Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 19, 2021

Babiš breaks with Prymula due to football match, ING ending its Czech retail banking, Regiojet plans summer trains to Croatia Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.02.2021 08:45:00 (updated on 19.02.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

COVID: Babiš ends cooperation with Prymula

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has ended his cooperation with his adviser and former health minister Roman Prymula due to the latter attending a Slavia football match. “Mr. Prymula is a great expert on epidemics, but he lacks social intelligence. This is simply wrong again, toward football fans who can't go to the stadium, as well as the people we want them to be at home now,” Babiš said. Prymula said the participation of spectators in football was allowed as part of a pilot project, that he had a negative test for coronavirus before the event, and that he wore a respirator in the stands. Prymula stepped down as health minister in October after a tabloid published photos of him leaving a restaurant when indoor seating was not allowed.

TRAVEL: RegioJet launches ticket sales for Croatia

Private rail carrier RegioJet launched ticket sales to Croatia on Thursday. From May 28 to Sept. 27 their trains will run to Rijeka, Split, and Zagreb. Other destinations on the Adriatic coast will be covered by connecting buses. Ticket price starts at CZK 590, the company said in a press release. In July and August, trains to Croatia will run daily, in May, June and September three times a week. RegioJet will run up to 15 cars per train, corresponding to more than 650 passengers. During last summer's season, RegioJet trains transported more than 60,000 people to and from Croatia. The average connection occupancy was 90 percent.


Retail space for rent, m<sup>2</sup>

Retail space for rent, m2

Koněvova, Praha 3 - Žižkov

Family house for rent, 200m<sup>2</sup>, 800m<sup>2</sup> of land

Family house for rent, 200m2, 800m2 of land

Ohnivcova, Praha 4 - Braník

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 144m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 144m2

Křížová, Praha 5 - Smíchov

FINANCE: ING to leave Czech retail banking market

ING intends to withdraw from the retail banking market in the Czech Republic by the end of 2021. It will remain active in the Czech Republic as a provider of wholesale banking products and services. The Dutch-based bank has been present in the Czech retail banking market for more than 20 years. Currently ING serves around 375,000 local retail customers. ING customers will receive the option to move their savings and investments to Raiffeisenbank at preferential conditions, pending regulatory approval. ING Group banking board member Aris Bogdaneris said the group continuously assesses whether activities will meet goals in a reasonable time. “In this context we have decided to exit the Czech retail market,” he said.

SCIENCE: 25,000 Czechs land on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars yesterday, has three chips embedded with the names of 11 million people from around the world including 24,963 people in the Czech Republic. The chips are on a protected plate in the back of the rover. People who signed up online before the mission launched on July 30, 2020 received a virtual boarding pass that can be printed. The rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA's quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. It will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration. People can now sign up to have their names on future missions.

SPORTS: Slavia held by Leicester in first leg of European tie

Slavia Prague were held to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Europa League tie with English side Leicester City at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague on Thursday night. The game was played in front of a largely empty stadium, although a number of fans who had tested negative for COVID were allowed to attend, according to Czech Televison Leicester will host the return fixture between at the King Power Stadium on Feb. 25. The competition operates an away goals rule meaning a score draw or a win in the second leg could see Slavia progress to the last-16 of the competition.  

REAL ESTATE: Prague Market renovation starts with exchange

The Prague City Council approved a plan to renovate Hall 4 in the Prague Market (Pražská tržnice) in Holešovice. The listed building, currently unused due its dire condition, will become a restaurant for about 300 people. The renovation will cost approximately CZK 200 million and will restore the former exchange building to its original historical condition. Originally, the building was the financial center of the meat processing complex. The building was built in 1895 in the Neo-Renaissance style. As part of the renovation, modern extensions will be removed. The entire area of the market is gradually awaiting a complete renovation.

MUSIC: Czech vinyl maker has record year

GZ media, a vinyl record maker located in Central Bohemia, has seen its global sales hit a new record due to people craving music at home. Sales in 2020 rose 11 percent year-on-year to CZK 4 billion, and are expected to hit CZK 4.7 billion in 2021, according to news agency Reuters. GZ media has made vinyl albums since 1951, and shipped 38 million units in 2020. Company CEO Michal Sterba told Reuters that people have invested in home audio systems and turned to vinyl because they can’t hear music at other venues. The company also makes CDs and DVDs, but vinyl records account for most of the profit.

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