Czech news in brief for April 20: Saturday's top headlines

Former PM Andrej Babiš and wife Monika separate, Czechia to extradite Ukrainian convicted of murder, and more Saturday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.04.2024 09:09:00 (updated on 20.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Ukraine Czech MEP aims to tighten Ukraine import rules

Czech MEP Martin Hlaváček seeks EP support to tighten rules on Ukrainian agricultural imports, Politico reports. He aims to influence Tuesday's vote on extending tariff and quota suspensions. Hlaváček's proposal could delay trade liberalization until the end of the current EP's mandate, reintroducing pre-war tariffs. Some EU lawmakers criticize the existing exemption for Ukrainian imports, suggesting it harms EU farmers. Hlaváček argues his plan benefits Ukraine and aids EU farmers but faces opposition within the Renew Europe faction.

Work Labor Ministry delays equal pay measures

The Czech Ministry of Labor has delayed presenting draft legal measures to support equal pay for men and women, which was originally planned for this year. Minister Marian Jurečka stated that work on these measures has only just begun and they will not be included in the upcoming amendment to the Labor Code. The EU directive on equal pay, which member states must implement by June 7, 2026, mandates these steps. The Czech Republic, with one of the highest gender pay gaps in the EU, faces fines for any delays in adopting the directive.

Weather Chilly temperatures bring snowfall to Czechia

Winter made a surprising return to the Czech mountains, with significant snowfall reported in various regions on Saturday morning. Šumava saw the most accumulation, with around 30 centimeters blanketing the ridges. Other areas, including the Krkonoše, Ore, and Jizera Mountains, also received substantial snowfall. Despite the wintry conditions, road officials assure that mountain roads are navigable with caution. The cold weather is expected to persist, with frost warnings issued across the country, potentially affecting vegetation.

Economy ČEZ files lawsuit against Czech National Bank

Energy company ČEZ has sued the Czech National Bank over a million-dollar fine for late information disclosure. The lawsuit, filed last December, seeks to overturn the fine and establish authoritative interpretation of key regulations. The dispute stems from the delayed publication of a Ministry of Finance counter-proposal, impacting share values. ČEZ defends the delay, citing the need for board assessment. The court will address the issue next week.

Politics Former PM Andrej Babiš and wife Monika separate

Former Czech PM Andrej Babiš announced via Instagram that he and his wife Monika are parting ways after a 30-year relationship and seven years of marriage. They share two children, Vivien and Frederik. Babiš, aged 69, married Monika, 49, in 2017. Despite the separation, Babiš emphasized maintaining family harmony. His fortune, per Forbes, stands at $3.5 billion (about CZK 83 billion), making him the seventh richest Czech. Babiš, who led the government as PM until 2021, now operates in opposition with the ANO party.

Ukraine Czechia to extradite Ukrainian convicted of murder

The Czech Republic will extradite Timur Tretiakov to Ukraine, where he may join the defense against Russian aggression, TV station Nova has reported. Tretiakov had been sentenced to 22 years in prison for murder in Czechia in 2009. In 2007, Tretiakov killed a Sazka betting company driver and attempted to murder an Armenian businessman in Prague's Vinohrady district. The Prague Metropolitan Court initially sentenced him to life, later reduced to 22 years.

President Pavel suffers minor face injury while shooting

Czech President Petr Pavel sustained a minor facial injury while shooting at the range of Czech arms maker Česká Zbrojovka in Uherský Brod earlier this week. Reports indicate a minor laceration near his eyebrows caused when firing a long gun with a scope. Pavel's spokesman confirmed the incident, clarifying no medical treatment was necessary. The President dismissed it as clumsiness when speaking to reporters. Pavel, a retired general and former NATO Military Committee chair, visited the Zlín Region this week during a two-day tour.

Sports Vondroušová makes semifinals at Stuttgart Open

Czech tennis player Markéta Vondroušová has advanced to the semifinals at the Stuttgart Open, overcoming world number two Aryna Sabalenka in a thrilling match, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Vondroušová, the reigning Wimbledon champion, ended her four-match losing streak against Sabalenka. Despite struggles with serve, she capitalized on key moments. Vondroušová will next face Marta Kostyuk in the semifinals at 4:00 p.m. today, while world number one Iga Świątek takes on Jelena Rybakina.

Russia Czech MPs hear audio in Russian influence case

Czech MPs overseeing the country's counterintelligence service (BIS) heard recordings related to German MP Petr Bystron and the sanctioned Voice of Europe portal, reports Deník N and German weekly Die Zeit. Bystron allegedly accepted €20,000 (about CZK 500,000) from propagandist Artyom Marchevsky, linked to a pro-Russian network. Bystron has denied the accusations. Czech PM Petr Fiala has extended sanctions to include Voice of Europe and Marchevsky, citing Russian interference in Czech and EU security.

Real Estate Six charged in Brno housing corruption case

Czech police charge six in a corruption probe linked to municipal flats leased by the city of Brno. Two face up to ten years for bribery and abuse of power, including a Brno housing department employee. Four others face up to six years for bribery. One is in pre-trial detention. Mayor Marek Viskot confirmed the investigation. The prosecution is unrelated to previous cases in Brno that also involved municipal apartments.

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