News Czech state debt trimmed to lowest level since 2011

23-12-2016 12:25 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech debt for 2016 should shrink by around 60 billion crowns this year to stand at 1.613 trillion crowns according to minister of finance and ANO leader, Andrej Babiš. That would be the lowest level since 2011. Babiš said that the coalition government had so far trimmed 70 billion crowns off the total state debt. The debt to GDP ratio should fall to 34.3 percent from the end 2015 level of 36.7 percent. Analysts expect the debt to climb by up to 25 billion crowns in 2017.

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Mortgage rates stay at record lows in December

18-01-2017 08:33 | Chris Johnstone

Mortgage rates in December stayed at their record low levels of a month earlier averaging 1.77 percent according to the Hypoindex monitor. But the volume and number of loans dropped sharply on November, down by around 12 billion crowns at 17.7 billion crowns. Some lenders altered their conditions followed a new law giving existing borrowers greater freedom to pay back loans without penalty. 

Prague court starts proceedings over Slav Epic

18-01-2017 08:32 | Chris Johnstone

A Prague court will on Wednesday start deliberations about the future of the famous series of paintings by Alphonse Mucha, the Slav Epic. Mucha’s grandson has brought proceedings on the grounds that Prague City Hall has broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition for the Czech people. Grandson John Mucha is protesting the fact no such site has still been found and that the city plans to loan them on an Asia tour due to start next month. 

Sparta Prague through to ice hockey Champions League final

18-01-2017 08:31 | Chris Johnstone

In ice hockey, Sparta has booked a place in the Champions League final after beating Sweden’s Vaxjo Lakers in the return home leg on Wednesday night in front of a record crowd of 12,136. Sparta won 4:0 after already edging Vaxjo in the away match 2:1. Sparta will face another Swedish team, Frolunda, in the final which will be played in the Swedes home town of Gothenburg. 

More foreigners than Czechs caught working illegally for first time

18-01-2017 07:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech labour authorities caught more foreigners than Czechs working illegally for the first time ever last year, iDnes.cz reported on Wednesday. While 1,338 non-nationals were uncovered working off the books in 2016, the number of Czechs was 758. The previous year the figures were the other way around, iDnes said. The highest number of undocumented foreign employees came from Ukraine, Vietnam, Slovakia and Moldova. Fines totalling CZK 71 million were imposed on employers using illegal workers last year. 

Czech accused of knowingly spreading HIV arrested in Thailand

18-01-2017 07:14 | Ian Willoughby

A Czech man accused of knowingly spreading the HIV virus has been arrested in Thailand, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday, quoting AP. Zdeněk Pfeifer, who is 49, is wanted in the Czech Republic on charges of not informing dozens of male lovers that he had HIV; at least three contracted the disease. Thai police said Mr. Pfeifer had been on the island of Phuket on a tourist visa that expired in 2015. 

Ukrainians again make most asylum requests in Czech Republic

17-01-2017 15:05 | Ian Willoughby

A total of 1,475 foreigners applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year, according to figures released by the country’s Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday. The number was 50 lower than for 2015. Continuing a long-term trend, Ukrainian citizens made the most asylum requests, with just over 500. The Iraqis placed second on the list with 158 asylum requests, a jump of 120 on the figure for 2015. However, the government has since abolished a programme bringing Christian Iraqi refugees to the Czech Republic after a number moved on to Germany and others returned home. 

Šumava wild boar show excessive levels of radiation

17-01-2017 13:48 | Ian Willoughby

Almost half of the wild boar in Bohemia’s Šumava mountains demonstrate excessive levels of radioactivity, according to the head of food safety section at the State Veterinary Administration, Jiří Drápal. The problem is caused by a type of underground mushroom eaten by the boar that is capable of retaining radiation from the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Humans would need to eat around 40 kilogrammes of contaminated meat a year to risk being affected, experts say. 

Record 1.35 million cars produced in Czech Republic last year

17-01-2017 13:34 | Ian Willoughby

A record 1,344,000 cars were produced in the Czech Republic in 2016, according to figures presented on Tuesday by the president of the country’s Automotive Industry Association, Bohdan Wojnar. The industry’s output last year was 8 percent higher than in 2015 while the biggest local carmaker, Škoda Auto, recorded a 12.5 percent increase in production. The sector is expected to see further, if slower, growth this year. 

Events to mark Czech Technical University’s 310th anniversary

17-01-2017 12:22 | Ian Willoughby

Events are being held to mark the 310th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The institution was created by an edict of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph 1 on 18 January 1707 with the aim of training engineers. Its establishment will be recalled by cultural events, lectures and other academic gatherings relating to the anniversary. A short film recalling the laying of the foundation of the university’s current campus in Prague 6 was screened on Tuesday. 

Police launch investigation into collapse of sports hall roof

17-01-2017 12:09 | Ian Willoughby

The police are investigating the collapse of the roof of a sports hall in Česká Třebová in East Bohemia as a case of suspected reckless endangerment through neglect, the Czech News Agency reported. The roof caved in during a floorball game on Saturday. The 80 or so people present managed to escape from the structure and only two minor injuries were recorded. The crime being investigated can carry a sentence of up to eight years in prison, a police spokesperson said. 

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