• Slavia Prague seal football league title with win over Plzeň

    06/25/2020

    Slavia Prague have won the Czech football league title. The defending champions sealed the trophy after a 1:0 victory over Viktoria Plzeň in the capital gave them an unassailable lead over the West Bohemians with three rounds remaining of the “superstructure”, when the top flight is divided into three groups at the end of the regular season.

    With some Covid-19-related restrictions still in place, Slavia’s players celebrated winning the championship with fans in front of their Eden stadium rather than inside it.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Czech Republic to oversee purchase of munitions for V4 group

    06/24/2020

    The Visgrad Four countries will make joint purchases of munitions for small weapons, their ministers of defence agreed in Prague on Wednesday. The Czech Republic’s presidency of the group is ending but it will still oversee the project, its minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, said at a news conference with counterparts from Slovakia and Hungary and the deputy defence minister of Poland. Mr. Metnar said the project could be completed this year. The Czech Republic is just about to hand the presidency of the V4 over to Poland.

    Author: Ian Willoiughby
  • Minister: State coronavirus support totals CZK 1.15 trillion

    06/24/2020

    Czech government measures aimed at protecting the economy from the impact of the coronavirus crisis amount to a total of CZK 1.15 trillion, the minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, said on Wednesday. This amounts to 20.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

    The latest figures are higher than those presented by the Ministry of Finance at the start of May and follow changes to those original plans, officials said.

    Minister Schillerová says the Czech Republic is second only to Germany in direct budget aid. However, Brussels think tank Bruegel says the country offers the lowest support when it comes to the deferral of taxes and levies, and is fourth highest in the case of guarantee schemes.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Exhibition Symbols gathers signs of Czech statehood at National Museum

    06/24/2020

    An exhibition presenting symbols of Czech statehood has opened at the main building of the National Museum in Prague. Simply entitled Symbols, it contains around 100 unique items, including the Order of the White Lion (the highest state honour), a curtain from the presidential box at the National Theatre and the score of the national anthem. The exhibition runs until the end of August.

  • Weather forecast

    06/24/2020

    Thursday should be overcast with some bright spells and rain in the Czech Republic. Temperatures will reach up to 22 degrees Celsius. More cloudy weather will follow but we can expect clear skies again in the middle of next week.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Wednesday marks 78th anniversary of Nazi atrocity at Ležáky

    06/24/2020

    Wednesday is the 78th anniversary of the Nazi annihilation of the Czech village of Ležáky. On June 24, 1942 the Nazis killed all 33 of the village’s adults, both men and women, as part of reprisals for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich the previous month. The Gestapo had discovered that the paratroopers sent to kill Heydrich had a kept a radio transmitter there.

    Two of Ležáky’s 13 children were taken away for Germanisation, but were located and returned after the war, while the rest were gassed at a concentration camp later in summer 1942.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Study: Czechs relatively tolerant of bribery

    06/24/2020

    Czechs and Slovaks are the European Union nations that are most likely to accept the payment of small bribes to public officials, suggests a study conducted by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Sixty-one percent of Slovaks and 59 percent of Czechs regard it as acceptable to proffer gifts or favours in order to speed up certain processes, the report indicates.

    Some 59 percent of Czech respondents in the study said they felt that politicians and parties did not care about their views. The EU average was 60 percent.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj sees record turnover, rise in profits

    06/24/2020

    The Czech Republic’s largest brewery, Plzeňský Prazdroj, saw record turnover of CZK 17 billion in 2019, a representative said on Wednesday. The makers of the lager Pilsner Urquell registered profits of CZK 4.8 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of around CZK 300 million.

    As well as Pilsner Urquell, another export brand, Velkopopovický Kozel, also performed well in 2019.

    Plzeňský Prazdroj exports to over 50 countries. It is owned by the Japanese group Asahi.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • EC investigating whether Czech Post is getting too much state support

    06/24/2020

    The European Commission has begun examining in detail whether the Czech Post is not receiving too much state compensation for providing a mandatory postal service.

    The EU executive arm is examining whether the amount of up to CZK 7.5 billion provisionally earmarked for the period 2018 to 2022 does not violate EU state aid rules.

    The Czech government approached the commission with a request for approval of the state support in January. Brussels is now responding to a complaint from two competing companies and may order the Czech Republic to limit the aid.

    Already in November, the EC received a complaint from postal competitors that the amount for basic Czech postal services was too high.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Poll: Most Czechs consider anti-coronavirus health measures adequate, half question economic support

    06/24/2020

    Most Czechs think measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic were adequate and effective but less than half believe the economic response was insufficient, according to a new CVVM poll.

    Since the start of the pandemic, 10,651 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the Czech Republic, 2,752 are currently ill, and 339 have died with it.

    Czech economic growth slowed by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2020 in annual terms. The country is expected to lose up to 8 percent of its national GDP during the year.

    MPs are now debating a proposed increase in this year's state deficit to 500 billion crowns from 40 billion in view of additional expenditures relating to the coronavirus crisis.

    The government is covered 80 percent of the salary for employees of shops, restaurants, and other businesses forced to shutter under the quarantine regulations.

    Author: Brian Kenety

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