Czech news in brief for May 9: Thursday's top headlines

Czech officials call for more aid to Ukraine on WWII anniversary, showers ahead this weekend in Czechia, mortgage rates fell to 5.5 percent. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 09.05.2024 08:20:00 (updated on 09.05.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

CRIME Czech volunteer charged for looting in Ukraine

The High Prosecutor's Office in Prague has filed an indictment against Czech volunteer Martin Bílý for looting in Ukraine. The 26-year-old admitted to serving in the Ukrainian army and stealing from abandoned houses near Kyiv while working for the volunteer battalion Karpatská Sič. Bílý faces up to 30 years in prison for robbery and service in a foreign army. He has been in custody since last year. "I followed what I was told. The commanding officer told me that spoils of war are spoils of war,” Bílý defended himself.

economy Czech banks improve 2024 GDP forecast

The Czech Banking Association (CBA) has revised its forecast for the domestic economy, predicting a growth of 1.4 percent (from 1.2 percent previously) for this year and 2.7 percent for the next. Inflation is expected to decrease to 2.3 percent this year and remain similar in 2025. CBA analyst Jakub Seidler attributes this to optimistic developments abroad and improved foreign demand. However, the economy is still vulnerable, especially due to external factors. Domestic demand is expected to drive growth, with an increase in household consumption and real wages.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT Most people aware of EP June election

According to a recent poll by research company Ipsos, the main reasons Czechs will participate in the upcoming European Parliament election are to express their opinion of the current government and to influence EU policies. Eight in 10 respondents were aware of the election, with 57 percent showing interest in them and 38 percent saying they will definitely vote. Men, older citizens, and those living in Prague are more likely to participate. The expected turnout is 3 percentage points higher than in 2019.

DIPLOMACY PM: Czechia should have ambassador in Moscow

Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced in a debate with Czech media site Dení that the Czech Republic should have an ambassador in Russia, but did not provide a specific timeline for when this would happen. The current ambassador, Vítězslav Pivoňka, will end his term at the end of May and has been recalled by Fiala's government. President Petr Pavel has also expressed the importance of having an ambassador in Russia, but his preferred timing is uncertain.

AID Czech officials call for more aid to Ukraine

Czech officials, including Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, called for increased aid to Ukraine at a Victory Day ceremony in Prague's Olšany Cemetery. Vitaliy Usatyi, Ukraine's representative in Czechia, highlighted the historical ties between the countries and Ukraine's current defense against Russian aggression. Tomáš Kopečný, government commissioner for Ukraine's reconstruction, emphasized the need for global support. The event also commemorated Red Army soldiers buried in the cemetery.

weather Showers ahead this weekend in Czechia

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute predicts cloudy weather with showers over the weekend in the Czech Republic. Temperatures are expected to exceed 20 degrees Celsius. Today remains precipitation-free with daytime highs reaching 20 degrees. Meteorologists anticipate a mostly sunny day with cumulus clouds forming mainly in Bohemia. Temperatures are forecasted to rise to 16-20 degrees Celsius with weak to moderate north winds. Later in the week, a weakening cold front may bring occasional showers, particularly in the north and northeast on Friday and Saturday. Rainfall is expected to end by Sunday, with temperatures reaching 21-22 degrees Celsius.

economy Mortgage rates fell to 5.5 percent at start of May

The average mortgage rate dropped slightly at the beginning of May in Czechia, falling from April's 5.57 percent to 5.52 percent, the lowest since May 2022. The Swiss Life Hypoindex data, based on bid rates, reflects the current average mortgage loan offer rate for 80 percent of the property's value. Despite reductions in the Czech National Bank's repo rate this year, mortgage loan interest rates saw a marginal decline, maintaining a trend initiated by banks to buffer against early loan repayments.

Crime Austrian police arrest two Czechs in car chase

Austrian police have arrested two Czech individuals after a car chase in the Freistadt district, culminating in the apprehension of one driver driving at speeds of up to 190 km/h and breaking through multiple police barriers. The individuals were suspected of involvement in motorcycle and bicycle thefts. Police discovered stolen goods and evidence of drug use. Both suspects were detained in Linz. The operation followed a period of surveillance in the border area.

Culture Anifilm festival honors Czech screenwriter

The 23rd annual Anifilm international festival in Liberec, honored screenwriter Jiří Kubíček with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to animated film. The festival also announced the winners of the Czech Horizon national competition, with Filip Pošivač's puppet film "Tonda, Slávka and the Magical Light" taking the top spot. Daria Kashcheeva's "Electra" won best student film. The festival featured 444 films and various events.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more