Daily news summary

Government investment to increase places for medical students

The Czech government has earmarked CZK 6.8 billion to try to ensure the country does not lack doctors in the future. That figure should ensure that the intake of medicine students at the country’s teaching hospitals increases by 15 percent.

A third of all doctors in the Czech Republic will be over the age of 60 by 2020 and the current number of medicine graduates is insufficient to replace the medics who will be retiring in the coming years.

No public tender for huge Czech Army contract

The biggest contract in the modern history of the Czech Army will not be awarded on the basis of a public tender process, Czech Television reported. The Ministry of Defence intends to directly address potential suppliers of over 200 mechanised infantry combat vehicles, the station said. The contract should come in at a cost of CZK 53 billion.

An army spokesperson said there were few suppliers of such hardware and that it would consider offers from four producers that met its requirements. Military chiefs want the vehicles to be supplied by 2020.

Average Czech salary up 8.6 pct y/y to 31,851 crowns

The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic increased by 8.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter to 31,851 crowns, data released on Tuesday by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) show.

In real terms, accounting for inflation of 2.3 percent during the second quarter, the average salary rose by 6.2 percent. In the previous quarter, real wages rose 6.6 percent, their fastest pace in 15 years.

The median wage, the level at which most people are earning removing part of the distortion from high earners, stood at 27,236 crowns in the second quarter.

Police charge 35 people for 850 million tax evasion in ČKD Praha DIZ case

Police have changed another 35 people in a long-running fraud case concerning now bankrupt engineering company ČKD Praha DIZ, a significant player on domestic and international markets until two years ago. In total about 60 people, including the company's former owner, have been charged.

The latest suspects are accused of helping the company evade taxes exceeding 850 million crowns in total, in part by issuing or processing fictitious invoices, or transferring funds offshore. In April, billionaire Petr Speychal, a former ČKD Praha DIZ owner, was charged with tax evasion by anti-corruption police.

Prior to going bankrupt, ČKD Praha DIZ had been embroiled in a legal battle with Prague City Hall over completion of the controversial Blanka Tunnel in the capital, which cost the taxpayers some 43 billion crowns. It was the largest and most expensive project in the history of Prague.

IKEA to open shop on Prague’s Wenceslas Sq.

Home goods store IKEA is planning to open an outlet on Prague’s Wenceslas Square in just over two weeks’ time. The 800 square metre shop will focus on living rooms.

The new furniture store will be located in a former bank building near the bottom of the capital’s main thoroughfare. Its opening reflects a new IKEA strategy that the Swedish company is planning to implement in a number of countries.

2018 Signal festival of light to reflect Czechoslovakia’s centenary

Plans have been unveiled for this year’s edition of Prague’s Signal festival of light. The 2018 Signal will take place in the capital from 11 to 14 November and organisers say that for the first time it will have a common theme, the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. This will be reflected in the involvement of an unusually high number of Czech artists.

The Prague district of Karlín will for the first time feature in this year’s edition of the festival, which comprises light installations and video mapping shows. Around half a million people are expected to attend.

Vondroušová, 19, knocked out in fourth round of US Open

Markéta Vondroušová has been knocked out in the fourth round at the US Open in New York. The 19-year-old Czech took the first set against Lesja Curenko of Ukraine but eventually lost 7-6 5-7 2-6.

That result means that the only Czech singles player remaining at Flushing Meadows is Karolína Plíšková, who will face America’s Serena Williams for a place in the semi-finals.

Weather forecast

It should be partly overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 23 degrees Celsius. Thursday should see similar weather but rain is forecast for the remainder of the week.