Daily news summary
Czech National Bank announces end of currency interventions to maintain low crown regime
The Czech National Bank has ended the regime of foreign currency interventions to keep the crown low against the euro. The bank’s spokesman Marek Zeman announced the move after an extraordinary meeting of the bank board on Thursday. That means the bank will no longer prevent the Czech crown to dropping below the level of 27 crowns to the euro. The bank repeated its previous announcement that it is ready to intervene either way if the crown starts becoming volatile. The Czech National Bank launched currency interventions in November 2013 to head off the danger of deflation and weakened economic growth.
Constitutional Court rejects compensation claims by Baťa descendants.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a compensation claim filed by the descendants of the former shoe magnate Jan Antonín Baťa, the Czech News agency reported on Thursday. Baťa’s descendants are jointly seeking compensation to the tune of 56 million crowns for property that was confiscated from Baťa in 1947 under the post-war Beneš decrees for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. In 2007 a court cleared Bata’s name, ruling that no crime had been committed. Prague municipal court earlier rejected the compensation claim on the grounds that the restitution laws pertain to property confiscated after February 25th 1948 and cannot apply to a case that occurred a year earlier.
Government agrees offer for mining company OKD
The government late Wednesday agreed that the state owned company Prisko could make a bid of 80 million crowns for the hard coal mining company OKD, currently subject to insolvency proceedings and a rescue plan. The decision ends a spat in the government over which ministry, finance or industry and trade would take the lead with a possible state rescue. The ministry of industry firm, Diamo, will also take part alongside Prisko, subject to the ministry of finance, in a possible bid. Prime Minister Bohulsav Sobotka underlined that the state had only decided to make a bid and it was up to the insolvency manager of OKD whether it was accepted. Earlier, it was reported that US firm Alcentra has written to the Czech prime minister offering to pay at least 500 million crowns for the hard coal mining company OKD. The news was reported by the business server, Euro. Alcentra, part of the BNY Mellon group also though threatened to start arbitration proceedings if its offer was ignored.
Bus drivers’ strike has patchy impact across country
A strike by bus drivers began at midnight on Wednesday with five regions, mostly in the north and east of the country mainly affected. The biggest impact appears to have been in South Moravia where it was reported that 67 routes were cancelled and buses on another 61 routes reduced. The regional government subsidies 225 routes in total. The strike was reported to be much more patchy in the Olomouc, Liberec, and Ústí regions. The government on Wednesday night offered regions 420 million crowns to boost pay for drivers but this is less than half what might be required. The strike was sparked when some regional operators failed to honour a government promise for minimum wages to be boosted to 98.10 crowns an hour for drivers behind the wheel.
Czech Republic doesn’t comply with EU directive on oil stocks
The Czech Republic currently doesn’t fulfil the European Directive on oil and crude oil reserves, the head of State Administration of State Material Reserves Pavel Švagr told the Czech News agency on Thursday. According to the directive, EU countries with no oil of their own must maintain emergency stocks of crude oil or petroleum products equal to at least 90 days of net imports. However, the Czech Republic’s current oil reserves would only last for 87 days. The State Administration of State Material Reserves has already informed the government and the European Commission about the situation.
Ukrainian sentenced for smuggling reptiles from Australia to Prague
A Ukrainian man has been sentenced for smuggling dozens of chameleons and geckos from Madagascar to Prague. The man was apprehended last year by customs officials at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport who discovered 232 chameleons and geckos in his suitcase. More than 70 of the specimens did not survive the journey. The man was found guilty by a Prague court of animal mistreatment and received a one-year conditional prison sentence and fine of 200,000 crowns.
Friday will be cloudy with rain and even snow showers in some places.