The average mortgage rate in the Czech Republic rose to 3.0 percent in
January from 2.9 percent the previous month, according to market analysts
Fincentrum. The average rate has been climbing since reaching a record low
of 1.8 percent in December 2016. In January 2018 it stood at 2.3 percent.
The number of new housing loan contracts signed in January was the lowest in five years.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint against a ban on
billboards by Czech motorways filed by a group of 17 senators. Speaking for
the group, senator Václav Chaloupek said that the prohibition, which also
applies to first class roads, violated legal certainty and a ban on
retroactivity. The petitioners also argued that it contravened the right to
do business and the international protection of investments.
The court, which had been considering the matter since 2017, said that the billboards ban could be justified on the grounds of public interest, safety and environmental concerns.
A former minister of regional development, Rostislav Vondruška, has
received a suspended sentence for corruption. On Tuesday the Prague 2
District Court found him guilty of using gift vouchers paid for by the
CzechTourism agency – which he then headed – for his own private
purposes. He also gave them to friends.
Mr. Vondruška, who served in a caretaker government nine years ago, was also ordered to pay almost CZK 150,000 in compensation.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will not take action against the
minister of industry and trade, Marta Nováková, over comments she made
about mobile data prices. The minister, who was appointed by Mr. Babiš’s
ANO party, attracted a lot of criticism for suggesting that data was
relatively expensive in the Czech Republic because not enough people were
availing of the service, which operators had invested a lot of money in.
Mr. Babiš said Ms. Nováková had expressed herself poorly and that everybody made an unfortunate comment sometimes.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, held talks with his Israeli
counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The Office of the
Czech Government said that the pair had discussed cooperation in the fields
of innovation and research, cyber security, effective water management and
The two leaders also discussed a planned intergovernmental meeting that will see Mr. Netanyahu and members of his cabinet visit Prague.
The meeting was scheduled after the cancellation of a Visegrad Four summit in Jerusalem when Poland withdrew due to a diplomatic row with Israel.
US company Apple launched its Apple Pay service in the Czech Republic on
Tuesday. The contact free system, which is linked to payment cards, allows
people to use their Apple mobiles and watches to make payments.
Google Pay, a similar product, was already available in this country for users of phones and watches using the Android operating system.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, says he may
quit the cabinet if he is not elected a deputy leader of the Social
Democrats. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, he said if he failed to win
the post at a congress in March it would be a signal that his policies lack
sufficient backing within the party.
Mr. Petříček, who is 37, says he intends to advocate for modern left-wing policies at the Social Democrats congress.
The pro-European politician has faced consistent criticism from President Miloš Zeman. He is also unpopular with the Communist Party, who support the ANO-Social Democrats minority coalition on key votes.
Ice hockey legend Jaromír Jágr made his first appearance in over a year
for the club Kladno on Monday evening. The locally born star, who is now
47, played for nearly 18 minutes as the Czech second division side overcame
Jágr is a 13-time NHL All-Star and is the most productive player ever to have appeared in the league.
The V&A Museum in London is showing the work of Czech photographer and
political refugee Ivan Kyncl.
Known for his experimental approach to photography, Kyncl photographed politically sensitive plays performed in the secret ‘living room theatre’ of blacklisted actress Vlasta Chramostová.
He also documented the activities of the Charter 77 anti-communist opposition.
Following his move to the UK, Kyncl went on to capture some of the greatest plays, operas and musicals of the 20th century.
The exhibition opens on February 19 and will run until June.