The annual Designblok festival showcasing both Czech and international furniture, accessories and fashion gets underway in Prague on Monday. The festival takes place at a host of venues around the city, in particular in the district of Holešovice and Karlín. The tenth Designblock will introduce over 200 participants and a selection from the best showrooms, designers, galleries, and fashion designers in Prague. The event will continue until the end of the week.
Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan complain about the poor quality of their Dingo 2 armoured vehicles, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Monday. Soldiers say the Dingo has a weak engine and is very sensitive to the type of fuel used. The daily cited a Czech soldier saying that the Dingo can barely keep pace with a convoy driving at a speed of 60 km/per hour. The Czech military currently has four Dingo vehicles in its arsenal and the Defence Ministry in September signed a contract on another 15 Dingoes, at the price of some 30 million crowns (approximately 1,600 000 US dollars) each.
The Czech Finance Ministry is currently not considering raising guarantees for bank deposits due to the word financial crisis, its spokesman Ondřej Jakob has said. Bank deposits have been insured up to 25,000 Euros, which is in line with the law on banks from the year 2001. The Czech National Bank said it didn’t see any reasons for raising the limit either. Ireland and Germany have recently said they would guarantee all deposits in banks in order to raise confidence in the banking sector. Denmark and Austria too plan to adopt these measures.
The 34th annual Ekofilm festival got underway in the South-Bohemian towns of České Budějovice and Český Krumlov on Monday. One of the oldest festivals of its kind in Europe, Ekofilm is entirely devoted to environmental issues and issues relating to the country’s natural and cultural heritage. In addition to film screenings, Ekofilm offers various seminars, discussions with film-makers and other events.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has been recognized by Emerging Markets magazine as the finance minister of the year in the post-communist countries. Mr Kalousek will receive the award on Friday within the framework of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting to be held in Washington at the weekend. The Czech finance minister was chosen for promoting tax changes, supporting growth and improving the condition of Czech public finances.
The Prague Stock Exchange on Monday registered the biggest daily loss since it was established in 1993, with shares falling by a record 8.46 percent. The PX index fell to a three-and-a-half year low of 1,102.9 points. Financial analysts say it is possible that the decline will continue. Markets worldwide retreated sharply on Monday amid concerns that the spreading financial crisis may push the global economy into recession.
New York Rangers won the second of two historic NHL ice hockey games at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday night. Rangers beat Tampa Bay Lightning 2:1, the same result as in the two clubs' first encounter on Saturday, which was the first NHL match ever played in the Czech Republic. Commentators agreed that Sunday’s game was far superior to the season opener, both in terms of play and atmosphere. The newspaper Sport reported that there was a high chance NHL games could be played in the Czech Republic again next year.
The antenna on top of the TV tower in Prague’s Žižkov district, which provides a signal to viewers in the Czech capital, was replaced by a new one on Monday morning. The upgrade of the device is part of the changes in television broadcasting from analogue to digital broadcasting. Streets in the tower’s immediate vicinity were closed during the operation and people were told not to open their windows for security reasons. All analogue broadcasters in the Czech Republic are expected to make the transition to digital between the years 2010 and 1012.
The car maker Škoda Auto is to reduce output at its plant in Mladá Boleslav due to a fall in demand. No cars will be produced in the last week of October, amounting to a fall of around 13,000 vehicles. Škoda Auto had previously announced plans for a two-day halt on its production lines. A representative said the company expected a marked fall in sales growth next year, noting that the days of double-figure growth were over. On Saturday, it was reported that the truck maker Tatra was also reducing its output and shortening workers shifts.