The Czech industrial sector grew by an annual 8.6 percent in July, up from 8.3 percent recorded in the previous month, according to figures released on Monday by the Czech Statistics Office. The value of new orders annually increased by 17.6 percent in that month. The growth was fuelled by the country’s automotive industry which grew in July by 46.6 percent compared to the same month last year.
The Czech police have arrested 11 people suspected of having trafficked 1.5 kg of methamphetamine to Austria over the last three months, the head of the national anti-drug police unit, Jakub Frydrych told reporters on Monday. The group operated from the north Bohemian town of Teplice where Vietnamese nationals produced the drug; Czech smugglers transported the illicit substance to Austria where they sold it to local drug dealers. Five members of the group are Czech citizens, Mr Frydrych said.
The national unemployment rate remained at 7.4 percent in August, the same figured registered in the third consecutive month, according to figures released by the country’s Labour Office on Monday. More than 535,000 jobs seekers were registered in that month. The jobless rate stagnated despite the fact that there were nearly 55,000 vacancies in August, some 14,000 more than in the same month previous year. The Labour Office expects that unemployment levels will stagnate or rise slightly in the coming months due to the arrivals of graduates to the labour market and the end of seasonal labour.
The coalition ANO party would win around 25.5 percent of the vote, 5.5 percent less than two months ago, according to a new poll by the TNS Aisa agency released on Sunday. The senior coalition Social Democrats would come in second, with 17 percent, followed by the Communist party with 13.5 percent of the vote. The centre-right TOP 09 and Civic Democrat parties would also pass the five-percent threshold to enter the lower house, as would the Christian Democrat and Dawn parties.
Heavy storms are likely to hit western and southern Bohemia on Sunday afternoon, meteorologists have warned, adding that torrential rain might flood low-laying places such as basements and cellars. A supermarket in Tachov, in western Bohemia, had to be evacuated and closed after rain flooded the roof of the structure, the local fire brigade said.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek will later this month travel to Baghdad and the Kurdish capital Erbil to discuss his country’s shipments of ammunition for the Kurdish forces, Mr Zaorálek told Czech TV on Sunday. The Czech government will supply ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles and machine guns, hand grenades as well as anti-tank rockets, in total worth over 40 million crowns. US military aircraft will help transfer the material to Iraq, Mr Zaorálek said.
President Miloš Zeman is not planning to host an official party marking his upcoming 70th birthday, a spokesman for the president said. A small number of the president’s relatives, friends and collaborators are to attend a private party at the presidential retreat in Lány several days before September 28 when the president turns 70, the spokesman said. However, a concert by Prague Castle guards band might be held for those who wish to congratulate the president.
Several cities in the Czech Republic and abroad including Brussels, Oxford, Plzeň and Hradec Králové are looking to unveil Havel’s Place memorials dedicated to the late Czech president Václav Havel, the news website lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. The memorial sculpture in the form of two chairs and a table around a linden tree was first unveiled in Washington in 2013, followed by Dublin, Barcelona and Prague. Installations of the monument are overseen by Prague’s Václav Havel Library.
An artistic project exploring the impact of the 1620 Battle of White Mountain will begin with an ecumenical service in Prague on Sunday. Entitled White Mountain 2014, the project seeks to revive a debate on the significance of the battle which occurred in November 1620 on the outskirts of Prague. A clash between Protestant and Catholic forces on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War, the battle is seen as a key moment in Czech history, having cemented Habsburg rule of the Czech lands for nearly three centuries. Organizers said a grave of soldiers killed in the battle will be temporarily rearranged as part of the project which runs until November.
Some 17,000 people saw an open-air performance of the opera The Devil and Kate by Antonín Dvořák’s in Prague on Saturday. Performed by the ensemble of the National Theatre and Prague Chamber ballet, the opera was staged at an amphitheatre in Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve in the capital north-western outskirts. Operas were first performed there in the early 20th century, and the tradition was revived in 2005.
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