A Czech men’s group is planning to encourage reflection on the dangers of
alcohol again this year with the seventh edition of Dry February. The
director of the League of Open Men, Josef Petr, said the rules were simple
– not one drop of alcohol for the whole of the month.
The group’s dedicated website offers tips on exercises and alternative non-alcoholic drinks, as well as advice from psychologists. Czechs rank among the top five nations in the world in terms of annual per capita consumption of pure alcohol.
A former chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court, Josef Baxa, says
President Miloš Zeman’s office has attempted to influence courts with
regard to the outcome of cases. In an interview with newspaper Deník N the
judge said this concerned some of the Czech Republic’s higher courts.
Last week the weekly Respekt reported that President Zeman’s right-hand-man, Vratislav Mynář, had contacted a number of judges, including Mr. Baxa. He confirmed this in the new interview.
Mr. Mynář denies the allegations, saying he had merely been relaying the president’s opinions.
Czech media and advertising tycoon Jaromír Soukup has announced the
formation of a party bearing his name with the stated aim of “defending
national interests against corrupt politicians and oligarchs”.
Soukup hosts a popular talk show on the private cable channel TV Barrandov, which he took over in 2012. It is now the fourth-largest channel by viewership in the Czech market after TV Nova, ČT1 (the public broadcaster’s first channel) and Prima TV.
Critics say TV Barrandov panders to voters of populist and extreme right-wing parties and politicians. President Miloš Zeman is a regular guest on Soukup’s programme. The connection with Zeman has reportedly secured Mr Soukup cash from China and Russia to finance the station.
Soukup himself helped finance the 2006 electoral campaign of the Green Party, but has since veered to the right of the political spectrum. He ran for the European elections in 2009 without success.
Illegal migration to the Czech Republic has stabilised since the migrant
crisis of 2015, with fewer than 5,000 people found to be in the country
last year without required papers, the Foreign Police say.
The majority of the 4,992 foreigners found to be in the country illegally were Ukrainians, followed by Moldavians, Vietnamese, and Russians. In total, that is 254 more people than in 2017.
The number of foreigners who arrived legally but overstayed their visas rose by 165 to 4,653.
Trade unionists at Severočeské Doly, a brown coal mining company owned by
state-controlled utility ČEZ, say workers have gone on strike alert over a
pay rise dispute.
A seventh round of collective bargaining held early this week failed to bring an agreement.
The unions are seeking an average pay rise of 2,000 crowns for miners and other workers at Severočeské Doly.
Prague-listed ČEZ has declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations, which began in October.
Some 18,306 companies were registered in the Czech Republic last year, the
second-highest number in history. At the same time, 13,328 companies ceased
to exist, the greatest number on record.
According to the Czech Credit Bureau (CRIF), at the end of 2018 there were 31,634 companies in total still registered as operational.
CRIF analyst Věra Kameníčková said the number of newly established firms stayed close to historical highs for most of 2018, in line with continued economic growth and prevailing optimism among businesses and consumers.
In annual terms, there were 929 fewer new companies registered than in 2017 while 1,135 more disappeared in 2018 than in the previous year. The net increase thus decreased by 2,064 year-on-year and was the lowest in the last five years.
Ownership of painter and sculptor Hana Wichterlová’s garden atelier,
declared a cultural monument last year, will be transferred from Prague 1
to the municipality at no cost.
The district’s mayor, Pavel Čižinský (Praha Sobě) told the Czech news agency ČTK that the municipality wants to install a permanent exhibition in the late artist’s studio in Malá Strana, where she lived and worked for more than 50 years.
The garden atelier still houses many of Wichterlová’s artistic works. It was declared a cultural monument in part because so many celebrated persons had visited there. She died in 1990 at the age of 87.
The National Film Museum “NaFilM”, a student project five years in the
making, has opened to the public.
Building on their pop-up exhibitions and temporary installations, NaFilM found a permanent home in central Prague this past summer, at the home of the Supraphon music studio.
NaFilM cofounder Terezie Křížkovská told Radio Prague in an earlier interview their dream had been to establish an innovative, hands-on, interactive museum showcasing Czech film history.
PM Andrej Babiš (ANO), in the midst of a trip to Asia to promote greater
economic cooperation, began a two-day visit to Thailand on Wednesday with
talks with the country’s foreign minister, Pravit Vongsuvan.
He said Thailand will buy 12 Czech military training aircraft of the L-39NG make and the Czech arms industry is looking to make other deals.
Accompanying Mr. Babiš on his Asian trip, which began in Singapore and ends in India, is a delegation of nearly 40 Czech entrepreneurs and Minister of Economic Affairs Marta Nováková (independent).
The average mortgage rate rose to 2.91 percent in December from 2.78
percent the previous month. According to Fincentrum Hypoindex data,
mortgages have risen at the fastest rate in 10 years.
The size of an average mortgage loan grew steadily throughout 2018 to stand at nearly 2.3 million crowns in December.
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 guidelines, a borrower should not be eligible for a loan which is greater than nine times their annual net income, or need to spend over 45 percent of their monthly net income to service the debt.