague.

    The Czechs also won their eighth game before the upcoming World Cup, which opens in Riga next week. The team is now in first place in the tournament with five points. They next face Russia on Saturday.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/14/2021

    Nearly 4 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and close to 1.1 million are fully vaccinated, according to Ministry of Health data. On Thursday, 85,621 doses were given, the second-highest daily number since the campaign began in December.

    People aged 40 to 44 with recognized insurance coverage can register to get vaccinated as of midnight on Sunday. After that, anyone over the age of 16 can apply, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said.

    Meanwhile, the daily numbers of newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to decline, with laboratories registering 1,218 infected on Thursday, the fewest on a weekday since mid-September. The number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, continues to decline, having fallen from 82 to 79.

    Author: Brian Kenety

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