News Industry and trade minister says EU sanctions could see 2.2 billion crowns in revenues lost
EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, could lead to losses in revenue of around 2.2 billion crowns for Czech firms and lead to the loss of some 700 jobs, Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek said on Friday at a joint-press conference with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Additionally, counter-measures announced by Russia could threaten an additional 300 million. The Czech government has tasked a work group including deputy ministers and the state secretary for European affairs to gauge developments and the potential impact of existing sanctions.
Ukraine’s prime minister has said, meanwhile, that sanctions being prepared by Russia could threaten Russian natural gas deliveries through the Ukraine to the EU. Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek suggested that the Czech Republic in such an event could import natural gas through other channels such as Nordstream, but said that countries south of Slovakia would be harder hit. Oil deliveries, he indicated, would present a more difficult problem to solve.
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The Czech Republic is planning to buy 12 military helicopters at a cost of around CZK 10 billion crowns, Prime Minister Bohuslav said on a visit to a helicopter base in Náměšť nad Oslavou on Tuesday. The new aircraft will replace existing Russian ones and only firms from NATO and EU states are likely to be allowed enter the tender process. The state will also put over CZK 500,000 into renovating the base in Náměšť nad Oslavou, a process that should be completed in 2018, according to Mr. Sobotka.
The film Code Name Holec (Krycí jméno Holec) set against the backdrop of the August 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia will be released in Czech cinemas in September, a spokesperson for the distributors said on Tuesday. The movie is based on a short story by Jan Němec and also takes place in Vienna. A number of scenes were shot around the Czech Radio building in Vinohrady, where some of the most intense fighting took place in 1968.
The Prague Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal taken by the state attorney’s office after a nurse accused of murdering six patients was found innocent by a lower court. Věra Marešová had been accused of injecting patients with overdoses of potassium at a hospital in the north Bohemian town of Rumburk between 2010 and 2014. She had denied the charge from the beginning.
Czechs will be able to build houses without having to acquire planning permission according to a plan put forward by the minister of regional development, Karla Šlechtová, iHned.cz reported. Under her proposal, people would just have to register a declaration of intent to build with their local authority. At present that is possible only for structures of 150 square metres or less. Minister Šlechtová’s plan is contained in a draft amendment to the building law, which the government is expected to consider in around a month’s time. If approved, it would come into effect next year.
An estimated 6,000 young Roman Catholic pilgrims from the Czech Republic have set off for the Polish city of Krakow for World Youth Day, the Czech News Agency reported. One of the largest events of its kind, the festival runs from Tuesday until Sunday, when Pope Francis will address an expected 1.5 million people at an outdoor mass. While most have taken trains and coaches, over 100 pilgrims have travelled the 700 kilometres from Prague to Krakow by bicycle.
Czech football title-holders Viktoria Plzeň are preparing to face Quarabag of Azerbaijan in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie on Tuesday night. If they overcome Quarabag over two legs, Plzeň will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013. Sparta Prague, who last reached Europe’s elite club competition in 2005, welcome Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday at the same stage of qualification.
The testing of water samples from a well at a children’s summer camp in the Jihlava area have confirmed the presence of salmonella, officials have confirmed. Roughly a week ago, 28 children suffered health complications at the camp as a result of the bacteria: 17 of them had to be transferred to hospital as well as two adults. The summer camp has been closed for the time being and is due to reopen in mid-August at the earliest.
The Czech Republic will take in 80 Syrian migrants in Turkish refugee camps per the European Union’s agreement with Turkey, Czech daily Lidové noviny reports. The newspaper cited Czech Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Malá as confirming the move. The exact date of their arrival was not specified but they are expected in the Czech Republic sometime in October. Two weeks ago the Czech Republic received files on Syrian refugees interested in applying for asylum from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; vetting is being conducted by the security services.
Ostrava Transport, running public transit in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city, is planning on expanding and upgrading its existing tram fleet with 40 new low-floor trams. The news was confirmed by the agency’s head, Roman Kadlučka. The company wants the new vehicles to offer commuter comfort inclduing air conditioning. The tender is to be conducted online for reasons of transparency. The deal is worth a reported 1.4 billion crowns.
The first group of Czech athletes has arrived at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the upcoming summer games. According to news site idnes, the team had expressed relative satisfaction with the accommodation and found no problems, the head of the Czech delegation Tomáš Houska, confirmed. Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Italy found the facilities lacking, idnes reported, saying that Australian athletes were looking for alternative accommodation at local hotels.