Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 6, 2021

Czech govt. will investigate Vrbětice leak, Czech court redefines criminal definition of drug possession, and summertime temps ahead this weekend. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.05.2021 09:55:00 (updated on 06.05.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech government to investigate information leak in Vrbětice affair

The government should entrust secret services and the police with investigating the information leak in the Vrbětice case, the Czech Chamber of Deputies said Wednesday after a two-hour closed hearing discussing Interior Minister Jan Hamáček's canceled visit to Moscow in April. The hearing was attended by three secret services chiefs, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, and a number of lawmakers. Chairman of the deputy group of the opposition Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), Jan Bartošek, said he believed the commission for the control of intelligence services would debate the issue. "A number of questions have remained unanswered," he added. On April 14, Hamáček announced that he would leave for Moscow on April 19 to negotiate with Russia over supplies of the Sputnik V vaccine. The plan was criticized by the opposition and Babiš, and Hamáček eventually canceled it. It was later reported that the trip was intended to cover up the Vrbětice events in exchange for vaccines.

Czech court scraps legal definition of unlawful amount of drugs

The Czech Constitutional Court (US) has scrapped part of the Criminal Code defining the amount of drugs considered unlawful, in reaction to a district court's proposal challenging the "larger than a small amount" definition used to determine criminal liability. The US canceled a section of the code determining which plants and mushrooms are considered narcotic or psychotropic substances, and how their amount is defined. US judge Pavel Samal said possession of a "larger than small" amount and its punishment cannot be defined by a government directive as doing so violates the Charter of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. He said only lawmakers can define the lower limit of criminal liability. The term "larger than a small amount" has been used for drugs since the late 1990s. It appeared in an amendment to the Criminal Code passed by parliament in 1998, despite a veto by President Václav Havel.

Liechtenstein to open its first honorary consulate in the Czech Republic

The Principality of Liechtenstein will establish its honorary consulate in the Czech Republic, seated in Brno, for the first time in history. Former Czech culture minister Daniel Herman has been named as honorary consul, Michal Ruzicka, a spokesperson for the Liechtenstein government, announced Wednesday. The Czech Republic set up its honorary consulate in the Principality of Liechtenstein in 2018. Relations between both countries have been damaged by a lengthy property dispute between the Czech Republic confiscated from the House of Liechtenstein following WWII which lead to both countries not establishing diplomatic relations until 2009. One of the tasks of the new honorary consulate will be to strengthen the rich bonds between both countries, mainly in South Moravia, in culture and economy and create the basis for deeper cooperation to help overcome difficulties from the past.


Czech breweries lost CZK 6 billion on draft beer last year

Czech breweries spent six billion crowns on beer that the pubs were unable to draft due to the pandemic closures, according to a new study by the Center for Economic and Market Analysis (CETA) for the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses. The survey does not take into account sales from microbreweries, so the amount could be a tenth higher. The figure does not factor in losses from restaurant closures. Pandemic security measures, restrictions on restaurant operations, and a decline in Czech beer exports last year significantly reduced beer consumption in bars and restaurants, where the share of total consumption fell from 35 percent to 26, CETA found. According to the analysis, draft beer accounts for about a third of restaurant equipment sales, so losses in the entire restaurant segment will be many times higher. Last year beer consumption was the lowest since the 1960s.

Summertime temps coming to the Czech Republic this weekend

The end of the workweek will be marked by cool temperatures, rainfall, and possibly even snow or mixed rain and snow in the mountains, but the weekend weather could see summer-like temperatures and clear skies. Thursday will see cloudy skies with occasional showers and temps reaching 10 °C to 14°C. Heavy clouds are expected on Friday with rain or showers and colder temps. On Saturday it will be partly cloudy to almost clear with highs of 16°C. The weekend will see a warm front moving in and on Sunday temperatures could rise to 21°C to 25°C.

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