Projects involving representatives of China and 16 Central and Eastern European states are being discussed at a two-day Chinese investment forum taking place at Prague Castle. At the start of the meeting on Tuesday the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, spoke about the huge growth in the number of Chinese tourists visiting his country, a number he said could reach half a million this year. Czech President Miloš Zeman is also taking part in the investment forum and will welcome Liu Yanshan, one of the top leaders of China’s Communist Party, to Prague Castle. The forum builds on China’s Silk Road initiative to boost its international investments and cooperation.
A lower house committee investigating the leaking of information from police investigation files has summoned ANO boss Andrej Babiš and Marek Přibil, a journalist who worked for one of Mr. Babiš’s newspapers, to attend its next session. The MPs also want to speak to other senior political figures as well as representatives of the police and the state attorney’s office over the matter. Recordings released anonymously appear to show Mr. Babiš and Mr. Přibil discussing the possible misuse of police information and targeted campaigns against the former’s political opponents. The ANO leader denies any wrongdoing.
The police are to investigate the cause of an outbreak of African swine fever in the Zlín region, the first ever recorded in the Czech Republic, Czech Television reported on Tuesday. The local branch of the State Veterinary Administration has filed a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator over the spreading of the disease. On Monday the minister of agriculture, Marian Jurečka, said there was likely to have been human involvement in the outbreak. More than 50 wild boar in the Zlín region have been identified as having African swine fever and hunters are being encouraged to shoot all wild boar around the country.
Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of the first race at the Brno Circuit, one of the longest tracks used in the MotoGP series, the world’s top motorcycle racing event. Previously known as the Masaryk Circuit, the five-kilometre track replaced an original street circuit in the Moravian capital that had been used for motor racing events since the 1930s and at its longest measured 31 kilometres.
A Czech woman died while hiking in the Austrian Alps on Monday, the APA news agency reported. The woman, who was 23, passed away at a hospital in Linz after sustaining serious injuries when the edge of the rock path she was walking on fell away, leaving her to slip around 30 metres down a scree-covered area. She and a group of others had been returning from a successful climb of the nearby Hochblaser mountain.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he will remain an active member of the Social Democrats but has no ambition of ever returning to the party leadership. Mr. Sobotka resigned as leader a month ago in the wake of poor opinion poll results but is campaigning to retain his MP’s seat in South Moravia on the Social Democrats’ ticket. Speaking on Tuesday, he said being prime minister while not heading the main government party was not sustainable in the longer term.
A plane operated by the Czech airline Travel Service was involved in an accident in Burgas, Bulgaria on Tuesday morning. The Airbus A320, which had flown from Brno, went off the runway after landing in the Black Sea coast city. The 184 passengers and crew were evacuated from the aircraft but none were injured. The airport was closed after the incident, which is now being investigated.
The leadership of the Christian Democratic party is due to meet Tuesday to discuss its alliance with the party of mayors and independents, STAN. The meeting comes in the wake of June opinion polls which suggest the electoral alliance of the two parties would fail to win more than 10 percent of votes in upcoming elections in October and would therefore not get any seats in the lower house of parliament. Some party leaders have suggested a looser alliance could be agreed which would meant they would only have to exceed the normal 5 percent threshold for winning seats. Others have pointed out the summer polls were wide of the mark ahead of previous general elections.
One of Asia’s biggest investment funds, PAG Capital Asia is to invest the equivalent of 7.4 billion crowns in one of the daughter companies of Czech-based consumer loans company Home Credit. The investment in the Hong Kong registered daughter company is aimed at helping its development on Asian markets and an eventual stock market launch. Home Credit, whose majority shareholder is the PPF company of the richest Czech Petr Kellner, is already well established in China with around 13.2 million clients.