Nobody has been in contact with the Czech state in connection with the five Czech citizens who went missing in Lebanon on Saturday, the country’s foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, said after a meeting of the government’s Crisis Committee on Tuesday. Mr. Zaorálek said the government had no information with regards to the whereabouts of the five, adding that they could now be in another country. Their personal belongings were found in a taxi near the border with Syria and it has been reported that the driver of the taxi was a man whose brother is in detention in the Czech Republic on suspicion of links to terrorism. Lebanon’s police and army have launched a search for the missing Czechs, who local press said were two journalists, a lawyer, an interpreter and a senior security official.
Public service workers in the Czech Republic will get a pay rise in November, the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said after a meeting with trade union leaders on Tuesday. The size of the salary increase will be discussed in mid-September. Mr. Babiš said he was in favour of a 3 percent rise already agreed but union head Josef Středula said he would be pushing for a higher increase. Last November teachers, fire fighters, police officers and other public service employees got a 3.5 percent pay rise.
The current drought in the Czech Republic is the worst in 12 years, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Streams and underground waters have been affected and the situation is likely to get even worse in view of the fact that heavy rains are not forecast for the near future, meteorologist Jan Daňhelka said on Tuesday. All parts of the country have been similarly affected by the drought, though the situation is worst in South Moravia and Polabí in Central Bohemia, he said.
The first part of a new “D” line of the Prague Metro system should go into operation in 2022, according to a decision taken by the city council on Tuesday. The line – which will feature driverless trains – will at first run from Pankrác to the as yet unbuilt Depo Písnice station in the south of the city before being extended later. Work is set to begin on the multi-billion crown project in three years’ time.
MP Věra Kovářová says she is drafting legislation that would force the president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář to reveal his assets. The TOP 09 politician said the dubious origin of Mr. Mynář’s property was the reason he had failed to acquire the security clearance required to fully carry out his work and that this represented a risk to the state. Mr. Mynář previously provided a property declaration for 2013 that was criticised for containing little information.
Fire fighters have brought a forest fire near the village of Mikolajice in the Moravia Silesia Region under control after over 15 hours. A spokesperson for the fire service said officers would remain in place to complete work extinguishing the blaze, which broke out in a difficult to reach spot on Monday and spread to an area of 25 hectares. Damage has been estimated at CZK 6 million. The cause of the forest fire has not yet been established.
Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg and the leader of the centre-right TOP 09 may step down as party leader or decline to run in a party congress in the autumn, the financial daily Hospodářské noviny suggested on Monday. According to the daily, TOP 09 is considering possible candidates to lead the party should he leave. Mr Schwarzenberg, who is 77, ran unsuccessfully for president in 2013, losing to Miloš Zeman. In the government of then-prime minister Petr Nečas, he was outspoken on human rights and other issues and has continued in that vein in the opposition.
The 5th Prague Pride festival will culminate with a traditional carnival parade in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community on Saturday, August 15, the festival's spokeswoman Bohdana Rambousková told ČTK on Monday. On August 10, the festival's opening concert will showcase the talents of the Austrian bearded "lady" Conchita Wurst, winner of the Eurovision song contest, and Czech singers Aneta Langerová and Jaro Smejkal. Like last year, the event began at the city's Wenceslas Square and end in the Letná Park where a music festival will be held. Organisers expect around 10,000 people to take part in the parade.
The Czech Republic’s tennis players will face India in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs in mid-September in a tie to decide which country remains in the elite group. The draw for play-offs was made in London on Tuesday. The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup twice in the last three years but were knocked out in the first round this season by France.
The Prague Black Panthers have become Czech American football champions for the third season in a row after beating the Příbram Bobcats in the Czech Bowl final at the capital’s Eden Stadium on Monday evening. The Black Panthers lifted the title after a 52:13 win over the Bobcats, who they also defeated in last year’s final. The Prague club were formed with the 2012 merger of the Panthers and the Black Hawks, who between them had won the Czech Bowl 14 times.
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