The 84th edition of the Jiráskův Hronov amateur theatre festival got underway in the North-eastern Bohemia town of Hronov on Saturday. Said to be one of the world’s oldest theatre festivals, it will feature 41 productions of various kinds, from experimental theatre to puppet shows, and over 100 performances between now and next Saturday. It is named after the locally born novelist Alois Jirásek, who was nominated four times for the Nobel Prize for Literature before his death in 1930.
August should be hot in the Czech Republic, though temperatures are not expected to exceed 29 degrees Celsius, according to a four-week forecast released on Saturday by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Precipitation levels should be average, but local differences in rainfall will be marked due to the likelihood of storms. The first week of the month should be the warmest and the last week the coolest, the forecasters said.
A man in Ostrava has turned in part of an anti-tank cannon under a general amnesty on illegally held weapons. The man brought the upper part of the Czechoslovak produced weapon, which weighs more than 250kg, to the Ostrava police’s weapons and dangerous materials department, a spokesperson for the force said on Saturday.
Lukáš Černohorský has been elected chairman of the Czech Pirate Party at a congress in Prague. Mr. Černohorský has to date been the head of the political party in the Moravian Silesian Region. He replaces Ivan Bartoš, who stood down in June after the Pirate Party did poorly in elections to the European Parliament the previous month. The grouping, which champions the free sharing of information and internet privacy, has no seats in either chamber of the Czech Parliament.
Fresh charges have been filed against the former director of Prague’s Na Homolce hospital, Vladimír Dbalý, and his onetime deputy, Michal Toběrný, Lidovy noviny reported on Saturday. The two, who were already under investigation for manipulating a CZK 57 million digital medical records tender, have now been charged with demanding a kickback in connection with the CZK 140 million purchase of a Leksell Gamma Knife in 2009. Some estimates put the amount paid at around a third more than the normal price in other countries, Lidovy noviny said.
The javelin thrower Vítězslav Veselý is not taking part in this weekend’s national championships in Ostrava due to injury but should be fit in time for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in just under two weeks’ time, his manager said on Saturday. Veselý, who is 31 and is trained by javelin legend Jan Železný, took gold at the 2012 European Championships.
Most areas of the Czech Republic will be hit by storms on Sunday, the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has warned. Some of the storms will be heavy, with hailstones and gales expected. Flash floods may occur in some areas. The storm warning applies for Bohemia from 10AM to 8PM on Sunday and for Moravia from 1PM to 11PM.
The disappearing foam spray used in football’s World Cup in Brazil will also make its debut in Czech first and second division matches from September. The head of the Czech referee’s committee, Dagmar Damková, confirmed the news to Czech Television on Friday. She said deliveries of the foam spray to make sure players keep the required distance during free kicks were being awaited from Argentina. Damková has been lobby for the innovation for the past six years. English, Italian, and Spanish leagues will also now be using the foam spray.
The state budget was in credit to the tune of 4.5 billion crowns at the end of July compared with the 1.5 billion crowns in the black recorded at the end of June, the Ministry of Finance announce on Friday. The figures are a reflection of the recovery of the Czech economy and the higher revenues pouring into government coffers and lower spending on unemployment and social benefits. Even so, the monthly budget figures were still negative up to the end of May. Last year at the end of July the budget deficit was 27.6 billion crowns. The government has targeted a deficit ceiling of 112 billion crowns for 2014.
Czech government and opposition politicians have agreed to continue discussions about the shape of a new civil service law on Monday. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he was willing to talk about the modalities of the new law but not the principles. The government conceded Thursday and agreed to open up discussion with the main opposition parties TOP 09 and Civic Democrats about the changes they want to see in the proposed framework. Some of their main demands centre on the top official tasked with managing the new civil service. Prague is under heavy pressure from the European Commission to put in place a new law creating an independent and de-politicized civil service as the last EU country to have such a code. The lower house of parliament will convene again next Friday.