President Miloš Zeman’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynař, has withdrawn an
appeal filed with the Administrative Court against the decision of the
National Security Office not to give him top-level security clearance. The
chancellor said he did not trust the judge to rule impartially on the
According to the president’s spokesman Chancellor Mynař will remain in office despite failing to get security clearance.
The matter has been debated since 2013 with politicians and the media pointing out that the chancellor regularly attends events where security clearance is expected.
In 2015 President Zeman said that if Mr. Mynař failed to get it, he would dismiss him from the post.
Opposition deputies have criticized the chancellor’s decision and the stated reasons for it, calling the move arrogant, cowardly and dangerous.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
said cyber-security concerns should be resolved at EU-level.
The Czech prime minister met with the president of the Huawei executive board Ken Hu within the framework of the forum, to inform him about the present situation.
He said that in the wake of a security warning regarding Huawei products by the National Cyber and Security Information Agency, Czech experts were analysing the possible security risks to the country’s infrastructure.
When the warning was released a few weeks ago Prime Minister Andrej Babiš ordered the Office of the Government to cease using mobile phones produced by the Chinese company. Other Czech government bodies have followed suit.
The legendary film composer Ennio Morricone will conduct his music at
Prague’s 02 Arena on Friday night.
His appearance in Prague is part of his 90th Birthday Tour which started in Krakow on January 19th, moving to Berlin and Budapest before coming to Prague. The tour ends in Stockholm on January 28th.
In Prague Morricone with conduct the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble with which he has cooperated for over ten years.
The Czech lower house of Parliament on Friday approved the Working
Definition of Antisemitism, a non-legally binding definition of
antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
In a debate devoted to the problem of antisemitism in Europe today MPs marked Holocaust Remembrance Day which is on Sunday.
Close to six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, 250,000 of them from the former Czechoslovakia.
Money from church restitution taxes could be used to fund repairs of
cultural monuments, President Miloš Zeman said in a televised interview on
Thursday. He said he would propose this to Minister of Culture Antonín
Staněk (Social Democrats).
Czech MPs on Wednesday approved a tax on the billions in annual payments the state is making to the country’s 16 churches and a Jewish organisation to compensate for assets seized by the Communist regime.
Critics say the tax – proposed by the Communists and supported by the minority ANO-Social Democrat government – is unconstitutional.
If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Zeman, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to the religious groups under bilateral agreements.
The Catholic Church, the largest single denomination with over 1 million followers, is slated to receive about 80 percent of the compensation package.
Some 145 hotels and pensions in Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Karlovy Vary and
newly in Ostrava are taking part this Friday in the third annual “Night
of Hotels” event, which offers discounted room rates to residents.
The main aim of the “Night of Hotels” event is to thank local residents in areas with heavy tourism, so they too can experience a city stay. Guests are also offered special discounted tours, including to sites not generally open to the public.
The electronic cash register system popularly known as “EET” introduced
to counter the grey economy and tax fraud brought some 12.3 billion crowns
into state coffers last year, Czech Finance Minister Alena Schillerová
(ANO) said on Thursday.
The ministry in September had projected that receipts from the online sales-reporting system would be some 600 million crowns lower, she said. Compared to 2017, last year’s EET revenue increased by 4.4 billion crowns.
The EET system was introduced in stages, starting in December 2016, when it applied only to restaurants and accommodation facilities. As of March 2017, it also became mandatory for wholesalers and retailers.
The planned third and fourth “waves” will affect craftspeople and food producers such as farmers' markets. These are unlikely to take effect until 2020.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has called on the European Union
to take a common position on whether to recognise the Venezuelan opposition
leader as president of his country.
Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s “acting president” on Wednesday in front of tens of thousands of supporters who had gathered in the capital Caracas to protest against President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela has been embroiled in economic and political crisis for several years. Many citizens, including descendants of Czech immigrants, have left the country. An estimated 500 people with Czech citizenship or origins now live there.
Former Supreme Administrative Court chairman Josef Baxa told a hearing of
the lower house of Parliament justice subcommittee on Wednesday that
President Miloš Zeman had urged him in private meetings last spring to
arrange for certain decisions at his court.
Mr Baxa told MPs he considered the request inappropriate and that it felt as if the president were offering to appoint him as Constitutional Court chief justice in exchange for achieving certain judicial rulings. Minister of Justice Jan Kněžínek (ANO) said on Thursday that if true, that would amount to a criminal act or attempted criminal act.
The hearing on Wednesday was called over suspicions that the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, had repeatedly tried to influence the courts in cases relating to the Office of the President or ones in which President Zeman had a vested interest.
Mr Mynář said he and the president had merely acquainted Mr Baxa with their opinions on various matters. He admitted that he had “consulted” with Constitutional Court judges, including Vojtěch Šimíček, presenting the President’s objections regarding planned changes to the Labour Act.
Subcommittee chairman MP Pavel Blažek (Civic Democrats) said that the matter was serious enough to warrant a subcommittee resolution but not to launch a separate investigation.
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