Daily news summary
Prague taxi drivers stage massive protest against ‘undercut competition’
Prague taxi drivers staged their biggest protest so far in the centre of the city against what they describe as unfair competition from drivers using Uber and other similar applications.
An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 drivers congregated on the edge of the city on Thursday morning with the aim to stage a go slow snail protest in the centre in the early afternoon. The protest ended around the middle of the afternoon.
Minister of Transport Dan Ťok condemned the protest and said he would not meet protest leaders before an already agreed date later in the month.
The latest protest is part of a series undertaken by so-called official drivers who have to pay the city for their licenses and obey other rules. They say competition from unofficial drivers is undercutting their business. The drivers have been pressing city and national authorities to put both types of taxi drivers on the same footing.
Roma leaders lodge criminal complaint against SPD politicians over Lety comments
Criminal complaints have been lodged against two Czech politicians from the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, and anti-EU party, Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), over their comments about a Nazi operated Roma camp during WW2.
The complaints have been lodged by the Chairman of the Committee for Compensation for the Roma Holocaust, Čeněk Růžička. The complaints claim that the two party members publicly denied the extermination of Roma during the war. Around a dozen Roma survivors of the camp at Lety are also seeking damages.
SPD leader Tomio Okamura later apologised for his comments that there was no fence around the camp and that inmates could move around freely. Hundreds of Roma died from disease and conditions at the Czech camp. Many others were sent on to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
Record Czech tourist stay figures for 2017 of over 20 million
There were a record number of tourist stays in Czech hotels, pensions, and camps in 2017.
The total number of stays rose to over 20 million, around 1.7 million more than in 2016. That represents a year on year increase of 9.1 percent.
Stays by foreigners increased by 8.1 percent and by Czechs by 7.7 percent. The biggest increase in stays occurred in the South Moravian region.
Czech jobless rate rises to 3.9 percent in January
Czech unemployment in January rose to 3.9 percent from December’s 3.8 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the national Labour Office.
Around 289,000 are registered as jobless and seeking work. This is the lowest January figure since 1998.
The unemployment rate in January 2017 was 5.3 percent. The number of vacancies increased in January to 231,000.
Czech 2018 growth estimate upped to 3.2 percent
Czech economic growth this year will be around 3.2 percent according to the latest improved outlook published by the European Commission.
The previous estimate for 2018 was 3.0 percent growth. The Czech economy is expected to have grown by 4.5 percent in 2017.
The Commission’s estimate for 2019 growth is unchanged at 2.9 percent.
Czech Republic seen becoming net EU contributor by 2025
The Czech Republic could start becoming a net contributor to the European Union budget as early as 2024 or 2025, according to economists sounded out by the business daily E15.
Since joining the European Union in 2004, the Czech Republic has always been on the receiving end of EU payments overall.
The change in status results from the country’s increasing wealth, changes in the EU budget currently being worked on, and the likelihood of new and poorer states joining in the coming years.
The weather Friday will be cloudy with some sunny intervals. Top daytime temperatures will range between minus one and three degrees Celsius.