Investigators charged three former members of the Communist-era secret police, the StB, for their role in intimidating or using violence against former Czechoslovak dissidents under Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Among those charged are former officers. All three suspects were investigated in the past; the current charges are based on new evidence.
The Czech Automotive Industry Association has said vehicle production in the first half of the year rose by 11.9 percent to total just over 719,000 vehicles. The growth in production is around twice the rate of 2015. Increases in production covered trucks, cars, buses, and motorbikes. Local sales of cars rose by 8.9 percent in the first half with exports up 6.9 percent. The association says 2016 looks like being a record year for production.
An auction of Prague’s historic Invalidovna complex with a starting price of more 637 million crowns has attracted no bidders. The site was built from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans. The tender on the sale was announced in June and drew protest from university academics who warned that the sale and redevelopment of the site could damage its historic value. Invalidovna was used in a number of key scenes in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece Amadeus.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose in June according to the Labour Office. The bump ended a steady drop in unemployment since February. The rate rose from 5.2 percent unemployment in June to 5.4 percent in July. Since the start of the summer holidays, some 393,000 people have been looking for work – up by around 8,000. At the same time, the number of jobs being offered went up to the highest level in eight years: some 136,000.
In tennis, Czech doubles pairing Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová have created one of the shocks of the Olympics so far by eliminating doubles favourites Serena and Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round of the competition. They polished off the three times US Olympics doubles winners 6:3, 6:4. Prior to that defeat the Williams sisters had only lost three sets in their run of doubles golds. The Williams sisters started the tie brightly taking a two-love lead in the first set but things then started going awry, especially with their serve. Venus is already out of the singles but sister Serena is still on course to defend her singles gold from London.
A biodegradable and washable bag invented by two Czech students will reportedly come onto the Czech market in September. The bag, made from a unique material, is meant as an alternative to one-use plastic bags which negatively impact the environment. The Czech News Agency reported that the designers, who are medical students, launched the project using a crowdfunding campaign; it was funded in just three days.
The former head of the special police squad for combatting organised crime, Robert Šlachta, has accepted an offer to serve as the deputy director of the Czech Customs Administration, the ctk news agency reported. He should take up the new position from September. The Customs Administration is to be given greater powers to tackle VAT tax evasion and other financial crimes. Šlachta resigned as head of the special police squad for combatting organised crime in protest against a major police overhaul which merged the country’ s elite crime fighting units under a single administration.
The 2016 Prague Pride LGBT festival kicks off in the Czech capital on Monday with over a hundred events taking place in different Prague venues – exhibitions, concerts, film screenings and public debates. There will also be a two-day symposium on LGBT tourism attended by experts from the US, Great Britain, Germany and China. The main theme of this year’s festival is the right to love. The week-long event will culminate with a parade through the city centre on Saturday 13 August.
Several dozen people took part in an event commemorating the victims of the communist regime in the hard-line 1950s in the town of Jihlava on Sunday. Eleven people sentenced to death in political trials were executed in the courtyard of the local jailhouse between 1950 and 1952, hundreds of others were jailed and thousands of families suffered at the hands of the regime. The event was organized by Jihlava City Hall, the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters and the Confederation of Political Prisoners.
The third international Barrel Organ Festival is due to be held in Prague on Tuesday. The event will bring together barrel organ players from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Switzerland. Performances will take place on the streets and squares of the city centre and will be free of charge. Some of the most popular locations are Charles Bridge, Kampa Island and Old Town Square.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czech pop music legend Karel Gott dies at the age of 80
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott