Police respond to bomb scare at Prague airport

Police respond to bomb scare at Prague Airport, IMF worsens growth forecast for Czech economy, repairs to Barrandov Bridge to begin on May 16.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.04.2022 09:21:00 (updated on 20.04.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

16:00 Pension insurance system runs into CZK 10 billion deficit

The Czech Republic's pension insurance system ended the year with a deficit of almost CZK 10.6 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. The deficit is a billion higher than the previous year and about CZK 6.5 billion higher than two years ago. Pension expenditures have risen significantly, and will increase even further due to the sharp rise in consumer prices, according to Labor Minister Marian Jurečka.

15:07 Zeman appoints 39 new judges at Prague Castle

Czech President Miloš Zeman has appointed almost forty new judges at Prague Castle, with most of the new intake to work in the Brno Regional Court. Meanwhile, former Advocate General Michal Bobek was appointed to the Supreme Administrative Court. Of the 39 judges nominated by Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek, 25 are women. Fourteen will go to Brno, ten will go to Prague Municipal Court, five will go to Prague Regional Court, three will go to Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem, two will go to Ostrava and one will go to Pardubice.

14:00 Czech billionaire accused of tampering with French magazine

Czech billionaire Daniel Křetinský has been accused of forcing journalists at French magazine Marianne to change front-page headlines. Staff from the magazine's editorial team claimed the interference of Křetinský, who owns the magazine, breached rules on media freedom, but Marianne's editor-in-chief described the changes as a standard decision made by the editorial board. The changes in question affected an original cover image of both French presidential candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, with the word "anger" printed under Macron's image and "...or chaos" under Le Pen. The front page was changed to read "despite the anger" under Macron, and "avoid chaos" under Le Pen, in an attempt to make the impression more favorable towards the incumbent French leader.

13:48 Police respond to bomb scare at Václav Havel Airport

A bomb was reported on board a plane from Warsaw to Prague Wednesday morning. The plane landed safely at Václav Havel Airport in Prague and was immediately inspected by Czech Police and emergency responders. The airport is operating normally.

“This morning, Prague Airport received anonymous information via a contact form about a possible bomb on board an aircraft on the Warsaw – Prague route. We immediately forwarded the notification to all security and operational units. The plane landed safely at 12:03,” Prague Airport announced on Twitter.

Police evacuated the aircraft and searched both the aircraft and the luggage. “Operation at the airport is not interrupted or restricted, passengers are not affected by the measure, there is no danger to anyone,” the Czech Police stated on Twitter.


12:21 Agriculture Ministry initiates price controls for food

The Czech Ministry of Agriculture is putting in motion steps to control the price of basic foodstuffs in light of spiraling inflation. It will start by monitoring the sales prices of selected products, focusing on butter, poultry, pork and pastries. The ministry refused to comment on the specific nature of the control mechanism, but said it is intended to stop traders and other supply chain members abusing the situation by increasing profit margins unnecessarily.

11:45 Industrial production in Czechia declined in February

Industrial production in the European Union rose 0.6 percent month-on-month in February, but declined by 2.4 percent in Czechia. Data from official European statistical office Eurostat revealed the disparity between Czech industrial performance and wider EU data; the highest increase in industrial output was in Italy, where industry grew by four percent. Slovenia recorded the worst performance, with an 8.3 percent drop in production.

11:32 National Bank says interest rates won't go down this year

Governor of the Czech National Bank Jiří Rusnok told reporters today that the base interest rate will not decrease this year and that a further increase can't be ruled out at another Bank Board meeting in early May. Interest rates were raised by 0.5 percent at the end of March to counter rising inflation, and now stand at five percent, the highest level seen since 2001. Rusnok also told journalists that the bank will open a new visitor center, an investment of CZK 124 million, on May 21.

10:00 Czech companies borrowed huge amounts in February

Czech companies borrowed significantly more money in February than they did in previous months. Loans from banks increased by CZK 49 billion, the highest monthly increase in the past 25 years. Meanwhile, the volume of savings for self-employed people rose for the first time in six months. Analysts say growth in corporate loans indicates a higher demand generally associated with economic recovery, but that further economic turmoil caused by the war in Ukraine could present some companies with difficulties in repaying their loans.

Economy IMF worsens growth forecast for Czech economy

The International Monetary Fund has cut its estimate for the Czech economy in line with lowered expectations worldwide. Global economic growth is now predicted at 3.6 percent, down from the previous estimate of 4.4 percent. The reduction has been caused by the impact of the war in Ukraine.

The IMF predicts that Czech economic growth will slow to 2.3 percent this year, from 3.3 percent last year. In November, the organization predicted Czech growth of 3.5 percent for 2022. This is still slightly more optimistic than the forecasts of the Czech Ministry of Finance, which predict growth of as little as 1.2 percent this year.

Roadworks Repairs to Barrandov Bridge to begin on May 16

Long-awaited repairs to Prague’s Barrandov Bridge, one of the Czech Republic’s busiest roads, will begin on Monday, May 16. Traffic restrictions and detour routes will be set up two days earlier. The first phase of work to repair the bridge will last 110 days. The complete renovation of the bridge will take several years to complete.

Deputy Prague Mayor Adam Scheinherr confirmed the timeline, saying works starting in May will see the southern bridge deck repaired and the ramp from Strakonická replaced. Detour routes will be in place to redirect the approximately 140,000 cars that pass over the bridge every day. To ease complications, repair works are being spread over several years and traffic restrictions will only apply intermittently. 

Sport Two Czech tennis stars will face off today

Petra Kvitová and Karolína Plíšková will play each other in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart today. The clay-court match will see two of the stars of Czech tennis facing off for the first time in over three years.

Kvitová is a two-time Wimbledon champion, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2014. She is currently ranked 28th in the world. Plíšková has never won a grand slam, but she reached last year’s Wimbledon final and is a former world number one; she is currently ranked seventh in the world. The last time the pair played each other in 2018, Plíšková beat Kvitová in straight sets.

Defense Pentagon chief to welcome Czech Defense Minister

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet with his Czech and Polish counterparts at the Pentagon later this week. The meetings will be conducted separately, meaning Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak will both have the opportunity to discuss events in Ukraine with Austin.

Prior to the meeting, Czech minister Černochová clarified that the much-discussed notion of establishing a permanent U.S. military presence in the Czech Republic will not be on the table. Černochová’s previous suggestion that such a proposal would be discussed in Washington met with controversy among Czech politicians and the public.

Beer Czech beer giant threatens legal battle against craft brewer

A litigation battle has been narrowly avoided between one of the Czech Republic’s biggest breweries and a craft brewer from Plzeň. Prague-based Staropramen Breweries threatened litigation over the name of a new beer presented by Raven brewery, called Staroraven. Raven have renamed its special Novoraven to escape legal action.

Raven CEO Ladislav Vrtiš described the affair as ridiculous, because Raven’s customers are not likely to buy beer from Staropramen and the batch concerned was miniscule by Staropramen’s standards. Staropramen responded to journalist enquiries by saying that its threat was standard procedure for trademark protection.

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