Overview of Czech news: Monday, April 25, 2022

15:30 Raiffeisen becomes first bank to accept Ukrainian hryvnia

To date, all Raiffeisenbank branches with a cash desk accept Ukrainian hryvnia currency. The hryvnia can be deposited in personal accounts to be converted into another currency of your choice. Money from these accounts can be withdrawn immediately and without restriction at bank branches or ATMs, depending on the bank. Raiffeisenbank is the first in the Czech Republic to allow the deposit of Ukrainian currency and the free use of deposited money. Due to limited convertibility, Raiffeisenbank will buy a maximum of 5,000 hryvnia per day from each customer, and only banknotes worth twenty hryvnia or more will be accepted.

14:00 Foreign Office defends itself against arms sales charges

The Czech Foreign Ministry has responded to accusations that it continued to sell arms to Russia after the EU imposed an arms embargo on the country. The claims were made by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph claimed that Czechia supplied Russia with arms worth almost CZK 350 million between 2015 and 2020 despite the EU embargo. The Foreign Ministry said that all arms supplied to Russia were supplied under pre-existing arms purchase agreements and that from 2019 the Czech Republic has launched an EU initiative aimed at to abolish the exception for arms agreements concluded before the imposition of the embargo.

13:31 Mortgage Interest Remains High Despite Adverse Circumstances

Mortgage interest is not falling in the Czech Republic, despite higher interest rates and record house prices. The proportion of the population considering taking out a mortgage is the same as a year ago, according to a survey by the Czech Banking Association and research agency Ipsos. However, some changes have been noted: more people are considering mortgages with a longer maturity and a shorter interest rate fixing.

11:08 Confidence in the Czech economy increases

Confidence in the Czech economy rose 3.4% month-on-month in April, mainly due to higher business confidence compared to March. Consumers, on the other hand, are more pessimistic than they were in March. Consumer confidence in the economy has fallen to its lowest level since November 2012, according to data released today by the Czech Statistical Office.

The tragedy Explosion in Vsetín kills four

A woman and three children were found dead in the rubble of a family home in Loučka, in the Vsetín district of Zlín, after an explosion on Sunday morning. Police believe the circumstances of the case are suspicious and have provisionally classified the case as a murder. The results of an autopsy are now awaited.

A 31-year-old man was airlifted to the burn center at Ostrava University Hospital after being seriously injured in the blast. An emergency services spokesman said he was found in immediate danger of death. Photos released today show extensive damage to the house, much of which has collapsed. The police will not release any further information at this time.

Military Czech-US defense talks could start next month

Negotiations on a new defense agreement between the Czech Republic and the United States could begin as early as the second half of May. Czech Deputy Defense Minister Jan Havránek announced the news while saying he will lead the Czech negotiating team, which will include representatives from the Foreign and Defense Ministries.

In Washington on Thursday, Defense Minister Jana Černochová agreed on the intention to create a new defense agreement with her American counterpart Lloyd Austin. The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) aims to legally guarantee the operation of US troops on Czech soil.

Freedom Czech detained in Pakistan finally returns home

A Czech woman detained in Pakistan for four years for drug trafficking has finally left the country, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry. Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from a customs office that had not accepted his departure.

In January 2018, Tereza Hlůšková was arrested with nine kilograms of heroin at Lahore International Airport. Hlůšková always insisted that someone else must have put the drugs in his bag. She was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison in 2019, but appealed the verdict and her sentence was overturned. Since then, a fierce struggle has been waged to bring her back to the Czech Republic.

Cost of life Housing costs rise for students

At Palacký University of Olomouc, students currently pay CZK 3,780 per month for an individual dormitory, but from September they will pay CZK 690 more. Price changes were also announced at the University of Ostrava and Masaryk University, among others. Mendel University in Brno already raised its prices in January this year.

Health Cases of viral infection in growing Czech children

Chickenpox and viral intestinal infections are increasingly common among Czech children. According to new data from the National Institute of Health, there were four times as many chickenpox patients and ten times as many viral gut infection patients between January and March than there were in during the same period a year ago.

Cases of other common infectious diseases are also on the rise, according to the report. It is likely that the increase in childhood infections is the result of greater mixing caused by the removal of Covid restrictions.

Berta D. Wells