Daily news summary


Politicians criticise Zeman over planned 1968 anniversary silence

A number of Czech politicians have criticised President Miloš Zeman’s decision not to speak in public in connection with Tuesday’s 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact states. TOP 09 chairman Jiří Pospíšil said Mr. Zeman was neglecting his constitutional duties in not taking part in events marking such a momentous anniversary for the country.

Pirates’ leader Ivan Bartoš said he was not surprised by the president’s “sad” announcement in view of his worldview. The Civic Democrats’ Petr Fiala said it said a lot about Mr. Zeman himself.

The president’s spokesman said the head of state had been brave in 1968 itself and that was worth more than a thousand speeches five decades later.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the chairs of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies will speak at a ceremony marking the anniversary at Czech Radio on Tuesday.

Police request lifting of immunity of Communist MP Ondráček

The police have asked the Chamber of Deputies to lift the parliamentary immunity of Communist Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček so that he can face prosecution. No official reason has been given for the request but the news website Novinky.cz reported it concerned comments made by Mr. Ondráček about Michal Horáček when the latter was a candidate for president.

Mr. Horáček said on Twitter that Mr. Ondráček had falsely accused him of being a secret police collaborator and illegal money changer during the communist era.

The lower house’s Mandate and Immunity Committee will consider the police’s petition on September 5.

Funeral of second of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan takes place

The funeral of Kamil Beneš, who was one of three Czech soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan earlier this month, has been held. The minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, and the chief of staff of the Czech army, Aleš Opata, were among hundreds who attended the funeral mass in Hluboká nad Vltavou on Thursday morning. The service was preceded by a military flyby.

Corporal Beneš’s fellow soldier Martin Marcin was buried earlier this week. The funeral of the third of the slain soldiers, Patrik Štěpánek, will take place on Friday.

Billionaire Sehnal to run for mayor of Prague

Billionaire Pavel Sehnal has announced that he will run for the post of mayor of Prague in municipal elections later this year, Novinky.cz reported on Thursday. Mr. Sehnal is chairman of the Civic Democratic Alliance, a grouping founded in 2016 that has the same name as a right-wing party that was active in the 1990s.

The new Civic Democratic Alliance, which has no presence in Parliament, is running candidates in local elections in several cities and towns. In the capital it has teamed up with some independents to run under the banner Beautiful Prague.

2018 Letní Letná new circus festival now on in Prague

The 15th edition of the Letní Letná festival of new circus and mime got underway in Prague on Wednesday evening. The event began with a free outdoor show entitled De Nova Stella and featuring members of various groups directed by Daniel Gulko.

The festival, which takes place on Letná plain, will continue until September 2.

Fire alerts again in place as hot weather continues

Meteorologists have again issued warnings of increased likelihood of fires in most parts of the Czech Republic. In the coming days they will take effect in all regions of the country, except South Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia, in view of the continuing hot, dry weather.

A number of such alerts were cancelled earlier this week following heavy rainfall.

Weather forecast

It should be mainly sunny with temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius in the Czech Republic on Friday. Daytime highs are set to remain at around 30 degrees Celsius for much of the next week.