Czech Radio opened its doors to the public on Saturday giving people a chance to view the process of live broadcasting, pre-recording of children’s stories and minute plays and meet with popular radio personalities. Guided tours are available between 9 am and 5 pm and the public is being invited to view a collection of historic radio receivers or visit the radio store to buy recordings of successful radio plays or concerts by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Beekeepers in the Louny region report loosing thousands of bees in the past week and have voiced the suspicion that this may be due to an as yet unidentified chemical spray that was used on fields in the vicinity. The company that farms the crops has denied any connection saying it had applied a standard spray commonly used in the area. The Veterinary Office has taken samples of the crops and the matter is being investigated. If dangerous toxic substances were used in the area the firm would face a steep fine and possibly lose its state subsidies.
The D1 highway between Prague and Brno had to be closed to traffic in both directions for close to an hour shortly after midnight on Saturday due to a runaway horse. The horse reportedly bolted from a stationary van. The van was transporting two horses and because one of the animals had become increasingly nervous the accompanying vet opened the door to apply a tranquilizer. In the meantime the other horse got away.
Doctors have issued health warnings in connection with the ongoing heat wave which is affecting central Europe. Temperatures in the Czech Republic are around 30 degrees Celsius and are expected to rise further hitting 35 degrees on Tuesday. Elderly people and chronically ill people suffering from diabetes and heart disorders are at heightened risk and are being advised to stay out of the sun and increase their intake of fluids.
A new poll released by the STEM agency suggests that the popularity of ANO leader Andrej Babiš has continued to increase. The survey found that 66 percent of respondents viewed the businessman turned politician positively. The ANO movement clinched its first success last year, finishing a close second in its first Parliamentary elections. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický finished second in the survey, and Social Democrat Minister for Human Rights Jiří Dienstbier, third. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was fourth and the leader of the controversial Dawn Party, Tomio Okamura, fifth.
Prague city councillors decided on Friday that Mayor Tomáš Hudeček will oversee a team looking into the problematic multipurpose Opencard; a contract on the licensing of the card, used by Prague residents primarily as a metro pass, is due to expire this month. The city has been unable to reach a new deal with the company eMoneyservices which owns the license. It is possible that card owners who have pre-paid months ahead will have to queue up for a paper replacement before a new system is approved in a new tender.
The Foreign Ministry on Friday presented its Gratias Agit awards to those who have worked to promote the good name of the Czech Republic internationally. Among the recipients this year are renowned Polish film director Agnieszka Holland, fashion designer Blanka Matragi, and WW II veteran Otto Pick. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek presented the awards at Černín Palace. The Gratias Agit awards have been presented annually since 1997.
The head of the Pirate Party in the Czech Republic, Ivan Bartoš, resigned as leader on Friday, along with deputy leaders Lenka Wagnerová and Michal Havránek. On facebook, Bartoš – who intends to stay on as a regular member – made clear he was accepting political responsibility for the party’s failure to get a candidate elected to the EP in recent European elections. The Pirates finished not far below the five percent threshold with 4.8 percent. With the exception of a half-year break, Bartoš led the Pirate Party since 2009.
Police are investigating whether a 64-year-old man should be added to the death toll from the so-called methanol scandal. A preliminary analysis suggests that the man from the Kroměříž area could be the 49th victim of toxic spirits but a final autopsy will determine whether that is the case. In spite of dismantling the gang believed to be behind the methanol affair, police say that around 2,000 litres of contaminated spirits are still unaccounted for. Many methanol producers bosses and victims came from the south-eastern Zlín region.
The interim director of Šumava National Park, Pavel Hubený, has halted a number of projects greenlighted by his predecessor Jiří Mánek, writes Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes. According to the newspaper, the projects in question could clash with protection of the environment aims. Projects shelved included the construction of a cabin at Plešné Lake for tourism purposes or the construction of a new observation tower at Polom. In all, the shelved projects would have cost a total of 400 million crowns. The interim head of the national park said some of the projects lacked construction permits or had not been assessed for potential impact on the environment. Some projects will go ahead such as the repair of the lookout tower at Poledník.
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