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Overall confidence in Czech economy rose in August

Overall confidence in the economy rose by 0.4 points to 99.1 in August, following a decline in trust the previous month, the Czech Statistical Office said on Friday.

Year-on-year, the composite confidence indicator, or Economic Sentiment Indicator, was also higher.

In month-on-month terms, however, while the confidence indicator of entrepreneurs increased by 0.8 points to 96.9 the consumer confidence indicator decreased by 1.5 points to 110.3.

Zeman to give posthumous White Lion to Antonín Švehla, soldiers slain in Afghanistan

Former Czechoslovak Prime Minister Antonín Švehla will be posthumously awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest distinction given by the Czech state, on October 28, the 100th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia.

President Miloš Zeman announced the award would be given to Švehla during his visit to an international agricultural fair in České Budějovice. He said on he wanted to pay tribute to a politician who, in his day, supported farmers. Švehla had been head of the Agrarian Party and led three governments between 1922 and 1926.

At the centennial celebrations, Zeman is also expected to award two-time Olympic champion Ester Ledecká, former Energy Regulatory Authority director Alena Vitásková, and, also posthumously, three Czech soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan earlier this month: Sergeant Martin Marcin, and Corporals Kamil Beneš and Patrik Štěpánek.

Paroubek’s ex-wife accuses one-time PM of illegal income

The ex-wife of former Czech prime minister, Jiří Paroubek, has accused him of illegally acquiring millions of crowns when he was head of the Social Democrats. Petra Paroubková made the allegations in an interview for Televize Seznam.

For his part, Mr. Paroubek says his former partner is attempting to undermine his chances in Senate elections in October, when he will be standing in the Ostrava constituency as an independent.

Petra Paroubková also said she knew other politicians who had made far higher illegal earnings than her ex-husband.

Fewer first-graders set to enrol in coming school year

The number of first-year students in Czech primary schools is expected to dip this year. In September, about 108,200 children are due to enter the first grade, a drop of about 3,600 students from the previous year, Ministry of Education data show. However, in general, the number of primary school students continues to grow, as the overall population increases.

Hollywood actor Ben Foster to play Czech Hussite leader Jan Žižka

American actor Ben Foster will portray 15th-century Bohemian leader Jan Žižka in an English-language film to be directed by Petr Jákl, who also wrote the screenplay.

General Žižka was an innovative military strategist who led the Czech Hussites in a series of confrontations in religious wars, often beating numerically superior opponents. The biopic film will also focus on his relationship with a local heiress and his face-off against a rival king.

Foster is perhaps best known from the X-men franchise and the indie film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

With a reported budget of 275 million crowns, Jákl’s biopic is set to be the most expensive domestic film since Dark Blue World, about Czechoslovak airmen who served with the RAF during WWII.

Increasing number of insurers plan to use AI, study says

About three-quarters of insurance companies in the Czech Republic plan to begin using artificial intelligence (AI) in some form to partly automate tasks in coming years, according to a study by Accenture.

AI can help insurers determine the appropriate level for premiums and speed up the processing of claims and other standardised procedures, a Czech Insurance Association spokesperson said.

Uherské Hradiště stadium to be named after Olympian Dana Zátopková

As of Sunday, the Uherské Hradiště stadium will bear the name of javelin thrower Dana Zátopková, who won a gold and silver in the summer Olympics of 1952 and 1960, respectively.

She was European champion in 1954 and 1958, the year she set a world record in the event. Zátopková, now 95, was married to long-distance runner Emil Zátopek, who won three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.

Olomouc suffer home defeat to Sevilla in Europa League qualifier

Olomouc suffer home defeat to Sevilla in Europa League qualifier

Sigma Olomouc lost 1:0 at home to Sevilla in the opening leg of a Europa League fourth qualification tie on Thursday evening. The Czech side had managed to hold out until the 84th minute before conceding a goal from Sevilla’s Pablo Sarabia.

The second leg takes place in Spain next Thursday. Sevilla have won the Europa League, the continent’s second-tier international club competition, a record five times.

Weather outlook

Cloudy skies and scattered showers are in the forecast for most of the country on Saturday, with average daytime highs of between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius. Skies should clear somewhat on Sunday, with still rain likely in eastern Moravia.