Daily news summary

Czech foreign minister to meet with Mike Pompeo

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who is on an official visit to the US, is due to meet for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

The two sides are expected to discuss trade relations, in particular the tariffs that the US administration is planning to impose on European car makers, cyber-security, and the situation in Syria and Afghanistan, among others.

It is the first visit by a Czech foreign minister to the US since 2012.

US tariffs could hit Czech economy hard

If US President Donald Trump were to impose tariffs on European car makers, the Czech economy would suffer a loss of approximately 26 billion crowns and an estimated 25,000 people would lose their jobs, which is 0,5 percent of all employees.

The figures, cited by the news site ihned, were released by the Vienna Institute of Economic Studies. According to an assessment by the Czech Trade and Industry Ministry tariffs could hit Czech exports to the US to the tune of 750 million euros or 20 billion crowns.

The possible impact of a trade war between Europe and the US is expected to dominate talks between US President Donald Trump and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the White House on March 7th.

All suspect deliveries of Polish beef traced

Czech veterinary inspectors have traced all of the deliveries of Polish beef which were part of a shipment infected with the Salmonella virus, a spokesman for the Veterinary Authority reported.

Overall the suspect shipment amounted to 700 kg of beef, delivered to stores, restaurants, school canteens and hospitals. According to inspectors 110 kg of the meat has already been consumed.

The Czech Republic has introduced strict controls on all beef imports from Poland. Although Poland protested against the move, the European Commission said on Friday it was up to the Czech authorities to take reasonable measures aimed at protecting consumers.

Health minister wants some doctors and nurses vaccinated against measles

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has said he wants to order a blanket vaccination of doctors and nurses in high-risk departments, such as ER, against measles in view of the growing number of infected patients in Prague.

In January and February alone doctors have registered 51 cases, as compared to 103 cases in all of 2018.

The spread of measles is attributed to the fact that more parents are refusing to get their children vaccinated for fear of side effects. Doctors say this poses a serious problem for the whole society.

Czechs spending more on alcohol and cigarettes than on health products

Czechs spend a bigger share of their family budget on alcohol and cigarettes than they invest in their health, according to Eurostat data cited by the daily Hospodářské noviny.

One in nine adults has a drink problem and one in four smokes. This is the wort result in a comparative study of EU member states.

On average a Czech family spends 3.3 percent of its annual budget on alcoholic beverages and 4.3 percent on cigarettes, while 0.5 percent of the budget is spent on education and 2.4 percent on medicines and other health products.

Billa and Penny Market fined for abusing their position on the market

The Anti-Monopoly Office has fined the food chains Billa and Penny Market from the REWE group 164 million crowns for abusing their dominant position on the market.

Both chains reportedly requested a special fee from their suppliers for buying their products, which is banned by the law. The decision is legally binding and both food chains have accepted it.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius. Night time lows between -4 and -8 degrees.