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Central bank expecting deflation in 2015

The Czech central bank has said it is expecting the economy to go into deflation in 2015, a first in the country’s modern history. The weakening euro and falling oil prices are creating "unusually high levels of uncertainty" and adding fresh downward pressure to Czech prices, central bank Governor Miroslav Singer said at a press briefing in Prague. According to the bank the average inflation will go into negative figures, at around - 0.1 percent.

Czech tanks to aid the fight against Islamic radicals

The Iraqi army has received more than 100 renovated T-72 tanks and armored vehicles from the Czech company Excalibur Army, Czech Television reported on Friday. The contract worth hundreds of millions of crowns was approved by the government. The military equipment is to be used in the fight against Islamic radicals.

Justice Ministry wants to give 15-year-olds the right to start work

The Justice Ministry is preparing an amendment to the civil code which would enable 15-year-olds to start work without their parents’ consent, the internet daily novinky.cz reports. Under the present legislation teenagers need parental consent to start work up until the age of 16 and only come of age when they are 18-years-old. The amendment is to allow those who finish primary school at the age of 15 to decide about their own future.

Police team uncovers tax fraud to the tune of 300 million crowns

A special police team set up in 2014 to fight tax-evasion has uncovered tax fraud to the tune of 300 million crowns, the ctk news agency reported. According to information made available on Friday police in the town of Kladno arrested 29 people earlier this week. Three of them are being detained in custody on a court order. Among those charged is an influential local entrepreneur who is suspected of having created a virtual corporation in order to facilitate the tax fraud.

Supreme Audit Office uncovers dubious subsidies in the area of sport

The Supreme Audit Office has filed three criminal complaints with regard to dubious subsidies in the area of sport, allocated by the Education Ministry in the years between 2011 and 2013. According to the office’s spokeswoman the ministry distributed 800 million crowns in a highly questionable manner. In other cases, subsidies were sent without a formal request for them from the respective benefactor. Police are investigating the complaints on suspicion of abuse of office and mismanagement of public funds.

President Zeman to visit Jordan and the United Arab Emirates

President Miloš Zeman is to visit Jordan and the United Arab Emirates in the course of next week, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told journalists in Prague. In Jordan the Czech head of state is scheduled to meet with King Abdallah II and also speak with Czech doctors active in the country within the humanitarian programme Medevac. In the United Arab Emirates President Zeman will be received by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Police crack down on cyber theft gang

Police in the town of Zlín have cracked down on a gang involved in cyber theft. The gang abused credit card data and stole large sums of money from internet bank accounts. The overall damage is estimated at 3.6 million crowns. The seven men and four women charged face prison sentences of five to ten years.

Kalousek will run for party chair after TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg retires

The deputy chair of TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek has confirmed that he will make a bid for the party’s top post when its present leader, Karel Schwarzenberg, retires from politics. Mr. Kalousek made the statement in an interview for Radio Impulse. Mr. Schwarzenberg, 77, recently said he would remain at the helm at least until the party’s next election conference which is due to be held at the end of this year.

Peroutka awards for outstanding journalism handed out

The Ferdinand Peroutka Awards for outstanding journalism were handed out in the pantheon of the National Museum in Prague on Thursday evening. Among this year’s recipients were Martin Veselovský from DVTV and Petr Třešňák from the weekly Respekt. Mr Veselovský used to host a respected news and analysis programme on Czech TV. Last year, he became part of a new current affairs online interview programme, DVTV. Petr Třešňák, deputy-editor-in-chief of the weekly Respekt, has covered mainly social topics and health issues and last year received the EU Health Prize for Journalists. The awards are named after Ferdinand Peroutka, one of the most significant figures of Czech journalism in the 20th century.

Czechs beat Russia 3:0 in Euro Hockey Tour

The Czech national ice hockey team beat Russia 3:0 in the Euro Hockey Tour in Karlovy Vary on Thursday, marking their first victory in the season. The goals were scored by Petr Koukal, Dominik Simon and Michal Vondrka. The second duel against Russia is set to take place on Saturday in Prague’s O2 Arena.