The first annual River Film Festival has begun in the south Bohemian town of Písek. The 10-day international film festival, which runs until Sunday week, includes 170 feature films and 150 shorts. Among the special guests are the US film director and former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam. The River Film Festival also features a number of accompanying events, including live music concerts and theatre performances.
Czech industrial output in June fell by 12.3 percent compared to the same month last year, according to preliminary data released by the Czech Statistical Office. That is being seen as relatively good news as it represents the smallest drop in the last six months: in January industrial output fell by 23 percent, while in May it decreased by 22 percent, year-on-year. Analyst Jiří Škop told the Czech News Agency that June’s results were a very pleasant surprise. He said the Czech economy, which relies heavily on the auto industry, was benefiting from car scrapping incentives introduced in export markets. Meanwhile, the president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Petr Kužel, said Czech firms probably had the worst of the financial crisis behind them.
The leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek has called on the
Social Democrats and the party’s chairman Jiří Paroubek to stop using
the methods of the StB, referring to Czechoslovakia’s communist era
secret police. Mr Topolánek made the comments at a news conference in
Prague on Friday that saw his first reaction to newspaper photographs of
him meeting influential lobbyists and business people while on holiday in
Italy. He did not give any direct evidence for the claims and Mr Paroubek
later responded that unfounded accusations were also StB practice. The
Social Democrats deny being behind the pictures.
As for those he was photographed with in Italy, including a lobbyist for the power giant ČEZ, the Civic Democrats leader said such meetings were merely coincidental, as Tuscany was “the new Špindlerův Mlýn”, a reference to a popular Czech ski resort. Mr Topolánek said he did not know who owned the villa he had stayed at and refused to provide receipts to show he had paid for the recent holiday.
Paparazzi-style photographs that appeared this week were provided to the media by a former head of the Czech civilian intelligence agency Karel Randák, who said he wanted to show how things were done in this country. Mr Randák, who the Civic Democrats say is close to the Social Democrats, was fired in 2006 when Mirek Topolánek was prime minister.
The soccer player Patrik Berger appeared for Sparta Prague in a 0:0 draw against Bohemians 1905 on Friday, just weeks after he feared his career was over. Berger said if a knee injury he is suffering from had required surgery he would have had to quit the game. The left-footed midfielder, who is 35, has played for Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Aston Villa, though he has been out a lot in recent years with injury problems.
One hundred and four cases of swine flu have now been detected in the Czech Republic. Nine new cases of the illness were recorded on Friday, the health ministry said. Around ten fresh cases have come to light every day recently and the country’s chief hygiene officer said he expected infection numbers to increase by the hundreds in the coming weeks. Nobody has yet died of swine flu in the Czech Republic and none of the cases detected to date have been regarded as serious.
The American musician Moby was among the headliners at the Sázavafest music festival at Kácov in central Bohemia on Friday night. Around 20,000 people – a record – attended the second of three nights at the outdoor music festival, which has been running for nine years. The British pop singer Jimi Somerville and the German band Die Happy are due to play on the closing night on Saturday.
Fire-fighters Thursday night dealt with an apparent arson attack on a restaurant in Prague’s Vinohrady district. Around 20 people had to be evacuated as flames threatened surrounding apartments and tram traffic on Korunní Street was stopped for a time. Damages are estimated at half a million crowns. The restaurant was closed at the time of the fire
Romanian Roma camping by a lakeside near Prague for the last week have moved to a tract of land offered them by a private owner. The invitation ends a rather tense dispute between the campers, of whom there were originally about 150, and the local municipal office, which has been protesting their stay in an area that is a natural reserve and their mistreatment of the grounds. The group, which now numbers 30, came to Prague from Romania one week ago to support a young relative they call their prince, who nearly drowned while swimming in the Czech Republic. The 17-year-old remains in hospital in critical condition.
The Czech Republic and Poland have agreed to integrate their visa desks at certain consulates outside Europe in order to cut expenses. The foreign ministers of the two countries met Thursday to discuss the arrangement. While the countries will maintain their respective ambassadors in the nations in question, the Czech embassy in Poland said that in practice one ambassador may assume the duties of the other. Austria and Hungary employ a similar system at embassies in certain small countries.
The Prague Stock Exchange reported its best July on record, with Czech shares up 18.66% to 1065.8 points according to the exchange’s primary index, the PX. According to experts, the speedy rise can be put down primarily to investors taking advantage of a jittery and pessimistic mood on the markets. The strongest growth in July could be seen in shares of the coal mining company New World Resources, up 31.9%. The largest company on the market, the ČEZ Group, was up 15.9% to 966 crowns.
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
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New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
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Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur