Daily news summary


Foreigners who vandalized Charles Bridge receive hefty fine and eviction order

Two foreigners who were caught red-handed vandalizing Charles Bridge with graffiti have been fined 100,000 crowns each and received a five-year ban on entering the country. They will also have to cover the cost of clean-up work and have been ordered to leave the country by Friday night.

The two men, German nationals aged 23 and 30, were caught by police spraying a 5-by-2 meter logo on a stone bridge support. A local resident saw them in action and called the police. Germany's ambassador to the Czech Republic apologized for the act of vandalism via Twitter.

EU funds: Development Ministry to ask EC for more time to reply to PM Babiš audit

The Ministry for Regional Development will ask the European Commission to extend its deadline for replying to a draft report on Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s (ANO) alleged conflicts of interest when drawing EU funds.

The EU Commission's preliminary audit found Mr. Babiš to be in conflict of interest in connection his subsidies dispersed to the Agrofert conglomerate that he founded and was compelled under Czech law to place in a trust.

Brussels had set a deadline of 30 days to reply following the receipt of the Czech-language version of the draft, which the Ministry received last week. It received the English-language version in late May.

Number of HIV-positive people in the Czechia has tripled since 2008

The number of HIV-positive people in the Czech Republic has tripled over the past ten years, according to data from the National Institute of Health.

In 2008, there were 1,186 people living with the virus. At the end of this May, an estimated 3,468 people in the country were HIV-positive.

While noting significant advancements in treating people with the virus, the Institute called for renewed efforts to prevent its spread.

Fire Brigade: most Prague ‘escape rooms’ fall short on safety, lack permits

Firefighters have found deficiencies in two-thirds of Prague “Escape Room” games, mainly as regards fire safety rules. More than half of the operators also had no valid occupancy permit.

Escape rooms are locked, enclosed spaces that teams of people must solve logical puzzles to leave. Intensive checks began after five teenage girls in Poland were killed in an escape room fire.

Fire Brigade deputy chief Daniel Miklós told journalists that firefighters had checked 178 spaces from late January to May.

Czech pensioner jailed over terror attacks aimed at defaming Muslims files appeal

A pensioner found guilty of terrorism after causing two train crashes aimed at spreading fear of Muslim migrants has appealed his conviction, Czech Television reports.

Jaromír Balda, aged 71, was sentenced in January to four years in prison and out-patient psychiatric treatment.

In 2017 he cut down trees on railway lines near Mladá Boleslav, causing crashes in which no one was injured.

He left leaflets at the scene purporting to be from Muslim terrorists claiming responsibility.

Prague Philharmonic tour of China cancelled over Beijing's row with Czech mayor

A China tour by Prague’s Philharmonic Orchestra has officially been cancelled due to a feud between the mayor of the Czech capital and Beijing.

Mayor Zdenek Hřib (Pirate Party) has long been a vocal supporter of Taiwan and Tibet. Since taking office a year ago, he has also pushed the removal of a clause in a Prague-Beijing cooperation agreement requiring the Czech capital to respect the “one-China policy”.

The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra had said in June its planned September tour of China would probably not take place as authorities there had postponed it indefinitely, without explanation.

Government to decide on Czech nominee for EC by end-August

The government will decide on who to nominate for a seat on the European Commission by the end of August, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters on Thursday. He said the government was waiting for confirmation as to whether the new EC President Ursula von der Leyen would, as earlier stated, request two nominations from each member state.

The prime minister praised the work of the outgoing Czech EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová but stopped short of expressing support for her nomination.

Mr. Babiš said he would like the Czech Republic to have a stronger portfolio in the EC, for instance the internal market portfolio or digitalization.

Czech Zoo sends endangered brown vulture to Bulgaria for release into wild

The Zlín Zoo announced on Friday it has sent another endangered brown vulture to authorities in Bulgaria for release into the wild.

Zoologist Václav Štraub told journalists that since it joined a project to revive the vulture population in Bulgaria, 14 have been released in the Stara Planina mountains.

The Ostrava Zoo has also sent vultures to the Balkan country.

Český Krumlov international nusic festival opens Friday

The 28th International Music Festival opens on Friday in Český Krumlov with a gala evening in the castle garden.

The festival programme, which closes on August 10th, includes 23 concerts, including by American pop, jazz and soul group Take 6, which has won six Grammies.

The Český Krumlov Castle Theatre will feature a baroque opera by Georg Friedrich Händel. Two concerts in Boletice commemorate the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Other concerts are being held in the town brewery garden, at the riding school, and at the castle’s Baroque theatre as well as the church in Boletice.

Weather outlook

Saturday should be cloudy but hot nationwide, with rain likely in southern Bohemia. Average highs should range between 27 to 31 degrees Celsius.