News in brief for Sept. 29: Top headlines for Czechia for Friday

Temperature records broken across Czechia after unseasonable warmth, Senate president hands out awards, and more news for Friday, Sept. 29. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.09.2023 08:47:00 (updated on 29.09.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

PRICE CHECK Beer-production material costs fall, but beer prices rise

The prices of key raw materials for beer production, such as barley and malt, have dropped by 26 percent since last year, according to eToro investment platform analyst Pawel Majtkowski. Despite this, beer prices in Czech stores were over 10 percent higher year on year in August, with an average pint costing CZK 12.55. 

Analysts suggest that consumers are now hesitant to purchase expensive beer, and further price hikes will be challenging for breweries. This price growth in the Czech Republic surpasses national headline inflation, which stood at 8.5 percent in August. Similar trends are observed in the EU and the U.S., where beer prices have risen by 11.4 percent and 12.5 percent respectively.

LAW Czech magazine need not apologize to SPD leader for insult

The Reflex weekly magazine is not obligated to apologize to Tomio Okamura, the leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), for referring to him as "stupid" on their website, as ruled by the Supreme Court (NS) today. The NS overturned the appeals court decision and upheld the initial court's verdict.


Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 51m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 51m2

Jana Masaryka, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 31m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 31m2

Tupolevova, Praha 9 - Letňany

Office for rent, 335m<sup>2</sup>

Office for rent, 335m2

Vyskočilova, Praha 4 - Michle

Office for rent, 743m<sup>2</sup>

Office for rent, 743m2

Vyskočilova, Praha 4 - Michle

In June 2020, the Prague Municipal Court ruled that Reflex's publisher did not need to apologize or refrain from using the term "Pitomio" (a derogatory play on Okamura's name) since it hadn't been used for years. The appeals court had earlier ordered an apology, citing potential infringement on Okamura's rights.

DEFENSE Four in 10 Czechs would be willing to join Czech military

In a recent poll by NMS Market Research for the Memory of the Nation organization, 39 percent of Czechs reported being willing to join Czechia’s military, a 12-percent decrease from 2020. However, around 85 percent of respondents consistently support defending the Czech Republic's sovereignty. 

Regarding historical events, 70 percent believe Czechoslovakia should have defended itself in 1938 when it lost territory to Nazi Germany. When comparing this to the current situation in Ukraine, 50 percent believe Ukraine should defend itself against Russian aggression. While most Czechs view the 1938 occupation of Czechoslovak borderlands as unjustified, opinions on the occupation of Ukrainian border areas are divided, with roughly 20 percent justifying it and another 20 percent uncertain.

ENVIRONMENT State pays out CZK 10m due to wolf damage

The Czech government has announced that in 2022 it paid approximately CZK 9.7 million in compensation for wolf-related livestock damage. Incidents of attacks on livestock, primarily sheep, increased from around 300 in 2018 to nearly 700 in the previous year. Milos Jezek, representing the Czech University of Life Sciences, discussed these concerns at a Prague conference organized by the Federation of Hunting Organisations of the European Union (FACE). 

He noted the presence of 24 wolf territories in Czechia in 2022, roughly equivalent to 150 wolves, with additional reports of packs expanding inland. The ongoing debate centers on whether to remove wolves from the list of legally huntable game.

FINANCE Czech household debt jumps markedly in August

According to data from the Czech National Bank, in August Czech household debts held at banks rose by CZK 8 billion, reaching a total of CZK 2.22 trillion, while corporate debt increased by CZK 7.6 billion to 1.33 trillion. Year-on-year, both household and corporate debts saw an increase, with households accumulating around CZK 103 billion more in debt and companies CZK 26 billion more.

This information is based on preliminary data from the Czech National Bank (ČNB). Household debts have been consistently increasing since February 2016, except for a decrease in April 2023 due to unique circumstances involving Sberbank CZ. Home loans make up the majority of household debt, reaching CZK 1.725 trillion in August.

banking Czechia to be VP of European Investment Bank

The Czech Republic has secured the vice president position at the European Investment Bank (EIB) for four years starting Oct. 1, 2025. Achieved after a year of negotiations with fellow EIB member countries, the specific candidate awaits selection by the Czech government and EIB Board of Governors' approval. 

