Daily news summary
Czech wage rises speed up to 8.0 percent in last quarter of 2017
The pace of yearly average gross wage rises speeded up in the last quarter of 2017 to 8.0 percent, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Friday.
In real terms, discounting inflation, the rise was 5.3 percent. The average gross monthly wage was 31,646 crowns.
Average monthly wages for the whole of 2017 rose by 7.0 percent to 29,504 crowns.
The median wage, the level at which most people are earning removing part of the distortion from high earners, in the last quarter rose by 8.9 percent to 27,320 crowns.
Czechs collapse ticket server for Rolling Stones concert
Massive interest in purchases of Rolling Stones concert tickets for a Prague performance caused the sales server to collapse.
The booking site collapsed under the pressure within minutes of opening for business on March 9. Buyers had to be redirected to a second site where they were warned that they might have to wait in line for up to two hours.
The Rolling Stones are due to play in Prague as part of their No Filter tour on July 4.
The band set a Czech record in 1995 when around 130, 000 attended their Prague performance in a sports stadium.
Václav Klaus Institute joins attacks on president Miloš Zeman
The Václav Klaus Institute, created by the former president and politician of the same name, has joined the chorus of criticism against current Czech head of state Miloš Zeman over his inauguration speech.
The foundation said that Zeman, starting a new five year term in office, used the occasion to vent his revenge and settle accounts. During is speech on Thursday, Zeman devoted considerable to attacking Czech businessman Zdeněk Bakala and his media empire as well as public broadcaster Czech Television.
The institute added that Zeman chose the wrong occasion for such a speech. It added that he made little effort to look to the country’s future or even refer to the fact that this year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
Zeman followed Klaus into office as president during his first term as head of state.
Czech trade surplus narrows to 11.9 billion crowns in January
The Czech Republic had a 11.9 billion crown surplus in the trade in goods in January 2018. Exports rose by 0.4 percent and imports by 4.2 percent compared with the same month in 2017.
The latest figure is 9.4 billion lower than the surplus during the same month in 2017.
One of the main factors in the diminished surplus was a significant 3.7 billion drop in the exports of vehicles as well as higher deficits in trade of basic metals and agricultural products.
That was offset slightly by a 1.9 billion crown dent in the deficit for crude petroleum and natural gas.
Czech inflation drops to 1.8 percent in February
The pace of Czech inflation slowed in February to an annual 1.8 percent, down from January’s 2.2 percent, according to the Czech Statistical Office. That is the lowest annual rate of inflation since November 2016.
Among the main factors depressing higher inflation were a slowdown in prices of many food items and drinks. Phone services also became cheaper. Some of the biggest price rises over the month were for utilities and rents of flats and other accommodation.
The Czech central bank has a target inflation rate of 2.0 percent.
Czech foreign minister pays homage to Jan Masaryk
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický paid homage Friday to former diplomat and minister Jan Masaryk to mark the 70th anniversary his death on March 10, 1948. Stropnický laid a wreath at the foreign ministry’s main building in Prague.
Masaryk, the son of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, fell to his death from the palace a few weeks after the communist coup in which they took over power in post war Czechoslovakia. The suspicious circumstances of his death, described at the time as suicide, have never been fully cleared up.
Members of the public will be able to visit the commemorative bust of Jan Masaryk at the Černínský Palace ministry building on Friday and Saturday.
Right-wing parties against extensive personnel changes made by outgoing government
The lower house is meeting to debate the extensive personnel changes made by the outgoing Babis government.
The right wing Civic Democrats, who initiated the special session, argue that a government without a confidence vote should adopt a caretaker role and does not have a mandate to make far-reaching changes in personnel or other areas.
The Civic Democrats would like the lower house to pass a resolution to that effect, but such a proclamation would not be binding and Andrej Babiš has already said he would not respect it.
His government, which failed to win a confidence vote in the lower house, has come under fire for dismissing a large number of people in key posts in government administration and state-owned agencies and companies.
Czech students planning protest action in defense of constitutional order
Czech students are planning protest action in defense of constitutional values, the news site Novinky.cz reported on Friday.
The demonstration, planned for March 15th in Prague ,reflects young people’s discontent with the present political situation and is targeted primarily against President Miloš Zeman, who has just stared his second term in office, and outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who is trying to form a new government despite the fact that he faces charges of EU subsidy fraud.
The demonstration, organized by the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, is expected to attract secondary school and university students from around the country.
Viktoria Plzeň lose 0:2 against Sporting Lisbon
In football, Viktoria Plzeň lost in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 away tie against Portuguese team Sporting Lisbon 2:0.
Both goals were scored by Montero. The result leaves the Czech club with a major challenge to get through to the quarter finals when they play at home in a week.
Manager Pavel Vrba said Lisbon’s individual quality showed through in the first leg and suggested the Czechs would have to score quickly in the second leg to stand a chance of overturning the deficit.
Saturday is expected to be cloudy across most of the country with the likelihood of showers in the north and sunny spells in the centre. Top daytime temperatures will range between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius.