Daily news summary 27.12.2016
New government quarter mulled for edge of Prague: report
Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš has suggested a new government quarter be created on the northern outskirts of Prague which would allow the sell-off of lucrative real estate in the centre of the city. Babiš has suggested the new government area housing around 11,000 officials could be sited at Letňany, the Právo paper reported. Empty fields there surround the Letňany meto station which at one stage were earmarked as a possible site for a Prague bid for the summer Olympic games. The exodus could be led by the Ministry of Finance with other ministries and agencies following, the paper says.
Economic confidence slips slightly in December
Confidence in the Czech economy slipped in December with the main index falling by 0.2 points to 99.1 points compared with November’s score. While consumer confidence climbed by 0.8 points to 108.7 points but this was more than outweighed by falls in the trade, industry, and construction sectors. Confidence in the services sector was unchanged. The overall indicator is slightly higher than at the same time in 2015.
Czech police investigate fraud at bargain buy portal
One of the country’s biggest bargain buy portal sites is being investigated by police on suspicions it might have defrauded up to a thousand customers. Prague police have called on members of the public to report cases of fraud connected with the NákupvAkci.Cz portal. The Czech trading standards inspectorate has said that many people have not received goods or services they paid for. The portal ceased activities in the middle of December. A court on Tuesday refused an insolvency application for the operator of the portal, Garuma, says sufficient details of its debts had not been furnished.
Restaurant prices rise after EET roll out: paper
Prices in Czech restaurants have risen on average by four crowns following the introduction of finance minister Andrej Babiš’ flagship electronic cash registers at the start of December according to the daily Dnes. The price increases differ across the country with the steepest rises of around 10 crowns in the central Bohemia region, the paper added. The findings are based on a survey of around 4,000 restaurants focus on the price of the main meal. Besides the introduction of the so-called EET, prices of some staple foods and drink, such as beer and cheese, have also climbed during December, the paper said.
Czech Commissioner steps up pressure on Volkswagen over emissions scandal
The Czech European Commission charged with justice, consumer rights, and equality dossiers, Věra Jourová, is pushing for German car making giant Volkswagen to adequately compensate its European customers for the so-called dieselgate scandal. According to the German paper, Die Welt, Jourová feels European buyers have not been offered insufficient compensation for the falsified emissions tests compared with customers in the US. She has scheduled a meeting with the Volkswagen boss at the start of February and expects the car maker to have come forward with proposals or action by then, the paper reported.
Blackstone sell Prague five star hotel to Singapore group
One of Prague’s landmark hotels is changing hands. The US investment company Blackstone has sold the Hilton Prague Old Town to Singapore based M&L Hospitality Trust. The news was given by the consultancy company JLL, which helped Blackstone with the transaction. The five star hotel is located not far from Náměstí Republiky and has just over 300 rooms. Blackstone acquired the hotel in 2007. The Hilton names is used for another hotel on the banks of the Vltava river in Prague but is not affected by the latest sale.
Czechs defeat reigning champions in world juniors’ ice hockey opener
In ice hockey, the Czech team won their opening game in the World Junior Championships in Montreal, Canada. They defeated the Finns, the current world champions 2:1. The winning goal came just over a minute before time with Michael Špaček finding the goal. The Czechs had taken the lead in the game through Daniel Krenželok before the Finns drew level. The Czechs have not won a medal in the world juniors since 2005 when they picked up the bronze medal. Last year they were in fifth place. The Czechs next match is against Switzerland.
The weather on Wednesday will be overcast with the chance of showers and possibly snow showers in some places. Top daytime temperatures will range between three and six degrees Celsius.