Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 27, 2021

Travel ban to India in affect from today, Babiš tells Zeman there is just one version of Vrbětice events, and Czech Railways resumes more routes. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.04.2021 09:27:00 (updated on 27.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Babiš to Zeman: There is a single version of the Vrbětice investigation

Czech PM Andrej Babiš told President Miloš Zeman at a meeting Monday that there is clearly only one investigation version in the case of the Vrbětice explosion, a version involving Russian GRU agents, Babiš said to the media. Zeman mentioned two investigation versions in his televised speech on Sunday. "There is only one investigation version, which is, of course, according to circumstantial evidence and what we received from the police, an attack by Russian agents," Babiš said. A diplomatic rift between Prague and Moscow flared up on Saturday, April 17, over the Czech secret services' well-founded suspicion that the Russian GRU military secret service agents were behind the 2014 explosion in an ammunition depot in Vrbětice.

Travel to India from Czech Republic banned due to new mutation

Czech Republic has banned all travel to India as of Tuesday, adding India to the list of states posing an extreme risk of the spread of new coronavirus mutations, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told media after a Monday cabinet meeting. The conditions for returns from India will also be tightened. Only Czechs and residents of the Czech Republic will be able to return from India to the Czech Republic. Before leaving India, they will have to undergo a PCR test and will have to repeat it in 24 hours after arriving in the Czech Republic. Arrivals are also required to undergo a third PCR test between the 10th and the 14th day after their arrival. Read more here.

Czech Republic disagrees with European Commission's audit of PM

Czech bodies disagree with the conclusion of the EC audit on PM Andrej Babiš' Regional Development Minister Klara Dostalova said today, adding that there are two opposite legal opinions between which only an independent court should decide. She said the authorities are analyzing possible steps towards reaching a court decision. The Czech cabinet says the audit cannot be challenged at the European Court of Justice. On Friday, the European Commission released the final audit report stating that Babis is in a conflict of interest because, in his capacity as PM, he co-decides on the distribution of EU money and at the same time controls Agrofert, a huge chemical, agricultural, food and media holding. Dostalova said the EC, in its audit, mainly leant on its own interpretation of the Czech conflict of interest law and arrived at a conclusion with which Czech bodies disagree.

End of April early May could still see freezing nighttime temps

The transition between April and May in the Czech Republic will remain a frosty one. After a freezing Monday morning, it will likely freeze on Tuesday night as well, and throughout this week and next, the mercury could drop to zero at night. The weather will gradually start to warm in May, but temperatures in the coming weeks could fall below the long-term averages for this period. The monthly weather forecast was published by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) Monday. "The first forecast week will be significantly cold (from April 26 to May 2). It should slowly warm in the coming weeks, but temperatures are likely to remain in the range of normal or slightly below average values ​​for the given time of year," CHMI staff said in its monthly weather outlook.

Czech Railways will resume operations on more long-distance routes

Czech Railways (ČD) plans to resume full operations on more long-distance lines. At the end of April, it will strengthen train connections from Prague to České Budějovice, Děčín, Vsetín, Žilina or night connections from Břeclav to Budapest. Additional long-distance routes will be strengthened in May, the state railway carrier has announced. Carriers have been forced to reduce connections due to the coronavirus crisis but railway traffic is gradually being resumed by other carriers in the Czech Republic due to growing passenger demand. Czech Railways has responded to increasing demand by gradually resuming its operations since the beginning of April. During the lockdown and district closures in the first half of April, the number of passengers was at about a third of the normal traffic. ČD trains are currently carrying about 45 to 50 percent of the usual number of passengers.

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