The price of foodstuffs in the Czech Republic is likely to increase by at least ten percent this year, the president of the country’s Agricultural Chamber Jan Veleba said on a TV debate programme on Sunday. Mr Veleba said world demand for foods would always outstrip production, adding that rapid price rises were also caused by speculators. Czech consumers have seen record price increases; for instance, flour costs more than 50 percent more now than it did last May, while bread rolls, rice, milk and dairy products have all gone up by nearly a third in the last twelve months.
The production of the illegal drug pervitine has moved from the capital to the central Bohemian region, according to a report produced by the Prague police for the city’s Town Hall. The report, which focuses on drugs in the city in 2007, says producers of pervitine are now making the meta-amphetamine outside Prague to lower the risk of detection and then taking it to the city to sell. That said, eleven pervitine making labs were uncovered in Prague last year. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in marijuana growing in the capital, with more and more production in the hands of Vietnamese gangs, the report says. One official said the production of marijuana in the Czech capital was now extremely professional.
Runners from around the world took part in the Prague International Marathon on Sunday. Up to 5,000 runners were expected to sign up for the 14th Prague marathon, which got underway on the city’s Old Town Square at 9am. Unlike during a half-marathon earlier this year, participants crossed Charles Bridge, which is currently undergoing extensive reconstruction. A number of tram lines were diverted and traffic restrictions were in place. The race was won by the Kenyan runner Kenneth Mungara in a time of 2:11:06. The first Czech to cross the line was Róbert Štefko, who completed the race in 2:23:53.
Nearly two thirds of Czechs are opposed to the planned building of a United States radar base in central Bohemia, suggests a fresh opinion poll conducted by the Median agency. Forty-four percent of respondents in the survey said they were definitely opposed to the installation, while 21 percent said they were rather opposed. Four percent were strongly in favour, while 14 percent were rather in favour. The findings of the latest poll are in line with previous surveys. Prague and Washington have reached agreement on the radar base, which would be part of a global missile defence system, though the Czech Parliament is yet to vote on whether to allow US soldiers on Czech soil.
The parents of a nine-year-old boy who went missing a week ago say they fear he may have been kidnapped. Extensive police searches have failed to find Jakub Šimánek, who is from Havlíčkův Brod and was last seen eight days ago. Police have released an identikit image of a man believed to have been in the vicinity of the spot where the boy was last spotted. His parents, who have not been contacted by anybody claiming to be holding Jakub, say they are afraid he could have been taken out of the country or become the victim of sexual deviants.
The Czech Republic beat Belarus 3:2 after penalties in their latest Group E game at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Quebec. That result guarantees the Czechs a place in the next stage of the competition, the quarterfinals. Coach Alois Hadamczik’s team play their last Group E game against Sweden on Sunday.
Former political prisoners have held an annual memorial to the victims of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. The ceremony at Prague’s Motol crematorium culminated with the laying of a wreath at a nearby graveyard. The communist authorities refused to hand over the ashes of those they executed to their families, interring them at unknown and unmarked locations; deputy chairman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners František Šedivý said research suggested the cemetery was probably where many of the victims’ ashes had ended up.
The funeral has taken place of a Czech soldier who died in Afghanistan last week. The soldier was killed in a road-side bomb attack in the province of Logar, where he was serving with a Czech provincial reconstruction team. The Czech defence minister, Vlasta Parkanová, army chief of staff Vlastimil Picek and Chamber of Deputies chairman Miloslav Vlček were among around 500 people who attended the funeral in Uherské Hradiště. The soldier who died was the second Czech soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan: a Czech military policeman died in a suicide bombing in Helmand province in March.
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