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ČNB raises main interest rate to 1.5 pct

The Czech National Bank (ČNB) board has increased the two-week repo rate by 25 basis points to 1.5 percent. At the same time, it increased the Lombard rate to 2.5 percent and the discount rate to 0.5 percent.

The board has raised interest rates by 25 basis points at the three rate-setting sessions since June. The new levels come into effect on 27 September 2018.

Earlier, central bank governor Jiří Rusnok, citing economic growth, inflation and wage development, said he would not rule out more hikes before the end of the year.

TI: Most transparent campaigns led by Pirates, Greens, STAN, TOP 09

The Czech branch of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has released a report on which parties and candidates for the Senate have conducted the most transparent campaigns.

According to the report, the campaigns of the Pirates, Greens, Party of Mayors (Stan), and Top 09 have been the most above board. Among the 135 individual candidates, Transparency International named six stand-outs: Eva Tylová, Libor Michalek, Jiří Kratky (all of the Pirates), Zdeněk Hraba (for STAN) and Herbert Paver (TOP 09).

Among the criteria were whether the candidates had made public their campaign revenue and budget, and the names of members of their teams.

Academy of Sciences names Academic Award winners

The Czech Republic’s top academic institution, the Academy of Sciences (AS ČR), has announced the winners of its biggest annual prize, the prestigious Academic Award - Praemium Academiae.

The winners are Jiří Hejnar from the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Pavel Janoušek from the Institute of Czech Literature, and Martin Markl from the Institute of Mathematics.

Academic Award winners are granted on the basis of the winners' current research and the work they plan to do. Each will receive up to 30 million crowns over the coming six years to fund their research.

Ethnographer Eva Davidová, who documented Romani life, dead at 85

Prominent ethnographer and sociologist Eva Davidová, who studied Romani culture, has died at the age of 85.

She had begun documenting the lives and traditions of Romani communities in what is today Slovakia in the 1950s and 1960s.

Over the four decades, Dr. Davidová collected thousands of photographs and sound recordings of Romani songs, traditional narratives and fairy tales.

Garden atelier of artist Hana Wichterlová declared cultural monument

The Ministry of Culture has declared the atelier of the painter and sculptor Hana Wichterlová a cultural monument. She had lived and worked in the small garden building in Prague’s Malá Strana district for more than 50 years. It still houses many of her artistic works.

Wichterlová, who died in 1990 at the age of 87, was married to another highly regarded sculptor, Bedřich Stefan, and was a close friend of the famous photographer Josef Sudek. The ministry named the atelier a cultural monument in part because so many celebrated persons had visited her there.

Pirates win mock selections in Prague secondary schools

The Pirate Party has won mock local elections held at secondary schools in Prague a fortnight before the actual elections take place. The Pirates received over 26 percent of the vote, followed by the TOP 09 and STAN coalition with almost 20 percent of the vote.

The event, organized by the NGO People in Need across the Czech Republic, was held for the 10th time in succession. Its aim is to interest children aged over-15 in politics and local affairs and let them experience what voting in elections involves.

Local elections and election to a third of seats in the Senate are due to be held on October 5-6.

Kvitová knocked out of Wuhan Open

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has failed to reach the fourth round of the women’s singles at the Wuhan Open in China. The two-time champion lost with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 3-6.

The only Czech to remain in the singles is Markéta Vondroušová, who is set to take on Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the third round.

Jiří Menzel honoured at Haifa Film Festival

Czech film director and actor Jiří Menzel has been honoured for his life's work at the Haifa Film Festival. His wife Olga accepted the prize on his behalf in Israel.

The 80-year-old Oscar-winner recently co-starred in the bittersweet road movie The Interpreter, about an elderly Jew searching for the murders of his parents.

The film is screened at the festival as part of the Czechoslovak Film Days programme. Menzel underwent emergency brain surgery in November and is still recuperating.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be sunny nationwide, with daytime highs of between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius. Clouds are set to roll in overnight, with rain in the forecast for northern Bohemia on Friday.