Czech daily news roundup: Friday, April 29, 2022

Charles University hit by Russian disinformation, Czech soprano wins prestigious BBC music award, and Fiala visits Warsaw for urgent talks. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.04.2022 09:18:00 (updated on 29.04.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

15:15 Czechoslovak Group reports record profits

Industrial-technology company Czechoslovak Group (CSG) increased its net profits in 2021 by 44 percent year-on-year, to a total of CZK 1.3 billion. This is the company's best result to date. The increased profits came despite a fall in revenues of four percent to CZK 14.4 billion. The company's Chief Financial Officer said the increased profits were mainly down to sales by the Mazda and Hyundai car sales divisions.

14:49 Poland and Czechia to jointly request EU money

Poland and the Czech Republic will jointly ask Brussels for the provision of special financial support to countries dealing with the influx of refugees from Ukraine. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Czech leader Petr Fiala announced the initiative after discussions in Warsaw today. Three million refugees have arrived in Poland from Ukraine, and over 300,000 have entered Czechia. Fiala warned that in the long run, the refugee crisis can't be managed without the support of other EU countries.

RIP Names of Holocaust victims read in Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad

A reading of the names of people who died during the Holocaust took place in Prague's Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad yesterday. This was the first public reading of Holocaust victim names in the square for two years; readings were canceled during the Covid pandemic. Tomáš Kraus, Director of the Terezín Institute initiative, said that "it is tragic that we are now watching events that we are remembering, which many of us only know from textbooks, almost in real life not far from us," referring to allegations of atrocities committed during the war in Ukraine.

12:19 Czech trade unions ask for increased minimum wage

The Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions has demanded an extraordinary increase in the minimum wage as of July in response to high inflation. The Trade Union body wants an increase in minimum earnings by CZK 2,000 to CZK 18,200 per month. The minimum wage is regulated by the government, and according to the latest data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, around 139,000 people are on the lowest earning threshold. The last time the minimum wage increased was in January, when it rose by CZK 1,000 to CZK 16,200 per month.

11:47 MPs clash over postponing new building law

MPs have clashed again today over a government proposal to postpone for a year the introduction of key parts of the new building law adopted last year. The government wants to postpone the establishment of regional building authorities under the Supreme Building Authority, where local building authorities now have to turn. The opposition ANO party led by Andrej Babiš has criticized the postponement of the new building act.

10:10 Czech economy grew by 4.6 percent in Q1

The Czech economy grew by 4.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, according to a preliminary estimate published by the Czech Statistical Office today. Compared to the last quarter of 2021, gross domestic product increased by 0.7 percent. The numbers are better than analysts had estimated, although the economic growth is largely down to the dire economic circumstances of the same period of the previous year when many business were closed due to the Covid pandemic.

Russia Charles University hit by Russian disinformation

A report has appeared on Russian state television claiming that a Russian student allegedly attending Charles University was expelled because of her nationality. The false report is now circulating on the internet and has been viewed tens of thousands of times.

The report, entitled "victims of Russophobia," sees "Liza" claim that Charles University made it clear to her that there was no way a Russian could continue studying at the school. Yet Charles University says no student under the name Liza left the university this semester and that the story is clearly fabricated to further the Kremlin's narrative about the West.

Music Soprano Kněžíková wins BBC Music Magazine award

Czech star soprano Kateřina Kněžíková has won a prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award for her album "Phidylé" in the "Vocal" category. The BBC Music Magazine Awards are among the most prestigious awards in the classical music world.

Kněžíková's "Phidylé" was recorded under the baton of Robert Jindra, accompanied by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra of Ostrava with record label Supraphon. The album presents songs from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries from composers including Czech Bohuslav Martinů along with Henri Duparco, Maurice Ravel and Karol Szymanowski.

Politics Fiala visits Warsaw for talks

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is visiting Poland today for urgent talks with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on the Ukraine crisis and the Russian decision to halt gas supplies to Poland. The meeting comes after a period of heightened diplomatic communication between Czechia and Poland, with Polish President Andrzej Duda visiting Prague earlier this week.

"Poland plays a major role due to its size, history and the fact that it is most affected by the refugee crisis," Fiala said a week ago. Poland is among the strongest countries in opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has taken in far more Ukrainian refugees than any other nation. Fiala promised that he would negotiate the construction of a Czech-Polish gas pipeline called Stork II to reduce Czechia's dependence on Russian gas.

Business Czech Railways plans major investments

Czech Railways wants to invest tens of billions of crowns this year into vehicles, repairs, and financing older bonds due in 2023. The company plans to gain finances from several sources, mostly from the European financial market.

The new head of Czech Railways said that while the company plans major investments, there is no risk of higher ticket prices or employee lay-offs in the coming months. The company expects to gain part of its financing from so-called green Eurobonds, which will be applied for in June. Czech Railways wants to invest up to CZK 100 billion in its vehicle fleet over the next ten years.

Culture Popular Czech novelist gets English translation

Popular Czech novelist Kateřina Tučková's most successful book to date has been translated into English for release this Sunday. The story follows a community of women in the White Carpathian mountains, and the English version is entitled The Last Goddess.

The book was originally published in Czech in 2012, and became a major hit, selling well over 100,000 copies and being translated into various languages. It's never yet been translated into English, though, so English-speakers now have the chance to discover one of Czechia's favorite modern books.

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