China’s Hainan Airlines is halting regular direct flights from Beijing to
Prague starting in March, Czech Foreign Ministry officials have confirmed.
Hainan Airlines gave no reason for the disruption. But bilateral relations have cooled significantly in recent months following a series of diplomatic spats.
Earlier in January, Prague signed a sister city agreement with the Taiwanese capital Taipei – after having scrapped one with Beijing in a dispute over a clause therein regarding the “One China” policy in October.
President Miloš Zeman, who has pushed for closer ties with Beijing, says he will not attend China's “17+1” summit being in April unless the country is ready to sign new deals with Czech entrepreneurs on specific projects.
The Czech transport minister has been sacked for mismanaging a tender to operate a new online system of motorway vignette sales. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš moved swiftly on Monday to stop a 400-million crown deal going ahead, accepting an offer from IT specialists who said they would work for free to produce a fully functional online sales system by next Monday.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced his decision to dismiss
Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík over an overpriced tender to operate
a new online system of motorway vignette sales.
The prime minister said the 400 million crown contract awarded to Asseco Central Europe had been badly organised and put together. He said the matter had not been consulted with him and the transport minister had refused to accept the blame and abrogate the tender.
Mr. Babiš said he would put Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček in charge of the transport ministry portfolio. According to Czech Television President Zeman has accepted the prime minister’s decision.
Slovak truckers blocked three border crossings with the Czech Republic on
Sunday night within wider protests around the country in support of road
The crossings Brodské-Břeclav, Holíč-Hodonín a Skalica-Sudomeřice are closed to trucks although passenger cars are being allowed through.
The blockade is expected to extend to a number of other crossings with the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in the course of the day.
The Union of Slovak Truckers wants the government to lower the road tax truckers have to pay to do business by 50% and to suspend the highway toll system until the dispute is resolved.
The government has said it is willing to cut the road toll by 12.5%.
Czech traffic police have advised drivers to avoid the blocked crossings if at all possible.
Last year 547 people died in road accidents in the Czech Republic, deputy
police president Martin Vondrášek said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The figure was 18 lower than for 2018 and was the third lowest since 1961.
The number of people seriously injured in traffic accidents fell by 355 year-on-year to 2,110 in 2019, which was the lowest number recorded to date.
There was a decline in road deaths in the Czech Republic in 2019, according
to preliminary police figures cited by the Czech News Agency. Some 550
people died in traffic accidents last year, 15 fewer than in 2018. However,
the figure for last year was still higher than in 2016 or 2017.
The worst month for road deaths in this country in 2019 was August, with 62. January saw the fewest, with 25.
Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Arriva, which secured a contract to operate four
express rail lines in the Czech Republic, is to be fined for a series of
problems in the Liberec region.
Arriva started operating at the start of December but its trains have been running late and the company also has problems with the check-in system.
The regional management says that unless everything is running smoothly by mid-January at the latest it will consider withdrawing from the contract.
The 45-million-euro contract covers four lines from Prague to the cities of Tanvald, Novy Bor, Rakovnik and Ceske Budejovice.
Under the contract Arriva will operate the lines for three years, with the option to extend the contract by a further two years.
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