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Slovak president cancels Forum 2000 address in Prague due to illness

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová will not attend the Forum 2000 international conference in Prague, where she was to deliver a speech on Monday, due to health reasons.

She was due to be one of the main speakers at the 23rd Forum 2000 Conference, which began on Sunday afternoon, and this year focuses on the legacy of democratic change since 1989, climate change, and social changes brought about by new technologies.

The conference was co-founded by the late Czech President Václav Havel. Its primary aims are the support of democratic values, civil society and respect for human rights. This year’s theme is “Recovering the Promise of 1989.”

President Čaputová had also wanted to visit Prague to pay her respects to the late Czech singer Karel Gott and actress and Charter 77 signatory Vlasta Chramostová, both of whom died earlier this month.

Poll: PM’s ANO party at 30 pct support, partner Soc Dems at 5 pct threshold

PM Andrej Babiš’s ANO centre-right party would gain 30 percent of the electorate if a vote were held in September, according to a poll by the Kantar CZ agency for Czech Television.

The opposition Pirate Party and Civic Democrats (ODS) would gain 15.5 percent and 14.5 percent of the vote, respectively, the poll shows.

The largely unreformed Communist party polled at 6.5 percent, the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) at 6 percent, the Mayors and Independents (STAN) at 5.5 percent.

Polling at the 5 percent threshold needed to enter the lower house of Parliament were the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and ANO’s junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (ČSSD).

The recently former Tricolour party of former ODS MP Václav Klaus Jr., the son of a former President, polled at 3 percent.

Government to discuss Czech EU Presidency draft budget

The cabinet is due on Wednesday to discuss the draft budget and staffing levels for the Czech Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2022 of the Presidency.

Early this year, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) requested that the anticipated expenditures of 2.6 billion crowns be halved. The current draft counts on spending 1.29 billion crowns over four years.

Several ministers have raised objections ahead of the Cabinet meeting, including Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats). He said the projected budget and proposed staffing levels are insufficient.

Neighbouring Austria and Slovakia, for example, each had over 200 staff for their EU presidencies, whereas the government is counting on having just 156 people at the permanent representation in Brussels.

190-km Czech pilgrimage path links mythical mountains of Říp, Blaník

A new 190-kilometre long ‘pilgrimage’ path linking two mountains with mythical status in Czech history – Říp and Blaník – has been opened by the Cesta Česka (Czech Way) association and the Czech Tourists Club.

Říp Mountain is where legend has it that Father Čech decided his people would settle in Bohemia. An army of knights are said to sleep under Blaník Mountain, ready to defend the nation if called upon.

Cesta Česka chairman Jindřich Chmelař told the ČTK news agency that taking the journey is an opportunity to learn about oneself.

The pilgrimage path starts in Louňovice pod Blaníkem, passes through Český Šternberk, Sázava, Kouřim, Sadská, Stará Boleslav and Mělník. Each hosts centres that offer pilgrimage maps and Pilgrim’s diaries.

Rents in Brno, Pilsen grew faster in Q3 than in Prague

The year-on-year growth in average rental prices grew faster in Brno and Pilsen than in Prague in the third quarter of 2019, according to data compiled by the portal idealninajemce.cz.

In the most popular category of rentals, 2+KK flats (two rooms and a kitchen corner), rates stagnated in the Czech capital at CZK 16,500 per month on average while rising in Brno by 3.8 percent (to CZK 13,500) and in Pilsen by 9 percent (to CZK 10,900).

In the 3+KK category, rental prices in Prague increased on average by 2.1 percent (to CZK 24,000), in Brno by 5.9 percent (to CZK 18,000) and in Pilsen by 15.3 percent (to CZK 15,000).

Czech Radio’s ‘Project 68’ reconstructing Soviet invasion wins Prix Europa

Czech Radio’s ‘Project 68’ series, commemorating the events of the Prague Spring and the Soviet-led invasion, has won the Prix Europa for best European digital audio project.

Throughout 2018, it commemorated the watershed year with projections, concerts, conferences, a multimedia mobile game and reports and documentaries broadcasted on Czech Radio’s flagship Radiožurnál and other stations.

The Prix Europa jury appreciated the unique documentary reconstruction of the events from the night of 20 to 21 August 1968, when Warsaw Pact troops crossed into Czechoslovakia.

Project leader Ondřej Suchan, the editor-in-chief of Radiožurnál, said absolute historical accuracy was the basis of success. Czech Radio plans to repeat a reconstruction of broadcasting in May of the Battle of Radio, from 1945.

ČNB: One-third fewer counterfeit banknotes, coins detected in Q3

The Czech National Bank (ČNB) seized 985 counterfeit and altered banknotes and coins in the third quarter of 2019, a drop of 35 percent year-on-year.

The number of counterfeits decreased in Czech crowns, Euros and US dollars. Most counterfeit coins and banknotes were in Czech crowns, totaling 527.

The number of counterfeit euros fell to 356 from last year's 519. For dollars, the number of counterfeits fell to 49 from last year’s 115.

Weather outlook

Monday should be warm and sunny, with average daytime highs of between 19 to 23 degrees Celsius.