The Czech anti-monopoly office on Thursday approved the acquisition of the oldest Czech travel agent Čedok by Polish tour operator Itaka. The former owner of Čedok, US-based Odien Group, is stepping out of the tour operator market altogether to focus on hotels and resorts. According to server e15.cz, the new owner paid over half a billion crowns for the acquisition. With turnover reaching around 2.0 billion last year, Čedok is estimated to rate as the country’s fourth biggest tour operator.
A new documentary film called RINO, a portrait of Karel Köcher, most successful Czechoslovak spy of the Cold War, who infiltrated CIA during the 1970s, has entered cinema distribution s on Thursday. The documentary, which premiered at last year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, was directed by Jakub Wagner, who interviewed numerous former US agents and other officials for the film.
The Czech National Bank has decided to continue intervening against the Czech crown to keep the exchange rate at around 27 crowns per euro, the bank’s spokesman Marek Zeman said after a meeting of the bank board on Thursday. The bank will also leave interest rates unchanged at all-time lows. The bank board repeated in August that it is likely to end the interventions against the Czech crown in the second half of 2017. The Czech National Bank launched currency interventions in November 2013 to head off the danger of deflation and weakened economic growth.
Over 15 kilometres of new highways are set to be built in the Czech Republic in the course of 2017, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday, citing data from the Ministry of Transport. Among the newly opened motorways should be a remaining stretch of the D11 highway from Prague to Hradec Králové, which should be completed by end of August. The Czech Republic’s highway network currently measures 1,228 kilometres.
Five Czech Gripen fighter jets left the military airport in Čáslav on Thursday to patrol the skies above Iceland. The Czech planes will be on duty in Icelandic airspace for the third time and for the first time they will be armed with air-to-air missiles. Iceland is a NATO member but does not have an army of its own. The area is often subject to Russian incursions to test NATO air security and preparedness.
The base price of Škoda Auto’s newest car model, the Škoda Kodiaq, will start at 677,900 crowns, the Czech car maker announced on Thursday at the Paris Motor Show, where the new model was presented to the public for the first time. That is nearly 50,000 crowns more than the starting price of the Škoda Superb. With a 4.7-metre body and a seven-seat layout, the Škoda Kodiaq is the Czech car manufacturer’s first large SUV. It is set to enter the market early next year, with a choice from two petrol and two diesel engines.
The Sudanese authorities have no conclusive evidence against a Czech man, who is currently being tried in the country on charges of crimes against national security, the Czech ambassador to Egypt Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Mr Jašek, who travelled to the country as a Christian missionary, was arrested in December last year and has been in prison since then. According to the server Christian Solidarity Worldwide, he is charged with the propagation of false news and he faces several serious accusations that are not related to his missionary activities, waging war against the state and espionage, which carry the death penalty as the maximum sentence.
The regional court in Ústí nad Labem has ordered that two youths suspected of beating a homeless man to death remain in custody pending trial. The murder took place on Monday this week and was described as exceptionally brutal. The state prosecutor overseeing the case said there were reasons to fear the suspects could commit a similar crime, flee justice and go into hiding if released. As minors, the suspects could face the maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars if found guilty of the crime.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said that Germany understands the Czech Republic’s position rejecting EU migrant quotas; he made the statement after meeting with his counterpart Thomas de Maiziére. The two met for 90 minutes and agreed both countries would send police to Greece to help secure the border in the face of the migrant crisis if Athens put forward a request for a Frontex mission on its territory. Earlier on Wednesday, Minister Chovanec reiterated that the Czech Republic would accept no new migrants before the end of the year.