Daily news summary

Prague and Moscow to enter into talks in bid to end diplomatic row over divisive Konev statue

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed to enter into bilateral talks with Czech officials in a bid to clear up a diplomatic row over the removal of the statue of Marshal Ivan Konev from its site in Prague 6, the Czech Foreign Ministry reported on Saturday. The talks should focus on the 1993 treaty signed by the two countries, particularly the clause on the mutual protection of war monuments which Moscow has accused Prague of violating.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has dismissed the accusation saying that the 1993 treaty only commits both sides to a dignified treatment of each other’s monuments and their protection from damage.

Russia releases declassified documents on so-called “Prague Operation”

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Russian Ministry of Defence published declassified documents related to the so-called Prague Operation.

The fifty pages of documents released are in Russian and relate to events from May 6 to May 11, during which time part of the Red Army, led by Marshal Ivan Konev, launched an operation aimed at liberating the Czechoslovak capital after receiving reports that Praguers "need help in resisting fascist troops." Russian records also mention that during the offensive, the local population enthusiastically welcomed the advancing Red Army.

The documents state that in the days immediately after the end of the war, the Red Army also supplied Praguers with food; the city’s inhabitants were given tons of flour, potatoes and other foodstuffs.

Russia released the documents amidst a diplomatic row over the removal of Marshal Konev’s statue from Prague 6.

In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the anniversary of the end of the war, President Miloš Zeman praised the heroism of the Red Army and stated that without it, Czechoslovakia would not have become an independent and confident nation.

Czech gratitude to the soldiers who liberated the country have not changed, he wrote. At the same time, he rejected attempts to rewrite history.

Hairdressers and massage salons to reopen on Monday

As of Monday, May 11, Czechs will once again be able to avail themselves of the services of hairdressers, massage and beauty salons and various wellness and beauty facilities.

They will start operating under strict hygiene conditions, with fewer clients, social distancing and no refreshments. Employees will have to wear both face-masks and plastic shields.

Demand for their services is overwhelming, with many salons already fully booked until June.

Daily increase in coronavirus cases under 100 for eight days

The number of newly registered coronavirus cases has remained under 100 over the past eight days, with 46 new cases reported on Friday, according to Czech Health Ministry statistics.

The number of registered cases has reached 8,077. 273 people have died, 4,413 have recovered from the disease. 258 people are currently hospitalized with COVID 19, 46 of them are in serious condition.

Many Czechs facing financial difficulties

More than half of Czechs now have problems making ends meet on their monthly income, according to the results of a survey conducted by the credit company Fair Credit among 880 respondents.

One in ten respondents said they need to borrow ahead of payday, 43 percent of people live from one pay check to the next. Before the coronavirus crisis only 28 percent of people said they had no financial reserves.

Financial experts predict that as shops and services reopen people’s financial problems will deepen. Part of the problem is that only 29 percent of respondents have a good overview of their expenditures, most often people over the age of 45.

Use of birth control pills down by a half

The use of birth control pills has dropped by a half since 2007, according to data released by the State Institute for Drug Control.

According to gynaecologists this is both due to fear of side effects like a heightened risk of blood clots or thrombosis, as well as the fact that the pill is no longer as “trendy” as it was at the start of the millennium.

According to a recent survey, a fifth of women do not use any protection, 49 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 use contraception prescribed by a doctor.

Elepahant calf born in Prague

Prague Zoo has announced the birth of a new elephant calf.

The mother, Indian elephant Janita, and calf are healthy and doing well, the head of the zoo, Miroslav Bobek, tweeted on Saturday morning. He said the birth of a second female calf in two months was “excellent news”.

Elephants have been kept in the zoo since 1933, but its breeding program is relatively new; the first elephant calf born in Prague arrived in 2013.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in the western parts of the country and day temperatures between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.