The government has agreed an extra 300 million crowns will be earmarked next year to help tempt foreign filmmakers to make films in the Czech Republic. This year 500 million has been allocated to bring in the foreign film companies but 2015’s budget has been raised to 800,000. The incentives allow companies to reclaim up to 20 percent of the cash spent on film making in the country. The fund was created following warnings that filmmakers were shunning the country in favour of more generous venues.
The US ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, is set to leave the Czech Republic in August, Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday, quoting a diplomat at the city’s American embassy. Mr. Eisen has been in the post since January 2011 and will be replaced by Andrew Schapiro, a lawyer with Czech roots. President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Schapiro, whom he knew at Harvard, in March. However, he is one of over 30 ambassadorial nominees currently being blocked by Republican legislators; he may not be approved until next year, following elections to Congress in November.
Czechs Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová are set to play one another for a place in the final at Wimbledon. Kvitová, who won the tournament in 2011, reached the last four after a 6-1 7-5 defeat of another compatriot, Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, on Thursday. Šafářová has reached this stage in a Grand Slam competition for the first time in her career after a 6-3 6-1 win over Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova. The last time two Czech female players got to the last four in a Grand Slam tournament was at the French Open in 1986, with Hana Mandlíková and Helena Suková. Kvitová or Šafářová will play either the German Angelique Kerber or Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in Saturday’s final.
The Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon after defeating Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-3 on Tuesday. Šafářová, who is seeded 23rd, shed tears of joy after her win, which she described as the greatest moment of her career to date. In the semi-finals she will play one of two compatriots, 2011 winner Petra Kvitová or Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová. The Czech women have had an unusually successful Wimbledon and are now guaranteed to have a player in the final.
The Olomouc supreme state attorney’s office has filed an objection over a case involving the abuse of the military intelligence service. It contends that a suspended sentence handed to Jana Nagyová for ordering intelligence officers to spy on the now former wife of Petr Nečas – who was then prime minister and Ms. Nagyová's boss and is today her husband – was excessively lenient. The state attorney’s office also objects to the dropping of charges against another defendant. The arrest of Ms. Nagyová was one factor in the fall of Mr. Nečas’s centre-right government in June last year.
The Czech police have charged five people with the illegal transfer of money out of the Czech Republic, mainly to Asia, a spokesperson for the force’s anti-corruption unit said on Tuesday. The amount involved has been put at over CZK 10 billion over four years. Detectives say that the money transfer was connected to the sale of goods on Asian markets that the accused did not pay tax on. The five, who police say used front companies based in Cyprus, are also accused of money laundering. The case is linked to the previous charging of 25 Czechs and Vietnamese in May last year.
Nine more galleries and museums in the Czech Republic have been given a virtual online presence through Google Cultural Institute technology. Prague’s Kampa Museum and the National Gallery were already accessible via the system, which puts institutions’ collections online as well as creating virtual tours of the spaces in question. They have been joined by the Václav Havel Library, Prague’s Jewish Museum, the Moravian Gallery in Brno and six other institutions.
The international organisation Mental Disability Advocacy says violent methods continue to be used in psychiatric care in the Czech Republic. In the 10 years since the group’s last report little has changed, it said, with metal cages on beds in mental hospitals merely being replaced by nets. In addition, leather straps are used to subdue patients. The Czech League of Human Rights has called for an end to such practices. However, psychiatrists say the report has been taken out of context, the Czech News Agency reported.
Czech gross domestic product grew by 2.9 percent year on year and 0.8 percent quarter on quarter in the first three months of this year. The revised figures, released on Tuesday, are higher than a previous estimate published four weeks ago. The growth rate was the highest since the 2008 financial crisis. It has been attributed to rising domestic and foreign demand, particularly from Germany, and a very low base last year.
Czechs are a relatively feminist nation, suggests an international opinion poll by the Ipsos agency quoted by the Czech News Agency. Some 66 percent of Czech men surveyed said they definitely agreed or tended to agree with the statement “I am a feminist, i.e., somebody who defends and supports equal opportunities for women”. The figure for Czech women was 65 percent. Only the Italians ranked ahead of the Czech Republic in the survey, which was carried out in 15 states earlier this year.