US actor Danny Glover has been added to the list of guests for this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which begins on Friday. Two of the Lethal Weapon star’s movies, Honeydripper and Be Kind Rewind, are being shown at the 43rd festival in the west Bohemian spa town. Other guests confirmed this year are actors Robert De Niro, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Christopher Lee, and directors Nicolas Roeg and John Sayles.
Forty-seven percent of Czechs would be against having a Romany neighbour, according to a new Europe-wide study by Eurobarometer. That puts the Czech Republic alongside Italy as the European Union states where there is most distaste for the idea of a Romany living next door. Ten percent of Czechs said they would see no problem in having such a neighbour, the lowest rate among the 27 members of the EU.
The Czech footballer Tomáš Ujfaluši has signed a three-year contract with Athletico Madrid. The defender, who is 30, was captain of the Italian side Fiorentina but became a free agent at the end of last season. Ujfaluši also captained the Czech national team at Euro 2008, in the absence of the injured Tomáš Rosický.
Ninety-five people died in road accidents in the Czech Republic in June, the highest number for any month this year. Nonetheless, it was lower than the figure for June 2007, when 116 people were killed on the roads. Tuesday marks the second anniversary of the introduction of a points system for Czech drivers. When it came in in 2006 there was a dip in the number of road deaths, though fatality rates later returned to previous levels, more or less.
Despite the fact the Czech government has no target date for adoption of the common European currency, some big companies are already conducting most transactions in euros, Hospodařské noviny reported. Car makers in particular have switched to the euro, the newspaper said, giving the example of Škoda Auto, which does 80 percent of its business in the currency. Some suppliers of car parts are also conducting most of their dealings in euros. Using the euro protects exporters from losses causes by the marked firming of the Czech crown; on Tuesday it set a new record of 23.77 to the common European currency.
The price of cigarettes in the Czech Republic has gone up, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The biggest producer Philip Morris has increased the price of its brands including Marlboro, which now cost CZK 82 for a pack of 20 (USD 5.5). Other cigarette makers are now expected to follow Philip Morris’s lead and charge more for their products. The price increases reflect a tax hike on tobacco products introduced at the start of the year, the newspaper said.
The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, says France will work hard
to persuade the Czech Republic to ratify the Lisbon Treaty during his
country’s presidency of the EU, the Czech newspaper Lidové noviny
reported. Mr Kouchner said Prague would have to be persuaded to ratify the
document, and reiterated France’s position that the failure of Lisbon
would mean an end to further EU enlargement, a policy the Czech Republic
supports. An unnamed French government source quoted by the daily asked
Prague could lead the EU during its presidency next year if it blocks the
rest of the union. The Czech Parliament will not vote on whether to ratify
the Lisbon Treaty until the country’s Constitutional Court answers a
Senate request to consider whether it is in line with the Czech
constitution; that ruling is expected towards the end of the year. The
future of Lisbon was called into doubt after voters in Ireland rejected it
in a referendum.
Meanwhile, France began its six-month EU presidency by opening its labour market to workers from the 10 countries, including the Czech Republic, which joined the bloc four years ago.
A new decree comes into effect in Prague on Tuesday which will see those who drop cigarette ends or chewing gum fined up to 30,000 crowns (nearly 2,000 USD). The decree is part of Prague City Hall’s bid to clean up the capital, but opponents say that the edict has not been properly publicized, and that tourists remain largely uninformed. Police will be given powers to hand out on-the-spot, thousand-crown, fines to those caught littering, feeding the pigeons and not cleaning up the soap suds after washing their cars. As punishment for larger infringements, individuals will be referred to the authorities.
The Czech Republic’s foreign debt rose in the first quarter of 2008 by 137 billion crowns (9 billion USD) year-on-year to 1,354 billion crowns (89.2 billion USD). This figure accounts for 37.4 percent of GDP. The Czech National Bank released the figures on Monday, linking the rise in foreign debt to a rise in the number of short term loans commercial banks had taken out since the start of the year.
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