Daily news summary

Czech Army to stop guarding Bagram air base next year

The Czech Army will cease guarding a NATO-led forces air base in Bagram, Afghanistan at the end of March. The Czech minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, revealed the decision to journalists while on a visit to Czech troops on Friday.

The Czechs have been looking after internal security at the Bagram base for six years. At present the country has around 170 soldiers on the ground.

Mr. Metnar said the Czech Republic would now focus on training Afghan special forces, while it would also send a military medical team to the country.

A number of Czech soldiers have been killed on the current mission over the years.

Czech Republic to donate CZK 50 million in aid by end of year

The Czech Republic is planning to donate CZK 50 million in international humanitarian aid by the end of this year. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposal should be discussed by the cabinet on Monday.

One-fifth of the funding is slated for an International Committee of the Red Cross medical aid programme in Eastern Ukraine. Two-fifths is intended for the UNHCR’s work with migration in Zambia and the remainder should go to the UNDRR, which focuses on disaster reduction.

Pospíšil makes final address to TOP 09 as chairman

Jiří Pospíšil has made his final address to the TOP 09 party as leader. Mr. Pospíšil appeared before delegates at a congress in Prague at which a new leadership of the right-wing opposition party will be selected on Sunday.

The outgoing chairman said his two years at the helm had been successful and that TOP 09 were a significant force in Czech politics.

Mr. Pospíšil says he wishes to devote more energies to his post as member of the European Parliament.

Poll: Four parties in lower house hovering around 5 percent trap door

Government leaders ANO would have received 30 percent support if elections had been held earlier this month, suggests a freshly published poll by CVVM. The party were on 3.5 percent more in a previous survey by the agency. The latest poll put the Civic Democrats on 14 percent, just ahead of the Pirates on 13.5 percent.

In the CVVM survey the Christian Democrats and Freedom and Direct Democracy were just half a point above the 5-percent threshold to make the lower house. The Mayors and Independents and TOP 09 would have exited Parliament, with 4 percent and 3.5 percent, the poll indicates.

Czech Press Photo award goes to image of flag over anti-Babiš protest

This year’s edition of Czech Press Photo was won by Lukáš Bíba for an image of a Czech flag flying above a June demonstration at Prague’s Letná Plain against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The jury said the photograph was a symbol of the complicated political and social situation in the country, with part of society taking part in passionate protests at the same time as Mr. Babiš’s ANO party maintained a lead in opinion polls.

The Czech Press Photo competition was held for the 25th time this year. Some photographers refused to take part in the latest edition, saying the contest’s standards had fallen.

Václav Marhoul joins Hollywood talent agency CAA

The Czech film director Václav Marhoul has joined CAA, a top Hollywood talent agency, Deadline reported. His latest movie, The Painted Bird, was in competition at the Venice International Film Festival and is the Czech Republic’s submission for the Best International Feature Film in the Academy Awards. Marhoul’s previous works include the war drama Tobruk.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be overcast with some bright spells in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 9 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is expected in the early part of the week.