Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 16, 2021

The new Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs will be appointed next week, a Czech casino is suing Facebook, and Slovakia will ease some tourist restrictions. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.04.2021 09:45:00 (updated on 16.04.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Zeman to appoint Kulhánek as foreign minister next Wednesday

President Miloš Zeman will appoint Jakub Kulhánek (CSSD) as the new Czech foreign affairs minister on Wednesday afternoon, Zeman's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček tweeted Thursday after a meeting of the president with Kulhánek. Zeman dismissed Tomáš Petříček (CSSD) as diplomacy head on Monday and appointed Deputy PM and CSSD leader Jan Hamáček as temporary Foreign Minister. "President Miloš Zeman will appoint Jakub Kulhánek as foreign minister at 14:00 next Wednesday," Ovčáček tweeted. Current Deputy Interior Minister Kulhánek met Zeman as well as PM Andrej Babis prior to his appointment. Babiš told Blesk tabloid that he believes Kulhánek is a good candidate.

Czech National Recovery Plan to total over CZK 190 billion

Following a debate with Brussels, the Czech government approved a 10 percent budget reserve top-up to the National Recovery Plan which serves as the basis for the Czech Republic's drawing money from the EU's new fund, with the overall total now reaching nearly CZK 191 billion, Deputy PM Karel Havlíček said Thursday. During a meeting in the lower house, Industry and Trade and Transport Minister warned that the plan cannot satisfy all applicants as otherwise it would splinter into hundreds of small projects and the promised vision would not be fulfilled. Havlíček stressed that the National Recovery Plan is the most publicly consulted document in recent years. He said that via this motion, that if the government spends all CZK 172 billion crowns in the optimal case, it can make use of other credit sources from the Next Generation EU recovery fund.

Slovakia eases certain lockdown rules for tourists

Slovakia will somewhat ease the lockdown rules for trips to Slovakia by not demanding compulsory quarantine from tourist arrivals from those who were only staying in selected EU states and the UK and Switzerland, the country's chief sanitary officer told reporters yesterday. Conditions of travel to Slovakia include at least two weeks from receiving the second vaccine from Moderna or Pfizer or at least four weeks from the first dose of a vector vaccine such as AstraZeneca have elapsed. Arrivals who have recovered from Covid for under 180 days will be exempt. The country has also modified exemptions from the quarantine upon arrival rule for employees of the contractors of critical infrastructure and experts in the sphere of elimination of emergency situations. At present, tourists coming to Slovakia must enter the quarantine upon arrival. Quarantine ends with a negative test result taken on the eighth day of isolation at the earliest.

Smartwings set to resume Prague to St. Petersburg flights

Czech budget airline Smartwings announced on Wednesday that it is resuming flights to Russia’s second-largest city, reports the Simple Flying server. Twice-weekly flights from Prague to St. Petersburg will recommence on April 29, over a year after the suspension of all flights in and out of the Czech Republic. The service from Václav Havel Airport to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo will operate two times per week. Flights will be operated with Czech Airlines, part of the Smartwings Group. This is despite Czech Airlines having to declare bankruptcy a month ago, with debts equalling $82 million. Smartwings recently secured $90 million in liquidity via a loan agreement with several banks and funding from the Czech Republic’s Covid Plus program.

Man who threatened to kill Czech PM Babiš apologizes

The man who is being prosecuted for extortion after threatening to shoot Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sent a letter of apology to the PM, Babiš told the tabloid, yesterday. The PM said he had provided testimony to the police, but not his wife did not. If convicted, the man could be sentenced to two to eight years in prison. The perpetrator's motive was likely his disagreement with how the Babiš-led government was handling the coronavirus epidemic. Babiš said the police had informed him about the threat on Jan. 8 and sent police protection to his home. His wife then left for Dubai and, after her photos from the destination appeared on social media to widespread criticism, Babiš said she left out of fear. The police have registered several cases of people threatening the Czech government members on social media in connection with the state of emergency and lockdown rules.

Czech casino owner is suing Facebook for misleading ads

The owner of Rozvadov's King's Casino, Leon Tsoukernik, is suing the social network Facebook for spreading misleading advertising abusing the name of his company. He is asking a Pilsen court for half a billion crowns from the social network, according to the Czech Hospodářské noviny (HN) news server. According to the daily, the casino from Rozvadov in the Tachov region is one of the largest poker casinos in Europe. An advertisement calling for money to be put into the online casino of the Czech King's Casino has been appearing on the social network since March. However, the casino of the same name from Rozvadov in the Tachov region does not allow playing via the web. In addition, it is currently out of order due to anti-epidemic measures. Tsoukernik told HN he believes it's a scammer and that Facebook is fully responsible for spreading misleading advertising and benefits financially. 

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