News Daily: Czech-owned military helicopters dependent on Russian supplies
A decision by Russia to halt supplies of spare parts for military helicopters, in response to EU sanctions, would impact the Czech military, financial daily Hospodářské noviny writes. Such a move would, for example, eventually ground the military’s fleet of 16 Mi-171s. Citing analysis by the Defence Ministry, the daily reports the aircraft could only operate for six months without a new influx of parts and supplies. The Mi-171s are highly-regarded within the military, otherwise easy to maintain and capable of operating in adverse weather conditions, the only “flaw” being their dependency on spare parts from Russia, the daily writes. To fulfil urgent tasks, the military needs a minimum of 12 helicopters in operation. A short-term solution, in case of a supply halt, would be the "cannibalisation" or taking parts from some of the aircraft for use in others. In the meantime, the military would have to seek Western-made helicopters to replace the Mi-171s.
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ANO, the second biggest party in the coalition government, would have received 27.5 percent of the vote if elections had been held in April, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the TNS Aisa. This would give Andrej Babiš’s party 72 mandates in the 200 seat Chamber of Deputies. Government leaders the Social Democrats would get 18.5 percent of the vote and 48 seats, the survey suggests. In a poll conducted by TNS Aisa in March ANO had one percent more backing and the Social Democrats enjoyed three percent more support.
A series of political gatherings took in Prague on Sunday to mark the International Workers’ Day state holiday. Block Against Islam was one of two groups that held protests against migration, while another demonstration was organised in support of refugees. Several political parties, including the Communists, held events in the capital, while a traditional gathering of anarchists also took place. Police said all of the events had passed off calmly.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says his Social Democrats will propose a 10-percent pay rise for doctors and nurses as a means to averting a crisis in the country’s health care services. Mr. Sobotka made the promise in a May Day policy statement that he presented in the Moravian town of Vyškov. A doctors’ union recently said that if the legal limit on overtime was adhered to there would not be enough doctors to serve patients in the Czech hospitals. The prime minister said his party they will also push for a 10-percent salary increase for teachers.
Veteran pop star Karel Gott is due to undergo stomach surgery in the next fortnight that will conclude his treatment for cancer, his spokesperson told the Czech News Agency. The singer, who is 67, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma towards the end of last year. Bild quoted the multi-million selling artist as saying his convalescence was going more slowly than he had expected; he told the German newspaper that he had trouble breathing and would need to think long and hard about returning to performing.
The second and third weeks of May should be the warmest period of the next month in the Czech Republic, with temperatures reaching around 20 degrees Celsius or more, according to a regular four-week forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Rainfall should be at average or slightly below average levels for May, the forecasters said.
A surveillance camera once likely used by the communist-era StB secret police is still in place on a street light in the Prague district of Vinohrady, the iDnes.cz reported. The news website said there was no doubt the camera was in place prior to 1989. It is the same type used by the StB to monitor the movement of dissidents and foreign diplomats on the streets of the capital. The camera, located at the junction of the streets Libická and Vinohradská, is non-functioning and is likely to be removed.
Viktoria Plzeň have been crowned Czech soccer league champions. The West Bohemians gave themselves an unassailable points lead on second-placed Sparta Prague with three rounds to go thanks to a 2:0 home win over Baník Ostrava on Saturday evening. It is Plzeň’s fourth championship since their first in 2010/2011 and the first time they have lifted the title twice in succession. Saturday’s win was their 16th in a row, which is a new Czech league record.
Czechoslovak Communist leader Ladislav Adamec was a KGB informer, according to the Mitrokhin Archive, a collection of notes by a KGB officer who defected to the UK that is now held at Cambridge University. Under the code name Atos, Adamec, who was prime minister when the Velvet Revolution started in November 1989, figures in a list of KGB informers among the upper echelons of the Communist Party in the then Czechoslovakia, the Czech daily Právo reported on Saturday.
Lucie Šafářová has won tennis’s Prague Open. The Czech second seed overcame Samantha Stosur of Australia 3-6 6-1 6-4 in Saturday’s final in the city’s Stromovka park. It is the seventh WTA title of Šafářová’s career and her first since Doha in February last year. The one-time world number five had previously not won a single match this season after suffering from a serious illness last year.
The average age of apartment buildings in the Czech Republic since their construction or most recent renovation is 52 years, according to figures from the Czech Statistics Office cited by the Czech News Agency on Saturday. Prague has the oldest apartment buildings, with an average age of 61 years. Almost 90 percent of the capital’s residents live in flats, with almost half of the total of 600,000 located in prefabricated “panel” buildings.