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30-06-2019

PM Babiš: If Social Democrats were to leave the coalition it would mean early elections

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said that if the Social Democratic Party, which makes up half of the rulling government coalition with his ANO party, were to quit, the result would be early elections. The statement was made during a weekly political debate show on Czech Television. It comes after a hectic week of sharp statements made by the Social Democrats and the President, who have clashed over the latter's unwillingness to accept the resignation of Social Democrat Culture Minister Antonín Staněk.

The party's leader Jan Hamáček said that the country is on the edge of a constitutional crisis on Thursday, pointing to the fact that the constitution states the president recalls government ministers after receiving the request from the prime minister. However, the Castle points to the fact that the constitution does not state a specific deadline for the president to do so. Rumors of an increasing amount of Social Democrat politicians favouring an exit from the government has led media to speculate what the outcome of such an action could be. President Zeman said that it would merely lead to the replacement of Social Democrat ministers, with support for the government guaranteed by the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which is currently in opposition. Mr. Babiš, also said on Sunday that he does not expect the Social Democrats will leave the government.

Last Czech Air Force training mission leaves Iraq

After three years of service, the Czech military's air advisory team has finished training Iraqi forces in the use of Czech made L-159 attack jets. The last training unit returned home on Saturday evening, the Czech News Agency reports, citing the press office of the country's general staff. The Czech Air Force is set to continue supporting its Iraqi counterparts, but in a more limited function.

The Iraqi Air Force ordered its first L-159 jets in 2014. They were used successfully in combat against the Islamic State.

Plíšková wins Eastbourne International ahead of her Wimbledon start

Czech world no. 3 Karloína Plíšková confirmed her excellent form on grass this year after she beat former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the Eastbourne International final 6-1 and 6-4 on Saturday. Ms. Plíšková, who has already won three WTA titles this year, dominated the game, achieving an early 4-0 lead in the first set and scoring twice as many winners as unforced errors during he match.

Yet to win a grand slam, she will start this year's Wimbledon tournament against Chinese player Zhu Lin on Monday.

ANO still in the lead but with a significant dip in preferences, June poll shows

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's ANO party, which is currently the strongest political faction in Parliament and a member of the ruling government coalition, is still the most popular party in the country, at least according to a poll conducted in late June by the agency Kantar on behalf of Czech Television. At 25.5 percent of the vote, ANO has a seven point lead ahead of the second placed Pirate Party with 18.5 percent. The centre-right Civic Democrats are in third place with 13 percent, followed by the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which the poll showed has 8.5 percent of the potential vote. Hovering along the 5 percent threshold needed to get into Parliament are the Social Democrats (6.5 percent), the Mayors and Independents (6 percent), the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (5.5 percent), TOP 09 (5 percent) and the Christian Democrats (4.5 percent).

While ANO is still in the lead, the June poll shows the party's preferences registered the largest decrease since 2016. However, the party also has the most loyal voter base, with 92 percent of ANO voters saying they would vote for the party again in the next elections. Kantar also asked voters if they are happy with the current political situation in the country. Around one-third said they are, a decrease compared to previous months.

Butterflies disapearing from Czech countryside, scientists warn

Scientists warn that butterflies are disappearing form the Czech countryside, largely as a result of intensive agriculture. For some, the problem is as serious as climate change. Speaking to Czech Radio Plus, biologist David Storch from he Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University warned against the effects of the ongoing rapid decrease in biomass in the Czech countryside. He cited a recent study conducted in Germany, which found that in the past 27 years, the country's insect population has gone down by three-quarters. He said that this is mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitats, such as pastures and wetlands as agricultural fields increase in size.

According to Mr. Storch, the current effects are the results of agricultural expansion which started already during the 1960s and 1970s.

Open fire ban in Prague and Central Bohemian Region

Prague City Hall and the Central Bohemian Region called a temporary ban on open fires across the capital and in specific nearby high risk areas on Saturday. The ban is the authorities' reaction to warnings from meteorologists, who say the recent spell of very hot and dry weather could lead to the uncontrolled spread of fires. Woods, fields and areas with straw deposits are particularly at risk. Prague City Hall spokesman Vít Hofman did not give a specific end date to the ban. While meteorologists expect a lowering of temperatures next week, it is unlikely there will be any episodes of heavy rainfall.

Smoking, the use of pyrotechnics and paper lanterns is also banned in high risk areas.

Weather

Next week temperatures will hover around 25 degrees Celsius. While storms are expected to break out on Monday, meteorologists do not expect much rainfall. The rest of the week will see sunny weather and open skies with occasional clouds.

30-06-2019