Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was received in London on Wednesday by
his British counterpart, Theresa May.
Topping their agenda was the status of talks on Brexit and various foreign and security policy concerns.
During his visit, Mr Babiš also met London’s mayor, Charles Bowman, and was to attend a concert by the Czech Philharmonic celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
President Miloš Zeman has endorsed the draft state budget but expressed
some reservations, calling out "unnecessary expenditures", chief
among them for promoting renewable energy resources.
Zeman’s comments came in a speech before a vote at the lower house of Parliament on the draft budget, which proposes a deficit of 40 billion crowns for both this year and in 2019.
Opposition parties have criticised the ANO-Social Democrat coalition government for promoting deficit spending during a time of economic growth. A vote was not expected until late evening Wednesday or the early hours of Thursday.
President Miloš Zeman will reportedly present a state award to American
publisher Erik Best for his critical commentary on the privatisation of the
mining company OKD and entrepreneur Zdeněk Bakala, who later gained
control over it.
Mr Best is publisher of the daily Fleet Sheet press review and writes a column called the Final Word. He will receive the honour on 28 October, the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s founding, according to Deník N.
OKD, now in bankruptcy, was sold by the state to the company Karbon Invest for a price critics say was far below the market value. Mr. Bakala’s RPG Industries purchased Karbon Invest just a few months later.
In August, a lower house commission investigating the controversial privatisation of OKD asked the police to intervene after Bakala ignored a summons to give testimony.
The government on Wednesday agreed to allocate 2 billion crowns towards
supporting drought-stricken farms and orchards. In September the Ministry
of Agriculture estimated damages to crops at 11 billion crowns.
According to European Union rules, such government support can be granted to private growers only when damages from drought exceed 30% of average annual production.
Part of a bridge linking the Prague districts of Karlín and Holešovice at
the Vltavská metro station will be demolished due to disrepair. The
section was closed to traffic in early October over safety concerns.
All bridges in the Czech capital have undergone special inspections since pedestrian walkway over the Vltava River collapsed last December, injuring two people.
Earlier this year, the Prague City Council executive committee backed the demolition of the Libeň bridge but but suspended a decision following protests from conservationists and other experts.
Both Czechs taking part in tennis’s season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore
were beaten on Tuesday. Karolína Plíšková lost to Elina Svitolina while
Petra Kvitová was defeated by reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki.
The Czech players are in the same group and will face each other on Thursday. Both can theoretically advance to the knockout stage. However, whoever loses that encounter is out and the winner is not guaranteed to progress either.
Viktoria Plzeň were beaten 2:1 by title holders Real Madrid in a football
Champions League group game in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night. The
hosts opened the scoring on 11 minutes and found the net again just after
half time. Plzeň responded with a strike by Patrik Hrošovský with 11
minutes remaining to produce a nervy ending for Real, whose manager is
under pressure after a string of poor results.
Tuesday’s result leaves Viktoria Plzeň with one point from three games. Their next Champions League match is at home against Real.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is to meet the president of China, Xi
Jinping, in Shanghai at the start of next month, an official from Mr.
Zeman’s office announced on Tuesday. The head of state will be
accompanied by four cabinet members and a large delegation of
It will be Mr. Zeman’s fourth visit to China since becoming president and his seventh meeting with Mr. Xi. The two leaders are expected to visit the Czech stand at the China International Import Expo, which begins on November 5.
A former Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the
Czech Republic should gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, as
should other NATO members. He made the comment after the shooting dead of
soldier Tomáš Procházka in the country on Monday.
Mr. Zaorálek told the news website Novinky.cz that deploying Czech troops to Afghanistan had cost a lot of money. He said it had been a mistake to enter the country, just as it had been wrong to go into Iraq.
Four Czech soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the last three months.
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