Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for September 15, 2021

Arbitration proceedings held over Babiš conflict of interest, Pakistan helicopter saves Czech mountaineers, Taliban raids Czech embassy in Kabul. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.09.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 15.09.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

EU arbitration proceedings held over Babiš’s alleged conflict of interest

Representatives of the Czech Agriculture Ministry held negotiations with the European Commission as part of arbitration proceedings over a Commission audit which found a conflict of interest on the part of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The Czech government denies the findings of the audit. A Czech government spokesperson said the arbitration body will now compile a report on whether the negotiations succeeded in bring the positions of the Commission and the Czech Republic closer.

In November 2019, the Commission sent to Prague a final audit report concerning the distribution of EU subsidies to Agrofert, an agriculture, chemical, food and media giant owned by Babiš before it was placed into trust funds prior to his election as Prime Minister. The Commission claimed that Babiš is in a conflict of interest as he still wields effective control over Agrofert.

Pakistan military helicopter saves stuck Czech mountaineers

A Pakistani military helicopter has rescued two Czech mountaineers and a local climber who got stuck of Rakaposhi mountain in the Karkoram range in Pakistan five days ago, local authorities have announced. The mountaineers are in good health and are now safe in a nearby town. The climbers became stuck at an altitude of 6,900 meters while descending Rakaposhi mountain.

Previous rescue attempts were hampered by the high altitude and by terrain which was unsuitable for landing. The military helicopter later succeeded in bringing ropes, water, food and medicine to the mountaineers. The climbers reached the 7,788-meter summit of the mountain on Friday. A local tourism minister criticized the Czechs for allegedly undertaking the mountain ascent without a government permit.

Batman comes to the Czech Republic for the first time

A new DC Comics anthology has Batman fighting criminals in the Czech lands for the first time ever. Batman: The World sees the masked vigilante thwarting the plans of a group of Communist mystics in 1980s Prague, fighting a main villain loosely inspired by a real Communist Party functionary who was nicknamed “The Bolshevik Wizard”. With Batman celebrating his 82nd anniversary, DC Comics has created a series of tales set in the wider world to celebrate the occasion.

Batman: The World includes stories set in 14 different countries, with local authors and artists selected to craft the new comics. The Czech tale was created by artist Michal Suchánek and writer Štěpán Kopřiva. Batman: The World launched yesterday, in time for Batman Day 2021, celebrated on September 18.

Batman in Prague for the first time / photo via
Batman in Prague for the first time / photo via

Prague must do more to meet climate goals, says international body

The International Energy Agency has said the Czech Republic needs to do more if it wants to meet the European Union’s energy and climate goals by 2030. In a new in-depth review of Czech energy policy, the IEA said that the EU’s new, stricter targets would force the country to give up coal more quickly than previously anticipated.

As such, the report recommends support for communities in areas that will be affected by an earlier-than-expected phasing-out of coal. The Czech Republic should replace coal with low-carbon energy sources while taking steps to mitigate social and economic damage, the report urged.

Taliban seize Becherovka and Pilsner from Czech embassy warehouse in Kabul

A video has emerged showing Taliban members in the warehouse of the Czech embassy in Kabul. The footage shows the fighters examining goods including numerous brands of Czech alcohol such as Becherovka and Pilsner Urquell. Former Czech Ambassador to Kabul Jiří Baloun watched the footage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs later confirmed that the footage does indeed show the premises of the Czech embassy.

Neither the Ministry or the former Ambassador have yet answered questions as to why there was so much alcohol at the embassy. The embassy stopped functioning in mid-August, when diplomats were withdrawn due to the Taliban’s rapid advance throughout Afghanistan. The embassy said sensitive materials and equipment which could not be removed were destroyed during the evacuation.

Twelve charged with illegal tiger hunting in the Czech Republic

Police have charged twelve people with organizing a hunt for illegally imported tigers from Slovakia in the Czech Republic. The planned hunt did not take place because the intended suppliers eventually decided to export the tigers through legal channels. Still, the Czech and Slovak authorities have been working together on the case since 2017, when information emerged that a wild hunt was planned for three tigers in an unspecified location in the Czech Republic for interested parties from Slovakia.

In April 2019, nine houses were searched in connection with the case. 204 specimens of protected animal carcasses including bears, wolves, lynxes and grouse were found. The investigation also uncovered the illegal hunting of wild protected animals in the Czech Republic, including a female Lynx named Michelle, who was killed in the Prachatice region in 2018.

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