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Czech minister praises Czech-Bavarian cooperation

Cross-border cooperation between the Czech Republic and Bavaria is on a very good level, Czech Regional Development Minister Věra Jourová told a conference in Kvilda, western Bohemia, on Saturday. Some 90 percent of EU funds earmarked the operational programme promoting the cooperation have been used, Ms Jourová said, adding the programme ranked second of the EU’s regional cooperation programmes. EU funds have been used to finances projects including a Czech-German cultural centre, museums and educational trails.

Press: Police tapped two journalists’ phones in army corruption case

The Czech police tapped the phones of two journalists as part of their investigation of the 2009 purchase of the Austrian-made Pandur armoured vehicles for the Czech military, the daily Právo reported on Saturday. The investigators tapped the phones of reporters for the newspapers Právo and Mladá fronta Dnes in 2011 in an effort to determine the origin of leaked documents in the case, the daily said. The police, which acted with the consent of the court, also tapped the phones of several top police officers and prosecutors, according to the report. The Czech army in 2009 bought 107 Pandur APCs for 14.4 billion crowns. Marek Dalík, a former aide to then prime minister Mirek Topolánek, faces criminal charges over allegedly demanding a bribe from the producer of the vehicles.

Former Prague mayor in EU drug agency bid

Former Prague mayor Pavel Bém would like to head the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, according to a report by the daily Lidové Noviny. Mr Bém has reportedly passed the first selection round and is now one of five candidates for the job, with another four selection rounds to be held in the coming months. Pavel Bém served as Prague mayor between 2002 and 2010. He was involved in several controversial projects including the overpriced construction of a tunnel complex in the capital and a transit pass system for the city’s public transport. A physician by education, he was one of the Czech Republic’s leading experts on drugs before taking over Prague City Hall.

Tax authorities raid two Czech casinos over tax debts

The Czech Tax Administration raided two casinos over their tax debts on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the agency said. One of the casinos is reportedly located in Prague’s Wenceslas Square, the other in Jablonec, in noerth Bohemia. The owners of the establishments owe some 20 million crowns in direct and indirect taxes, the spokeswoman said, adding that cash, lottery machines, cars and other objects were confiscated during the raid.

Seven injured in Děčín gas explosion

Seven people have suffered injuries in a gas explosion that occurred in a family home in the north Bohemian town Děčín on Saturday. No one was inside the house when the explosion took place; the injured people were renovating the building, and were working outside, a spokesman for the emergency services said. Gas piping in the house was probably damaged during work on the façade, according to the local fire brigade.

Air conditioning blamed for 20 percent of illnesses in summer

Too cold air conditioning is responsible for 20 percent of all illnesses registered in the Czech Republic during the summer months, Jakub Nožička of the Česká pojišťovna insurance firm told the news website novinky.cz on Saturday. Block vertebrae, headaches and joint pain are among the most common problems caused by big differences in temperatures between in- and outdoors, doctors say; they warn that the difference between temperatures in air-conditioned spaces and outside should not be higher than five degrees Celsius.

Tour de France: Czech Jan Bárta finishes 3rd in time trial

Czech rider Jan Bárta finished third in Saturday’s time trial at the Tour de France, 1 minute and 39 seconds after the winner, Germany’s Tony Martin. Bárta’s colleague in the NetApp-Endura team, Leopold König, came in fifth on Saturday, and is ranked 7th overall; Jan Bárta is 71st.

Czech mountaineer completes quest to climb world’s 14 highest mountains

Czech mountaineer Radek Jaroš climbed the K2 peak in the Himalayas on Saturday, becoming the the first Czech and the 15th person in the world to climb all of the 14 highest mountains, Czech Radio reports. The 50-year-old Jaroš climbed his first peak over 8,000 metres, Mount Everest, in 1998. He has authored several books and film documentaries, and in 2009 received a fair play award from the Czech Olympic Committee for helping to save the lives of several of his colleagues.

Football: Sparta Prague beats Bohemians in season opener

Sparta Prague defeated city rivals Bohemians 1905 2:1 in the season-opening match on Friday night. Defending champions Sparta went ahead in the 25th minute after an error by Bohemians goalkeeper, and added another hit some ten minutes after the break. Shortly thereafter, Bohemians narrowed the gap but were unable to equalize. In another league game on Friday, Dukla Prague drew 0:0 against Baník Ostrava.