In Business News: the Czech economy contracts by 1.0 percent in the 1Q, the second-worst result among 19 EU states; the country’s ombudsman slams the government’s social system reforms, saying they have left thousands on the brink of poverty; the price of Czech garlic is set to go up; Czechs are budgeting more carefully and buying less when shopping in supermarkets than in previous years.
Garlic farmers in the Zlín and Litoměřice regions are being targeted by thieves. In a number of cases, perpetrators have entered fields where garlic is grown and stolen the bulbs before the farmers were able to harvest them. Police say that one unknown perpetrator stole 80 kilograms of garlic from a private garlic field, causing damages of around 12,000 Czech crowns. In some parts of Moravia, damages have reached over 40,000 crowns; there, some farmers guard their fields day and night to prevent thieves from targetting them. In the Czech Republic, domestic garlic has been in low supply and currently retails for record prices of up to 229 crowns per kilogram.
During the summer season many towns around the Czech Republic compete for tourists by putting on all kinds of festivals. Some towns have arts festivals of various kinds, while others celebrate all kinds of Czech folk traditions. Food and drink are also common themes, with Trebic for instance holding an annual potato festival. But surely one of the most unusual events of its kind has to be the "festival cesneku", or garlic festival, held every year in the town of Buchlovice in south Moravia.