Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 10, 2021

Tibetan flags fly in the Czech captial and beyond today, Czech railways struggling, and consumer prices on the rise.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 10.03.2021 09:52:00 (updated on 10.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

ANNIVERSARY: Czech cities to fly Tibetan flag in honor of uprising

Czech city halls, public offices, and schools will commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Tibetan rebellion against Chinese occupation by raising Tibetan flags today. The Flag for Tibet event is organized by the Lungta association, which plans to fly the Tibetan colors in front of the Chinese embassy in Prague on this afternoon in memory of the 156 Tibetans who burned themselves alive in protest against the regime. The association estimates that about 802 Czech municipalities, cities, city districts or regions, and 114 schools will join the event this year. At 4 p.m., the association will place 156 Tibetan flags in front of the Chinese embassy, ​​to symbolize the self-sacrifice of 156 Tibetans. The Tibetan Uprising took place in the capital city of Lhasa on March 10, 1959. Read more here.

TRANSPORT: Spanish state railways negotiating purchase of half of Leo Express

Spanish railway carrier Renfe Operadora, which also operates in the US and Saudi Arabia is seeking further expansion in Europe. Czech Leo Express is reportedly in negotiations to help the company achieve that goal. Czech server Zdopravy.cz reports that Renfe Operadora is in final talks to acquire a 50 percent stake in the Czech open-access rail carrier. Details regarding the value of the transaction and the time frame for the acquisition are not currently known. In related news, Czech carrier České Dráhy reported a loss of over CZK 4 billion in revenue and a decline of 35% in the number of passengers in 2020, providing transport to 64 million fewer passengers than in 2019. 

POLITICS: Czech, Hungarian premiers to meet Israeli PM on pandemic strategy

The Hungarian and Czech prime ministers will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to discuss pandemic strategy as the third wave of coronavirus hits Central Europe. Another aim of the visit is potential cooperation in clinical trials and testing of experimental drugs against COVID-19. Czech PM Babis should officially inaugurate the office of the Czech Embassy, seated in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem. Babis's delegation will include Petr Smejkal, an epidemiologist from the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) in Prague, and Martina Vasakova, head of the Prague Thomayer Hospital's clinic of pulmonology.

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ECONOMY: Consumer prices on the rise in Czech Republic

Inflation rose by 2.1 percent year-on-year in February, which is 0.1 percentage point less than in January. Between January and February, prices rose by 0.2 percent. The increase was primarily affected by increasing prices in transport due to higher fuel and oil costs, said the Czech Statistical Office. Vegetable prices increased by 5.2%, potatoes were higher by 8.4%. Fruit price increased by 4.0%, margarine and other vegetable fats by 10.3% and smoked meat and sausages by 0.9%, month-on-month. A month-on-month decrease in the overall consumer price level in February came primarily from a price decline in alcoholic beverages and tobacco with prices of spirits lower by 3.8% and wine by 2.0%. Prices of pork were lower by 4.9%, eggs by 8.7%, poultry by 2.0%, and non-alcoholic beverages by 0.9%. Read the full report here.

CULTURE: Cinematography Fund gives CZK 64 million to film production

The Czech State Cinematography Fund will support the production of eight feature films, projects by experienced filmmakers, and feature-film debuts, with CZK 64 million in total fund spokesman Jiri Vanek told CTK this week. The fund allocated CZK seven million crowns to Oscar-winning "Kolya" director Jan Sverak. His new film "Bethlehem Light" is a comedy featuring an aging writer, who moves freely between reality and fiction. A feature debut by Zuzana Kirchnerova, whose student film was awarded at Cannes in 2008, received CZK 10.4 million. The highest contribution of CZK 12 million went to a film adaptation of a novel by Vojtech Matocha about an obscure quarter in Prague inhabited by eccentrics, directed by Stepan Vodrazka.

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