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Prague Pride LGBT festival kicks off in Czech capital

The 2016 Prague Pride LGBT festival kicks off in the Czech capital on Monday with over a hundred events taking place in different Prague venues – exhibitions, concerts, film screenings and public debates. There will also be a two-day symposium on LGBT tourism attended by experts from the US, Great Britain, Germany and China. The main theme of this year’s festival is the right to love. The week-long event will culminate with a parade through the city centre on Saturday 13 August.

Šlachta to serve as deputy director of Czech Customs Administration

The former head of the special police squad for combatting organised crime, Robert Šlachta, has accepted an offer to serve as the deputy director of the Czech Customs Administration, the ctk news agency reported. He should take up the new position from September. The Customs Administration is to be given greater powers to tackle VAT tax evasion and other financial crimes. Šlachta resigned as head of the special police squad for combatting organised crime in protest against a major police overhaul which merged the country’ s elite crime fighting units under a single administration.

Three former members of communist-era secret police charged

Investigators charged three former members of the Communist-era secret police, the StB, for their role in intimidating or using violence against former Czechoslovak dissidents under Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Among those charged are former officers. All three suspects were investigated in the past; the current charges are based on new evidence.

Police erred in assessing threat represented by woman who went on to kill in shopping mall

Prague Police have admitted error on the part of officers who responded to an attack by a 33-year-old woman against a stranger in a café restroom; according to a statement by police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulová, officers failed to assess the seriousness of the situation and to relay important information about the attack to doctors at a psychiatric clinic where the suspect was taken. The woman was released not long after and later fatally stabed a person at a Prague shopping mall. The General Inspection of the Security Forces is investigating how the initial incident was handled by responding officers.

Historic Invalidovna complex attracts no takers in auction

An auction of Prague’s historic Invalidovna complex with a starting price of more 637 million crowns has attracted no bidders. The site was built from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans. The tender on the sale was announced in June and drew protest from university academics who warned that the sale and redevelopment of the site could damage its historic value. Invalidovna was used in a number of key scenes in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece Amadeus.

Unemployment goes up since June

Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose in June according to the Labour Office. The bump ended a steady drop in unemployment since February. The rate rose from 5.2 percent unemployment in June to 5.4 percent in July. Since the start of the summer holidays, some 393,000 people have been looking for work – up by around 8,000. At the same time, the number of jobs being offered went up to the highest level in eight years: some 136,000.

Car production in the first half of year rose by 11.9 percent

The Czech Automotive Industry Association has said vehicle production in the first half of the year rose by 11.9 percent to total just over 719,000 vehicles. The growth in production is around twice the rate of 2015. Increases in production covered trucks, cars, buses, and motorbikes. Local sales of cars rose by 8.9 percent in the first half with exports up 6.9 percent. The association says 2016 looks like being a record year for production.

Biodegradable alternative to plastic bags gets backing in crowdfunding campaign

A biodegradable and washable bag invented by two Czech students will reportedly come onto the Czech market in September. The bag, made from a unique material, is meant as an alternative to one-use plastic bags which negatively impact the environment. The Czech News Agency reported that the designers, who are medical students, launched the project using a crowdfunding campaign; it was funded in just three days.

Olympics: Tennis player Kvitová through to third round

Petra Kvitová has made it to the third round at the Olympic Games in Rio, defeating Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. The final score was 6:2, 6:4. The Czech, a two-time Wimbledon champion, controlled much of the match, going up to an early 4:0 lead in the first set.

Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová shock Williams sisters at Olympic tennis doubles

In tennis, Czech doubles pairing Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová have created one of the shocks of the Olympics so far by eliminating doubles favourites Serena and Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round of the competition. They polished off the three times US Olympics doubles winners 6:3, 6:4. Prior to that defeat the Williams sisters had only lost three sets in their run of doubles golds. The Williams sisters started the tie brightly taking a two-love lead in the first set but things then started going awry, especially with their serve. Venus is already out of the singles but sister Serena is still on course to defend her singles gold from London.