Daily news summary

Czech aid to flood victims in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Czech charity organizations have started collecting money in aid of flood victims in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where the floods ravaged homes and claimed over 30 lives. The NGO People in Need has already earmarked one million crowns in emergency aid to the region. The Czech Republic has likewise sent a group of nine firefighters to Serbia to help with the rescue effort.

Swollen rivers subsiding around the country

Water levels are returning to normal in the northern areas of the Czech Republic where persistent rain put emergency crews on flood alert in the night hours. Likewise swollen rivers in Moravia and Silesia, are reported to have subsided. Although there was no serious flooding as a result of the adverse weather, two people may have lost their lives in the country’s swollen rivers. A raft with four crew members, who risked their lives on the river Lubina, overturned on Saturday and one person is still missing. The second incident was reported from south Bohemia where police on Sunday recovered the body of a woman from a river close to her home.

Czech Prime Minister: Terezín is a memento of the extremities of which civilized Europe is capable

Speaking at an annual memorial ceremony on the site of the former Terezín concentration camp in central Bohemia on Sunday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the Nazi concentration camp was a memento of the extremities of which the civilized world was capable under the influence of nationalism, racism and xenophobia. He warned against turning a blind eye to these tendencies in present-day Europe and said politicians must be wary of the conditions in which extremism flourishes. The ceremony at Terezín was traditionally attended by politicians, church dignitaries, war veterans and members of the public. Around 155,000 Jews were interned at Terezín during the war years; two-thirds of them did not survive the war.

TOP 09 and Civic Democrats to cooperate in Senate elections

The centre-right TOP 09 party and the Civic Democrats have agreed on close cooperation in the autumn elections to the Senate. While the parties will maintain separate ballots, they have established a strategy to bolster the chances of right-wing candidates in traditionally left-oriented regions by only fielding one candidate –either from the Civic Democrats or TOP 09 - in these electorates. The left-wing Social Democrats will be defending two dozen seats in the Senate elections and by this selective strategy the center-right parties are hoping to change the balance of power in the currently left-dominated Senate.

Police say drivers on drugs becoming serious problem

A growing number of traffic accidents on Czech roads is caused by drivers on drugs, police president Tomáš Tuhý said in a debate on Czech Television on Sunday. According to police statistics since 2010 50 people killed on Czech roads were victims of accidents involving drug abuse. The police president said traffic police had intensified check-ups in this respect, but were being hampered by a lack of funds. He said the aim was for every officer on the road to be equipped to detect drug abuse. In 2010 the police registered 527 cases of drivers on drugs, mainly on crystal methamphetamine; they registered the same number in the first quarter of this year. Last weekend an officer was killed by a driver on crystal methamphetamine.

Mortgage payments slicing off a third of people’s incomes

Mortgage payments on average slice off a third of people’s incomes in the Czech Republic, with Prague inhabitants paying up to three times as much as people in other parts of the country, according to data collected by Golem Finance and released by the Czech Statistics Office. Mortgages in Prague amount to three fifths of the borrower’s income, followed by mortgages in south Bohemia which slice off 32 percent on average. The cheapest mortgages are in the Ustí region north of Prague, which only amount to 12 percent of a borrower’s income on average.

Czech Radio marks 91 years of regular radio broadcasting

Czech Radio is marking 91 years since the start of regular radio broadcasting in the country. The country’s first radio operator Radiojurnal went on air on May 18th, 1923, broadcasting from a military tent in Prague’s Kbely district. At first the long-wave broadcasts lasted for just one hour a day and consisted of a brief lead-in and a concert. The country's broadcasting pioneers were journalist Miloš Čtrnáctý, businessman Eduard Svoboda, and Ladislav Šourek, director of Radioslavia – a company that distributed radio receivers. In December 1924 Radiojournal moved from the tent in Kbely to a building on today's Vinohradská Street in the centre of Prague. Czechoslovakia was the second European country after the UK to have regular radio broadcasting.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley get-together

About 300 fans of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars attended the first Czech meeting of these luxury vehicles in a park in Dubec, Prague´s eastern neighbourhood on Saturday, the ctk news agency reported. Thirty-five Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars were on show, including veteran cars from the inter-war period, post-war as well as modern limousines. The event attracted participants from neighbouring Germany, Austria and Slovakia. According to statistics released by the Czech Automotive Industry Association 65 Rolls-Royces and over 300 Bentleys are currently registered in the Czech Republic.