The authorities have declared a state of emergency in four places in western and northern Czech Republic as heavy rain continues to swell rivers. The highest degree of flood alert has been declared in Srbská Kamenice, Stankov, Nová Huť and Benešov nad Ploučnicí where a retirement home has been evacuated. Meteorologists warn that waters levels will continue to rise through Saturday night and Sunday as more rain is expected, mainly in the western and northern parts of the country
Prague City Hall has taken additional anti-flood measures on Saturday as the Vltava River in the capital reached the first flood alert degree. The authorities ordered that flood barriers be erected to protect Prague’s Old Town as well as the district of Zbraslav in the south. On Friday, sections of the embankment were closed in the centre of the capital. All boat traffic on the river in Prague will halt by Saturday night.
The police have charged eight people with corruption over the reconstruction of the National Stud Farm in Kladruby, a subsidiary of the Czech Agriculture Ministry. On Friday the police raided the farm as well as other places in eastern Bohemia and the capital. Prague’s high attorney, Lenka Bradáčová, said the people were charged with corruption in public procurement and harming the financial interests of the EU.
A funeral was held in the southern Czech city of Brno on Saturday for four members of a family killed last week, allegedly by an American national who is in US custody. Dozens of relatives and friends attended the funeral in a church in Brno’s district of Řečkovice, the ČTK news agency reported. A US man identified as Kevin Dahlgren, a relative of the family, is suspected of the murders; the Czech police believe he killed his victims with a knife before fleeing to Vienna and boarding a US-bound flight. He was arrested upon arrival in Washington, DC, last Thursday. The Czech authorities are yet to file an extradition request.
A constitutional amendment which takes effect on Saturday strips Czech lawmakers of life-long immunity from prosecution. The legislation was passed earlier this year, after numerous failed attempts in the past. The authorities are now only allowed to prosecute MPs and senators provided an approval of the respective chamber of Parliament. However, if the lower house or Senate vote against the prosecution of their members, they can be prosecuted after their mandate expires.
Sony Music will close its Czech subsidiary, Sony Music Entertainment Czech Republic, in the coming weeks, after 23 years on the market, the news website borovan.cz reported. No official reason has been released but it has been speculated the Czech market was too small for the firm to maintain a branch. The move comes at a time when Sony Music closes down its Budapest branch as well which managed the offices in Prague. Sony Music had some 20 percent share of the Czech market, and represented some best selling artists such as Daft Punk, Depeche Mode and the popular Czech singer songwriter Tomáš Klus.
A species of north American insect, known as azalea sawfly, has been registered in the Czech Republic, possibly the first country in Europe, the State Phytosanitary Administration said. The authorities warned growers of azaleas of the insect which can cause serious damages to the plants’ leaves, and asked them to report any occurrences of the sawfly.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová lost to Jamie Hampton from the US 1-6, 6-7 in the third round of the French Open on Saturday, and has been knocked out of the tournament. The US player stunned the seventh seeded Czech who made a number of errors and didn’t really get into the game. Kvitová was the last Czech player left in this year’s singles at the French Open.
Viktoria Plzeň beat Hradec Králové 3:0 in the final round of the Czech Gambrinus liga to claim the league title. The game was decided by Plzeň’s early goals which in the 1st and 10th minute, and another one three minutes into the second half. Sparta Prague beat Dukla 3:0 to finish in second place, two points behind the champions. Last season’s winners Liberec came in third. Plzeň, which won the league for the second time in two three, have secured a spot in the Champions League’s second qualifying round next season.
The Czech Finance Ministry will temporarily ease austerity measures; instead, it will use government spending to stimulate economic growth, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday quoting the ministry’s fiscal outlook. The ministry expects this year’s deficit of Czech public finances to drop to 2.8 percent of GDP from 4.4 percent in 2012; in the following years, the deficit should remain at similar levels. The ministry therefore believes it will be able to use government spending to stimulate economic growth. According to the latest predictions, the Czech economy should stagnate this year, and grown by around 1.2 percent of GDP in 2014.