The Czech economy continued to grow strongly in the first quarter of this
year, albeit at a slower rate than previously. Gross domestic product
expanded by 4.5 percent year-on-year between the start of January and the
end of April, down from 5.5 percent in the final quarter of 2017, according
to preliminary official data released on Tuesday.
Analysts attributed the GDP growth to increasing domestic demand, with household expenditure and investments by companies continuing to rise substantially.
Two pedestrians were killed after being struck by a tram in central Prague
on Tuesday morning. The incident occurred at around 10 am by I.P. Pavlova,
a busy transport hub. The dead were both men believed to have been aged
around 60. Emergency services spent around 45 minutes attempting to
resuscitate the pair but to no avail. Witnesses said they had tried to
cross the street despite a red signal for pedestrians.
Buses were deployed to ferry passengers after tram services were interrupted between I.P. Pavlova and the nearby Karlovo náměstí.
The annual Navalis water celebrations held in commemoration of St Jan of
Nepomuk will take place on the Vltava in the vicinity of Charles Bridge on
The Baroque-era celebrations, which were renewed in 2009, includes a boat regatta with richly decorated gondolas from Venice, parachutists who land on the Vltava River and a concert on a barge.
The celebrations start with a mass at St. Vitus Cathedral and end with a fireworks display. The popular event annually attracts thousands of visitors from at home and abroad.
Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová has dismissed the director of the
Military Research Institute Bohuslav Šafář.
The minister gave no reason for the dismissal, but she announced the decision shortly after Prime Minister Babiš publicly criticized him in connection with a statement that may have led to the confusion as to whether the Czech Republic had ever produced a nerve agent of the Novichok family.
Shortly after the Novichok scandal broke Mr. Šafář told the ctk news agency that poisonous substances were produced by his institute in a minute amount for laboratory purposes.
President Zeman cited his words when claiming that the nerve agent Novichok had been produced and tested in the Czech Republic.
The country’s intelligence services later issued a statement saying that the Czech Republic had never developed, produced or stored the said nerve gas.
Šafář has refused to comment on his dismissal.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has thanked the Czech Republic for its firm
stand regarding the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Czech
Republic was one of three countries which last week blocked a joint
declaration by the European Union criticising the US for transferring its
embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
President Rivlin also expressed appreciation of President Zeman’s view that the Czech Republic should follow the US example. The Czech President received an invitation to visit Israel, which the Israeli head of state said would further strengthen the strong ties between the two countries.
In a recent telegram of congratulations on Israel’s Independence Day Prime Minister Andrej Babiš reaffirmed the Czech Republic’s intention to open an honorary consulate in Jerusalem by the end of May.
Czechs’ trust in the EU has increased to 44 percent, up by five percent
as compared to last year, according to the results of a poll undertaken by
the CVVM agency.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said that the measure of integration within the EU should best remain as it is and 73 percent said they are against the Czech Republic adopting the euro.
The negative public stand against euro adoption has been evident since 2010. In the years between 2006 and 2009 the number of supporters and opponents was more or less balanced.
The ANO party will not reveal its list of candidates for ministers in the
next coalition government, ANO leader and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said
on Monday. He was responding to calls from the Social Democrats for the
list to be unveiled ahead of a Social Democratic Party referendum on
whether the party should enter into a coalition government with ANO.
ANO will also need to address a recently voiced condition for tolerance from the Communist Party which wants the parties of the future government to commit not to increase the country’s presence in foreign missions.
Art historians from the Academy of Sciences have appealed to Prague
councillors not to approve the demolition of Libeň Bridge dating back to
1928. City councillors are divided on the matter and are due to vote on it
Art historians have sent the city council an open letter asking councillors not to consider just the economic aspects of the decision but to take into account the cultural legacy which is at stake.
The bridge has been badly neglected and some councillors argue that pulling it down and building a new bridge would be less costly than saving the old one.
The Ministry of Finance has been fined for violating public tenders, Czech
television reported on Monday.
The Antimonopoly Office is reported to have found violations in more than half a dozen cases and fined the ministry over 1.5 million crowns altogether.
The ministry rejects any wrongdoing and has taken the matter to the regional court in Brno.