Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for August 20, 2021

Czech evacuation mission in Afghanistan is over, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival begins, new polling predicts election win for ANO. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.08.2021 09:53 (updated on 20.08.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech evacuation mission in Afghanistan is over, says Babiš

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has declared that the Czech evacuation mission from Afghanistan is over, ending with a third flight by a Czech military aircraft from Kabul to Prague on Wednesday evening. Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek meanwhile said it cannot be ruled out that individual collaborators with the Czech armed forces could still be transported out of Kabul with the help of allies still undertaking evacuation missions. As well as Czech staff, a total of 170 Afghans have been evacuated, and the Czech Republic has successfully transported all those listed for evacuation. Babiš thanked the Czech Ambassador to Afghanistan Jiři Baloun for his efforts, while Kulhánek presented the diplomat with the highest award of the Foreign Ministry. All evacuated Afghans are now in quarantine in compliance with Covid restrictions. Czech charity organization People In Need has meanwhile set up a public fundraising campaign called SOS Afghanistan to provide humanitarian aid in the country, focusing mainly on women and children.

Karlovy Vary Film Festival begins after fans wait in line for hours

The 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) starts today, having been moved from its original July date due to the Covid pandemic. Fans queued for hours to get tickets to the festival, which will feature some of the biggest names in world cinema. Celebrated British actor Michael Caine will receive the Crystal Globe for his extraordinary contribution to cinema at the opening ceremony, while American actor, director and writer Ethan Hawke will receive the President’s Award at the closing ceremony. Johnny Depp will also be welcomed at the festival, where he will present his work as a producer. Oscar-winning director Jan Svěrák will meanwhile receive the President’s Award for domestic filmmakers. The festival will present 32 premieres, including feature films and documentary films.

ANO to win elections with ease, latest poll suggests

The ruling ANO party would win the Czech general elections if held today, according to the latest poll conducted by STEM. The poll indicates that ANO would gain 31.1 percent of the vote, ahead of the SPOLU coalition on 21.7 percent and the Pirates-STAN coalition on 18.7 percent. The other parties with enough votes to enter the Chamber of Deputies would be the SPD, with 11.2 percent, and the Communist Party, with 5.8 percent. The current junior government coalition partner, ČSSD, would only get 4.6 percent of the vote and would therefore fall short of the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament. The poll shows a major surge in support for ANO compared to its position earlier in the summer, and a trading of places by the SPOLU and Pirates-STAN coalition in second and third place. The election is due to be held on October 8-9.

Number of Czechs holidaying in Croatia surpasses last year’s total

Czechs have been flocking to Croatia in huge numbers, and the latest figures from the Croatian Tourist Board show that visitor numbers so far this year have already surpassed last year’s total. 561,000 Czech travelers had entered Croatia from the Czech Republic by mid-August, 41,000 more than made the trip in the whole of last year. It is predicted that at least another 40,000 Czechs will head to the Adriatic nation in September, taking the total number of yearly visitors even higher. Czechs are the fifth most common visitors to Croatia, after Germans, Slovenes, Poles and Austrians. In terms of the total number of nights spent by Czech holidaymakers in Croatia, this year’s figure of 3.6 million is a huge 45 percent increase on last year’s total.

Slavia Prague draw with Legia Warsaw in Europa League qualifier

Czech league champions Slavia Prague drew 2-2 with Legia Warsaw in the first leg of their Europa League play-off qualifier. All of the goals were scored in the first half of the match, with Slavia twice coming from behind to equalize with goals from Bah and Masopust. The second leg of the tie, to be played in Warsaw, will decide which team will qualify for this season’s Europa League competition, which is Europe’s second highest international club competition after the Champions League. Qualification for the Europa League group stage would earn Slavia €3.63 million. Slavia earlier missed out on qualification for the prestigious Champions League after losing 2-1 on aggregate to Hungarian side Ferencváros in the third qualifying round.

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