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Unemployment hits new low in October

Unemployment in the Czech Republic dropped to 2.8 percent in October, which is the lowest point since June 1997, the Czech Labour Office announced on Thursday.

The number of people without work was around 215.622, while the number of vacancies grew to nearly 316,900. Last October, unemployment stood at 3.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of long-term unemployed dropped by 7.6 percent year-on-year, to 29.9 percent (of the total number of unemployed).

EC calls on Czech Republic to adjust its national air quality legislation

The European Commission has called on the Czech Republic to bring its national air quality legislation in line with European norms. According to the Commission, the Czech Republic has not effectively enacted provisions relating to limit values of air pollution and some do not follow the European Air Quality Directive definition.

The Czech Republic has two months to reply to the European Commission’s letter of formal notice.

The notice was published within a monthly package of infringement decisions, in which the Commission pursues legal action against member states for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law.

European Commission sees Czech economic growth at 3 percent

The European Commission has confirmed a slowdown in Czech economic growth. The Commission’s newly released macro-economic forecast sees GDP growth falling to 3 percent this year. In 2017 Czech economic growth stood at 4.3 percent.

The growth is expected to be driven mainly by growing domestic demand. According to the prognosis, Czech GDP should be at around 2.9 percent in 2019 and 2.6 percent in 2020.

Babiš asks Ostrava steelworks’ new owner to submit investment plans

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said following a meeting Wednesday with UK-based steelmaker Liberty House’s owner that he wants the company to submit in writing its plans for the ArcelorMittal Ostrava (AMO) steelworks.

Liberty House has said it plans to invest over €150mn in the next five years into ArcelorMittal Ostrava so as to improve the quality of the plant's hot rolled coil and produce higher-grade rod.

Owner Sanjeev Gupta on Wednesday confirmed intentions to boost production and along with it eventually hire more workers, the ČTK news agency reported.

But Czech unions claim the UK company’s plan for the Ostrava plant is unsustainable and inconsistent with EU requirements. Last week, Mr Babiš sent a letter to EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager calling on Brussels to review the sale.

AbeBooks reverse decision to withdraw from Czech market

Amazon subsidiary AbeBooks, the largest online marketplace for rare and second-hand books, has cancelled its decision to withdraw from the Czech Republic and several other countries, following protests by booksellers from around the world.

AbeBooks announced last month it would no longer support book dealers in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Russia and South Korea, saying that their third-party payment service provider was closing at the end of the year.

In reaction to the announcement, more than 450 antiquarian booksellers from around 26 countries pulled their books off the website in solidarity with those affected.

New world Sudoku speed record set at championship in Prague

A new global record in Sudoku speed was set in Prague on Wednesday at the ongoing World Sudoku Championship.

Chinese woman Shi-jao Wang was able to fill in an 81-field chart in just 54.44 seconds. She bested the time of the current world record holder, Jakub Ondroušek of the Czech Republic, set in 2010, of 1 minute 25 seconds.

The World Sudoku Championship, an annual international puzzle competition held by a member of the World Puzzle Federation, began on Monday and continues until Saturday.

The competition typically consists of 100 or more puzzles, including classic Sudoku, solved by all competitors over multiple timed rounds, followed by a playoff for the top qualifiers to determine a champion.

Weather

Friday is expected to be mostly overcast with occasional rain showers and daytime temperatures ranging between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius.