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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The amount of drug overdoses in the Czech Republic has experienced a year-on-year decrease, according to the country's Institute of Health Information and Statistics. The Czech Republic is also the EU member state with the lowest rate of overdoses resulting in death. Statisticans registered 89 deaths, around a quarter of which were the results of suicides caused by pill overdose. Other major causes of overdose deaths in the country are through the use of methamphetamine and opioid drugs.
The consolidated profit of the country's third largest company,
Agrofert, sank by 63.5 percent to CZK 1.67 billion in 2018, the
holding's press spokesman Karel Hanzelka told the Czech News Agency on
Friday. He said the main reason behind the decrease in profits are losses
in Agrofert's chemical and food production segments, this mainly due
to reduced performance of the affiliated German bakery group Lienken.
The holding was founded and majority owned by current Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš until 2017, when he agreed to put his shares into a trust fund following the passing of a law that seeked to prevent a possible conflict of interest known as 'Lex Babiš'. However, a recently leaked European Commission preliminary audit found that he still has influence on the company and warned of a possible conflict of interest.