Daily news summary


Thousands attend Prague concert to mark 1968 invasion

Thousands of people attended a concert on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops.

The concert, organised by Czech Radio, included greatest hits of the 1960s, performed by Czech and Slovak contemporary singers, such as Aneta Langerová, Tomáš Klus, Jana Kirschner and many others, who were accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The event culminated with a special video-mapping projection on the National Museum building, which is located on the top of Wenceslas Square.

Police close investigation into attack on tennis star Petra Kvitová

Police have reportedly finished their investigation into a December 2016 assault on tennis star Petra Kvitová at her home in Prostějov during which she sustained severe injuries to her left hand as she warded off her attacker.

According to the news server iDnes.cz, charges will be brought against the suspect Radim Žondra, whom Ms. Kvitová positively identified as the perpetrator.

The investigation into the attack had been shelved in November 2017 due to a lack of evidence, mainly because police had been unable to find the alleged attacker. But in May, investigators received an anonymous tip into the whereabouts of Mr. Žondra, and he was taken into custody.

Petra Kvitová, a two-time Wimbledon, made her comeback at the French Open last year after undergoing surgery and six months of rehabilitation.

PM Babiš supports minimum wage hike by no more than 1,000 crowns

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is in favour of raising the minimum wage by a maximum of 1,000 crowns. Mr. Babiš made the statement on Tuesday after meeting with the head of the country’s Confederation of Industry, Jaroslav Hanák. Representatives of Czech employers say they are willing to raise the minimum wage by 800 crowns, but the Czech Republic’s trade unions are seeking an increase of 1,500 crowns, or 12 percent.

As of this January, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic is 12,000 crowns (less than 500 euros).

Overall number of adoptions down by a quarter since 2012

The number of children adopted in the Czech Republic has dropped by about a quarter over the past five years, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs data show. Yet in the Czech Republic, more than 20,000 children are in residential care, including those not up for adoption, one of the highest per capita rates in Europe.

In 2012, 729 applications for adoptions were submitted and 526 children found new homes. In 2016, the number of applications dropped to 540 and only 377 children were adopted, and the downward trend has continued.

The Office of the Ombudsman has been looking into cases of would-be parents who have waited for years to adopt a child. Under current Czech rules, unmarried couples and partners are not eligible to adopt jointly, which the Office considers a possible violation of human rights.

Average mortgage rate in July rose slightly to 2.5 per cent

The average mortgage rate rose marginally to 2.5 per cent in July, according to data compiled by the Fincentrum Hypoindex, whose figures are based on the real values of freshly agreed contracts, including refinancing. Last month the average rate stood at 2.49 per cent.

About 2,000 fewer mortgage contracts were signed in July while the volume of mortgages fell month-on-month by almost 4 billion crowns to 15.5 billion crowns, according to Fincentrum.

Analysts quoted by the state news agency said the dip was partly a seasonal phenomenon, but mainly potential buyers are hoping that real estate prices have peaked and waiting for the market bubble to burst. But a further cooling can be expected, with stricter central bank guidelines rules on mortgages due to come into effect from October 1.

At its last policy-setting meeting in early August, the Czech National Bank raised the key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent. It was the third hike in interest rates since the end of the bank’s forex interventions against the crown. Bank governor Jiří Rusnok has not ruled out further increases this year.

Poll: Most Czechs distrust their partner’s ability to manage money

Most Czechs distrust their partner’s ability to manage money properly, according to a new poll by the Poštovní spořitelna savings bank, which surveyed 1,500 respondents. They are also reluctant to lend their partners money.

Some 19 per cent of women polled blame their partners for spending too much on cigarettes, while 15 per cent of men think women squander money on clothes.

But around one-third of respondents said they themselves spend too much on food and credit their partners with being better at saving for a rainy day.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be partly cloudy throughout the country, with scattered showers likely in central and western Bohemia, as well as in the southcentral Vysočina region. Average highs should be between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius. The forecast is for more rain on Friday nationwide and much cooler daytime temperatures.