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Czech Republic stays 17th in EU wealth survey

The Czech Republic is ranked 17th in the EU in GDP per capita, according to a Eurostat survey released on Wednesday. Its gross domestic product is at 80 percent of the EU average. The country, which was ranked 17th in several previous years as well, is the richest of former Communist nations with the exception of Slovenia, and also outranked Portugal and Greece. However, in actual individual consumption per capita, which also reflects economic well-being, the Czech Republic is ranked 22nd of the EU, and is at 72 percent of the bloc’s average, according to Eurostat.

Minister: Czech Republic ready to help Slovakia with gas supplies

The Czech Republic is ready to assist Slovakia in case gas supplies through Ukraine are halted, the Czech industry and trade minister, Jan Mládek, said. Speaking after a conference on economic cooperation between the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland in Ostrava on Wednesday, Mr Mládek said Slovakia could receive gas through reverse flow from Czech pipelines. The Czech cabinet is also in talks with the Polish government on enhancing the capacity of the Czech link to Poland’s Stork II pipeline in north Moravia, Mr Mládek said.

MPs approve cyber security bill

The lower house of the Czech Parliament on Wednesday approved a bill introducing new guidelines for countering cybernetic attacks. The bill, first of its kind to be passed by the lower house, should streamline cooperation between the public and private sectors, and establish a coordinating agency to ensure a fast response to such attacks. The legislation will also require telecommunication providers to report security incidents that occur in their networks, and allow the country’s National Security Authority to declare a state of cyber emergency. The bill is yet to be debated in the Senate.

PM says justice minister must improve performance or face chop

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says that the minister of justice Helena Válková has one last chance to prove she is capable of doing her job. The Social Democrat PM made the comment on Tuesday evening after Ms. Válková, appointed by ANO, dismissed the deputy justice minister for prisons, Pavel Štern, a Social Democrats’ appointee, over his handling of a contract to buy electronic tags. Mr. Sobotka said if the minister’s performance did not improve she would have to go. Ms. Válková’s disputes with subordinates have been in the news since Hana Marvanová quit as first deputy justice minister in early June.

Czech MEP joins Euro-sceptic faction

Czech MEP Petr Mach, the sole deputy elected on the ballot of the Euro-spectic Free Citizens' Party, has joined the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament. The faction, headed by UKIP's leader Nigel Farage, has 48 MEPs from UKIP, Italy's Five Star Movement, Sweden Democrats, and others.

Czechs commemorate Heydrich’s assassins

President Miloš Zeman, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, and other officials as well as veterans and members of the public have commemorated the British-trained commandos who assassinated high-ranking Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. Wednesday marks on the 72nd anniversary of their death. Jan Kubiš and Josef Valčík, along with five other soldiers parachuted into Bohemia, took their own lives after having been cornered by Nazi forces in a Prague church, three weeks after the assassination. Speaking at a ceremony held at the church, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said the Czech Republic owed its existence to heroes like them.

Pneumococcal infections highest in three years

Czech doctors last year registered 424 cases of invasive pneumococcal infections, the highest number in three years, according to figures by the National Institute of Public Health released on Wednesday. 69 people died of the infection last year. Experts say the rise has been caused by low immunization levels; in Prague, immunization levels in children have fallen below 50 percent. The sharpest increase has been registered with the 19A serotype which was last year contracted by 27 people, including four babies of up to 11 months of age.

Prague Pride to take place on August 16

The annual Prague Pride parade will take place on August 16, the organizers said. The march will take start in Wenceslas Square; it will then pass along the river to conclude on the Letná plain. Organizers said they expect some 10,000 people to take part in the march which will be preceded by a five-day festival. This year, the festival will highlight issues faced by the LGBT community in Russia and some other eastern European countries, the event’s director, Czeslaw Walek, said. Last year, around 20,000 people joined in the march.

Medical association honours founder of Czech paediatric oncology

The founder of paediatric oncology in then Czechoslovakia, Professor Josef Koutecký, received on Wednesday the Purkyně Award from the Czech Medical Association of J.E. Purkyně in recognition of his life-time work. Professor Koutecký founded that branch of medicine in 1964; in 1978, he established the department of paediatric oncology at Prague’s Motol hospital, the first of its kind in the country, which played a crucial role in raising survival rates of children cancer patients to the current 80 percent. At Wednesday’s ceremony, Professor Koutecký said he was humbled to be awarded the prize, handed out since 1962.

Tennis: Berdych, Kvitová seeded sixth at Wimbledon

Both the top Czech male and female tennis players, Tomáš Berdych and Petra Kvitová, have been seeded sixth at the Wimbledon championships which begin on June 23. Lucie Šafářová, meanwhile, will be seeded 23rd and Klára Koukalová 31st at the Grand Slam tournament. In the Wimbledon doubles, Czech Republic’s Radek Štěpánek and India’s Leander Paes will be fifth seed while Czech Květa Pescheková along with Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik third.

Veselý wins javelin in Ostrava with world’s second longest throw of season

Czech athlete Vítězslav Veselý came first in the javelin at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava on Tuesday evening. Veselý’s throw of 87.38m was the second longest in the world this year. US sprinter Justin Gatlin – the best known name this year at the Czech Republic’s biggest meeting – won the 100m in a time of 9.86 seconds. Olympic champion Barbora Špotáková has been forced to pull out of the women’s javelin due to health problems.