News Czech Republic stays 17th in EU wealth survey
The Czech Republic is ranked 17th in the EU in GDP per capita, according to a Eurostat survey released on Wednesday. Its gross domestic product is at 80 percent of the EU average. The country, which was ranked 17th in several previous years as well, is the richest of former Communist nations with the exception of Slovenia, and also outranked Portugal and Greece. However, in actual individual consumption per capita, which also reflects economic well-being, the Czech Republic is ranked 22nd of the EU, and is at 72 percent of the bloc’s average, according to Eurostat.
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The weekend should be partly cloudy to overcast with the possibility of scattered showers on Saturday, clearer skies on Sunday and day temps between 9 and 11 degrees Celsius.
The lower house of Parliament has voted to extend a diesel tax rebate program to livestock farmers and other agricultural workers. Currently the program, under which farmers are able to claim 40 percent of the consumption tax they pay on diesel gas back from the state, applies only to grain farmers. Under the present amendment it should also apply to fisheries and forestry workers. The amendment, which still needs to win approval in the Senate, aims to raise the competitiveness of Czech farmers in the EU.
The Czech Republic will send a field hospital to Iraq before the end of the year, Czech Television reported on Friday, saying the mission has received approval from both houses of Parliament. The team of 30 doctors, nurses and logistics support, which is to cooperate with American medics stationed in the vicinity of Mosul, should leave December. The hospital should help treat allied troops and Iraqi soldiers injured in the fight against Islamic State militants in and around Mosul. The Czech military already has flight specialists in Iraq who are serving as instructors for Iraqi pilots flying the L-159 jets which Iraq acquired from the Czech Republic.
The majority of university rectors will not attend the traditional ceremony at Prague Castle marking Czechoslovakia Independence Day on October 28th, Czech Radio reported on Friday. An academic boycott of the celebrations has taken place for several years in a row in a show of protest against the policies of President Miloš Zeman and the fact that reactors who have fallen into disfavor with the head of state do not receive an invitation to the event. The Rectors Conference says this is undignified and has accused Mr. Zeman of appropriating the public holiday. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčaček warned that rectors who do not turn up for the event this year risk being crossed of the invitation list for good.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has stressed the need for the EU to present a united front in negotiations with Russia. Speaking at an EU summit of heads of government in Brussels the Czech prime minister said that while Russia’s violation of international agreements in Ukraine presented a serious problem in communication, Russia must not be forced into isolation and the EU must maintain dialogue with the country. We need to cooperate with Russia on many issues, such as the crisis in Syria, the fight against terrorism and measures against climate change, Sobotka said. But united, we are stronger than if we allow Russia to negotiate separately with individual member states.
The most common names for babies in the Czech Republic are Jakub for boys and Eliška for girls, according to the Czech Statistics Office. Both names were also the most popular last year. Eliška was the most popular name in 2012 before being overtaken by Anna, which is now third behind second-placed Tereza. Jakub has alternated with Jan as the most common boy’s name in recent years.
Sparta Prague are top of their group in football’s Europa League after a 1:0 away win on Thursday over Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel. The only goal of the game came from substitute Matěj Pulkrab on 71 minutes. In the same competition Viktoria Plzeň reduced their chances of advancing with a 2:1 home defeat to the Romanian side. The same goes for Slovan Liberec, who were beaten 1:3 at home to Fiorentina of Italy.
The Chinese authorities summoned the Czech ambassador to Beijing, Bedřich Kopecký, due to their “disquiet” over a visit to Prague by the Dalai Lama, Aktualne.cz reported. The meeting took place on 18 October, before the Tibetan spiritual leader was received by the Czech culture minister, Daniel Herman, the news website said. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the iDnes.cz website that Mr. Kopecký had been summoned. The official told Beijing that it was a private visit by the Dalai Lama and the meeting with Mr. Herman was also a private matter.
The Czech Republic must prepare to combat disinformation and hybrid threats, the country’s interior minister, Milan Chovanec, said on Thursday. Speaking at a NATO conference on the subject in Prague, Mr. Chovanec said the government needed to untangle the misleading information spread by “successful” disinformation websites. Speaking at the same conference, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel highlighted the particular dangers of Russian and Islamic State disinformation. A new Czech centre focused on the fight against terrorism, hybrid threats and foreign propaganda is to be created in January.
The Czech National Bank could under certain circumstances maintain its policy of keeping the crown weak until 2018, its governor Jiří Rusnok told the newspaper E15. Mr. Rusnok said, however, that the second quarter of next year was still the most likely date for ending the policy. It is, however, certain that it won’t be discontinued before then, he said. Since November 2013 the CNB has spent nearly CZK 600 billion on the currency markets keeping the crown at around 27 to the euro.