The Czech Republic has placed in the top quarter of the 107 countries included in The Economist’s Global Food Security Index for 2013. The country placed 23rd with 72.2 out of 100 points, having been ranked according to three categories –affordability, availability and quality and safety of food. In the overall rating, the United States was in first place, while the Czech Republic’s neighbor Germany was in 12th, Austria in 15th and Poland in 27th place. In the individual categories, the quality and availability of food in the Czech Republic put the country in 26th place.
Jiří Rusnok’s caretaker cabinet has named Radek Augustin head of the Office of the Government. Mr. Augustin is the deputy chairman and the head of the Olomouc branch of President Miloš Zeman’s Party of Citizens’ Rights (SPOZ). He will be replacing Lubomír Poul, who was arrested in June along with the then prime minister’s chief-of-staff Jana Nagyová, as a possible witness to illegal spying. Mr. Poul was later released without charges. Commenting on the current government’s choice for the head of its office, the chairwoman of the lower house of parliament Miroslava Němcová said that it is clear that Zeman’s government is trying to give Zeman’s party all the support it needs for the next parliamentary elections.
A kangaroo escaped from the backyard of its owner on Tuesday night near the north Bohemian town of Lovosice. The owner found a hole in the fence and his pet kangaroo missing on Wednesday morning after being alerted by the police that a kangaroo had been spotted in nearby villages. Although a number of people are reported to have seen the kangaroo named Joey, no one captured him and the owner recruited a friend with a private helicopter to help him look for the animal.
Questions have been raised as to whether the granddaughter of Zdeněk Miler, the creator of the popular Little Mole cartoon character, actually owns the copyright on the figure, Lidovky.cz reported. The news site said that the administrator of the Miler estate, Milena Fischerová, believes Karolína Milerová’s contract to use the rights to the figure is invalid and is having it examined by legal experts. The cartoonist’s descendant currently runs the Little Mole company on the basis of a licence that she says he signed with her prior to his death in 2011. Ms. Milerová, who is in her mid 20s, has refused to make the document public.
The population of the Czech Republic could fall from today’s figure of 10.5 million to around 7.5 million by the end of the century, according to a projection carried out by the Czech Statistics Office that was released on Tuesday. The report suggests that the over 65s will account for a third of the population in 2101, while life expectancy will be 10 years longer than it is today. An influx of foreigners will not make up for the falloff in the number of Czechs, the authors of the projection said.
The English rock band Depeche Mode are due to perform at Prague’s Eden soccer stadium on Tuesday evening. The group, who are affectionately known as “Depešáci” by their Czech fans, first played in the city in 1988 and have performed here on many occasions since, the last time being in 2011. Depeche Mode are expected to perform material from their most recent LP, Heaven, as well as many songs from a career spanning over three decades.
The police say they have arrested the members of an international gang that illegally exported the horns of strictly protected rhinoceroses from South Africa. Customs officers uncovered 24 rhino horns worth an estimated CZK 100 million in what was the biggest haul of its kind since the establishment of the Czech Republic. Sixteen people have been charged in connection with the matter.
Sensitive data relating to clients of the bank Komerční banka was accidentally made accessible to other clients, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. A listener contacted the station to say that while using regular internet banking services he had been able to access names, addresses and other information on some of the bank’s other customers, including the former minister of finance Miroslav Kalousek. Visitors could also have made changes to the data of other customers. The bank said it was taking the matter, which affected 47,000 customers, very seriously and blocked access to its database. It could face a stiff fine from the country’s data protection watchdog.
Representatives of leading Czech circuses say that they are afraid the country’s circus arts could die out within a few years. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, circus heads called for traditional Czech circuses to be added to the country’s non-material cultural heritage list. They also said proposed new regulations regarding the treatment of animals in Czech circuses would be so strict as to mean they had nothing to offer audiences. There are around 30 circuses in the Czech Republic.
A court in Brno has handed down a 16-year jail term for the brutal murder of a homeless man in the town of Bělá pod Bezdězem in late 2011, according to information posted on its website. Judges found Petr Borč guilty of brutally beating, stabbing and cutting off the ear of his victim over a period of two hours following an argument. His accomplice, Jan Švejda, had received a 13-year term for his role in the murder. Mr. Borč was almost 50 at the time of the killing, which took place in a flat where the homeless man occasionally stayed; Mr. Švejda was 20.
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