Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for August 12, 2021

Babiš requests halt to Stork's Nest proceedings, SPD withdraws photo from election campaign, annual exhibition of Czech glass begins. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.08.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 12.08.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Babiš requests halt to criminal prosecution in Stork’s Nest case

Prime minister Andrej Babiš has filed a proposal to halt his criminal prosecution in the Stork’s Nest case, in which he stands accused of EU subsidy fraud. With police having finished their investigation and the end of May by proposing that charges be brought in the case, the supervising state attorney Jaroslav Šaroch will decide on the matter by August 31. Babiš is accused together with former advisor Jana Mayerová of fraud connected to the construction of a recreation and conference centre south of Prague, but both deny any unlawful actions. Opponents say the Stork’s Nest case highlights conflicts of interest arising from Babiš’s ownership of the Agrofert holding, which was transferred to trust funds in early 2017.

SPD withdraws photo of folk choir from election campaign after complaint

Czech opposition party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) will withdraw a photo of the Ujezdska Rozmaryna folk choir from its election campaign after the head of the choir complained to party leader Tomio Okamura. The SPD had, without permission, used a photo of the choir to promote the party’s stance against multiculturalism, with the caption reading “Our tradition”. Another photo used in the party’s election campaign showed foreign refugees accompanied by Okamura’s question: “My choice is clear. What do you choose?” The head of the folk choir said the SPD used the photo without telling choir, which does not wish to linked to any political campaign or party. She said SPD immediately responded to confirm the photo would be withdrawn.

Czech Telecommunications Office warns against fraudulent calls from abroad

The Czech Telecommunication Office (ČTÚ) has issued a warning against phone scams targeted against Czechs by foreign callers. Foreign callers briefly ring a domestic phone number in the hope that the recipient will call back, incurring huge charges. ČTÚ said many callers carrying out these kinds of attacks have the +94 country code, for Sri Lanka, and noted that most fraudulent calls come from abroad. The only defence against such fraud is to not react to the incoming calls, said ČTÚ,  which also warned that if people call back the foreign number, their voluntary action puts them in a weak position to claim back any lost money.

EC rejects subsidy for firm belonging to Babis's trust fund

The European Commission has rejected a request for the payment of a subsidy for Fatra, a leading Czech plastic processor which belongs to Prime Minister Andrej Babis's trust fund. It is believed the request for a subsidy may have been a way of testing whether the EC would really withhold money after EC auditors have found that Babiš is in a conflict of interest due to his continued influence over the trust funds in which he placed his assets in 2017. The findings of the audit led to the conclusion that subsidies for the Agrofert holding were unlawful. The EC has now confirmed the same conclusion regarding the request for subsidies for Fatra. Babiš denies any conflict of interest.

10th annual exhibition of glass and jewelery begins in Jablonec nad Nisou

Fragile Beauty, the largest annual exhibition of Czech jewelry and glass, begins today in Jablonec nad Nisou. Forty manufacturers will be present at the event, and the program will also include demonstrations of individual glass crafts as well as fashion shows celebrating the best products of Jablonec producers over the past decade. The ambassador of this year’s exhibition is leading Czech clothing designer Beata Rajská, who will present several items of the latest summer fashion on the catwalk. The aim of the Fragile Beauty show is to demonstration that jewelery making in Jablonec continues to thrive today. This year, tourists to the Czech Republic can buy discounted tickets to the show.

New Czech-English drama “Thinking David” in development

Czech director/writer Simon Holy is working on his second feature film, “Thinking David”, an LGBT/coming-of-age drama. The film will tell the story of seventeen-year-old David, who identifies as a gay member of Prague’s Jewish community. David cannot imagine finding acceptance from his community, but while exploring his Jewish iden­tity in Israel, his sexuality becomes some­thing that he is no longer willing to hide. As David begins to publicly identify as queer, he struggles with relationships between his family and friends. After a series of difficult events, David comes to terms with both of his identities and finds his place within his community of family and friends. The film, to be shot in both Czech and English, has an estimated budget of 2.5 million euros and is planned for release in 2024.

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