Minister of Health Miloslav Ludvík, Social Democrat, met with finance minister, Ivan Pilný, ANO, Wednesday to seek a boost in the [proposed budget for his ministry for 2018. Ludvík is seeking 3.7 billion crowns more, a slight drop from his May demand that the health budget be boosted by 4.3 billion crowns. The original proposed health budget for 2018 was 6947 billion crowns, a 311 million crown drop on the projected spend for 2017. Later the minister said that his demands had been cut to 2.0 billion crowns but this was cutting to the bone.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker, Škoda Auto, has announced the choice of a new chief designer. The post goes to Oliver Stefani, who previously spent his career with Volkswagen. Stefani is responsible for work on the UP, Polo, Jetta, Tiguan, Golf, Passat and Sharan models. Škoda has been searching for a new designer since Jozef Kabaň left for BMW in February after 20 years with the company.
The giant hogweed and muskrat have been included on a new European Commission list of invasive plants and animals, according to the Czech Ministry of Environment. The move means that steps should be taken to control their spread. At the moment the Czech Republic has no legislative rules in place for such steps to be taken. Giant Hogweed is a major problem in western Bohemia. Hunters though have responded angrily to the inclusion of musk rat on the list, arguing that the Czech Republic has a long standing population on the outskirts of Prague and that they are still not very common in the wild.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek responded to Wednesday’s verdict by describing it as a “huge personal disappointment” and expressing hope that the appeal to a higher court would re-examine the facts and overrule the earlier verdict. In a statement, the ministry confirmed that the head of Czech diplomacy would contact his Turkish counterpart in the coming days about the case. In the meantime, the ministry will give all its possible help, it said. Pending a likely appeal, the two Czechs, remain in custody.
The Czech Association of Exporters has suggested that export growth will continue at more than 10 percent till the end of the year. That should result in a record export figure of 3.5 trillion crowns for 2017, according to the association. The biggest question mark over the figure is whether labour shortages in certain key sectors of the Czech economy will start to bite more and whether the key auto industry sector will face a slowdown or production stoppages.
Two Czechs accused of being part of the Kurdish militia YPG were sentenced in a Turkish court on Wednesday to six years three months each. The two, Marketa Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas, could have faced maximum jail sentences of 15 years. They say they were humanitarian workers who aimed to create a field hospital in an area near the Turkish-Iraqi border. Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist organisation. They were detained in November last year. The vedict can be appealed.
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest four banks, Komerční Banka, announced a 15 percent rise in net profit to 7.7 billion crowns for the first half of the year on Wednesday compared with the same period in 2017. Loans over the period rose by 5.1 percent to 600 billion crowns. The bank is just over 60 percent owned by France’s Société Generale.
Viktoria Plzeň manager Pavel Vrba says it would be suicidal for his team to play for a 0:0 draw in the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie with Romanian club FCSB on Wednesday night. The first leg in Bucharest ended 2:2, so a 0:0 or 1:1 draw would be enough to see Plzeň through. If the Czech club advance they will reach the playoffs for the Champions League and also guarantee themselves a place in the Europa League, if they fail to get to the main competition. Slavia Prague are in the same position and take a 1:0 home win into their second leg game with BATE Borisov in Belarus.
A valuable 16th century wooden church in north Moravia was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday night. Ten fire units were dispatched to the deal with the blaze at Guty near Frýdek-Místek but it was already engulfed in flames when they arrived, a spokesperson for the local fire service said. He said it was impossible to put a monetary value on the church’s historical significance. Built in the 1560s and extensively renovated earlier this decade, the Church of the Body of God was originally Lutheran.
Martin Nekola: Czech Chicago and other untold stories of Czechs abroad
Czech President Zeman addresses Council of Europe
Czech Republic faces court action over freedom of movement
Czech pre-election battle plugs into war of words over lithium mining deal
Communist era past catches up with Czech ANO leader ahead of polls