Unemployment went up by one decimal point in August, according to
Labour Ministry figures published on Thursday. The number of people
looking for work rose to just over half a million, or 8.9% of the
workforce. The chief economist of Raiffeisenbank in Prague, Pavel
Mertlik, said that despite the increase, the figure was encouraging.
With those leaving school entering the job market, August is
traditionally the worst month of the year.
Inflation figures have also been published, showing that the year-on-year rate for August remained unchanged at 1.7%. According to the Czech Statistics Bureau rises in fuel prices were matched by a fall in the price of some foodstuffs. Consumer prices remained at July levels.
The American version of Czech pop singer Janek Ledecky's musical 'Hamlet' has been praised by the Czech theatre biweekly Divadelni noviny, which called it the success of the summer. The paper wrote in its first September issue that the musical was fully-justified in its "Broadway ambitions". The English-language version is directed by American Robert Johanson and features a number of Broadway performers. It was presented in Prague several times in mid-August.
The Supreme Court has confirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss
Judge Petra Huskova from Hradec Kralove's municipal court in east
Bohemia, over extensive delays in dozens of cases under her charge. The
chairman of the disciplinary senate said on Thursday the Supreme Court
had found no reason to cancel the earlier High Court's verdict from
last November. Mrs Huskova has reacted by saying she would consider
filing a complaint to the Constitutional Court. Before now,
investigations revealed that between June 2002 and March 2004 Judge
Huskova took no steps in 24 commercial and 22 bankruptcy cases, without
citing any reasons.
In another two commercial cases, she failed to reach verdicts within set deadlines.
Czech archaeologists have made what is being called a unique discovery near Prague: a statuette of a Persian fertility goddess known as Anahita. The item is believed to date back to the 4th century or earlier, and is likely to have originally reached Bohemia either through an ancient trade route or through military contacts along the northern border of the Roman Empire. The find was made by archaeologist David Danicek who unearthed an ancient burial ground dating back to the so-called Migration of Nations period (in the 5th and 6th centuries). One expert has compared the find in importance to the discovery of the famous Venus of Dolni Vestonice, in south Moravia.
A state attorney has revealed that property belonging to fugitive Radovan Krejcir - a Czech billionaire wanted for fraud - was being sent to the Seychelles. Police seized the property, which had been 'frozen' because of charges of tax evasion, in August, stopping a lorry near Beroun, outside of Prague and finding items from Krejcir's household worth millions of Czech crowns. Items in the truck included: furniture, electronic equipment, motorcycles, and sports items. The name on the shipping address was not Czech and police are now trying to gather more information.
On Wednesday the Czech government unanimously approved the state budget
for 2006 allowing for a 74.4 billion crown deficit. The first version
of the budget - discussed in July - proposed revenues and expenditures
of some 38 billion crowns less. Some in the banking sector have
questioned whether the government will be able to collect as much in
taxes next year, saying that further growth in tax revenues - up by 17
percent year-on-year in January to August in 2005 - may be unrealistic
The budget deficit should not exceed 4.6 percent of the GDP if the Czech Republic is to meet conditions under the EU convergence programme paving the way for the country to eventually adopt the euro, the monetary unit of the European Union.
The budget must still be approved by Parliament.
The Czech government has approved sending 25 million crowns in
humanitarian aid to parts of the U.S. stricken by Hurricane Katrina. Along
with the funds - the equivalent of more than one million U.S. dollars -
Czech Republic has offered the U.S. the use of a field hospital, an
anti-chemical crew, and water treatment facilities. The Chief of Staff
Pavel Stefka has said that the mobile hospital could be of most use now.
On Monday the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek met with the American ambassador to Prague to promise help: a decision on the final form of additional aid will be made this week.
The Czech national side defeated Armenia 4:1 on Wednesday to get back
on track in qualifying for the football World Cup in Germany next year.
At the weekend the Czechs fell 0:2 to Romania. The match saw a
lacklustre and scoreless first half but the Czechs got off to a better
start in the 2nd. Marek Heinz opened the scoring in the 47th minute,
and over ten minutes Jan Polak added two, Milan Baros, one.
Armenia then got a late goal back in the 87th minute.
Despite the win the Czech national side has been playing far below its potential, suffering from a number of injuries including that of playmaker Tomas Rosicky. His absence, as well as that of seasoned players like team captain Tomas Galasek, has had a noticeable impact.
Top three in Group 1: Netherlands 25 points, Czech Republic 24, Romania 22.
If a new proposal by the cabinet receives Parliamentary backing, the Czech Republic may soon end sanctions against Libya. On Wednesday the cabinet passed a proposal put forward by the Foreign Ministry to nullify legislation from eight years ago, regulating relations with that country. In the 1980s sanctions and an economic embargo were first introduced by the U.S. - followed by the EU - against Libya for connections with international terrorism. The embargo was then backed by the UN Security Council in 1992 and by the Czech Republic a year later. It was written into Czech law in 1997.
The Finance Ministry has asked the Polish concern PKN Orlen for permission to publicly release details from a contract between the Czech state and PKN Orlen in the sale of the Czech Unipetrol oil and petrochemicals company earlier this year. PKN Orlen bought the Czech state's share in Unipetrol in May for more than 13 billion crowns, or 553 million U.S. dollars. The Finance Ministry's move follows a recent bribery scandal - so far unproven - that cast doubt on the transparency of the sale. The finance minister has maintained from the start that the sale of Unipetrol was above board.