Daily news summary
Czechs seek to recruit qualified Ukrainians with fast track visas
Speeded up and simpler visa procedures will be offered in November to Ukrainians who may be able to work as IT specialists or expert technicians in other fields. The speeded up blue cards will be launched as a pilot project for up to 500 Ukrainian university and high school graduates who can fill immediate vacancies. Details of the project should be explained by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek on Wednesday.
Prague court hands out jail terms over Marilyn Monroe thefts
Two men were given five year jail sentences by a Prague court for taking part in the theft of items from a Marilyn Monroe exhibition being staged in the Czech capital. The two men were found guilty of taking the items. A third accused was given a three year conditional sentence. They can appeal to a higher court. Rare photographs and items for the Prague exhibition were taken in May 2013 after they were being shipped to Prague from Italy. The stolen items included rare photos and an invitation to president John F. Kennedy’s birthday party.
Prague moves to renew links with Moscow, St Petersburg
Prague City Hall has moved to renew links with the Russian cities of Moscow and St Petersburg. Links were cut a year ago after the annexation of Crimea. The move to renew links was approved by the culture committee on Wednesday but still has to be backed by the full council. Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová highlighted a foreign ministry letter calling for the council to look again at the situation.
Prague Castle seeks to step up security
Prague Castle is stepping up security. In the future, access to St. Vitus’ Cathedral will only be possible by passing though security barriers. The president’s office is also seeking to complete a security camera system for the surrounds of the castle. Security flaws were exposed in September when a stunt art group flew a giant pair of underpants from a flagpole. The head of state’s office says the increased security is needed because of the threat of a terrorist attack.
New car sales continue to surge in October
New car sales in the Czech Republic are continuing to surge. Sales in the first 10 months of the year ending October are up just over 19 percent compared with the same period in 2014. Total sales stand at just over 191,000. The Škoda Octavia is the most popular single model counting for around one car in 10. Manufacturer Škoda Auto has around a third of the total new car market in the Czech Republic followed by Volkswagen with just over a fifth.
Lower house committee backs hike in gambling charges
The lower house of parliament’s budget committee on Wednesday gave overwhelming support to a government proposal to hike taxes on gambling. The government proposal counts on betting taxes climbing from the current 20 percent to 23 or 28 percent. Daily taxes on slot machines should also rise by around a third. The combined measures should bring in an extra 2 billion crowns. Parliament should vote on the proposed measure by the end of this month.
Tented camp for immigrants taken down at Břeclav
A temporary camp with tents able to host up to 300 refugees at Břeclav is being dismantled. Czech firemen began to take down the camp on Wednesday. It was created at the start of September on the expectations of a surge of immigrants coming through Lower Austria, South Moravia, and onwards towards Germany. The expectations were fuelled by one international train which arrived at Břeclav with more than 200 immigrants on board. That turned out to be a one off incident.
Police investigating explosion at fireworks warehouse
An investigation continues into the explosion at a fireworks warehouse in Zdiár nad Sázavou on Monday. According to the police the blast occurred when employees were moving some of the fireworks in storage. One person was seriously injured in the blast. The preliminary damage estimate is around half a million crowns.
Prague taxi drivers still ripping off clients
An inspection of the city’s taxis service has revealed that more than a third of Prague taxi drivers rip off their clients. According city hall inspectors 6 out of 16 taxi drivers upped the price and some even failed to switch on their meter. The city hall wants to introduce tougher rules for taxi drivers and increase controls.
Žizkov television tower celebrates anniversary
Prague’s landmark Žizkov television tower is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the start of construction work. The tallest building in the Czech capital was completed in 1992. Although Prague citizens may have grown used to the tower, which had large sculptures of toddlers climbing up it added later, it is given mixed reviews by foreign visitors. Some have ranked it among the world’s ugliest buildings.