Daily news summary


Poll indicates Communist Party losing support

An opinion survey suggests that for the first time since the fall of communism in 1989, the Communist Party could fall below the five percent threshold needed to win seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

According to the August survey, conducted by the KANTAR agency, the Communist Party would gain just 4.5 percent of the vote. Party leader Vojtěch Filip dismissed the poll as unreliable, saying that on many past occasions the Communist Party had been “written off” in surveys, but the end result was always different.

The poll suggests that the ruling ANO party would win the elections with 30 percent support, followed by the Pirate Party with 17 percent and the Civic Democrats with 14.5 percent.

Health minister wants to restrict alcohol and tobacco ads

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch is preparing a draft bill which would restrict advertising of tobacco and alcohol in the electronic media.

In a debate on TV Prima the minister said this was part of a broader effort to change harmful behavioural patterns.

Alcohol and tobacco are among the top causes of preventable deaths in the country. Minister Vojtěch noted that some children have their first experience with alcohol at the age of 12.

The government has also pushed through the lower house a bill to raise the tax on alcohol and tobacco which should come into effect next year.

Social Democrat leader suggests referendum could resolve Konev statue dispute

The dispute over whether the controversial statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev should remain in its place should be settled by the inhabitants of Prague 6 where it is located, Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček said in a TV debate on Sunday. Mr. Hamáček said the dispute could be resolved in a local referendum.

The fate of the statue has caused a rift between Prague and Moscow after it was repeatedly vandalized with red paint and the mayor of Prague 6, Ondřej Kolar, said it would be better to remove it altogether, ideally to the grounds of the Russian embassy.

Speaking to Russian journalists, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky compared Mr. Kolar to a leader of the regional branch of the Nazi party NSDAP.

The words provoked an angry response from Prague with Civic Democrat leader Petr Fiala saying the Czech foreign minister should summon the Russian ambassador to demand an explanation.

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said he regretted the fact that the discussion surrounding the Konev statue has crossed the bounds of a rational debate. “I do not consider the statement of the Russian culture minister appropriate. I think an apology would help calm the situation, "Petříček said in a text message to the ctk news agency.

Art collector Meda Mládková turns 100

The Czech cultural scene is celebrating the 100th birthday of art collector and philanthropist Meda Mládková.

Mládková spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she and her husband Jan established a collection of Czech and Central European art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain.

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. In 1999 she started a foundation which acquired Sovovy Mlýny, a historic building a few hundred meters from Charles Bridge in Prague, and transformed the building into a thriving art museum.

The celebrations of her 100th birthday started in June with the premiere of a film about her life and the public can now view an exhibition called Ambassador of Art showing her personal belongings and memorabilia from her home in Washington, which was a frequent meeting place of politicians, intellectuals and artists.

Ecstasy wins award for best-digitally restored film in Venice

Gustav Machatý’s Ecstasy, a 1934 erotic romantic drama starring Hedy Lamar, won an award for best-digitally restored film at the international film festival in Venice.

The film was shown at the Venice film festival in 1934 where it caused a stir as the first motion picture to include nude scenes.

This year it was selected as the festival’s pre-opening event.

The film was digitally restored by the National Film Archive in cooperation with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival at L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna.

"The Painted Bird" by Czech director Václav Marhoul received the Cinema for UNICEF award from a student jury. The award is traditionally given to the film that best addresses children's rights issues.

Czech soccer team loses to Kosovo

The Czech soccer team lost Saturday’s qualifier against Kosovo 2:1, complicating its chances of advancing to the 2020 Euro Championship.

The Czechs were the first to score with Patrik Schik hitting the net in the 15th minute, but Kosovo quickly turned the game around as Vedat Muriqi levelled and Mergim Vojvoda scored the winning goal in the second half.

Kosovo is now top of Group A with 8 points, while the Czech Republic is second with six points. It next faces Montenegro on Tuesday.

Weather forecast

Monday should be overcast with rain and day temperatures ranging from 14 to 18 degrees Celsius.