News

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Cardboard cops intended to prevent accidents - and draw attention to shortage

Cardboard cut-out figures in police uniforms holding binoculars have been placed on roads in the central Bohemia region. Up to 200 dummy officers are being used to help the same number of real officers keep traffic under control in the region on the busy, holiday-end weekend, said a police spokesperson. The cut-out policemen are intended to help prevent accidents, though they are also intended to draw attention to the fact the regional force does not have enough officers.

Food prices could rise by a quarter, warns farmers leader

Food prices in the Czech Republic could increase by 25 percent in the near future, warns the head of the Czech Agricultural Chamber. Speaking on a TV debate programme, Jan Veleba said the increase was possible due to high demand for grain on world markets; grain prices have doubled in the last year. The Agricultural Chamber has proposed that value added tax should not increase from 5 to 9 percent in January, as planned. However, the minister of agriculture, Petr Gandalovic, says the VAT hike will not have a significant increase on the price of foodstuffs.

Meanwhile, the opposition Social Democrats say they will fight the rising of the lower VAT bracket from 5 to 9 percent. MP Michal Hasek said the party would table an amendment blocking the increase in a month's time; he said the move was not just a political gesture.

Ten thousand turn out for unusual staging of Dvorak opera

An estimated 10,000 music lovers turned out on Sunday afternoon for a staging of Antonin Dvorak's opera Rusalka at a most unusual venue - a natural amphitheatre at Prague's Divoka Sarka, a wooded area on the outskirts of the city. The performance was dedicated to the late Frantisek Preisler, who conducted operas in the same location last year and the year before. Audience members brought blankets and umbrellas, and had to walk 20 minutes from the nearest tram stop. Entrance was free for the event, which was organised by the Prague 6 local authority.

Czech coach very satisfied with Osaka achievements

The coach of the Czech team at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Vaclav Fiser, says he is very satisfied with the country's results, which he pointed out were the most successful since the formation of the Czech Republic. Roman Sebrle took gold in the decathlon, while Barbora Spotakova became javelin world champion and Katerina Badurova achieved her best ever result with silver in the pole vault; two golds and a silver leaves the Czech Republic sixth in the overall the medals table.

Half a million visit exhibition featuring Venus of Vestonice

Over half a million people attended an exhibition at Prague's National Museum entitled Lovci mamutu (Mammoth Hunters) which closed on Sunday. Museum officials said they had sold 3,000 thousand tickets on the last day of the popular exhibition, which opened its doors ten months ago and twice had its closing date put back. As well as a life-sized replica of a mammoth, its main draw was the original Venus of Vestonice, an 11-cm statuette of a female figure believed to be 25,000 years old.

Czech filmmaker making war film in north Africa

The Czech filmmaker Vaclav Marhoul has begun shooting his latest picture Tobruk in the desert in Tunisia. The director and screenwriter prepared a dozen actors for their roles by drilling them at the Vyskov NATO base in Moravia earlier this summer. Mr Marhoul said they needed military experience in order to be able to perform their roles in the war film well.

Berdych into last 16 at US Open while Vaidisova bows out

The leading Czech men's tennis player Tomas Berdych has advanced to the last 16 at the US Open. Berdych, who is 21, beat Fernando Veradasco of Spain to set up a clash with Andy Roddick of the United States, who won the Grand Slam tournament in 2003. Meanwhile, the US Open is over for the top Czech women's player Nicole Vaidisova; she was knocked out in the third round by Israel's Shahar Peer.

Czech international stars among goals in European leagues

The captain of the Czech national football team Tomas Rosicky scored for the English Premier League club Arsenal in their 3:1 win over Portsmouth on Sunday. A day earlier Rosicky's international team-mate Milan Baros came off the bench to score the winner for France's Lyon in a 3:2 win over Le Mans. Both stars should be in action when the Czech Republic take on San Marino next Saturday and Ireland the following Wednesday in Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Weather

It should be somewhat cloudy over the next couple of days, with temperatures reaching up to 23 degrees Celsius.