Daily news summary

Prague 6 authorities order Konev statue to be covered up

The Prague 6 authorities have ordered that the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev be covered up and hidden behind scaffolding.They say it is the easiest and cheapest way of protecting it against vandalism.

The controversial statue has repeatedly been vandalized with spray paint in the past, most recently on the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, sparking controversy between Prague and Moscow.

The local authorities in Prague 6 have been pushing for the statue to be moved to the grounds of the Russian embassy in Prague, and refused to clean it up when it was last sprayed with red paint, saying the act reflected the feelings of the public.

Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. Although he helped liberate the country from Nazi oppression, he was also involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Czech Gripens on mission to protect airspace over Baltic states

Five Czech Gripen fighter jets departed on a NATO mission to protect the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Friday. The Baltic states do not have supersonic jets of their own, and allied members take turns defending their airspace.

Czech pilots will be deployed at Amari base in Estonia until the end of the year, and undertake the mission in cooperation with alliance members Belgium and Denmark.

State to spend 580 million crowns on reconstruction of Hotel Thermal

The state has earmarked 580 million crowns for the reconstruction of Hotel Thermal which traditionally serves the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Finance Minister Alena Schillerová told reporters on Friday.

The reconstruction of the state-owned hotel and adjacent swimming pool should be concluded by 2021.

Minister Schillerová said the aim was to preserve the hotel’s original appearance as far as possible.

Fire at Lovosice chemical plant causes extensive damage

Firefighters have managed to put out a fire raging on the grounds of the Losovice chemicals factory since Thursday afternoon, the ctk news agency reported early on Friday.

Three fire-fighters were injured in the blaze. A team of experts will investigate the cause of the fire as soon as conditions allow. Preliminary damage has been estimated at 40 million crowns.

The main factory hall, with around 300 employees was not damaged.

Hundreds attend concert celebrating 30 years of freedom

Hundreds of people attended an open air concert in Prague’s Wallenstein Gardens commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on Thursday night.

The event featured the Prague Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Jan Kučera, which performed Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and singers Jaroslav Hutka, Aneta Langerová, Michael Kocáb and the group Spiritual Quintet with songs reminiscent of the heady days of the Velvet Revolution.

The concert, called Velvet Voices, was the first of a series of concerts and cultural events celebrating the return of democracy to the country 30 years ago.

Czech bass baritone Plachetka launches new CD

Bass baritone Adam Plachetka launched his new CD Winter Journey on the roof of Prague‘s Lucerna Palace on Thursday.

The CD comprises 24 songs by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert and was recorded live at Plachetka's May concert in the Rudolfinum, where he was accompanied by pianist Gary Matthewman. It will start selling in September.

Opera buffs can also look forward to Plachetka’s first concert in Prague’s 02 Arena in January of next year.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius.