Weekend headlines: Slowing inflation could mean lower food prices in Czechia

The top weekend headlines for the Czech Republic for April 8-10, 2023.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 08.04.2023 09:38:00 (updated on 11.04.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

Monday, April 10

Military Over 80,000 have shown interest in joining army over past decade

The Personnel Agency of the Army of the Czech Republic has registered over 80,000 applicants for service in the army over the past ten years, of whom over 16,000 became professional soldiers and almost 4,500 joined the active reserve. The agency is responsible for recruitment, managing the service careers of soldiers, evaluating their professional qualities, and providing education and training.

The Ministry of Defense has set a recruitment target of 2,200 people for this year, including 500 University of Defense students. The army aims to have 30,000 soldiers and 10,000 active reserve members by 2030, which the agency considers a challenge.

wildlife Stork shot through the weekend in critical condition

A stork was shot in Příbor, Czech Republic, and is currently in serious condition. The bird underwent surgery after suffering a gunshot wound and was found to have a comminuted fracture of the humerus, which is part of the wing.

A bullet remained stuck in the bird's body. Despite receiving antibiotics and painkillers, the prognosis is uncertain to unfavorable, and the bird refuses to eat and is very apathetic. The rescue station workers in Bartošovice plan to file a criminal complaint against the unknown perpetrator and want to contact the police in connection with the incident.

ECONOMY Inflation slowed down in March due to food prices

Consumer price growth in the Czech Republic is decelerating, with March's year-on-year inflation between 14.6 percent and 14.9 percent, according to analysts. Lower fuel and food prices are contributing to the drop, and preliminary data suggests a decrease in food prices for the first time since October 2021.

Some analysts predict further declines in inflation over the coming months, with an estimated 10.8 percent in June and single-digit values at the beginning of Q3. The slowdown follows February's decrease to 16.7 percent from January's 17.5 percent, which was mainly due to the easing of housing price growth. The Czech Statistical Office will publish data on March inflation on Thursday.

ECONOMY Pension changes will also affect soldiers and police officers

Changes in the Czech Republic’s pension scheme will affect the pensions of police officers, soldiers, firefighters, and members of the prison service, with their pensions to be calculated in the same way as for other workers, based on years of service, earnings, and children.

The Ministry of Labor is planning to introduce an amendment to tighten rules on early retirement and reduce regular pension increases, with a temporary allowance to replace the extraordinary valorization during price increases. The adjustment will impact higher pensions and favor lower pensions, with the government lowering the extraordinary addition for June due to high expenses and indebtedness.

PRAGUE Firefighters evacuate hundreds of guests from Hotel Panorama

Eight hundred guests were evacuated from the Panorama Hotel in Prague 4 on Saturday night after a fire broke out in a garbage bag that was being shredded. The fire was quickly extinguished, and there were no reported injuries.

Firefighters investigated the area before allowing guests to return to their rooms after the smoke was aired out. The incident took place around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

EQUALITY Czech govt. to discuss changes to registered partnerships

The Czech government is set to discuss an amendment to the Act on Registers that would allow couples to enter into registered partnerships at any registry office, instead of only at 14 selected ones. Registered partnerships have been allowed in the country since 2006 and offer some of the same rights as marriage, such as the ability to obtain information about a partner's health status and to inherit from them.

However, registered partners do not have joint property, nor are they entitled to a widow's or widower's pension, and adoption is prohibited by law. The amendment would also introduce the electronification of registers using a unified information system.

CULTURE Easter Sunday observed in Czech churches

Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The day is the culmination of the triduum, which began with Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, and continued with White Saturday when the celebration of Christ's resurrection began in the early evening.

The holiday is especially solemn for Catholics, who light candles at night and conduct baptisms. In Czech folk customs, Easter is associated with preparing traditional dishes such as mazanec and painting eggs. The holiday is followed by Easter Monday, which is a time for various transition rituals associated with the coming of spring.

Sunday, April 9

TRAGEDy Kellner alive for two hours before help came

Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, who died in a helicopter crash in Alaska in March 2021, was alive for at least two hours after the accident and tried to calm down another survivor, according to a lawyer for David Horvath, the only person rescued. Kellner's family is seeking a court review of the crash and any potential rescue delays.

The crash killed Kellner, a snowboarding coach, a pilot, and two mountain guides. The family is suing the helicopter operator and two expedition firms for negligence, alleging a device that could have alerted rescuers to the crash wasn't activated. Kellner had a net worth of USD 17.5 billion in 2020.

WORK Czechs returning to office but still not at pre-Covid numbers

Office occupancy in Prague has risen by 16 percent to 54 percent from June 2020 to February 2021, the largest increase of any European capital, according to a survey by property firm Savills. Pavel Novák of Savills CZ&SK said that office utilization has grown over the past six months, but is still far from pre-pandemic levels.

Filip Muška, a work environment specialist at real estate consultant CBRE, said the market was trying to get people back into offices, but that general limits for days of office attendance could cause misunderstanding or a loss of freedom among some employees.

Saturday, April 8

Society Western bird flu genotype detected in Czech seagulls

After mass deaths of seagulls across Czechia, veterinarians confirmed the cause of the death as a new genotype of the bird flu virus, identical to the one uncovered in seagulls in West Europe, according to Czech State Veterinary Administration spokesman Petr Vorlíček. No extraordinary veterinary measures were taken, Vorlíček said, given that the outbreak targeted wild birds.

The ban on outdoor poultry farming, which has been in effect since December as a measure of stemming aviary flu, was lifted in March. While local veterinarians say the situation in Czechia and elsewhere in Europe has improved, they also advised breeders to adhere to preventive measures such as preventing contact with wild birds.

economy Czechia mulls checking imported Ukraine grain for pesticides, fertilizers

The Agriculture Ministry announced yesterday that the checks on farming commodities transiting the Czech Republic would tighten. The announcement comes after the opposition ANO movement asked Czech Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula to introduce blanket checks of the quality and safety of cereals imported from the East, new ANO shadow agriculture minister Margita Balastikova said yesterday.

Some fertilizers and pesticides that are banned in the Czech Republic might be used for agricultural production in Ukraine, Balastikova added. Last year, imports of Ukrainian grain caused issues for Czech farmers, who couldn’t sell part of their harvest on the European market, according to the Agrarian Chamber and the Agricultural Association of the Czech Republic.

international relations Czechia interested in South Korean hydrogen technologies

South Korea is a “strong potential partner” in hydrogen technologies for Czechia, Czech ambassador to Seoul Gustav Slamečka told ČTK on Friday. The interview comes after President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament Markéta Pekarová Adamová’s visit to Seoul, accompanied by a delegation of businesspeople and representatives of universities and scientific and technology fields.

While South Korea is more advanced than Czechia in the field of hydrogen technologies, Prague is developing cooperation on a business level. "On the Korean side, this is mostly an affair of the firm Hyundai, a major investor in the Czech Republic,” Slamečka said, adding that several Czech companies and associations have signed memorandums on cooperation. 

MIGRATION Ten migrants detained in van near Czech border

Ten migrants, including three children, from Armenia and Afghanistan were detained by immigration police in a van with a Polish license plate near Lanzhot, South Moravia. The driver was arrested and charged with organizing and enabling illegal crossing of the state border, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison.

This is the second major case of illegal migrants entering the Czech Republic this week. While the number of illegal migrants detained this year is lower than last autumn, when a migration wave hit the country, the immigration police have detained tens of illegal migrants in the South Moravia Region since the start of the year.

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