President Miloš Zeman met with the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Stephen King at Prague Castle on Wednesday. According to the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, the talks focused on bilateral relations and international developments, as well as the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.
Ambassador King, who replaced Andrew Schapiro in the post, handed his credentials to President Zeman last December.
President Zeman’s relations with the previous ambassador were strained after Andrew Schapiro expressed reservations about Zeman's presence at the Victory celebration in Moscow in 2015 in spite of most European leaders' decision to shun the event due to the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
The Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees of the lower house of parliament have both called on the government to make greater efforts regarding the situation in Syria. The heads of the departments, Lubomír Zaorálek and Jana Černochová, made the announcement after the committees’ joint meeting on Wednesday.
According to the committees, the Cabinet should also offer Czech army experts to investigate the chemical attacks in Syria. Mrs Černochová said the Czech Republic had a unique opportunity to affect peace negotiations in the country, being one of the few western countries which still have an embassy in Damascus.
A program enabling physicians, pharmacists and dentists from Ukraine to work in the Czech Republic without taking additional exams will soon be terminated.
The government agreed to end the project on Tuesday due to strong criticism from the associations of doctors, pharmacists and dentists.
Their representatives said the lack of exams did not guarantee quality care and some of these doctors had a problem communicating in Czech. The program will continue for nurses.
More than 200 physicians and dentists and some 130 nurses and other healthcare workers came to the Czech Republic within the program in the past two years.
The Penta investment group increased its operational profit in 2017 by 19 percent on the previous year to a record 10.1 billion crowns. Revenues increased by 21 percent to 178 billion crowns, Penta co-owner Marek Dospiva announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The consolidated net profit of the company reached 6.2 billion crowns, which is the highest figure since 2016. Penta is currently planning to enter the Chinese market with its chain of pharmacies Dr.Max.
The government has approved compensation to the farmers who suffered losses due to last year’s drought, amounting to two billion crowns. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec announced the news at a press conference on Wednesday.
Another 208 million crowns will go to fruit growers, whose harvest was damaged by spring frosts last year. The Ministry of Agriculture will also earmark 141 million crowns for building irrigation systems.
According to Mr Brabec, the compensation represent just a fraction of the overall damage caused by weather conditions last year, which amounted to about 12 billion crowns.
The average price for new flats in Prague increased in the first quarter of 2018 by 22.8 percent year-on-year to 88.552 crowns per square meter, according to the data by developer companies Trigema, Skanska reality and Central Group released at a press conference on Wednesday.
The number of sold apartments dropped by 11 percent in the first quarter to 1,200 compared to the same period last year. As of 2015, the prices of flats in the Czech capital have increased by three fifths.
Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime highs reaching up to 25 degrees Celsius.
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