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15-01-2020

Crown at 7-year high, ČNB’s Vojtěch Benda sees further firming

The Czech central bank expects some crown firming ahead but not as strong as in previous years, rate setter Vojtěch Benda said Wednesday at an economic conference in Vienna, Reuters reports.

On Wednesday morning the crown gained past a key level against the euro to touch a 7-year high as markets priced in rising chances of an interest rate increase in 2020. Shortly before 10:00 am, the Czech currency traded at 25.118 CZK/EUR, according to the Patria.cz server.

Benda is quoted as saying the Czech currency should continue to gradually strengthen but probably not at the same pace seen in 2008 and 2009, the time of the global financial crisis.

Film: Owners, Painted Bird and Old-Timers dominate Czech Lion award nominations

The nominees for the Czech Lion national film award (Český lev) were announced on Wednesday morning.

A theatre play about a co-op board adapted to film, called Owners (Vlastníci), received 12 nominations, the WWII epic drama The Painted Bird (Nabarvené ptáče) got 11, and Old-Timers (Staříci), about a geriatric pair seeking revenge on a communist-era prosecutor, received 10.

All three films have been shortlisted in the Best Films and Best Director categories. The award ceremony takes place on March 7 at Prague's Rudolfinum. Early in January, the three films also dominated the Czech Film Critics’ Awards nominations.

15 Ústí nad Orlicí buildings defaced with neo-Nazi symbols

Czech police are investigating acts of vandalism and possible hate crime in Ústí nad Orlicí, eastern Bohemia.

On Tuesday night, a total of 15 buildings in the city were spray painted with swastikas and other far-right symbols.

The buildings defaced include the local theatre. Mayor Petr Hájek (Oušťáci) said it was the first such an extensive case of hate-driven vandalism in the city.

Pirate MP to push for legalising therapeutic use of LSD, ecstasy, magic mushrooms

Czech opposition MP Tomáš Vymazal (Pirates) plans to propose legislation to legalise the recreational use of marijuana as well as prescribing as psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy and LSD.

The opposition MP argues that such drugs can be used in therapy to help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.

Pavel Čižinský replaced as Prague 1 mayor by deputy Petr Hejma

The historic Prague 1 district has a new mayor following the ouster of Pavel Čižinský (Praha 1 Sobě) by a city council vote.

Taking over the role is Petr Hejma (Mayors and Independents), who was previously first deputy mayor.

Following the shake-up, Praha 1 Sobě and two other parties, the Pirates and Greens, are now in the opposition.

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways set to launch direct Czech route in April

Vietnam’s start-up airline Bamboo Airways, which began operations in January 2019, expects to launch direct flights to the Czech Republic this April. Initial flights will connect Prague and Hanoi.

Vietnam agreed in June 2017 during a visit to Hanoi by Czech President Miloš Zeman to open a direct air route. The communist country also agreed to offer visa waivers to Czech citizens for up to 15 days.

Poll: ANO way out in front, Tricolour on just 0.5 percent

The governing ANO party would have taken 33.6 percent of the vote if elections had been held last month, suggests a poll conducted by the STEM agency. The December survey indicates that the Pirate Party and the Civic Democrats would have tied for second on 12.3 percent each.

All nine of the parties in the current Chamber of Deputies would get back in, according to the poll. Though previous polls put them approaching the 5 percent threshold, the Tricolour party of Vaclav Klaus Jr. would only have received 0.5 percent of the vote in December, the new survey suggests.

Official: Czechs could launch military satellite in coming years

The Czech Republic could launch its own satellite to serve the new NATO satellite centre SATCEN ČR, a spokesperson for the country’s military counterintelligence – which runs it – said. The hardware, which could be launched within a few years, would be part of a national satellite technology project.

The Ministry of Defence invested hundreds of millions of crowns into SATCEN ČR, which went into full operation at the start of this year. It evaluates images and data for both NATO and the Czech Army and other Czech institutions, though little information on its activities has been made public.

Czech star operatic soprano Naděžda Kniplová dies aged 87

The internationally renowned Czech soprano Naděžda Kniplová has died at the age of 87, a Prague National Theatre spokesperson said.

She joined the theatre’s opera company in 1964, and after appearing at the Salzburg Festival in 1967 was offered roles abroad.

Later in life, Kniplová was a professor at the Prague Music Academy. In 2011, she refused to accept a life-time achievement award, saying she should have been given it earlier.

Hockey: Hradec Králové in Champions League finals after 3-0 win over Djurgården

Hradec Králové hockey club beat Swedish team Djurgården 3-0 at home on Tuesday night in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Following on a 3-1 victory in Stockholm the first leg, the Czech team have qualified for the finals.

Their first final match is on February 4, at home, against Frölunda, another Swedish club, which has won several titles in recent years.

Czech Olympic champ Ester Ledecká takes Snowboard World Cup silver

Ester Ledecká has taken second place in her first Snowboard World Cup race of the season, at the Austrian resort Bad Gastein.

Ledecká, a double Olympic gold medallist who began her career as a skier, lost to Germany’s Ramona Theresia Hofmeister in the women’s parallel slalom event, by a mere 0.63 seconds.

On Saturday, she finished eighth in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup speed event on another Austrian slope, in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee.

Weather outlook

Cloudy skies are in the forecast across the country for Thursday, while freezing rain is expected in Moravia in the morning. Daytime highs should range between 5 to 9 degrees Celsius.

15-01-2020