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Communist chief: Protesters against Ondráček appointment “not democrats”

Communist Party chairman Vojtěch Filip says he does not understand the reasons for a planned demonstration against the election of Zdeněk Ondráček as chairman of the lower house committee that oversees the General Inspectorate of the Security Services, which investigates police crimes. Now a Communist MP, Mr. Ondráček was a member of a police riot unit that beat protesters in 1989.

Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, Mr. Filip said Mr. Ondráček’s critics were not democrats and did not respect the rules of civic society. The Communist Party leader also said that more dramatic police interventions than in 1989 had taken place, including against people protesting at an IMF conference in Prague in 2000.

Mr. Filip said he didn’t see “anything bad” about the 1989 clampdowns as it was necessary “for people to feel safe and for the police to function”.

A demonstration against Mr. Ondráček’s appointment is planned for 19:00 on Monday on Prague’s Národní St., where the violent quelling of a demonstration on November 17, 1989 sparked the Velvet Revolution.

Poll suggests ANO would outdo October victory in fresh vote

ANO would have received 33 percent if elections had been held in February, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the Kantar TNS agency for Czech Television. Andrej Babiš’s party, who currently occupy a government in resignation, got just under 30 percent in the last elections in October.

The survey indicates that the Czech Pirate Party would climb to second on 12.5 percent. The Social Democrats would do slightly better than in October, while the Civic Democrats, Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Communists would do worse.

Neither TOP 09 or the Mayors and Independents would achieve the minimum 5 percent needed to get back into the lower house, the poll suggests.

Doctors groups want Ukrainian medics to undergo tests

Czech doctors groups say conditions are too lax for medics from Ukraine coming to the Czech Republic under a government programme to bring in qualified workers from abroad, Czech Television reported on Sunday. They are calling for the thorough examination of the Ukrainians’ certificates and for the imported doctors to undergo local tests.

The Czech Ministry of Health agrees that the Ukrainian doctors’ qualifications should be examined more closely, Czech Television said. However, the ministry has no plans to change the system of examinations or to do away with the scheme, as the Czech doctors groups have demanded.

Skater dies when ice breaks on dam

A man drowned when the ice gave way while he was skating on a frozen reservoir in Central Bohemia on Saturday. He was one of a three people who were skating on the Orlík Dam when the ice broke shortly after 3 pm, sending all of them into the water. The police managed to save two of them but could not find the third.

The police have warned people not to go skating on frozen bodies of water in the coming days as temperatures rise after a freezing spell.

Markéta Davidová becomes junior world champion in biathlon pursuit

The Czech Republic’s Markéta Davidová has become the junior world champion in biathlon 10 kilometre pursuit. In Sunday’s final she finished just ahead of Poland’s Kamila Zukova, who had beaten her to the gold in the biathlon sprint at the competition in Estonia on Saturday.

It was the last time that Davidová, who is 21, was competing in the Junior World Championships.

Maslák again takes world indoor crown in 400m

The Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslák has won the 400 metres at the World Indoor Athletics Championships for the third time in succession. The 27-year-old had come third in Saturday’s final in the UK’s Birmingham but was awarded gold when the first and second placed finishers were disqualified.

Maslák’s compatriot Tomáš Staněk took bronze in the shot put in Birmingham.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Monday with daytime highs of up to 3 degrees Celsius. Temperatures should climb through the week to reach 10 or 11 degrees Celsius next weekend.