News German MEP says Andrej Babiš faces conflicts of interest as minister
A German Christian Democrat politician has expressed fears that Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš represents such a danger of conflicts of interests that cooperation with Prague will be difficult. CDU member of the European Parliament and member of its budget control committee, Ingeborg Grassle, expressed her concerns during a press conference, adding that Babiš’ companies have been paid 2.6 million euros from EU funds. She added that the Czech Republic’s system for pumping EU funds laid them open to massive abuse. The head of the budget committee later said she was expressing a personal opinion. Concern have frequently been expressed that billionaire Babiš’ media, agricultural and chemical interests make it difficult for him to make objective decisions as finance minister.
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The police have recommended that charges be filed against an expert witness who gave evidence in the case of Roman Janoušek, an influential businessman who was later found guilty of hit and run while under the influence, iDnes.cz reported. The police investigated the court expert on the urging of judge Tomáš Kubovec, who heard Mr. Janoušek’s trial. If found guilty of perjury and presenting false information the expert could face between six months and three years in prison and be banned from the profession.
It should be partly fair on Wednesday with temperatures of up to 1 degree Celsius. The outlook is similar for the rest of the week, though daytime highs will reach up to 6 degrees Celsius.
President Miloš Zeman will deliver an address to the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, his spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, has announced. Mr. Ovčáček refused to say whether the head of state would comment on next year’s budget, which is due to be debated by deputies on Wednesday. While the deficit has already been set at CZK 60 billion, MPs are set to vote on various modifications within the 2017 budget. Mr. Zeman has addressed the lower house a number of times since taking office almost four years ago.
A company owned by Czech businessman Václav Fischer has launched international arbitration proceedings against the Czech Republic. The Germany-based firm, Aircraftleasing Meier und Fischer (AMF), is demanding CZK 3.1 billion crowns as compensation for two Boeing 737 planes that were seized in 2005 when Mr. Fischer was declared bankrupt. AMF filed notice regarding the dispute with the Ministry of Finance in February, citing an international investment protection treaty. Mr. Fischer was at one time one of the best-known names in the international tourism business in the Czech Republic.
The head of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindřich Forejt, is to step down by the end of the year, citing personal and health reasons. The announcement was made by President Miloš Zeman’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, on Tuesday morning. The news site Hlidacipes.org on Monday published stills from a video recording appearing to show Mr. Forejt sniffing a white substance. The video is reportedly one of several filmed at the protocol chief’s Prague home. Mr. Forejt, who is 39 and also served under Václav Klaus at Prague Castle, had been tipped as an ambassador to the Vatican.
The Boston Bruins’ David Pastrňák scored twice and David Krejčí earned two assists in the team’s 4:3 win in extra time on Monday over the Florida Panthers. Jaromír Jágr scored once for the losing side. The Bruins are currently third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Jakub Voráček got an assist in the Philadelphia Flyers win over Nashville – the team’s fifth straight victory. In other NHL hockey, Petr Mrázek continued to do well between the posts for the Detroit Red Wings, helping the club win 4:3 in overtime. Detroit are currently in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference and 20th in the league overall.
American news broadcaster CNN has included Prague’s Christmas markets on a list of the 10 best in the world, citing traditional markets on the city’s Old Town and Wenceslas Squares. The article rated favourably Czech beer and sausage as well as the opening times at both markets, saying they remained open throughout the Christmas period. Other markets included in the piece included ones in Vienna, Venice or Copenhagen. The only North American Christmas market to make the list was Montreal’s.
Tuesday should be sunny with daytime highs reaching only 0 degrees Celsius.
Personnel of a 17-member-strong field surgical team departed for Iraq shortly after midnight on Monday where they will join coalition, Iraqi, and US soldiers providing support at a US base several dozen kilometres away from Mosul. The news was confirmed by the spokesman for the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Jan Šulc. Two surgeons and an anaesthesiologist form the core of the group.