News Politicians slam Okamura for populist statement
Politicians across the board have denounced last week’s statement by Dawn party leader Tomio Okamura that the hundreds of Romanies who died in the Lety concentration camp were not Holocaust victims as shameful and populist. Mr. Okamura said in an interview for Parlamentnilisty.cz that the term concentration camp was highly misleading since Lety was a camp for people who avoided work and the Romanies who died in it died of old age or illnesses they developed as a result of their migratory lifestyle. The minister for human rights, Jiri Dienstbier, said Mr. Okamura should apologize and retire from politics, while TOP 09 deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek described his words as “disgraceful, bordering on the criminal”. Mr. Okamura’s statement has evoked outrage across the political spectrum, and has also elicited criticism from the head of state. It is being linked to the autumn Senate and local elections with Mr. Okamura attempting to attract votes at any cost.
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ANO would come first in general elections with 33.5 percent of the vote, suggests an opinion poll conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television. Coalition leaders the Social Democrats would come second with 14 percent, indicates the survey conducted last month. The Civic Democrats placed third in the poll, with 9 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the right-wing party. They were followed by the Communists on 8.5 percent and the Christian Democrats with 7.5 percent.
Gabriela Koukalová came first in a pursuit event in the Biathlon World Cup in Sweden’s Oestersund on Sunday. Koukalová, who is 27, took the lead after her first shooting round and finished eight seconds ahead of second-placed Laura Dahlmeier of Germany. The Czech lifted the Crystal Globe for overall first place in the Biathlon World Cup last year under her maiden name of Soukalová.
The great Czech rock guitarist Radim Hladík has died at the age of 69. The one-time Prague Conservatory student was a member of the mid-1960s Prague band The Matadors with his friend Vladimír Mišík before the two later founded their best-known group, the jazz-influenced Blue (later Modrý) Effect, which Hladík led following Mišík’s departure. Radim Hladík relaunched Blue Effect in 2004 with younger musicians in 2004 and the group continued to perform until recently.
A Czech Railways train is to be named after Jiří Menzel, director of the Oscar-winning film Closely Observed Trains. The Prague to Beroun line will bear the filmmaker’s name from December 11, when a new annual timetable is published. Mr. Menzel is the first living person to receive such an honour, a spokesperson for Czech Railways said. At present 169 train lines are named after famous people or geographical phenomena, such as composer Antonínem Dvořákem or Mount Říp, and the list will be expanded by around 30 with the new timetable.
It should be partly fair on Monday with temperatures of around 0 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will rise toward the end of the week, when rain and snow are expected.
Air pollutant emissions levels were breached on around 40 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic last year, in large part due to extremely warm weather that led to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and particulate benzo(a)pyrene, iDnes.cz reported on Sunday, citing an annual Ministry of the Environment report. However, the study found that the environment had not deteriorated, despite economic growth that led to increased construction work and energy consumption.
A painting by Czech 20th century painter Jan Zrzavý has sold at auction in Prague for almost CZK 13 million. Field on Ile de Sein II became the second most expensive work by the artist in the sale held by the Dorotheum auction house. Zrzavý’s painting was well received at a 1934 exhibition organised by Czechoslovak arts association Umělecká beseda before also finding success at an international show in Brussels the following year.
The Czech cabinet will on Monday consider a list of 29 political parties that the Ministry of the Interior has said should be barred. The government may call on the Supreme Administrative Court to halt the activities of such groupings as National Democracy, Alternative for the CR and Citizens.cz. The court could also order the dissolution of 13 parties whose activities it has currently suspended. In May the Chamber of Deputies proposed that 81 parties that had not made public full financial reports for the previous year be ordered to cease operations.
Around 500 people demonstrated in central Prague on Saturday against a freshly introduced system under which businesses’ sales are relayed to an online taxation database in real time. The Wenceslas Square gathering was organised by the Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers and two other groups. The association’s chairman,, described the system – the first part of which went into full effect on Thursday – as instrument of state despotism and spying on business people. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš says it will curb tax evasion.
The leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has called on socialists across Europe to unite and take on the rising threat from the far right during a speech in Prague. Speaking on Saturday at a Party of European Socialists conference hosted by the Czech Social Democrats, Mr. Corbyn said populist "siren voices" offered the wrong solutions. He warned that the populist right often identified the correct problems, but their solutions were “the toxic dead ends of the past”. The PES conference comes to a close on Saturday.