Daily news summary


S&P confirms AA- rating for Czech Republic

International rating agency S&P Global Ratings has confirmed the Czech Republic's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating at AA- with a stable outlook.

S&P said the low government debt level, sound public finances and flexible monetary policy were the main positive factors.

However, S&P noted the chronic labour shortage is restricting growth. It forecasts the Czech economic growth as slowing to about 2.5 percent a year in the near term, “due to visible supply-side barriers".

Despite a high degree of political fragmentation, governments have demonstrated strong support for European Union membership, and improving the business environment and fiscal responsibility, the agency said.

Moravia-Silesia reports 27 tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases

The Moravian-Silesian region reports that 27 people have contracted from tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) so far this year, with 8 cases discovered this week. None of the victims had been vaccinated.

The Czech Republic recorded 712 TBE cases last year, the most in the entire European Union. Only about one in four Czechs is vaccinated against the disease, which causes fever, headache, aching joints and muscles. It can develop into meningitis.

Report: 164,000 Czech residents may be compulsive gamblers

Around 164,000 people over the age of 15 in the Czech Republic habitually gamble online, with many doing it compulsively, according to a report due for release on Monday, ČTK reports.

Nearly two in five gamblers (almost 60,000) are thought to be compulsive gamblers, the National Monitoring Center for Drugs and Addiction report says. Ninety percent of them are in debt.

Overall, the number of gamblers has dropped, from about 350,000 in 2014 to fewer than 180,000 last year.

Survey: Nearly 4 in 10 Czechs forgoing summer holiday

About 39% of Czechs will not go take a holiday this summer, according to a survey conducted by the Profesia.cz server.

About 23% of respondents said they will take their entire holiday abroad, while 16% said they would combine short trips abroad with days off in the Czech Republic.

The study also indicates that 11% of people plan to spend their entire holidays in the Czech Republic, and hope to take advantage of long weekends.

Defence Ministry selling pre-WWII bunkers to military clubs, private bidders

The Ministry of Defense has been gradually getting rid of the pre-World War II era bunkers, Czech Television reports.

While some have been transferred free of charge to municipalities and military clubs, others are being sold through brokers. In no buyer comes forward, they are put up for auction.

The Ministry has already transferred or disposed of about 1,400 bunkers and 90 heavily fortified sites, according to Czech Television.

Štěpán Domorád sets new strongman-climbing record at Sněžka

Štěpán Domorád of Vrchlabí has become the new record holder in a strongman / mountain-climbing contest by hauling 170 kilograms up Sněžka, the highest peak in the country.

Domorád covered a nearly 2 kilometre trek ascending over 200 meters in approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The previous record was a load of 165.5 kilograms, held since August by Vladimír Hižnay.

The contest began in honour of Robert Hofer, who in the winter of 1944 hauled a steel pipe weighing 160 kilograms to the Sněžka weather station.

Apollo 11 mission videomapped on Prague TV Tower

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and first landing on the Moon, the TV Tower in Prague’s Žižkov district will host a virtual space launch this Saturday evening, via a videomapping project.

At 22:17 – the exact moment the Apollo lunar module Eagle landed on the Moon – an array of targeted lights and sounds will transform the TV tower into a faithful replica of the 1969 launch site, and recreate the mission launch, journey to and landing on the Moon.

Ahead of the projection are a series of concerts, lectures, interviews and workshops at the adjacent Mahlerovy sady park. The videomapping will be repeated at the same time on Sunday.

Two exhibitions in Prague are also commemorating 50 years since the Moon landing. The Apollo 11 lunar model is on display at the Planetarium, a moonstone is at the Štefánik Observatory.

Key witness in Mueller investigation, sentenced for sexually abusing Czech minors, faces fresh charges

A Lebanese-American sentenced for sexually abusing minors in the Czech Republic, who served as a key witness in the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, now faces charges of child sex trafficking and pornography in the United States.

The Mueller report mentions George Nader over 100 times. It says he tried to serve as liaison between a Russian banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of President Donald Trump’s transition team, the Associated Press reports.

Nader was convicted by Prague’s Municipal Court of 10 cases of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a one-year prison term in 2003. In court, an Assistant US Attorney indicated that a witness in the Czech case may testify at trial.

Images depicting child pornography and bestiality were found on his phone last year after it was confiscated under a search warrant connected to the Mueller probe, AP reports.

Weather outlook

Sunday should be warm but cloudy, with occasional rain or thunderstorms likely throughout the country, especially in the morning. Average daytime highs should range from 26 to 28 degrees Celsius.