Hundreds of police officers are to be deployed in Prague on Thursday, which is a state holiday and marks the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. Národní St. will be closed to all traffic for a street party celebration entitled Thank You That We Can, while around 30 other marches, demonstrations and gatherings are also set to take place in the capital. Officers from around the country are being sent to Prague as reinforcements.
The Czech Republic would like to have a balanced trade and investment partnership with China, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said at the ceremonial opening of the Czech-China Investment Forum at Prague Castle on Tuesday. At present, China exports over 10 times as much to the Czech Republic as it imports from the country. Mr. Sobotka said relations between the two states were developing dynamically, particularly in the engineering sector but also in transport, science and research and healthcare. He also told the Chinese delegates that the Czech Republic was interested in a dialogue with Beijing on human rights.
A memorial to the 1989 Velvet Revolution on Prague’s Národní St. has been moved, the news site SeznamZpravy.cz reported. The memorial, which takes the form of outstretched hands above the date 17.11.1989, is no longer in a passageway through the Kaňka Palace but on the building’s façade. Building owners the Chamber of Advocates said there was a fear that the many candles lit at the original location could cause a fire.
The Czech Republic’s economic growth contracted in the third quarter of the year, slowing to 1.9 percent year-on-year from 2.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter. The news stems from a provisional gross domestic product estimate published by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. Analysts had been expecting slightly higher growth in the July to October period.
Temperatures dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius in the Šumava region in West Bohemia on Monday night, breaking a record for the coldest day set back in 1992. Then the temperature fell to minus 17.9 degrees. No other records were broken on Monday night, according to the Czech weather office. Drivers were warned of ice Tuesday morning though most roads appeared to be usable with care. With rain expected later on Tuesday afternoon a major freeze-up threatens.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka continues his review tour of ministers on Tuesday. It’s the turn of Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek and Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek. Zaorálek came under fire recently when he masterminded a declaration of four top Czech officials ostensibly seeking to calm Chinese anger over a meeting by the Christian Democrat culture minister with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Prague. The declaration was dubbed servile by opposition parties. Zaorálek also likened culture minister Daniel Herman’s action to a Czech meeting with the Sudeten German leader in the 1930s. He later apologised for that remark. Mládek offered to resign ahead of his, eventually unsuccessful, attempt to be elected to the upper house, the Senate, in recent elections. Sobotka has kept him on in the post though appears to be considering a wider Cabinet reshuffle.
The PPF group of the richest Czech Petr Kellner is on the shortlist to bid for Plzeňský Prazdroj and other brewery assets of SABMiller in Central Europe according ot Reuters. Other companies featuring on the list are Japanese brewery Asahi, the Swiss investment group Jacobs Holding and investment companies Bain Capital and Advent. The sale off has been sparked by the planned acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev with asset sales demanded by the European Commission as a price for the deal to proceed.
Chinese investment group CEFC has so far invested 22.8 billion crowns in the Czech Republic and employs 4,000 people. The final investment should total 30.7 billion crowns and payroll should total 10,000. Those figures were released on Monday, the first of a three-day session of the Czech-Chinese Investment Forum being staged in Prague. CEFC has so far been the highest profile Chinese investor in the Czech Republic with purchases spanning sport, real estate, travel agencies, hotels, and breweries. Chinese investment in the Czech Republic has been under focus after president Miloš Zeman said in March it should total 95 billion crowns this year.
Police said they detained 35 people in connection with the Cannafest fair staged in Prague from Friday to Sunday. The annual fair, attended by 250 firms from 25 countries is mainly a showcase for cannabis and herbal products. Of those detained, 26 were for illegal possession of drugs and seven on suspicion of producing illegal drugs. Another person was detained for rowdy behaviour. Police carried out checks on 700 people attending the fair. Organisers said it was the biggest fair held so far.
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