The average mortgage rate in the Czech Republic fell to 2.34 percent in
December from 2.35 percent the previous month, according to data from
financial advisors Fincentrum released on Wednesday.
Last month was the 11th in succession that mortage rates fell. They hit their lowest point, 1.77 percent, in December 2016 before again showing an upward trend.
The average amount loaned in new mortgages in December, CZK 2.54 million, was a record high.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, begins a two-day visit to Israel
on Wednesday. Mr. Babiš is set to meet Israel’s president, Reuven
Rivlin, and prime minister, Benjamin Netanjahu, on the opening day of his
stay. On Thursday he will attend the fifth annual World Holocaust Forum in
Jerusalem alongside the presidents of France, Russia and Germany.
Prime Minister Babiš will also meet Czech Holocaust survivors, the chairman of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, and Petr Starý, who is the Czech Republic’s liason office in Ramallah.
A Czech married couple have pledged to donate CZK 200 million to dozens of chemistry and science students over the next two decades. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday about their foundation Nadace Experientia, Hana and Dalimil Dvořák said that in addition to its existing support and grants for early-stage researchers it would also now focus on high school and university students.
An increasing number of Czech elementary school children are suffering from
speech defects, the Czech News Agency reported on Tuesday. According to
Ministry of Education data, around 8,500 children were receiving speech
therapy in the last academic year. This represents a four-fold increase in
just 10 years.
Clinical speech therapist Jitka Kaulfuss told the Czech News Agency that the reason for the rise was a change in lifestyles. She said Czech parents were now paying less attention to their children, adding that 20 or 30 years ago most speech defects had been dealt with before children reached school age.
The short film Dcera (Daughter) by Daria Kascheeva, a student at Prague’s
FAMU film school, is set to compete at this year’s edition of the
Sundance film festival, which gets underway on Thursday. The animated film
has also been nominated for the Academy Awards and has already earned the
director a Student Oscar.
Another Czech student film, SH_T HAPPENS, directed by Michaela Mihályiová and Dávid Štumpf, will also be screened at Sundance, one of the best-known independent film festivals in the world.
The Czech Republic’s minister of industry and trade, Karel Havlíček,
will also be appointed minister of transport on Friday. The ANO appointee
will get the post officially once the party’s leader, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš, returns from an overseas trip.
In a related move, the ministries of transport and industry and trade are to be merged into one government department.
The previous ANO minister of transport, Vladimír Kremlík, was dismissed by the prime minister on Monday following criticism of the price tag attached to a sales system for new electronic motorway vignettes.
The Social Democrats, the junior partner in a government coalition with
ANO, said they would prefer if the party found a new dedicated minister of
transport rather than having the minister of industry trade, Karel
Havlíček, hold both portfolios. The party are also against the planned
merger of the ministries of transport and industry and trade.
The head of the Social Democrats deputies group, Jan Chvojka, said the party would raise the matter at a meeting of the coalition council.
The Communists, who support the minority government on key votes, are also against the changes that have followed Monday’s sacking of Vladimír Kremlík as transport minister.
Communist leader Vojtěch Filip said he believed the handing of a second ministerial position to Mr. Havlíček would be a temporary situation.
The mayor of a north Bohemian town where eight people died in a fire at a
psychiatric home on Sunday has called for amendments to legislation to
better protect patients and staff. Vejprty mayor Jitka Gavdunová told the
newspaper Hospodářské noviny that clients at the Kavkaz home had
attempted to set fires several times before the tragedy occurred. She said
that under present regulations staff were not allowed to confiscate matches
or cigarette lighters from clients and appealed to the government to
However the country’s ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová, said it was not possible to place restrictions on clients that were out of proportion to potential risks.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’decision to merge the Ministry of Transport
with the Ministry of Trade and Industry has met with mixed reactions.
The head of the Czech Transport Association Petr Kašík expressed concern regarding the possible disruptions such far-reaching changes would bring. He said that in view of the frequent change of guard at the top post –citing three ministers in the past two years – the Transport Ministry lacked stability.
Miroslav Diro, spokesman for the Czech Chamber of Commerce, also questioned the ability of one man to manage two very demanding portfolios.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Monday announced his decision to dismiss Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík over an overpriced tender to operate a new online system of motorway vignette sales.
Mr. Babiš said he would put Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček in charge of the transport ministry portfolio on a permanent basis and ask him to effect a merger of the two institutions.
President Zeman has accepted the prime minister’s decision.