The EIB, a major multilateral financial institution, plays a crucial role in financing energy transformation, digitalization, infrastructure development, and post-war reconstruction, including Ukraine's. The Czech Republic shares its constituency with five other countries and will replace the current Bulgarian representative. The Czech Republic has held the position of vice president of the EIB only once so far – between 2004 and 2007.

GDP Domestic economy contracts year on year

In the second quarter of this year, the Czech economy experienced a 0.6 percent year-on-year decline, with GDP remaining stagnant compared to the previous quarter. This data, released by the Czech Statistical Office today, was worse than initial estimates, which predicted a 0.4 percent year-on-year decrease and 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in August. 

Petr Dufek, Chief Economist of Creditas Bank, highlighted the adverse impact of inflation on real household incomes, leading to reduced consumption and increased savings due to economic uncertainties. Household incomes fell by 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter and 4.1 percent year on year. Average monthly employment income rose by 0.5 percent in real terms, but fell by 2.4 percent year on year, to CZK 44,269.

military Czech Defense Ministry: New fighter jets to cost CZK 322 billion

The Czech Ministry of Defense has projected that the total cost of procuring and maintaining newly purchased F-35 fighter jets until their retirement in 2069 will amount to CZK 322 billion, writes iDnes.The government recently approved the purchase of 24 American F-35s for CZK 150 billion, with Defense Minister Jana Černochová clarifying that this sum covers not only the aircraft but also the expenses related to Czech Republic operations.

The payment for the F-35s, equipment, training, and ammunition will be spread out until 2034, totaling CZK 106 billion. An additional CZK 44 billion will cover infrastructure, fuel, staff training, and value-added tax. These costs are part of a CZK 8.4 trillion defense budget projection.

weather Fifty-four weather stations report record highs

For the third consecutive day, the Czech Republic on Thursday witnessed temperature records being broken in numerous locations, with 54 out of 162 monitoring stations reporting new highs exceeding 30 years of data. The highest temperature recorded was 27.8 degrees Celsius in Doksany, Litoměřice, according to Michaela Valachová from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ).

 Southern Moravia and Polabí experienced the warmest conditions, while fog in western regions led to slightly cooler temperatures, mostly reaching up to 25 degrees Celsius. Karviná recorded the second highest temperature at 27.7 degrees Celsius, and Hradec Králové-Svobodné Dvory reached 27.5 degrees Celsius, albeit with only 25 years of data. Cooler weather is expected soon.

CEREMONY Czech Senate president gives state honors

President of the Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil presented 13 silver medals to distinguished individuals this year on the occasion of St. Wenceslas Day. Recipients included Dalibor Dědek, co-founder of security tech firm Jablotron, known for his Ukraine support initiative; theologian and advocate for interfaith dialogue Tomáš Halík; acclaimed photographer Jindřich Štreit, focusing on social issues; and Daniel Stach, a science popularizer on Czech Television. 

Actress and influencer Nikol Leitgeb, humanitarian workers Dina Štěrbová and Dagmar Kocmánková, and others were also honored for their contributions. Linda Šejdová and Tomáš Zahradník of Snuggs, and representatives of start-up Sharry received recognition. Pianist and composer Tomáš Kačo was acknowledged for blending music genres.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Liberec police step up checks on German border

Police in the Liberec region have escalated border patrols with Germany and Poland to combat migration and smuggling, which began in April. Random joint patrols involving officers from the three countries have been intensified. So far, no fugitives or smugglers have been encountered. 

Similarly, the Ústí Region police have increased patrols in response to illegal migration, with no arrests reported. The move comes after Germany's Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, announced enhanced flexible and mobile border controls with the Czech Republic and Poland. Since April, combined patrols have conducted 30 to 50 checks, resulting in detections of migrants and one smuggler on the German side, and five refugees on the Czech side. On Wednesday, patrols examined 50 individuals and 40 vehicles.

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