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Czech PM makes first official visit to Germany

The distribution of refugees remains to be the only problematic issue in the otherwise excellent Czech-German relations, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday after meeting with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in Berlin. Several dozen people gathered outside the German Chancellery in the German capital to protest against Mr. Babiš.

The ANO party leader, who arrived in Berlin for his first official visit of Germany, is also set scheduled to meet with Bundestag president Wolfgang Schäuble. Earlier on Wednesday, he held talks with representatives of several local think tanks and laid a wreath at the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Marked churn seen in municipal election candidates

Around half of the 216,000 people standing in municipal elections around the Czech Republic in October did not stand four years ago, Czech Television reported. Data from the Czech Statistics Office shows that a large number of candidates who ran on the tickets of political parties last time out have chosen to instead stand as independents, the station said.

However, parties have also managed to attract people who didn’t run at all in 2014, with the highest numbers joining the candidate lists of ANO, Freedom and Direct Democracy and the Czech Pirate Party.

Greenpeace testing micro-plastic pollution in Vltava River

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has taken samples from the Vltava River in Prague to measure the level of micro-plastic pollution in the water. The samples will be analysed in a Greenpeace lab in Britain’s Exeter.

The testing is part of a campaign called ‘Plast je Past’ or ‘Plastics are a Trap’, which attempts to eradicate excess plastic packaging. It also appeals to outdoor clothing producers to tackle the problem of micro-fibres, which are released into the water during washing.

Sales of passenger cars up by four percent

Sales of new passenger cars in the Czech Republic in the first eight months of 2018 increased by four percent compared to the same period last year, to 193,252 vehicles, according to figures released by the Association of Automobile Importers on Wednesday.

According to the association, the growth has been a direct result of a change in the exhaust emissions limits, which came into effect in September last year.

The biggest seller in the period between January and August was Škoda with over 59,300 cars, followed by Volkswagen and Hyundai. The Škoda Octavia remains to be the best-selling model, followed its Fabia and Rapid models.

Photographer Kratochvíl leaves agency over sexual harassment accusations

Czech-born photographer Antonín Kratochvíl, who works and resides in the US, has given up his membership in the photo agency VII, which he co-established in 2001, following accusations of sexual harassment.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported earlier this year that the photographer, who worked for prestigious magazines such as Vogue, Rolling Stone and Newsweek, had harassed a number of women. Kratochvíl denies the allegations.

Plíšková loses to Serena Williams in US Open quarter finals

Karolína Plíšková has been knocked out in the quarter finals of tennis’s US Open, the same stage at which she exited the tournament last year. The Czech player was beaten by Serena Williams of the US 4-6 3-6.

Plíšková was the last remaining Czech singles player in the final Grand Slam of the season. This year there were no Czech men in singles action at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 1970.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime highs ranging between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.