Czech daily news roundup: Monday, April 25, 2022

Negotiations on Czech-US defense deal to start soon, four dead after explosion in Vsetín, and Czech detained in Pakistan can finally come home.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 25.04.2022 09:33:00 (updated on 25.04.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

15:30 Raiffeisen becomes first bank to accept Ukrainian hryvnia

As of today, all Raiffeisenbank branches with a cash desk are accepting the Ukrainian hryvnia currency. Hryvnia can be deposited in personal accounts to be converted into another currency of choice. Money from these accounts can be withdrawn immediately and without restrictions in bank branches or from ATMs, according to the bank. Raiffeisenbank is the first in Czechia to allow the deposit of the Ukrainian currency and the free use of the deposited money. Due to limited convertibility, Raiffeisenbank will buy a maximum of 5,000 hryvnia per day from each customer, and only banknotes with a value of twenty hryvnia or higher will be accepted.

14:00 Foreign Ministry defends itself against arms deal accusations

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to accusations that it continued to sell arms to Russia after the EU imposed an arms embargo on the country. The claims were made by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph claimed Czechia supplied Russia with arms worth almost CZK 350 million between 2015 and 2020 despite the EU embargo. The Foreign Ministry said that any weapons supplied to Russia were provided under pre-existing arms purchase agreements, and that as of 2019 the Czech Republic launched an EU initiative to abolish the exception for arms deals agreed before the embargo was imposed.

13:31 Interest in mortgages stays high despite adverse circumstances

Interest in mortgages is not falling in Czechia, despite higher interest rates and record real estate prices. The proportion of the population considering taking out a mortgage is the same as a year ago, according to a survey by the Czech Banking Association and research agency Ipsos. Some changes were found, though: more people are considering mortgages with a longer maturity and a shorter interest rate fixation.

11:08 Confidence in Czech economy grows

Confidence in the Czech economy rose by 3.4 percent month-on-month in April, mainly as a result of higher confidence among entrepreneurs compared to March. Consumers, on the other hand, are more pessimistic than they were in March. Consumer confidence in the economy has fallen to its lowest level since November 2012, according to data published by the Czech Statistical Office today.

Tragedy Explosion in Vsetín kills four

A woman and three children were found dead in the rubble of a family house in Loučka, in the Vsetín area of Zlín, after an explosion on Sunday morning. Police believe the circumstances of the case are suspicious and have preliminarily categorized the case as a murder. Results of an autopsy are now being awaited.

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A 31-year-old man was airlifted to the burns center of the Ostrava University Hospital after suffering severe injuries in the explosion. A spokesperson for the emergency services said he was found in immediate danger of death. Pictures published today show significant damage to the house, a large part of which collapsed. Police will not release any further information for the time being.

Military Czech-U.S. defense negotiations could start next month

Negotiations on a new defense agreement between the Czech Republic and the U.S. could start as soon as the second half of May. Czech Deputy Minister of Defense Jan Havránek announced the news while declaring that he will lead the Czech negotiating team, to include representatives of the Foreign and Defense Ministries.

On Thursday in Washington, Minister of Defense Jana Černochová agreed on the intention to create a new defense agreement with her U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin. The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is intended to legally ensure the operation of U.S. troops on Czech soil.

Freedom Czech woman detained in Pakistan finally comes home

A Czech woman held in Pakistan for four years over charges of drug smuggling has finally left the country, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by a customs office that did not agree to her departure.

In January 2018, Tereza Hlůšková was detained with nine kilograms of heroin at Lahore International Airport. Hlůšková always insisted someone else must have put the drugs in her bag. She was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison in 2019, but appealed the verdict and her sentence was overturned. Since then, a fierce struggle has been underway to bring her back to the Czech Republic.

Cost of living Accommodation costs going up for students

Student accommodation is becoming more expensive across the Czech Republic as a result of the spiraling prices of energy. Some universities have announced raised prices for accommodation from the start of the next academic year in September, while others will increase prices before then.

At Palacký University in Olomouc, students currently pay CZK 3,780 per month for a single dormitory room, but from September they will pay CZK 690 more. Price changes have also been announced at the University of Ostrava and Masaryk University along with others. Brno's Mendel University already raised prices in January this year.

Health Cases of viral infection in Czech children growing

Chickenpox and viral intestinal infections are becoming more common among Czech children. According to new data from the State Health Institute, there were four times as many chickenpox patients and ten times as many viral intestine infection patients between January and March than there were during the same period a year ago.

Cases of other common infectious diseases are also on the rise, according to the report. It's likely that the rise in child infections is the result of greater mingling brought about by the removal of Covid restrictions.

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