Daily news summary Daily news summary

Grain harvest to drop by over seven percent this year

The Czech grain harvest is expected to drop by 7.5 percent on the previous year, hitting an overall yield of 6.3 million tonnes, according to preliminary data released by the Czech Statistics Office on Monday. It is third lowest figure over the past ten years.

The harvest of poppy seeds will also be affected by this year’s prolonged period of drought, dropping by one fourth on the previous year to 15,000 tonnes. The harvest of rapeseed, on the other hand, is expected to increase by over 12 percent to 1.3 million tonnes.

Tragic weekend on Czech roads

The past weekend has proved to be the most tragic on Czech roads since the beginning of summer holidays, with thirteen people killed in traffic accidents in the space of 48 hours.

Among the victims were six motorcycle drivers, three cyclists and one pedestrian, the head of the traffic police Tomáš Lerch told the Czech News Agency on Monday. The road death toll traditionally worsens during summer holidays. Police ascribe it to the heat, which causes tiredness and a lack of concentration.

Ostrava steelmaker posts profit of 3.2 billion crowns in 2017

The Czech Republic’s biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal Ostrava, has posted a profit of 3.2 billion crowns in 2017. It is an increase by 1.9 billion crowns on the previous year.

The results were mostly affected by higher financial yields due to the sale of share in daughter companies, the company’s spokeswoman Barbora Černá Dvořáková told the Czech News Agency on Monday.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is looking to sell its Czech unit and some other assets by the end of the year in order to win EU antitrust clearance to acquire a troubled Italian peer Ilva.

Josef Vojáček appointed new boss of Czech state forests

Josef Vojáček has been appointed head of the state-owned forestry company Lesy České republiky. Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman announced the news at a press conference on Monday. The former head of Military Forests and Farms was selected out of 11 candidates who took part in an open competition.

Mr Vojáček will replace Daniel Szórád in the post, who was sacked in May over his inability to deal with the calamitous impact of bark beetle infestation which has plagued Czech forests since 2016.

New York Times: Czech courtship unqualified victory for China

For China, the Czech courtship was an unqualified victory, the U.S. daily New York Times wrote on Sunday. The article, which focuses on the change in Czech-Chinese relationships during Mr Zeman’s presidency, says “China had won a sure friend in Europe, an American military ally and a country once seen as a bulwark for liberal democracy in a strategically important region.”

The article says “Mr. Zeman, a well-known smoker and drinker, has rejected Havel-era support for the Dalai Lama and its close ties to the government of Taiwan,” and points out that Mr. Zeman was the first Czech leader to visit China in nearly a decade in 2014.

Fire on Ještěd Mountain contained

The forest fire that broke out high up on Ještěd Mountain in the north of the country has been brought under control. Twelve firefighter units were called to the blaze, which threatened to spread due to strong wind. The emergency services have also employed a helicopter to contain the fire.

The incidence of fires rose sharply over the past weeks to the drown-out period of drought. In July, fire crews were called to 2,700 fires, which is the highest number in 12 years.

Weather

Tuesday is expected to be mostly overcast with scattered showers and daytime highs ranging between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.