Dozens of people atteneded a demonstration at the Old Town Square in Prague on Saturday against the acceptance of refugees into the Czech Republic. A counter-demonstration in support of refugees and against xenophobia and racism took place at the same time at Prague's Palacký Square. Police have detained one speaker at the anti-immigration rally but no further incidents were reported.
Miroslav Lidinský was elected new chairman of the Dawn Party, the smallest party in the Czech Chamber of Deputies. Mr Lidinský, a war veteran from Afghanistan, replaces Dawn's founder Tomio Okamura, who left the party in May after the party's breakaway lawmakers expelled him from their parliamentary group. The populist party has also changed its official name from Dawn of Direct Democracy to Dawn-National Coalition and chose a new logo, a lion's head wearing a crown. The party currently has 155 members and nine representatives in the Chamber of Deputies.
Czech president Miloš Zeman will not attend this year's annual conference on the Greek island of Rhodes, organised by Russian oligarch Vladimir Yakunin, the Czech news sites Dotyk and iDnes reported on Friday. Last year, the Czech President came under criticism for a speech he has given at the event, in which he denounced sanctions against Russia and said the conflict in Ukraine was a mere “flu” compared to the threat of Islamic terrorism. Vladimir Yakunin, who is a close associate of Vladimir Putin, has himself been targeted by US sanctions. Accoring to iDnes, this year's Rhodes forum is to be attended by former Czech president Václav Klaus.
Members of several Czech NGOs met with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in the seat of the exiled Tibetan government in Dharamsala on Friday to convey him best wishes from Czechs on his 80th birthday. The members of the delegation, including the head of the Václav Havel Library Marta Smolíková and former environment minister Martin Bursík, have given the Dalai Lama a tea cup designed by Czech designer and Václav Havel's friend Bořek Šípek. The Tibetan leader has also accepted an invitation for next year's Forum 2000 conference in Prague, which he has previously attended on several occasions.
Meteorologists have declared a smog alert in several regions of the Czech Republic, mainly in Prague, central Bohemia, south Moraviea and in the region of Ústí nad Labem. The situation is caused by a high concentration of tropospheric ozone linked to the extremely hot weather. Senior citizens, small children and those with chronic breathing problems were advised to avoid strenuous activities outdoors during the hottest parts of the day. The smog alert is likely to stay in place until Sunday, when temperatures should cool down a little.
Prague rescue services have been called to a number of cases related to carbon monoxide poisoning this week, as the unusually high temperatures caused leaks from boilers and other gas appliances. A 60-year old man died on Friday and several other people had to be taken to hospital throughout the week. Rescue services say the problem is caused by low atmospheric pressure combined with high temperatures, and urge people to ventilate their homes properly and set up alarms to detect the odourless gas.
Temperatures around the Czech Republic continue to break records. According to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute August 7th was the warmest day of the year with the highest temperature recorded in Husinec-Řež near Prague where it reached 39.3 degrees Celsius. Temperature records were broken at 135 out of 140 monitoring stations around the country. The highest temperature ever recorded in the country was 40.4 degrees Celsius in the town of Dobřichovice on August 20th 2012. Saturday temperatures are expected to reach similar values.
Czech canoeist Kateřina Hošková won second place in the final of the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Seu d'Urgell in Spain on Saturday. The 30-year-old Czech finished seven seconds behind Australia's Jessica Fox. It is the second World Cup medal for Hošková in this season.