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12-08-2014 17:12 | Ian Willoughby

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Czech Republic preparing to supply military materials to Baghdad and Kurdish regional government in Iraq

The Czech Republic is preparing to send military materials to democratic forces in Iraq fighting the radical Islamic State, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The supplies will go to Iraqi government units in Baghdad and the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is at present coming under attack from the militants. The weapons could be provided in the form of intergovernmental aid or by means of a standard trade agreement, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement said.

Finance minister holds talks with cabinet colleagues on budget

The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, is continuing to hold talks with the heads of other ministries on next year’s budget. After a meeting on Tuesday, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, said his ministry would receive CZK 2.5 billion more in 2015 than this year, while the education minister, Marcel Chládek, said his institution would receive over CZK 4 billion more next year. Under present plans, the 2015 budget deficit should not exceed CZK 100 billion.

CEZ’s profits fall 40 percent y-o-y in first half of 2014

The semi-state energy group CEZ saw a 40 percent fall in year-on-year profits in the first half of 2014, according to a statement posted on its website. However, the company still made a profit of CZK 17.2 billion between the start of January and the end of June. Its revenues reached CZK 101.7 billion, 10 percent down on the same period in 2013. CEZ CEO Daniel Beneš attributed the sharp fall in profits to a relatively mild and dry winter.

Woman of 29 charged with stabbing new-born to death

Police have charged a 29-year-old woman with the murder of her new-born baby in the town of Krnov in the Moravia-Silesia Region. The woman is accused of stabbing the baby to death immediately after its birth last Thursday, a spokesperson for the police said. The woman had kept her pregnancy secret and said she had miscarried when a medical team was called out to treat her for heavy bleeding; they subsequently found the baby’s body hidden in her bed.

Czech Railways to introduce modern express trains on some routes this year

Czech Railways is planning to introduce new trains in December, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The German-made Rx branded express trains should be deployed on routes currently served by old East German trains with leather-covered seating. Twenty-seven modern, air-conditioned trains will carry passengers between Prague and two destinations, Cheb and Železná Ruda in West Bohemia. Czech Railways plans to introduce more Rx trains on other routes in future, iDnes.cz said.

Brno offering 25 places to sleep in castle dungeons next weekend

As part of celebrations next weekend of the 369th anniversary of the defence of the city against Swedish forces, Brno is offering 25 people the chance to spend the night in tough conditions in former dungeons at Špilberk castle. The dungeons, which were last used in the 19th century, are said to have been the most feared in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A night sleeping on wooden boards and without electricity will cost CZK 250.

Exhibition highlights Prague’s Signal festival of light

An outdoor exhibition entitled Signal Prague recalling last year’s Signal festival of light art in the capital and sister project Czech The Light, which brought video mapping and installations to the regions, has opened on the capital’s Na Příkopě St. The event is also meant to serve as an invitation to this year’s Signal festival, which takes place on the third weekend of October. In 2013 the first such free festival was attended by around 250,000 people.

Barrel organ players perform in Prague

Eight barrel organ players from five countries performed on Prague’s Kampa on Tuesday as part of a one-day festival organised by the National Museum. The event is the first in a series of international barrel organist gatherings that will take place between now and the end of the month in Liberec, Brno and elsewhere and follows a successful exhibition dedicated to the mechanical instrument at the Czech Museum of Music.

Plzeň name Koubek manager day after sacking Uhrin

Viktoria Plzeň football club have appointed Miroslav Koubek as manager. Plzeň announced the news on Tuesday, a day after dismissing Dušan Uhrin Jr. in the wake of the club’s defeat in qualifiers for the Europa League. Highly experienced captain Pavel Horvath, who has been a key part of Plzeň’s success in recent seasons, will become player-assistant manager. Koubek has previously helmed Baník Ostrava and Slavia Prague.

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