Czech industrial output grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year in April following an 0.7-percent decline the month before, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. The growth was pulled by the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers which registered an increase of 8.3 percent against the previous month, while the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products posted a record drop of 19.0 percent in annual terms.
The non-profit humanitarian organization People in Need is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was established in 1992 by a group of war reporters and foreign correspondents who were no longer satisfied with reporting on conflicts and natural disasters and began sending out aid instead. The organization, now one of the biggest of its kind in central Europe, focused on providing aid to crisis areas and supporting adherence to human rights around the world. Czech public television is devoting a special day of programming to People in Need showing photos and videos from the organisation´s projects, missions and fundraising campaigns supported by tens of thousands of people.
Police in Karlovy Vary have detained five people suspected of corruption in issuing drivers’ licenses. According to a police spokeswoman several driving schools may have been involved in the scam in which drivers licenses were issued without proper training or tests. No one has as yet been charged in connection with the case.
The Czech football association has denied the winners of the second division, FK Ústí nad Labem, a license to play in the top division. The association said that the club had failed to reconstruct its stadium which did not meet the requirements for the Gambrinus Liga. Ústí will therefore remain in the second division in the next season. Second division runners-up Jihlava will be promoted along with Zbrojovka Brno which finished fourth as FK Baník Sokolov, which came in third, did not have the funding to play in the top division.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament on Tuesday voted to strip MP David
Rath of immunity, allowing his prosecution on corruption charges. Out of
185 MPs present, 183 voted in favour of Mr Rath’s prosecution. Before
vote, Mr Rath, who has been in police custody since his arrest on
corruption charges last month, addressed the lower house of Parliament.
In the unprecedented presence of a police escort in the Chamber of
Deputies, the former Central Bohemian governor and a prominent opposition
figure rejected the corruption charges against him and said he had not
accepted any bribes, accusing the government of framing him.
MP David Rath was arrested on May 14 with an alleged bribe of seven million crowns. The police have charged him with corruption related to a public procurement project partially financed with EU funds.
The Czech Finance Ministry has filed a criminal complaint against six former managers of the coal-mining firm Mostecká uhelná whose 1999 privatization is under investigation by Swiss authorities. The mangers face accusations that they privatized the company using funds earmarked for the re-cultivation of former coal mines which later appeared on foreign bank accounts. Czech police also investigated the case but shelved it in 2008. The police in Switzerland however accused seven people linked to the deal.
Around 85 percent of Czechs believe that some population groups are discriminated against on the labour market, according to a new poll by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. Nearly 90 percent of those who took part in the survey said age was the most frequent cause of discrimination, followed by health conditions and pregnancy; some 64 percent of those polled also cited race and ethnicity. The poll suggests that religious beliefs and political convictions, along with sexual orientation, were among less frequent causes of discrimination on the labour market.
Czech retail revenues contracted in April by 4.1 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Tuesday. Revenues fell mainly in the food and fuel segments as well as car sales and repairs. After seasonal adjustment, the revenues contracted by 2.1 percent, after a 0.4 decrease registered in the previous month. Analysts say the decrease reflects the customers’ efforts to save, and is a sign of the economy losing dynamics.
Representatives of Czech municipalities on Tuesday asked the government to allocate more funding for development and support of businesses. The government’s Countryside Development Programme each year spends around 85 billion crowns on agriculture and only 15 billion on development projects in the country. Members of several associations representing Czech towns and villages said this should change so that beginning in 2014, 50 percent of the funding should be used on development projects.
The Czech travel agency Redgreentours declared bankruptcy on Tuesday after it was unable to pay for the transfer of around 300 clients abroad. The move has left some 100 clients stranded in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Redgreentours is the second Czech travel agency to go bankrupt this year. The Union insurance company, which insured the agency against bankruptcy, will now pay for the return of the agency’s clients to the Czech Republic.