Daily news summary
Schools closed as unions hold one-day strike over pay
Some schools in the Czech Republic are closed on Wednesday while others are offering only partial services due to a one-day strike. Union leaders called the action after the government rejected their demand of a 10-percent rise next year in basic salaries for teachers and others working in the schools sector.
The unions said on Monday that around 6,000 schools would take part, which would be over half the entire number in the country.
The government offered teachers an 8-percent pay rise from January, with 2 percent more to be at the discretion of principals.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Education Minister Robert Plaga (ANO) described the strike as a debacle for the trade unions. According to him there is no mass support for the strike and that many teachers had joined in the action not because of the trade unions’ demands, but because they want to see an increase in the education budget.
Meanwhile, trade unionists say that in spring the government had promised a pay increase of 15 percent.
End of Hitler mask sales as Prague authorities terminate lease agreement with vendor
Prague 1 district authorities have chosen to terminate the lease agreement of a shop in the capital’s Malá Strana district which sold rubber masks depicting the face of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. According to a press release by Prague 1, the sale of the rubber masks broke the tenant’s contract pledge only to sell products related to Czech heritage, or those made by protected local craftsmen.
The sale of the masks was first brought to light by the popular YouTuber Janek Rubeš in January. Last Friday it was denounced by the German ambassador to Prague, who asked on Twitter why such “trash” was being sold in the capital, when the Czechs had suffered so much during the Nazi regime.
Former Prague Imam to face court case after being charged with supporting terrorism
The state attorney’s office in Prague has filed an indictment against the former Prague-based Imam Samer Shehadeh, his brother, and his sister-in-law on suspicion of supporting terrorism, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. The case has now been forwarded to the local municipal court.
The three face allegations of involvement in a terrorist group, support and promotion of terrorism, as well as the financing of terrorism, crimes for which they could face up to 15 years in jail.
Mr. Shehadeh was arrested abroad and has been held in Czech custody since November last year. Czech intelligence services began investigating him in 2016 due to suspicions that he was trying to radicalise Muslims.
Head of Constitutional Court most trusted state official according to STEM poll
Pavel Rychetský, the president of the Constitutional Court is the most trusted high level state official in the Czech Republic, according to freshly released survey results conducted by the polling agency STEM in late October. In it 52 percent of respondents said they trust Judge Rychetský, who was closely trailed by President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who both received 50 percent.
Senate leader Jaroslav Kubera came in fourth with 44 percent of the trust vote, ahead of the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček who scored 39 percent.
Although Judge Rychetský remains at the top, he suffered the largest decrease of trust compared to the other state officials in October. He was polling steadily at or above 60 percent this year, with exactly two-thirds of respondents stating they trust him in September.
According to STEM his trust levels may have gone down following his recent critical remarks towards President Miloš Zeman.
Year-on-year industrial production slowing down, analysts fear impact of German recession
Czech Industrial production experienced a 4.9 percent year-on-year growth in September, compared to a 3.8 percent fall in August, the Czech Statistics Office announced on Wednesday. The growth was mainly thanks to an increase in car exports. However, after working days adjustments, industrial production actually went down by 0.6 percent in year-on-year terms.
Analysts questioned by Czech Television say that domestic industry is actually stagnating as a result of the possible recession in Germany. Nevertheless, some believe that the calming of geopolitical trade tensions could help Germany bounce back and give Czechia the opportunity to slip through its neighbour’s time of troubles unharmed.
iHNed: Domestic banks among best in Europe in terms of dividends
In terms of return on capital, domestic banks in the Czech Republic are among the best in Europe, the news site iHNed reported on Wednesday, after analysing data from annual reports and national bank statistics. Last year, net profits amounted to CZK 82.1 billion, an 8.9 percent increase when compared to 2017.
According to iHNed, the excellent results are partly down to the growth in the volume of loans provided and the subsequent increase in interest income. The latter is also supported by an increase in the Czech National Bank’s interest rate, which rose to 2 percent this May. This is in contrast to the situation in the Eurozone where, the European Central Bank lowered its key interest rate to -0.5 percent in September, the news site reports.
Police in South Moravia uncover group that exported drugs to USA
Customs officers have arrested six individuals in South Moravia who are suspected of trafficking drugs. More than ten kilograms of narcotics and tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets were found during the raid, the Czech News Agency reports. Five of the individuals are facing charges and could receive sentences of up to 18 years in prison if found guilty.
Police started investigating the case in April, when two suspicious packages containing more than four kilograms of crystallised MDMA were discovered at a postal station in Prague. According to the spokeswoman of the South Moravian Customs Administration Lada Temňáková, Czech authorities worked together with America’s Drug Enforcement Administration on the case. She says that aside from the USA some packages were also destined for Australia.
Slavia draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou in Champions League
Slavia Prague drew 0:0 with Barcelona away on Tuesday night in the Champions League. The hosts’ captain Lionel Messi hit the post with a shot in the first half and the Czech side’s goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář kept out a number of other chances.
The result leaves Slavia on two points at the bottom of their group. The Czech league champions will welcome Inter Milan in their next outing in the competition in a fortnight’s time before facing Borussia Dortmund in their final group game on December 10.
Temperatures on Thursday will hover between 10 to 12 degrees Celsius. In Bohemia and Silesia it will be warmer and, on some occasions, even sunny. Those living in Moravia can expect medium to heavy clouds, but no rain.