News Government warehouse ban raised at site earmarked for possible Amazon investment
A decision was taken Monday by the Czech government which could pave the way for e-commerce giant Amazon to overturn its original decision and site a second distribution centre on the outskirts of Brno. The government removed a clause banning the use of land being offered to Amazon for warehouses. The clause was inserted more than 10 years ago when the land was transferred from the central to local government and the land use issues were one of the obstacles in the original talks with Amazon. The American company walked away from talks on the Brno site after the city council rejected planning changes needed for the distribution site to go ahead. Since then the council has said it is renewing efforts to win the investment and potential 1,500 jobs.
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Ostrava Transport, running public transit in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city, is planning on expanding and upgrading its existing tram fleet with 40 new low-floor trams. The news was confirmed by the agency’s head, Roman Kadlučka. The company wants the new vehicles to offer commuter comfort inclduing air conditioning. The tender is to be conducted online for reasons of transparency. The deal is worth a reported 1.4 billion crowns.
The first group of Czech athletes has arrived at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the upcoming summer games. According to news site idnes, the team had expressed relative satisfaction with the accommodation and found no problems, the head of the Czech delegation Tomáš Houska, confirmed. Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Italy found the facilities lacking, idnes reported, saying that Australian athletes were looking for alternative accommodation at local hotels.
French President Francois Hollande will arrive in the Czech Republic on Wednesday on an official working visit, when he will meet with Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman. The news was confirmed on Monday by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for the Czech head of state. During his visit, President Hollande will also meet with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr Hollande was originally scheduled to travel to Prague last week but the date was postponed in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice which claimed 84 lives.
The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell by 11.3 percent in the first half of 2016, according to police statistics released on Monday. In all, the police registered some 115,314 crimes in the first six months. Of those, some 42.5 percent were reportedly solved. Out of crimes committed, 7,735 were violent. There were 65 murders, down by 24 from the same period last year. The region of Central Bohemia had the most with 13 while Liberec had none.
Czech businessman František Savov is to be extradited from Great Britain to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday citing spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová of the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague. She spoke after a court in London rejected his appeal over an earlier ruling loast year. Mr Savov, best-known as the owner of Mlada fronta publishers, is wanted on the suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering going into the hundreds of millions of crowns. The 44-year-old businessman has denied any wrongdoing.
A report on extremism published by the Interior Ministry suggests that extremist groups in the country lost momentum in the second quarter, not finding new topics to attract potential supporters besides the migrant crisis. Right-wing groups in particular have been further weakened as they compete for the largely the same followers. According to the report, the most significant recent development from the persepctive of Czech extremists was Brexit (the decision by Great Britain to leave the European Union).
More than three-fifths of Czechs in a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency said they supported the right of adoption by same-sex couples. Less than one-third of those who took part in the survey said they were against. Lawmakers are currently debating an amendment dealing with ‘second-parent adoption’, granting the non-biological partner in a registered partnership the same legal rights to the child; the earliest that the debate will continue is in September.
A meeting of the tripartite – government, union and employers representatives – is not likely to reach a consensus on Monday on a raising of the minimum monthly wage, the Czech News Agency reports. According to the service, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has backed an increase of no more than 700 crowns per month for a total of 10,600 crowns, which is also seen as suitable by employers. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wants the total to be 11,000 and unions 500 crowns more. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has backed an increase to at least 11,000. The monthly minimum wage was last raised at the beginning of 2016 – from the previous 9,200 crowns to the current 9,900.
State spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has reported auditing mistakes to the tune of 4.9 billion crowns in the books of the Ministry of Interior for 2014. The main factors in the flawed accounting were failures to properly account for the impact of a series of agreements made by the ministry and its estimation of property assets. The ministry said that no cash was missing and that steps have been taken to address the accounting mistakes.
Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger ended tenth in the Tour de France on Sunday, his fourth top 10 placement. He was just over seven minutes off the winning time of Chris Froome. Kreuziger moved up to 10th place overall from 12th on Saturday after coming sixth in the stage after an aggressive move to break free of the pack. He was helped by fellow team member, Slovak Peter Sagan. Kreuziger’s best ever placing in the tour was fifth in 2013. He had previously been placed three time in the top 10.