The Prague Zoo opened its new Darwin Crater pavilion on Saturday which features more than 20 animal species from the Australian fauna. However, the pavilion proved so popular that the Zoo was forced to close it just hours later as the allowed quota of 8,500 visitors, put in place as a coronavirus precaution, was already filled up. Prague Zoo director, said that the zoo had expected a large number of visitors and that the limitation measures are an unfortunate reality. Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said that the city is currently negotiating a close to the capacity limitation.
The Czech Republic’s contribution to the NATO budget could increase by
CZK 43.9 billion starting from 2021. The payment rise will be discussed by
the government on Monday, Jakub Fajnor from the Defence Ministry Press
Department told the Czech News Agency.
The increased contribution is based around last year’s London Summit meeting between NATO member states, where the allies agreed to raise the portion of money paid by European members while decreasing payments made by the United States.
The Czech Republic currently contributes just under 1 percent of the total NATO budget. If the expected rise were put in place, this contribution would rise to 1.0558 percent from 2021. Most of the extra money would come from the Ministry of Defence, while a further CZK 5 million would be contributed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the first four months of 2020, doctors have already issued more medical
cannabis prescriptions than in the whole of 2019, some 15.5 kilograms in
total, according to news site Seznam Zpravy which cited the newly released
State Agency for Medical Cannabis statistics.
The increase is largely down to increased willingness of health insurance companies to pay for such prescriptions, Radovan Hřib, the head of the pain management center at the University Hospital at St. Anne’s in Brno told Seznam.
The profits of one of the largest Czech conglomerates Agrofert, which
operates mainly in the agricultural and chemical business sectors, tripled
last year by CZK 4.54 billion according to its spokesman Karel Hanzelka.
The increase is down to profits in the chemical industry, Hanzelka said. Total profits before taxation last year were CZK 5.94 billion.
The conglomerate employs 33,000 workers in total, of which 22,000 thousand are employed in the Czech Republic. It is mainly known among the larger public as the company founded by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Businesses in the Czech Republic will be forced to lay off workers and
unemployment will grow, due to an insufficient amount of relief measures
being passed through Parliament, the Czech Chamber of Industry informed on
According to the chamber, it was an error that the lower-house did not pass further relief measures suggested by opposition members of the Chamber of Deputies. It says that there are now holes in the safety net, which will keep some businesses unable to ask for financial support and thus fail.
The chamber demanded that aid would also be but in place for large companies and that a possible decline in wages be adjusted.
Labour Minister Jana Maláčová said that the ceiling of help to companies employing up to 50 workers had been a necessary compromise.
The Ministry for Regional Development has sent the European Commission an
official reply to the EC audit which found Prime Minister Andrej Babis to
be in a conflict of interest by still influencing his former company
Agrofert via trust funds. The ministry expects this will result in further
negotiations with the commission. Asked about what the exact contents of
the reply are, the ministry refused to comment.
Mr Babis placed his shares in Agrofert into trust funds in 2017, to confer in a law aimed at preventing a conflict of interest taking place. He has denied any such conflict of interest being in place.
If confirmed, the audit could result in the Czech Republic losing associated EU funding.
The Prague High Prosecutor’s Office has indicted a Belarusian with
permanent Czech residency on terrorism charges for joining armed
separatists in eastern Ukraine. If convicted, he faces 12 to 20 years in
The Belarusian man had repeatedly participated in the conflict in Ukraine over the years 2014 to 2016, prosecutors say. Similar indictments have been filed against a Czech citizen who joined Russian-backed separatists there at the turn of 2015 and 2016.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is due to submit a
plan to the government on Monday on how to help Czech companies maintain
sales abroad during the coronavirus crisis.
More than 80 percent of Czech GDP derives from exports and more than half of jobs are linked to foreign sales. Petříček said the ministry wants to submit a long-term reconstruction package to support Czech exporters.
Czech officials should also focus more on monitoring public procurement opportunities abroad in which foreign companies can participate. In parts of Africa, for example, Czech firms can present entire transport or healthcare projects, he said.
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