After a debate that took up most of the day, the constitutional complaint
against President Miloš Zeman did not pass through the Chamber of Deputies
on Thursday, receiving only 58 votes and therefore missing the required
mark of 120 by a wide margin. MPs from the Pirate party, the Civic
Democrats, TOP09 and the Christian Democrats voted in favour of the motion,
while the ANO party, the Social Democrats, the Communist Party and the
Freedom and Direct Democracy party either voted against the complaint or
The complaint sought to bring the matter to the Constitutional Court which, after examining the case, could rule that the president acted in “blunt breach of the Constitution”. It narrowly passed through the Senate in July, but was not expected to pass through the lower house due to the fact that the ruling coalition together with the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party stated that they would not support it.
The vote was preceded by long discussions, which included heated exchanges between the representatives of the opposition parties in favour of the complaint and those supporting the president. Senator Václav Láska, who authored the complaint, said that President Miloš Zeman is intent on making the government responsible to him rather than the Chamber of Deputies and that this was the central motive that connected all of the points raised against his behaviour in the complaint.
The chairman of the ANO party's deputies' club, Jaroslav Faltýnek, accused Mr. Láska of holding hateful feelings towards the president, while Social Democrat deputy, Kateřina Valachová, said that the complaint contained too many points and would have had a greater chance if it focused purely on the president's actions regarding the appointment of ministers.
President Zeman says he did not violate the constitution.
For the first time in five months, the Czech world no. 7 Petra Kvitová has
made it to a semi-final in a WTA Tour tournament, after beating Ukraine’s
Dayana Yastremska 6:2 6:4 in Wu Chan on Thursday. Just a few hours earlier,
her compatriot Kristýna Plíšková got into the last-four at the Tashkent
Open after beating Slovakia’s Viktória Kužmová 6:3 6:4.
Ms. Kvitová, who has already won at Wu Chan twice in 2014 and 2016 respectively, is yet to find out whether her opponent will be Alison Riske, or Elina Svitolina. For Kristýna Plíšková, who will be facing Beligian tennis player Alison Van Uytvanck, this is only the third fight for a WTA Tour singles final in her career. However, she has already shown she can do it in Tashkent, where she won her only major singles title so far.
The prestigious EFFE Award for remarkable arts festivals has been awarded
to both the Prague Spring International Music Festival and the World Roma
Festival known as Khamoro. The award, which is also held by prestigious
festivals such as the BBC Proms, will be handed to their representatives at
a special ceremony at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels on Thursday.
Both festivals also received the EFFE Label, the organisation’s quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals showing their engagement in the field of the arts, community involvement and international openness. EFFE stands for Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe. It is issued by the European Festivals Association, which connects about 100 festivals and festival associations in 40 countries.
Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has fired Ivan Morávek from the
position of acting director of the National Gallery in Prague. Anne-Marie
Nedoma has been named temporary head of the gallery until a new selection
procedure takes place. The minister told journalists on Thursday that he
has also created an expert council, which will work on preparing the
selection procedure and name the commission that chooses the new director
of the gallery.
Ivan Morávek was chosen to lead the gallery by the controversial previous minister Antonín Staněk earlier this year after Jiří Fajt was fired in what some saw as a politically motivated move.
Anne-Marie Nedoma, will start her new appointment on Friday. For the past year and a half she has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Constitutional Court rejected a proposal to annul two of last
year's pricing decisions made by the Czech Energy Regulatory
Authority, citing a lack of valid arguments. The proposal was signed by 26
MPs from the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, the Communist Party and
one Social Democrat. They argued that the agency breached the Energy Act,
according to which it has to protect the legitimate interests of customers
and consumers, by increasing prices for no reason.
According to the ruling there was an absence of almost any argumentation that could lead the Court to rule that prices should be changed.
According to data from the Centre for International Cooperation in
Education, America far exceeds any other country in the number of students
that come to the Czech Republic for study stays. The statistics were
analysed by Czech Radio’s data journalism team, which published its
findings on Thursday.
Last year’s data shows that Americans made up more than 16 percent of all study abroad students in the country, with France trailing behind at 8.4 percent. The total number of such students in the Czech Republic lies at 16,000. Meanwhile, there are more than 44,000 foreigners studying for a degree at Czech universities, the vast majority of them Slovak.
According to data from 2016–2017, the Czech Republic was the 13th most popular study abroad destination for US students.
Most of the country's northern and central regions are expected be hit by showers on Friday. Meanwhile the skies above Prague and the southern regions are likely to be cloudy. Temperatures will reach up to 23 degrees Celsius in the south, particularly around České Budějovice. In the north, temperatures could dip as low as 17 degrees.
O2 Universum, a major new multifunctional hall is set to open for the first
time this Thursday in Prague, with a concert by the popular Czech rock band
Kabát. The 50,000 square meter complex neighbours the 02 Arena, Prague’s
biggest venue of its kind. The O2 Universum contains a number of halls, the
largest of which has a capacity of 4,500. Its facilities will be used to
host conferences, concerts and sporting events.
The facility is owned and run by Bestsport, a company which is part of PPF, the financial and investment group owned by billionaire Petr Kellner.
The National Cyber and Information Security Agency is underfunded and is
therefore unable to recruit enough security experts to handle its workload,
the daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Thursday. The paper cited the
head of the organisation Dušan Navrátil as saying it was not even able to
compete with the municipal police with its salaries. Mr. Navrátil also
said that the largest problem the cyber watchdog is currently facing is
outdated computer systems. However, according to Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová, the agency has not spent over CZK 100 million allocated to it
since its creation in 2017.
The news comes a day after the National Cyber and Information Security Agency published a report in which it said that 90 percent of cyber-attacks in 2018 come from outside the country and that most threat actors are linked to Russia and China.
The Czech Republic wants to become a leader in innovation and artificial
intelligence, and a country that would set example for others, Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš said in his address to the 74th session of the
United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, New York time.
Mr Babiš said that the Czech Republic was fulfilling the commitments
stemming from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, adding that the changes had
to be gradual in order not to harm the country’s economic growth.
In his speech, Mr Babiš called for a strong European Union, which he described as the most successful peaceful project in the world. He said, however, that he had reservations about its engagement in the world.
Mr Babiš also criticised the speech of the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, calling it aggressive and hysterical.