News in brief for April 17: Prague takes flood precautions due to high river levels

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Monday, April 17, 2023, updated daily to keep you up to speed.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.04.2023 08:32:00 (updated on 17.04.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

BANKING Creditas bank makes huge, record profit for 2022

The Czech Creditas bank earned a record profit of CZK 1.6 billion year on year in 2022, according to information released by the institution reported by Forbes.cz today. This is a huge rise from 2021, when the bank made CZK 22 million. According to Creditas, the number of clients and volume of deposits increased significantly last year. 

The bank at the end of 2022 had 50,000 more clients than the year-earlier period. The financial success of Creditas is a microcosm of healthy surpluses posted by Czech banks: according to preliminary data from the Czech National Bank, the combined profit of banks in Czechia rose by CZK 35 billion year on year in 2022.

SERVICES Interior minister not against selling main Česká pošta building

Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan today said that he does not oppose the possibility of selling Česká pošta’s large, main building on Jindřišská Street, in Prague 1. He said that it would be up to the company’s management to decide.

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The state postal carrier recently closed 300 branches nationwide and estimates that it can raise around CZK 1 billion in total via the closure of branches. According to the interior minister, the Jindřišská Street building is beautiful and symbolic, but is almost impossible to park in front of, difficult to heat, expensive to maintain, and partly empty.

ECONOMY Labor Ministry announces planned new changes to pensions

New draft plans unveiled this afternoon by Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka show a new method of evaluating pensions in Czechia. Under the new proposal, pensions would be indexed by the rate of inflation and one-third of the rise in real annual wages, rather than be re-evaluated via one-off measures (such as that seen earlier this year).

Jurečka also said that early retirement would be possible three – rather than the current five – years before the standard retirement age. The labor minister also plans to propose an additional condition that the applicants must have worked for 40 years at least to be eligible for early retirement.

COMMERCE Lidl web store is country's favorite e-shop

According to price-comparison website Heureka.cz, Lidl’s online store – Lidl-shop.cz – was the Czech public’s most popular online shop in 2022, according to an online poll. 

In its ShopRoku (shop of the year) annual competition, Knihobot.cz won the award for the best e-shop overall in terms of objective quality and customer experience. Datart.cz was the country’s most popular electronics e-store, and the public chose Megapixel.cz as its favorite photo-equipment e-shop. A separate competition – the Czech Mastercard Merchant of the Year 2022 awards – put Lidl as the country’s most popular physical retailer.

HEALTH About one-third of all employees in Czechia are overweight

About 1 in 3 employees in Czechia are overweight, according to a study by occupational-safety firm Preventado. Of all employees, around 27 percent are obese.

This is partially reflective of a nationwide trend of overweightness in Czechia – the Czech Statistical Office reported in February that 18 percent of women and 21 percent of men in the Czech Republic were obese in 2022. Data shows that just three out of 10 adult men and 43 percent of females have a healthy weight.

weather River levels rise across Czechia due to heavy rains

Heavy rains in the Czech Republic caused approximately 20 areas, including Prague, to declare the first flood stage on Monday morning. Some rivers are expected to remain elevated until Tuesday noon. Streams in the southern half of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as the Elbe and Berounka rivers, reached the first flood stage.

In the South Bohemia region, several rivers also reached the first flood stage, while the Dyje River in Ladná and the Nová Mlýny dam reached the second level, considered a state of alert. The Vltava River in Prague also reached the first flood stage, prompting precautionary measures such as closing floodgates and halting ferry services.

protests Dozens sleep in front of Czech government headquarters

Dozens of participants from Sunday's anti-government demonstration in Prague remain outside the government headquarters in the Straka Academy, separated by police from the building. The situation is calm, with the Edvard Beneš embankment open for traffic. Some protesters spent the night outside the building, with several dozen still present in the morning. Petition stands from the PRO party, which organized the protest, are also present.

The protesters intend to stay until 7:00 p.m. and plan to return on Tuesday. The demonstration, organized by the non-parliamentary party PRO, called for the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

SPORT Czech women's ice hockey team defends bronze medal

The Czech women's ice hockey team successfully defended their bronze medal at the Women's Ice Hockey World Championship in Ontario, Canada. Led by coach Carla MacLeod, the Czech team started in the better-performing group A for the first time, securing a place in the playoffs.

After a 3-2 win over Switzerland in the bronze medal match, the Czechs celebrated their second consecutive bronze medal. The team faced tough challenges, including a defeat against Canada and the U.S. but showed resilience and determination throughout the tournament. Forward Denisa Křížová played a key role, scoring crucial goals for the team.

Education High interest in entrance exams for secondary school today

Prague is conducting entrance exams for six-year and eight-year high schools, organized by state organization Cermat, with a second date scheduled for Tuesday. Interest from students in all types of grammar schools exceeds the number of available places, and this year has seen a significant increase in applicants compared to the previous year.

Approximately 19,000 children have applied for eight-year grammar schools, while over 7,300 have applied for six-year grammar schools. Overall, there has been a 31 percent increase in applications for six-year grammar schools compared to last year, and an increase of 7.4 percent for eight-year grammar schools. Results will be published by school principals on April 28.

economy Minister of Labor to speak on pension reform today

The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka is expected to announce conceptual changes to the valorization of pensions and conditions for early pensions. Instead of extraordinary valorization, a new solidarity contribution may be paid to pensioners if the price increase exceeds five percent.

The government has pushed for a smaller increase in merit pension for June this year, with a 2.3 percent increase and an additional CZK 400 for everyone else. Jurečka has also mentioned tightening the conditions for early retirement, with suggestions that early pensions should not be more advantageous than regular pensions, possibly requiring a longer period of contributions, such as 40 years.

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