Google has started offering users in the Czech Republic its Google Play music download service. The service supports streaming music to desktop browsers, Android phones and tablets and any other device that can use the Adobe Flash platform. According to Google, there are hundreds of free songs in Google Play and millions available for purchase. Clients can also subscribe to Google Play Music All Access, a music streaming platform that is available for 149 crowns a month.
Up to 80 domestically produced documentary films should receive cinema releases in the next 12 months, according to a presentation by the Czech Film Centre and the Institute of Documentary Film. The latter’s website features an online catalogue of some 80 films in various stages of production that should come out by September 2014. Among the directors preparing new documentaries are established names such as Filip Remunda and Linda Jablonská.
An exhibition linked to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the soft contact lens, Otto Wichterle, has got underway at the Academy of Sciences in Prague. The famous Czech chemist, who was born in Prostějov, South Moravia on 27 October 1913, produced the first contact lenses in the early 1960s on an apparatus made from a Merkur children’s building kit. The Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (CSAS) sold the patent to an American company and actual mass production of contacts began in the US. Wichterle himself became head of the CSAS after the Velvet Revolution.
Viktoria Plzeň will be without David Limberský for around six weeks after he sustained a thigh injury in a Czech league game at the weekend. The full back, who is 29, has been ever-present during Plzeň’s Champions League campaign this season and the club will be hoping he is fit for at least their final two group games. The West Bohemian team are currently in Moscow for a Champions League match against CSKA on Wednesday.
The women’s 400 metres hurdles world champion Zuzana Hejnová has been included on a shortlist of candidates for the IAAF Athlete of the Year Award. The Czech, who was undefeated in the 2013 season, is one of 10 names on a list that will be whittled down to three in a poll of people active in the athletics field. An expert panel will then choose the winner with the name announced at a gala event in mid November.
Jailed Belarusian human rights’ activist Ales Bialiatski is historically the first winner of the Vaclav Havel human rights prize, the Council of Europe announced on Monday. The prize is awarded jointly by Parliamentary Committee of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation. Ales Bialiatski who heads the Minsk-based Viasna Human Rights Centre was selected out of 27 candidates for his tireless efforts in defending human rights in Belarus. He is currently serving a 4.5 year prison sentence for alleged tax evasion.
The Czech Republic has officially proposed deploying troops as UN peacekeepers in the disputed Golan Heights. According to Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek the country could send some 150 soldiers whenever needed, but the nearest term is in 2015. The UN has meanwhile expressed interest in deploying Czech helicopters in its peace missions in Sudan and Mali. The deployment of Czech troops would have to be approved by the country’s new Parliament which will emerge from October’s general elections.
The Czech Republic's foreign debt grew by 45.3 billion crowns to over 2,02 billion in the second quarter of this year, accounting for 53.1 percent of gross domestic product, the Czech National Bank said on Monday. Year on year, the foreign debt was 97.5 billion crowns higher. Foreign liabilities with an original maturity of more than one year accounted for 74.6 percent of debt liabilities. External liabilities of the corporate sector accounted for 48.7 percent of the total external debt. The private sector is responsible for 46.1 percent of the long-term external debt, while public sector liabilities account for the rest.
The Supreme Audit Office says it has found irregularities in the financing of the Road and Motorway Directorate. The institution apparently violated the law on public tenders by splitting a large tender into seven smaller ones and spent a disproportionate amount of money on lawyers’ services. In the course of the last 3 years the Directorate paid 360 million crowns for lawyers and in some cases the services provided did not correspond to the agreements signed. The Supreme Audit Office also says the RMD allowed employees to use company cars for their own private use.
The two strongest parties of the former centre-right government coalition have lost approximately one million voters since the last general elections in 2010, according to a comparative analysis of opinion surveys conducted by the Factum Invenio polling agency. According to the results half a million former Civic Democrat voters have changed allegiance in favour of Andrej Babis’ ANO 2011 party and others will vote instead for the Christian Democrats and Tomio Okamura’s Dawn of Direct Democracy. TOP 09 stands to lose around 240,000 former supporters in favour of left-wing parties, due to dissatisfaction with the former government’s austerity measures.