Perseid meteor shower visible from Czechia on Saturday night

Plus: Mortgage rates rose to 5.4 percent, Prague Prosecutor's Office sues Russian Franchetti over Crimea, and more headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 11.08.2022 17:27:00 (updated on 12.08.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

August 12, 2022

pandora papers French court debates tax evasion linked to Babiš's villa purchase

The French financial prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary investigation on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion in connection with Babiš's purchase of real estate in Mougins in the south of the country. In reaction to the news, Babiš told ČTK that all his real estate purchases in France had been in harmony with the law. 

French media started focusing on Babiš's property last autumn after a leak of confidential documents known as the Pandora Papers. At the time, journalists found out that several heads of state and government were hiding their property behind shell companies seated in tax havens. According to their findings, in 2009, Andrej Babiš transferred EUR 15 million (CZK 381 million according to the exchange rate at the time) in loans between his companies in the British Virgin Islands, the United States, and Monaco.

stargazing Perseid meteor shower to peak on Saturday night

The Perseid meteor shower peaks on Saturday at around 3 a.m. At the time of the maximum frequency of the shower, there are about 80 meteors per hour. However, observations will be complicated this year due to the sturgeon moon, the last full supermoon of the year, occurring a day before. People can view the meteors until Aug. 24. The meteors, colloquially called shooting stars, can be seen coming from the direction of the constellation Perseus. The meteors are debris from comet Swift–Tuttle that enters the Earth's atmosphere. Visibility will be best away from city lights.

housing Mortgage rates rose to 5.4 percent

The interest rate for newly granted mortgages rose to 5.4 percent in July from 5 percent in June. The average rate is the highest since the middle of 2010. Banks and building societies provided mortgage loans worth CZK 11.9 billion, which is a decrease of more than a third compared to June. The year-on-year decline accelerated to 73 percent. 

ENVIRONMENT Czech landscape to be protected against Polish mining by embankment

An embankment topped with trees and shrubs will reduce the impact of the coal mining in the Polish Turow mine on the inhabitants of municipalities on the Czech side of the border. the embankment will be 1,012 meters long, five meters high, and 20 meters wide. About 10,000 trees will be planted on it. Residents of Uhelná, the village closest to the mine, among other things, will not have to see the mine as the embankment will block the view. After preparations are finished, the construction of the embankment is planned to start this autumn.


russia Prague Prosecutor's Office indicts Russian Franchetti over Crimea

The Prague High Prosecutor's Office has charged Russian Alexander Franchetti with assisting in the annexation of Crimea. He is suspected of having formed an espionage group in Sevastopol, ČT24 reported.

Czech Police arrested Franchetti based on a Ukrainian arrest warrant last September. Ukraine accuses him of participation in the operation of an illegal armed unit. Franchetti has pleaded not guilty. The Prague High Court previously did not allow Franchetti's extradition to Ukraine due to the war.

August 11, 2022

economy Estimate of Czech economy growth improved to 2.4 percent

In its latest forecast, the Czech Banking Association (ČBA) has improved the growth estimate of the Czech economy for this year to 2.4 percent. In the previous May forecast, it expected the gross domestic product to grow by 1.8 percent this year. 

The reason for the improved forecast is a more favorable development in the first half of the year, while a transition to a mild recession is expected for the second half of the year. Last year, the Czech economy grew by 3.3 percent.

military Czech pilots train in U.S. for new helicopters

About 20 Czech military pilots and engineers, who will have new U.S. Viper and Venom helicopters as of next year, are training in the U.S., Czech General Staff spokeswoman Vlastimila Cyprisová told CTK.

The Czech Republic is buying eight UH-1Y Venom multipurpose helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters from the United States, manufactured by Bell. The army should get the first pieces into service next year.

health Number of monkeypox cases in Czechia rises to 35

According to the State Health Institute (SZÚ), the number of cases of monkeypox in the Czech Republic has risen to 35 to date, states a press release. The infected are from six regions, 27 of them are from Prague.

"According to the analysis of the recorded data, so far, all diseases have occurred in men aged between 17 and 44," said Kateřina Fabiánová, deputy head of the Department of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases of the SZÚ.

POLITICS Babiš' supporters and opponents clash at rally

As Andrej Babiš continues touring around the country on his van, both his supporters and opponents are preparing for the meeting with the politician. Thursday's meeting of Andrej Babiš in Ústí nad Labem started with a fight between the two groups. According to the director of the Ústí police, there were about 300 people at the rally, of which about 40 were opponents.

One of the opponents was whistling on the whistle during Babiš's speech when a bystander attacked him and began to wrestle with him over the whistle, reports Seznam Zprávy. Babiš repeatedly called on his supporters to ignore the opponents but to no avail. Arguments took place between several groups, the situation had to be mitigated by the anti-conflict team. 

aid Applying for child benefit will be possible online or at Czech point

Starting next week, it will be possible to apply for CZK 5,000 per child online on the ministry's website or in person at Czech Point. The benefit is allocated for families with last year's gross income of up to CZK 1 million. 

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