The Prague Castle Administration (SPH) has paid 11 million crowns for two
works by the late Kamil Lhoták, said to be President Miloš Zeman’s
Prague Castle and the Office of the President of the Czech Republic have been steadily adding to a collection of works by Czech painters to adorn the seat of the presidency.
Kamil Lhoták, who died in 1990, had no formal artistic education. He was a member of Group 42, whose members focused on everyday life in cities He also illustrated some 400 books for children and adults.
The two works obtained for the Prague Castle collection, entitled Two Balloons (1939) and Landscape Animated By a Machine (1944) will be on display in January and in February at the Picture Gallery of Prague Castle.
Czech Airlines (ČSA) will cancel its flights from Prague to Ostrava and
Bratislava as of January 11 and also discontinue service between the Slovak
capital and Košice.
The Czech carrier currently operates flights between Prague and Bratislava in both directions three times a week. Upon arrival in Bratislava, the flights continue on to Košice and back. It plans to have direct Prague to Košice flights in 2019.
In February, the company Travel Service, now operating under the name Smartwings, became the majority owner of Czech Airlines.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has banned the use of mobile phones by
Chinese telecoms company Huawei by Government Office (Úřad vlády)
The decision announced on Tuesday came in the wake of a report released by the National Bureau for Cyber Security and Information (NÚKIB) arguing that phones marketed by Chinese groups Huawei and ZTE could undermine state security.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade had already said it would immediately stop using Huawei products and other ministries are expected to follow suit.
Huawei has become the target of U.S. security concerns because of its ties to China’s government. Washington has warned countries could be exposing themselves to surveillance and data theft if they use Huawei products.
Former Czech Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová (unaffiliated ) said these concerns are nothing new but are only now going public. As minister, she already had Chinese mobile phones exchanged for her personal protection, she said.
The average interest rate on a residential mortgage rose in November to
2.78 percent up from 2.66 percent the previous month, according to the
Fincentrum Hypoindex, which also noted a sizeable drop in the total value
of mortgage loans.
The average in November 2017 was 1.8 percent. The number of loans from banks included in the index fell in November by 2,000 compared to October 2018, to 8,617.
The number of applicants had surged in September as people sought to get mortgages before tougher lending guidelines set by the Czech National Bank came into effect on October 1.
Under the new central bank guidelines, a borrower should not be eligible for a loan greater than nine times their annual net income or need to spend over 45 percent of their monthly net income to service the debt.
Property developer Amádeus Real has refused without explanation to cancel
a controversial no-tender contract with the Railway Infrastructure
Administration (SŽDC) on the future sale of land connected to a railway
station in Prague 6.
In early December, the head of the state organisation said the contract had been concluded prematurely and should be cancelled by mutual agreement at no cost to either side. The Czech news agency ČTK reports that Amádeus Real sent a brief letter rejecting the proposal.
The purchase agreement, signed by previous management at the Railway Infrastructure Administration, calls for the future sale of land at the rail station Praha-Dejvice nádraží to Amádeus Real by 2030 at the latest.
The land is reportedly key to current plans to develop a rail route from Prague to Kladno, in western Bohemia. The Administration wants to build a tunnel under the Prague 6 station to the metro station Nádraží Veleslavín.
Czech MPs are expected to approve a state budget for 2019 with a deficit of
CZK 40 billion on Wednesday. Old age pensions are set for a record rise
while salaries for teachers and other state employees will also increase.
The budget bill will pass in the lower house thanks to the votes of the Communist Party, who support the ANO-Social Democrats minority government on key votes under a “tolerance” deal.
Tributes were paid to the late Václav Havel in Prague on Tuesday evening
on the seventh anniversary of his death. People lit candles and read from
his writings at an event entitled A Candle for Václav Havel on the
city’s Jungmannovo náměstí. A march in his honour from náměstí
Václava Havla (Václav Havel Square) by the National Theatre to Prague
Castle was also held, followed by speeches at the Castle.
The playwright and dissident led the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and served as president of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic for 13 years.
Officers from the police’s organised crime squad raided premises of the
state mining company Diamo on Tuesday. According to the news website
Euro.cz, the investigation centres on a public tender procedure to purchase
land in Cínovec, north Bohemia for the future mining of lithium.
In October the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said Diamo should become actively involved in a project to mine lithium at Cínovec. This followed reports that the Australian firm European Metals Holdings had acquired permission from the Czech authorities to begin test drills.
The Czech state had signed a memorandum with European Metals Holdings on exploiting the mine but that was abrogated by Mr. Babiš’s government.
A hippopotamus has been born at the Dvůr Králové zoo in East Bohemia for
the first time in 29 years, officials have announced. The animal was born
last Wednesday to a seven-year-old female that arrived there in 2016.
The father was a hippo from a zoo in Germany’s Stuttgart. Another baby hippo is due at the zoo in the coming weeks as part of a revived breeding programme.
Czech government reopens borders sooner than planned, special regime with Slovakia
Official: Covid-19 not primary cause of death in 60 percent of those who have died with disease
Prague City Tourism shifts the focus to domestic tourists
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