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Finance minister ready to atone for Lety comments

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has said he will visit the site of the former concentration camp in Lety, South Bohemia, next week and wants to find the money needed to buyout the pig farm standing on the premises in order to open the way for the creation of a dignified memorial to the Romanies who lost their lives there. The leader of the ruling ANO Party is in hot water after referring to Lety as a work camp for Romanies who did not want to work.

Some 1,300 Czech Romanies passed through the camp between 1940 and 1943; around 330 of them died there, while another 500 were deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The minister later said his words has been taken out of context and apologized "if he had caused offense". Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jiří Dienstbier called on Andrej Babiš to step down and opposition MPs have called for the matter to be debated in the lower house. Prime Minister Sobotka said on Sunday Babiš should distance himself from his unfortunate statement and publicly apologize for it in Parliament.

Pope Francis to receive statue of St Agnes of Bohemia

Pope Francis is to receive a statue of St Agnes of Bohemia as a gift from the Czech state on the occasion of the Holy Year of Mercy. St Agnes is the Czech nation’s patron saint, and she is also a patron of the elderly, ailing and weak and a symbol of God’s mercy. The gift will be delivered to the Vatican on September 10th by a delegation including Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman and leading church dignitaries.

St Agnes of Bohemia was a princess, the daughter of the Bohemian Kings Přemysl I Otakar, but she chose to become a nun and devoted her life to charity. She was canonized by the Catholic Church in November 1989, just days before the beginning of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in the country.

Czech and Slovak cabinets to hold joint session in September

The Czech and Slovak cabinets will hold a joint session in September, Prime Minister Sobotka told commercial TV Prima on Sunday. Apart from bilateral ties ministers will discuss security issues and the idea of a joint European army. The Czech head of cabinet would like to see the idea of a joint European army on the agenda of September's EU summit in Bratislava. The idea also received support from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Slovakia currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

ANO strongly in the lead in popularity ratings

The ANO Party of Andrej Babiš would currently win parliamentary elections with 29.5 percent of the vote, according to the outcome of an August survey conducted by the polling agency AISA. The Social Democrats would come second with 18 percent of the vote and the Communist Party would place third with 11 percent. The opposition Civic Democrats would get 9.5 percent support, TOP 09 6.5 and the Christian Democrats would be on the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house.

Fire guts waste processing plant in Litvinov

A fire devastated a waste processing plant in the town of Litvinov on Saturday night. The fire started in the plants storage area and quickly spread to the processing facility causing damage estimated at 60 million crowns. Firefighters from nine stations fought the blaze getting it under control shortly before midnight. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Red Hot Chili Peppers performing in Prague tonight

The iconic US band Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday night within their world tour to promote their latest album The Getaway. Their Prague fans last saw them perform live four years ago when they performed at Eden Stadium to an audience of 24 thousand. Tickets are still available.

Plíšková, Kvitová make it to fourth round of US Open

Karolina Plíšková beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenko 6:2 6:4 to book a place in the fourth round of the US Open. Pavlyuchenko lost her first two service games of the match, allowing Plíšková to race three games ahead and eventually ease into an opening-set victory. The 11th seed Plíšková has made it into the last 16 of the US Open for the first time. She is now set to play against Venus Williams.

14th seed Petra Kvitová also made it to the fourth round after beating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6:3, 6:4. She will now be taking on second seed Angelique Kerber.