The first part of the American convoy, which will pass through the Czech Republic as part of the alliance exercise, will arrive in Rozvadov on Tuesday evening.
In total, this week will see a total of six convoys carrying around 1,500 troops and 700 pieces of equipment pass through Czech territory. The forces are expected to return from Slovakia to Germany in the second half of March.
The convoy will be divided into six parts and each of them will be subsequently divided into five smaller groups, which will travel along Czech motorways with a time gap for the sake of traffic flow.
The first part is scheduled to arrive at the Rozvadov border crossing on Tuesday at 19:00, but in the past the soldiers have often faced delays. The vehicles are scheduled to take a technical break in Ostrov near Stříbro.
In the morning they will arrive in Rančířov in the Jihlava region, where the Czech army has prepared a tent camp for them. After a rest, they will start their journey again in the evening.
They will leave the Czech Republic at the Břeclav border crossing. Each part of the convoy will spend a maximum of 48 hours in the Czech Republic.
The soldiers will be carrying Stryker wheeled armoured fighting vehicles or HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), and will also be equipped with logistical support equipment such as tankers and sleepers.
The Military Police, in cooperation with the State Police, will also supervise the movement of the convoy. “In total, around 250 military police officers will be involved in securing the passage, with around 85 in action daily with approximately 30 vehicles,” the army said on its website.
The police will always take over the convoy in Rozvadov, where they will arrange with its representatives, for example, for breaks, refuelling or communication between vehicles. Military police officers will also remeasure the US vehicles because of height restrictions on the D1 motorway. Each part of the convoy will be accompanied by three Military Police vehicles.
Soldiers and equipment of the US army have moved through the Czech Republic several times in the past. For example, a convoy of about 500 Americans with more than 100 vehicles passed through the Czech Republic in the spring of 2015 on its way from an exercise in the Baltics to its home base in Germany.
More numerous convoys followed in subsequent years. In 2018, for example, some 400 vehicles and 1,000 US troops passed through the Czech Republic. Most recently, about 700 soldiers and 150 pieces of US Army equipment passed through the Czech Republic last May and June.
Despite rising inflation, and significant increases in fuel prices, Uber has leveled the bar with its direct Estonian competitor Bolt.
Taking a taxi via Uber will be even more convenient than before. That’s because, from 2 pm on Monday, February 14, 2022, Uber has reduced the price for taxis booked through its app in the UberX Saver segment.
The new price is a minimum of CZK 75 (it was CZK 85). For example, a ride via UberX Saver from Pařížská Street in the centre of Prague to Depot Hostivař will cost approximately CZK 198 (9.6 km for a 25 minutes ride) after this change.
For a short distance, the minimum fare is now CZK 75. The price of the cheapest 30-minute ticket in Prague public transport is CZK 30, so it is economically worth it to take Uber with three people rather than public transport.
The American company has thus leveled the bar with its direct Estonian competitor Bolt, which has long beaten Uber in the Bolt Economy segment with the lowest prices on the market.
In addition, also Bolt has now a minimum price of only 70 CZK, so it’s really convenient if you are a group of people, especially if you have additional luggage.
Vehicle operators driving for Bolt and Uber pay a commission of 15-25% on each ride, plus 21% VAT.
Česká Mincovna (Czech Mint) minted an investment coin worth CZK 14 million, which weighs a record ten kilograms. The weight of the coin has surpassed its predecessor from last year, which weighed “only” five kilograms.
The Czech Mint was established in 1993 and is one of the top ones in its field. Its current ten-kilo coin is the largest and heaviest in the Czech Republic with a diameter of 165 mm. It is a gold investment coin with the motif of the Czech Lion.
“The coin is unique in that it contains a hologram security element,” explains Stanislav Bachtík, production director of the Czech Mint. The author of the design is the young artist Asamat Baltaev, who creates the Czech Lion in a new design for each year.
The hologram protective element can be seen with the naked eye and is in the shape of a shield. It was used for the first time last year when a five-kilo coin with this hologram was entered into the Czech Book of Records.
The new coin is the largest coin minted in continental Europe. “Only three other mints in the world, Canada, China and Australia, can produce similar things,” Bachtík said.
Because the coin is extreme in size and weight, it required very high pressuring for its production. “It is the most demanding minting we have done at the Czech Mint,” Bachtík added. The preparation took several months and was accompanied by many complications related to the coronavirus pandemic and the supply of raw materials.
The production of ten-kilo coins is essentially no different from the process used to mint smaller coins. While the weight of a normal mintmark is around half a kilogram, the weight of mints intended for the production of record coins is calculated in the tens of kilograms.
“The press exerts the same pressure as if you stacked a couple of thousand cars on top of each other,” pointed out Lenka Klimentová, a spokeswoman for Česká Mincovna.
The high-density coins are minted using a press that is the only one of its kind in the world, as no other has such technical parameters.
Almost ten thousand flats were given the green light in Prague last year. And even though this does not make up for the shortage the capital is currently facing, this fact is still worth mentioning – it is a record. The reasons are various.
Firstly, it is a reduction in the time taken to amend the zoning plan, but the coronavirus pandemic may also have played a role.
“The reality has exceeded my expectations, with the construction of 9,698 flats in Prague starting in 2021, which, as far as I know, is the highest number in the history of the independent Czech Republic,” said Adam Zábranský (Pirates), the Czech Housing Councillor, on his Twitter account.
Last year, 4,335 flats received building permits, which was a decrease compared to 2019 – when 6,487 flats were started, the most since 2008.
The chart shows that it is only the fourth time since 1997 that the seven and a half thousand permits have been exceeded. Before last year, it was in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The city’s quicker approach in amending its zoning plan probably helped.
“We were the first to drastically reduce the time it takes to address a project within the local government. Objectively, by two years,” said Petr Hlaváček, deputy for territorial development (TOP 09).
On average, from 981 days to “only” 270. According to Zábranský, a substantial part of the construction requires a change in the zoning plan.
According to Hlaváček, this is partly because the atmosphere has changed, where the town does not approach development issues negatively, but actively addresses them.
“We always try to reach an agreement, which is why we have introduced a methodology for cooperating with investors, which helps,” Hlaváček added.
These are the so-called rules for developers, according to which the city determines what the investor should do in new construction because it is needed. For example, to build a new kindergarten.
According to Zábranský, however, last year’s statistics were probably influenced by Covid. “In the second half of 2020, the number of approved apartments dropped dramatically, while the first half was good. I suppose it was just because the state administration was paralysed by the pandemic,” said Zábranský.
However, a higher number of new flats is something that Prague definitely wants to continue. “This is our goal, I have long said that we need to build at least ten thousand flats a year. In the coming years, this should be reflected in the acceleration of changes to the zoning plan, but also, for example, in construction on brownfield sites,” Hlaváček said.
Ten thousand flats is also the goal, according to Ondřej Boháč, director of the Prague Institute of Planning and Development. According to him, there is a huge internal debt in the capital and one record year will not fix it.
“The housing crisis also has a global dimension, at some point, big money moved into housing because it is a safe commodity. But we are not able to react fast enough to that. It is definitely true that there is not enough building in Prague,” Boháč said.
According to Zábranský, the record construction is definitely good news, which could be reflected in the availability of housing in the future.
“There is still a group that argues that the number of flats will not necessarily increase the availability of housing because they will be investment flats and so on. But a New York University study shows that even if the market is building only the expensive apartments, it still increases housing affordability”.
The reason is that new, more expensive apartments will be bought by wealthier people, freeing up older developments that no longer cost as much.