News ANO party gains momentum, suggests new poll
The ANO party came first in a new survey of voters’ preferences by the STEM agency. ANO would now receive 28.9 percent of the vote and win 72 seats in the 200-member lower house, the highest support ANO achieved in any poll. In October’s general election, the party came second with 18.7 percent. Second in the poll came the strongest party in the house, the Social Democrats, which would win 20.5 percent, the same result it had in last year’s election. The Communists would get 13.3 percent, followed by the TOP 09, Civic Democrat, Christian Democrat and Dawn parties.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Police have confirmed that the damage to a power transmission poll in the Teplice region last Thursday was intentional and was caused by an explosive. Experts are now ascertaining whether the blast was caused by a home- made explosive device and whether there is a potential link to a solar power plant located in the immediate vicinity. No one was injured in the incident.
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac is on a two-day working visit to the Czech Republic. On Friday he is due to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek to discuss the migration crisis, security issues, cooperation with the Visegrad group states and bilateral relations. Minister Kovac’s visit to the Czech Republic reflects his government’s efforts to strengthen ties with the countries of Central Europe.
Police in southern Moravia have uncovered one of the biggest illegal marihuana plantations on Czech territory in recent years. Officers confiscated over 2,000 marihuana plants and over 18 kilograms of dried marihuana intended for the Austrian market. The plantation was allegedly run by a group of foreign nationals from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three people are in detention.
Four-day Freedom Celebrations got underway on Thursday in Pilsen to mark the liberation of the city by the US army in 1945. The event started with a reading of the names of Holocaust victims’ in the city centre on the occasion of Yom Ha Shoah, the day of remembrance of Holocaust victims. This year’s celebrations will offer commemorative meetings, military presentations, concerts, exhibitions, as well as meetings with veterans. A Ride of Freedom, including historical Jeeps with war veterans, will cross the town centre on May 7.
Legendary Czech forward Jaromír Jágr, 44, has signed a new one-year contract with the Florida Panthers. ESPN quoted general manager Dale Tallon as saying Jágr had been a “great fit with the organisation”; the veteran player had 27 goals last season and is 19 points shy of tying Mark Messier’s all-time points record, behind only Wayne Gretzky. Jágr was recently profiled in an article by the New York Times focussing on his extraordinary training regimen; he is the oldest active player in the NHL.
Russian journalist Alexander Kuranov, a Czech correspondent of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, who has been denied accreditation in the Czech Republic, has written a letter to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, asking him to review his case. Mr Kuranov, who has lived in the Czech Republic for nearly 30 years, says he regards the country as his home and claims he has never written anything that would harm its interests. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to extend accreditation to Mr Kuranova and another Russian journalist, allegedly because they are considered a security risk to the country by the Czech counter-intelligence, BIS.
The tabloid Blesk remains the most-read Czech daily newspaper, with over one million readers in the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, according to fresh data released by the publishers’ union on Thursday. The daily Mladá fronta Dnes came in second with 631,000 readers, followed by the daily Sport with 286,000 readers, which has overtaken the left-leaning daily Právo. The survey also found that 64 percent of people aged between 12 and 79 read at least one daily newspaper over a two-week period.
This year’s Tax Freedom Day in the Czech Republic falls on June 2nd, according to the Prague-based Liberal Institute, referring to estimates by the OECD. Tax Freedom Day is the day in the year when the average Czech has earned enough to pay his annual tax bill. This means that people’s entire earnings in the first 153 days of the year will be paid to the authorities, which is the lowest figure since 2000, while anything earned after that is theirs alone. This year, the Tax Freedom Day comes three days earlier than last year, and four days later than the OECD average.
The Minister of Interior Milan Chovanec wants to cancel joint patrols by soldiers and police by the end of the month. He made the announcement on Thursday during the ministry’s conference on terrorism. Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels at the end of March, the government deployed some 550 soldiers to join police patrols at airports, railway stations, selected embassies and other high-risk sites. The minister wants to keep joint patrols in the capital during the European conference on Interpol, which is taking place from May 18 to 20.
Czech children spend on average two hours a day in the outdoors, according to a survey carried out by the Median agency for the foundation Proměny. On weekdays, schoolchildren spend on average an hour and 41 minutes outside, while at the weekends, time spent outdoors increases to two hours and 49 minutes. According to the head of the Proměny foundation, Jitka Přerovská, there are big differences between children as regards their age and their parents’ educational background. Younger children between the age of seven and nine with university-educated parents tend to spend more time outdoors than others.