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Up to 2,000 Serbs to get Czech work permits under new scheme

The Czech Chamber of Commerce is beginning to receive applications for workers from Serbia after the government agreed to speed up the process, Czech Television reported on Sunday. A similar system has been in place for Ukrainians for two years and today over 13,000 are employed in this country. Up to 2,000 Serbs could receive Czech work permits.

The head of the Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, said Serbs could be hired in the automotive industry and others involving trades. The organisation plans to open an office in Serbia itself. The Czech Republic is experiencing a record shortage of workers.

Finance Ministry hatches plan to reduce number of state employees

The Ministry of Finance has produced a plan to reduce the number of state employees in the Czech Republic, iDnes.cz reported. Almost one in every 20 Czechs works for the state and recently President Miloš Zeman criticised the growing “army” of officials, the news site said.

Ministry officials say the plan is not radical and would not lead to many layoffs. However, it is the first such programme in a decade and follows increased hiring by state organisations under previous governments.

Under the scheme unoccupied positions that ministries keep as a back-up – and for which they receive cash from state coffers – would be discontinued. The Minister of Finance, Alena Schillerová, said this could save up to CZK 3.4 billion.

Baroque chateau damaged in fire

A disused Baroque chateau at Horní Maršov in East Bohemia has been damaged in a fire. Fire officers brought the blaze under control on Sunday morning after the roof and a tower had been destroyed. Two fire fighters were slightly injured during the operation.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire at the chateau, which had been in a poor state of repair.

DJ Loutka, major figure on Czech dance music scene, dies at 51

One of the best-known Czech music DJs, DJ Loutka, has died at the age of 51. The death of the dance music scene stalwart, whose real name was Michal Maudr, was confirmed by a representative of Prague’s Roxy club, a venue where he performed regularly.

DJ Loutka began his career at Bunkr, which was one of the leading Prague clubs in the early 1990s. The tabloid news site Blesk reported that he had committed suicide.

Kvitová beaten in semi-finals in Cincinnati

The Czech women’s tennis number one, Petra Kvitová, has been knocked out at the semi-finals stage at the Cincinnati Masters. Kvitová lost 6-3 4-6 2-6 to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands on Saturday for her first defeat in 17 consecutive semi-finals. The Czech world no. six had also been defeated by Bertens a fortnight previously.

Slavia Prague drop points for first time with Jablonec defeat

The Czech football league leaders Slavia Prague dropped points for the first time this season on Saturday. After taking the maximum 12 points in four rounds, Slavia were beaten 2:0 by Jablonec. The home side missed a penalty when the score stood at 1:0.

On Tuesday the Prague side suffered a 2:0 away defeat to Dynamo Kyiv which meant they lost the third qualifying round of the Champions League 3:1 on aggregate.

Weather forecast

Monday should be mainly sunny in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 31 degrees Celsius. Similar daytime highs are expected throughout the week though next weekend should be cooler.