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Hamáček wins vote of confidence among Social Democrats leadership

The broader leadership of the Social Democrats has given its backing to chairman, Jan Hamáček, who came under pressure following poor results for the party in recent Senate and local elections. Mr. Hamáček – who took the helm in March of this year – had asked to face vote of confidence at a party meeting in Hradec Králové; nobody raised their hand against him in Saturday’s poll, though three delegates abstained.

The Social Democrats’ second in command, Jiří Zimola, had also asked to have his position put to a vote of confidence on Saturday but in the end it did not take place.

Freedom Fighters reward Communist MP and 1989 riot squad member Ondráček

The Czech Union of Freedom Fighters has presented a medal to Communist Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček, who beat up demonstrators while a member of a Communist riot squad in 1989, iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. During a ceremony on Thursday Mr. Ondráček was presented with a medal inscribed “For the homeland and for freedom” by the chairman of the group Jaroslav Vodička, himself a one-time collaborator of the Communist-era secret police, the news website said.

The Czech Union of Freedom Fighters comprises World War II freedom fighters, their family members and supporters. It has faced criticism over the fact that members served the pre-1989 security services.

Minister wants to make it harder to appeal road projects

The minister of transport, Dan Ťok, wants to speed up road and motorway projects by deterring people from launching multiple appeals against them, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The ANO appointee proposes that a fee of CZK 50,000 be attached to each objection – if the appeal is rejected, the petitioners would lose the money.

Mr. Ťok said this measure would ensure that people would only file appeals if they had a specific reason for doing so. He says environmental groups are currently bogging down the construction process by making many objections simultaneously.

However, lawyers have questioned the proposal. They say some associations or individuals would effectively lose to right to appeal against road building decisions as doing so would become economically unfeasible.

Smog alert declared in much of Moravian Silesian Region

A smog alert has been declared in much of the Moravian Silesian Region. The greatest concentrations of pollution have been measured in the Ostrava, Karviná and Frýdek-Místek areas.

The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has warned that it may become necessary to also impose temporary restrictions on some industrial facilities in the region.

The Moravia Silesian Region is frequently beset by smog in the winter months.

Injured soldier to return from Afghanistan on special flight

A Czech soldier who was seriously injured in a bomb attack in Afghanistan will be brought home on a special flight next week, Czech Television reported. The patient, who is suspected of having damage to his spinal cord, is currently in an induced coma.

The soldier was among six Czechs caught up in a suicide bomb attack at the US Bagram Base in Afghanistan on Wednesday. Four others were also injured but they have all since been released from hospital.

Drug overdose number for last year down on previous figures

Ninety-two people died of drug overdoses in the Czech Republic last year, according to data issued on Saturday by the Institute for Health Information and Statistics. The previous year 94 people lost their lives in that way, while in 2015 the figure was 104.

Another 128 deaths in the Czech Republic in 2017 were attributed to the influence of illegal drugs or medications. Twenty-five people took their own lives using medicines and 27 did so via drugs.

Czech Indian summer over as autumn arrives

The Indian summer that the Czech Republic has been enjoying recently is now over, meteorologists say. Next week daytime highs are not expected to exceed around 11 degrees Celsius while rain is also forecast. The information comes from a regular four-week outlook issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Friday.

Temperatures are expected to decline further in the second half of coming four-week period. However, they will be in line with long-term averages for the time of year, forecasters said.

Weather forecast

Sunday should see bright spells and some rain in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs of up to 12 degrees Celsius. The following week should see similar weather, although with temperatures dropping to around 8 degrees Celsius by next Saturday.