A new poll conducted by the CVVM agency suggests that among leaders or top members of political parties, Czechs most trust Andrej Babiš, the leader of ANO. Over a three-month period leading up to September, the finance minister’s popularity grew by four percent to a total of 46 percent. By contrast, public ‘trust’ in Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka fell by six percent to 34 percent. Mr Sobotka heads the Social Democrats, the senior party in the government along with ANO and the junior Christian Democrats. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek came third in the survey, with 30 percent.
Members of an international jury judging this year’s Czech Press Photo announced the nominees for this year’s competition recognizing top Czech and Slovak photojournalism. Three nominees in nine separate categories were chosen. According to the organisers, 349 photographers from either the Czech Republic or Slovakia filed entries this year. A total of 5,861 photographs were submitted. Twenty-five people entered work in the video section. The winning entries will be announced on November 21.
Two new sculptures of the popular Czech cartoon character Maxipes Fík (Fík the Maxi-Dog) have been added to the embankment on the Ohře River in Kadaň near Chomutov, an area where the late creator of the character, Rudulf Čechura, was born. Originally, only one entry was to have been chosen but the town hall was impressed by both. One of the sculptures is from metal, the other, from sandstone; the latter includes the character Ája, the large dog’s close friend. Maxipes Fík is known for recounting incredible dreams to the little girl, which include adventures escaping in a harvester or giving Indian scouts the slip in the days of the Wild West.
Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek and Culture Minister Daniel Herman are scheduled on Tuesday to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama – in Prague for this year’s Forum 2000 conference, the Czech new agency reports. At the weekend, he met with Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska which drew protests from Chinese representatives. The Dalia Lama has travelled to Prague on many occasions; he was a personal friend of former president Václav Havel, who died in 2011.
Czech businessman Daniel Křetinský will gain a 94-percent stake in Czech energy group EPH following deals with Patrik Tkáč and financial partners J&T private equity group, sources including news site idnes.cz reported on Monday. The remaining six percent will be divided among the current management, the news site noted. Until now, Mr Křetinský, Mr Tkáč and J&T were owners of roughly one-third each. The deal, in the coming years, will yield between 1.7 and 2.7 billion euros for Mr Tkáč depending on share prices. Likewise, it was announced on Monday, Czech energy group EPH agreed to sell a 30 percent stake in its EP Infrastructure (EPIF) unit to an investor group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.
The government has approved a report summarizing President Miloš Zeman’s attendance of the Rhodes Forum, organized by Vladimir Yakunin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, at the end of September. Approval by the cabinet was delayed since last week when several ministers were reportedly absent; human rights minister Jiří Dienstbier, who was critical of the president’s attendance, had requested the visit be discussed at the cabinet level. In his view, President Zeman symbolically cast doubt on the Czech Republic and the EU’s resolve in the face of Russian aggression. Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek said that discussed was whether the president’s trip had been in line with the Czech Republic’s foreign policy. The Office of the President said the journey has cost 300, 000 crowns (around 11,000 euros).
ANO, the Social Democrats, and the Civic Democrats signed a coalition agreement in the region of Olomouc and will hold a 30-seat majority in the 55-member regional assembly for the next four years. The ANO party’s Oto Košta will serve as governor. Previously, the region was led by a coalition between the Social Democrats and the Communist Party. Negotiations are still underway in numerous regions following the results of the recent communal elections.
The Social Democrat minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, tendered his resignation on Monday after losing a run-off vote to the Senate, informing party leader Bohuslav Sobotka that he was making his cabinet place available. However, Mr. Sobotka immediately rejected the resignation offer. He said that failing to win a Senate seat was no reason to dismiss Mr. Mládek, and that the latter’s work in cabinet was more important. The Social Democrats won just two seats in the second round of voting on 27 of the 81 seats in the upper chamber at the weekend.
Plans are in place to create new entrances to Prague’s Main Train Station, iDnes.cz reported on Monday. The Railway Infrastructure Administration is going to extend the underpass beneath the station’s platforms so that it joins freshly built walkways to Žižkov and Vinohrady, the news site said. At present some people take a dangerous route across the station’s tracks to reach the two districts, despite warning signs. The new entrances should be in operation from 2018.