Transparency International Czech Republic has filed a complaint against
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on the grounds of information which
suggests that although he put his billion-crown conglomerate Agrofert into
a trust fund to comply with the conflict of interests law, he is still the
person controlling the company.
Transparency says that in the Slovak Register of Public Sector Partners the company Agrofert has five controlling persons on record. Four of them can be removed by the fifth person who is at the same time irrevocable. This controlling person and one of the end users of benefits is reportedly Andrej Babiš.
Transparency says the findings may have serious implications both as regards the conflict of interest law and EU funding policies.
Prime Minister Babiš has dismissed the accusations as nonsensical.
A footbridge on the Labe River, near Nymburk has been pulled down for
safety reasons. The footbridge was deemed dangerous both to pedestrians and
boats passing under it and has been closed to traffic since June. The
footbridge had the same construction as that which collapsed in Prague’s
Troja district late last year.
The Labe is a busy waterway which connects the cities of Melnik, Nymburk and Kolin with Berlin and the Baltic Sea. There is no alternative waterway. Work on clearing up the debris of the demolished bridge is expected to last until August 12.
The Czech Credit Bureau reports that the number of bankruptcies among small
Czech entrepreneurs is the lowest in five years.
According to statistics there were 60 company bankruptcies in the month of July and 377 bankruptcies of small entrepreneurs which is 108 less than in the preceding month.
The drop in bankruptcies among small entrepreneurs is ascribed to the healthy economy, higher wages and growing demand for their products and services both from companies and individuals.
A fire alert is in place in ten regions of the Czech Republic, including
Prague, because of the hot dry weather. Many regions have issued a ban on
lighting fires out in the open.
The incidence of fires rose sharply in the month of July. Fire crews were called to 2,700 fires that month which is the highest number in twelve years.
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats has asked the
speaker of the lower house, Radek Vondráček, to call a special session of
the Chamber of Deputies to debate the pensions bill that was recently
returned by the Senate in view of proposed changes.
The bill envisages a pensions hike for all pensioners with a special focus on those older than 85. It needs to win approval by the end of August so that it may come into force on January 1 of next year.
A farmer in the Krkonoše Mountains found a young wolf in his sheep
enclosure, according to the ctk news agency.
The animal appeared frightened and although there was a flock of sheep in the enclosure none of them were harmed.
It is thought that the young wolf was a lost member of a pack that is somewhere in the vicinity. The animal was released back into the wild.
According to the head of the Krkonoše National Park Jakub Kašpar such an incident is exceptional.
At its meeting on Thursday, the Czech National Bank Board increased the
two-week repo rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%. At the same time, it
increased the Lombard rate by 25 basis points to 2.25% and the discount
rate by 20 basis points to 0.25%.
The new interest rate levels come into effect on 3 August 2018.
It is the third hike in interest rates since the end of the bank’s forex interventions against the crown. National Bank Governor Jiří Rusnok has not ruled out further increases this year.
Czech Radio will be at the center of a series of commemorative events
marking 50 years since the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Czech Radio is cooperating closely with the National Museum, the National Film Archive and the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes to produce a video-mapping of the August events, including a 13-hour special starting late on August 20th which will follow the events of that night and the early hours of August 21st when Russian tanks rolled into the country to crush the democratic reforms of the Prague Spring movement.
Thirty Czech Radio reporters will be stationed at crucial sites around the country to recall the events of that dark chapter in the country’s history.