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Michal Koudelka becomes new head of counter-intelligence service

Michal Koudelka officially took up the post of the BIS counter-intelligence service on Monday. Mr Koudelka, who is 51, has worked at the BIS since 1996 and has headed its counter-espionage section for 10 years. He replaces the previous BIS director Jiří Lang, who decided to step down in June after 13 years in the post. The counter-intelligence service is tasked with acquiring information on terrorism, extremism and illegal arms dealing as well as the activities of foreign intelligence services.

Slovakia’s Mountain Rescue Service confirms death of Czech speleologist

Slovakia’s Mountain Rescue Service has confirmed that a Czech speleologist died in Slovakia at the weekend in a cave-in at a recently discovered natural cave near Banská Bystrica. The man lost consciousness when he was buried under debris in the collapse; colleagues attempted artificial resuscitation but the man’s injuries proved too severe. Some twenty members of the Mountain Rescue Service were called to the scene. The site, known as Jeskyni ztraceného prstenu (Cave of the Lost Ring) was found in June.

Czech Republic sees roughly same number of asylum seekers in first seven months of 2016

A total of 872 foreigners applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in the first seven months of 2016, just 12 fewer than over the same period in 2015, the Interior Ministry’s Department for Asylum and Migration Policy reported on Monday. The largest groups seeking asylum so far in 2016 have been from Ukraine and Iraq, forming roughly half. Ukrainians have sought asylum in the Czech Republic consistently while Iraqis last year were nowhere near the top of the list. So far in 2016, some 133 applications from Iraqi citizens were received. The bump is attributed to a government programme which brought 89 Iraqi Christians to the country. The programme was stopped after 25 of them abandoned the Czech Republic to seek asylum in neighbouring Germany instead.

Tips left to restaurant or bar personnel will not come under electronic cash registers system, according to finance minister

Tips given to personnel at Czech eating and drinking establishments will not come under an electronic cash registers system, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš indicated in his blog on Monday. The minister made clear that tipping was part of the Czech cultural tradition and that he saw it as a suitable means of recognizing services rendered. If venue owners and not personnel were left the tips, he stressed, those should be tabulated in the system. The first phase of the electronic cash registers system is to go into operation on December 1 of this year.

Agriculture Ministry to launch funding programme to counter drought

The Agriculture Ministry will launch a new funding programme next year to improve irrigation worth 1.6 billion crowns. In all, the government is to invest some 28 billion crowns by 2022 in fighting drought. The news was confirmed on Monday by Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka, who said that along with irrigation, the government aimed to improve ground water retention and to put money into renovating existing basins and ponds as well as building new ones.

Report: Odometer fraud up by two percent

Forty-two percent of vehicles sold on the used car market in the Czech Republic have had mileage tampered with on the odometer, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday citing a study by Cebia. The study suggests that some vehicles' mileage was modified by 100,000 kilometres or more to secure a better sale price. The study suggests that year-on-year odometer fraud rose by two percent. Second-hand imports are understood to have contributed to the rise.

Penny Market to become first supermarket chain in Czech Republic to sell wonky vegetables

Penny Market has become the first supermarket chain in the Czech Republic to sell fruit and vegetables which don’t fall within the strict cosmetic standards. The wonky carrots and other less perfect produce will be supplied exclusively by Czech farmers and will be sold with a ten percent discount. According to Penny Market represenatives, they want to raise awareness of the fact that an enormous amount of food is wasted in the EU each year.

Singer, lifelong communist Prusalis dies at 67

Czech singer of Greek descent Statis Prusalis, a lifelong supporter of communism who made no secret of cooperating for years with Czechoslovakia’s former secret police, died on Saturday at the age of 67. The news was confirmed by the Communist Party on twitter. In documentary testimony, Mr Prusalis said that he had worked as a chauffeur for top Communist Party dignitaries in the 1970s; he also studied music and founded the Greek-Czech folk-rock group Atény (Athens). According to news website iDnes, Prusalis, a fixture at Communist party meetings, released an album in 1999 dedicated to communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Football: Latka signs one year contract with Slovan Liberec

Thirty-one-year-old defender Martina Latka, who has played for roughly 13 years with Slavia Prague, has signed with Slovan Liberec. The news was confirmed on twitter. Slovan Liberec is preparing for the final preliminary round of the Europa League.

Petr Čech concedes four goals in Premier League opening match

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, who plays for London club Arsenal, has experienced a nightmare opening day of the season. In a match against Liverpool on Sunday night, the former Czech Republic international conceded four goals in the space of just 18 minutes, after he was left exposed by the young defence. After suffering what ended as a 4-3 loss, the Arsenal goalkeeper crashed his car in the Emirates Stadium car-park.