The ninth annual Hrady.cz music festival, which travels to eight mediaeval Bohemian and Moravian castles, kicks off on Friday at the Točník castle in central Bohemia. This year the festival’s line-up includes the band Kryštof, the signer-songwriter Tomáš Klus, Aneta Langerová, Pipes and Pints, and others. The festival concludes at the Moravian castle Bouzov at the end of August.
Lucie Svěcená, a 15-year-old Czech swimmer, has set a new national women’s 100-metre butterfly record. She finished the race in 59.73 seconds at the Junior European Championships in Poland on Friday, becoming the first Czech woman to cover the distance in less than one minute. 18-year old Czech swimmer Jan Micka took two gold medals at the championships when he finished first at 400-metre and 1,500-metre free style.
All 14 ministers in the freshly sworn-in Czech government have assumed their posts. On Thursday, Dalibor Štys took over at the Education Ministry, said he would not go ahead with a reform of the university system planned by his predecessor unless it gets sufficient political backing. The government officials inducted into office on Thursday included Minister of Labour and Social Affairs František Koníček, Justice Minister Marie Benešová, Health Minister Martin Holcát, and others.
The police on Thursday charged a third person in connection with last weekend’s anti-Roma rally in the southern city of České Budějovice, a police spokesman said. A 20-year-old man faces charges for assaulting a police officer with a glass bottle. Another two people were charged earlier this week for hurling stones and assaulting officers. The police also said they believe the organizer of the previous anti-Roma rally in České Budějovice broke the law when he called on participants to walk on a local housing estate where some Roma families live.
Jailed MP David Rath will not be allowed to participate in a lower house vote on the dissolution of parliament, a court in Prague has ruled. Mr Rath, who was arrested in May 2012 on corruption charges, asked to be allowed to take part in the vote, which is scheduled for July 17 and would trigger snap elections if passed. Mr Rath’s attorney said his client wanted to support the motion.
The authorities have discovered antibiotics in a shipment of Polish chicken meat, a spokesman for the Czech Veterinary Administration said. In total, 1,200 kg of tainted meat has been ordered off the shelves. The authorities said most of the meat had already been distributed to shops in eastern Bohemia.
The Czech Banking Association on Thursday cut its economic forecast for 2013. It now predicts an 0.8 percent contraction of the country’s GDP, down from the 0.2 percent the association predicted in April. The report cites an unexpected drop in GDP in the first quarter of this year as the main reason for the revision; however, the authors said the economy should start recovering moderately towards the end of the year when quarter-on-quarter growth is expected.
The EU’s Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the Czech Republic had failed to meet its obligations arising from an EU railway directive. The court criticized the maximum fees set by the Czech Finance Ministry for using railway infrastructure, as well as a lack of incentives for the infrastructure’s operator to cut costs. Under EU law, the Czech authorities are obliged to implement the findings as soon as possible or face penalization.
Senator Tomio Okamura has filed a criminal lawsuit against the Czech branch of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. Mr Okamura accused the group of breaching the law by conducting unauthorized business activities and providing inaccurate financial reports. The senator also said TI sponged off public funds. Last year, the watchdog criticized Mr Okamura over non-transparent financing of his presidential campaign.
The air forces of 19 NATO members are set to take part in the annual Ramstein Rover exercise held in the Czech Republic in September, the Czech Army said. This year, the exercise will focus on practising cooperation of tactical aircraft and helicopters with forward air controllers, with a view to fulfilling their tasks in NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the army said.