Passengers on Prague's "A" line could be the first in Prague's metro network to be able to make or continue phone calls even between stations, news website iDnes reports. According to iDnes, a contract is to be signed next week by the Prague Public Transit Authority which will pave the way for the changes. Operators suggest that the upgrade to the existing infrastructure will take around four months to complete. If the project goes ahead, Line "C" could be next. Making all the tunnels compatible would represent an investment of around half a billion crowns, iDnes reported.
Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek was unable to seal the deal against Ivo Karlovič of Croatia in their quarterfinal in the ATP tournament in Bogota. The Czech led after winning the first set but the match was interrupted by rain. When play resumed, he lost the next two sets. The final score was 6:3, 6:7, 4:6.
President Miloš Zeman, responding online to questions by readers of Parlamentní listy, took the opportunity to outline or repeat his stance on a number of key issues, among them the migration crisis, the euro, financial aid to Greece, and radical Islam. While he took the view that the migration problem was "probably" the greater immediate threat, Mr Zeman reiterated that he would call for a joining of international forces against terrorism at the UN General Assembly meeting in the autumn. On the migration issue, President Zeman said he would support the arrival of a number of migrants from Ukraine, who he not long ago called "hard working" and "culturally close".
Around 200 people took part in a demonstration at a popular park in Teplice on Friday to protest against the presence of visitors from Arab countries who vacation at the local spa resorts or have bought property in the area. Many of the protestors brought their dogs, charging that the park had been taken over by the foreigners, and accusing them of leaving areas in "disarray" or of behaving inappropriately. The event was attended by politician Tomio Okamura as well as members of anti-Islam initiatives and even members of extremist groups, sources reported. Some opponents of the demonstration, such as Teplice councillor Dominik Feri, have called for a constructive dialogue on the issue and for locals to "not allow themselves be manipulated by extremists".
The Czech Environmental Inspectorate and officials from Povodí Labe are working to try and discover the source of unusually high levels of PCB in the river's alluvial plain near Germany, new website iDnes reports. According to the site, levels are considerably higher than normal although water in the river has remained largely unaffected. Across the border, German authorities have also registered a high presence of the substance in the sediment. Polychlorinated biphenyl was used in the past as a coolant but also had many other industrial applications. It is now banned or restricted in many countries.
Police in Hradec Králové are searching for a young man who may have witnessed moments preceding a hold up in the city last month in which two unknown perpetrators targeted a motorist transporting money for a local firm. Video from a CCTV system suggest the potential witness was in the area shortly before the incident. In the hold-up, the duo backed into the targeted vehicle with their own, before jumping out and using a tear gas spray on the driver. They escaped with a reportedly high but undisclosed amount of funds. Their Mitsubishi was found abandoned not far off. Investigators suggest the perpetrators may have had additional accomplices who helped with their escape.
Uherské Hradiště Summer Film School kicked-off on Friday and will be screening dozens of films to the public until August 1. The event, now in its 41st year, boasts a number of special guests including Czech director Juraj Herz, German director Christoph Hochhäusler, and Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki. On the itinerary is an overview of Finnish cinema; screenings of Alfred Hitchcock's early silent films accompanied by live music; and some lesser-known films featuring Czech actor Rudolf Hrušínský. A special "Visegrad Horizon" section will also screen films from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Last year's festival was attended by a reported 6,247 people; organisers say more than 3,000 visitors have already been accredited for this year's event.
Education minister Kateřina Valachová, who assumed her post in June, has reached an agreement with finance minister and deputy PM Andrej Babiš to secure additional funding for education, according to Hospodářské noviny. Under the deal, Valachová will gain an additional four billion crowns, including 800 million for higher education, 250 million for education centres, and 1.5 billion to cover increased pupil numbers at primary schools. The minister told the paper that she had successfully battled against a perception that the increased funds were unnecessary.
Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek announced Friday that he was considering making a personal trip to Beirut, capital of Lebanon, in light of new unspecified information regarding the hunt for five Czechs who went missing in the country last Saturday. The announcement came following a Friday meeting of a government crisis team tasked with coordinating the case. Zaorálek, who said he first needed to verify the new information, also announced that the identities of the missing Czechs would be made public in the next few days, thus enabling police to undertake formal missing persons procedures. The foreign minister also confirmed he had held talks with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil. Investigators in Lebanon reportedly believe the presumed abduction, which occurred in Kefraya in the Beqaa Valley area of the country near the Syrian border, has a criminal component. Two Czech representatives are already in Lebanon assisting with the investigation, Zaorálek also confirmed.
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