If elected, the Civic Democrats will help the under 30s to buy their first home and make it easier for them to start their own business, party leaders said at the official launch of their manifesto on Wednesday. Acting leader Martin Kuba also said that they would focus on middle class voters and described the Civic Democrats as the only authentic right-wing party. They had been the dominant party on the right in the Czech Republic for two decades but have slipped behind TOP 09 in the opinion polls. Elections are scheduled for the last weekend of October.
The recently formed Liberal Environmental Party headed by one-time Greens chairman Martin Bursík have decided not to stand in next month’s election. In a statement, the party said they did not wish to split the centre-right vote in the poll. A representative, civic activist Matěj Hollan, told the Czech News Agency that the Liberal Environmental Party, which came into existence just two weeks ago, did not have enough time to prepare the kind of campaign that would win them seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The party is not backing any other groupings.
The Social Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman, Lubomír Zaorálek, says Prague should have a “more balanced and just” policy toward Israel. The Czech Republic is regarded as one of Israel’s strongest supporters. Speaking on Wednesday, Mr. Zaorálek said his country’s approach had not always been balanced in recent years and that it was necessary to have relations with the Palestinians. He also raised doubts over possible participation in a UN mission at the Golan Heights by Czech soldiers. The Social Democrats are expected to form the next Czech government.
The population of the Czech Republic fell slightly in the first half of this year, according to official figures released on Wednesday. There were 10,512,900 people living in the country at the end of June, just over 3,000 fewer than at the end of 2012. The population of the capital Prague had also dropped marginally, to 1,246,176 at the end of the first half of the year.
A court in Costa Rico on Tuesday sentenced a British man to 25 years in prison for the murder of a 22-year-old Czech woman in the country in 2011. Alfred Saunders was found guilty of stabbing the woman to death in her tent on an eco-farm near the border between Costa Rico and Nicaragua. He had confessed to the killing prior to the trial.
The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival is having financial problems and has had to apply for emergency funding, the news website Lidovky.cz reported on Wednesday. The festival has applied for grants of CZK 1 million from the Jihlava Region and the city of Jihlava, where it is one of the biggest cultural events of the year. If it does not receive the money, it will have to make cuts to its programme, festival director Marek Hovorka said.
A Sumatran tiger has been born at Prague Zoo, according to a statement issued by the zoo on Wednesday. The cub, which was born at the end of July, is doing well, officials said. Members of the public will be able to get their first glimpse of the rare animal when it is placed in a tiger run in November. Renovation work on the zoo’s big cats pavilion, which was damaged by flooding in June, was postponed because of the birth.
An exhibition focused on the Kralice Bible, the first complete Czech language translation of the book, has begun at the National Library’s Clementinum building in Prague. The show is timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the last publication of the Kralice Bible prior to the Battle of White Mountain. It includes earlier translations of the Bible in Czech and valuable documents that have not previously been displayed publicly.
The Czech director Jiří Menzel is preparing to present his latest movie, The Don Juans, on a tour of the United States. The picture will be shown for the first time in the US in Washington on Sunday, with another screening set for the Czech Center in New York next week. Mr. Menzel is also set to be honoured with a special evening in Los Angeles. The Don Juans, which got its international premiere at the Montreal IFF last month, enters distribution in the Czech Republic on September 26.
The captain of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Rosický, has said he will consider retiring from international soccer following the team’s failure to reach the 2014 World Cup. The midfielder, who is 32, was forced off with injury in the first half of a 2:1 defeat to Italy in Turin on Tuesday that made it impossible for the Czechs to take second place in their group and a possible berth in the playoffs for Brazil. Manager Michal Bílek stood down in the wake of the defeat.