Revised figures confirm that the Czech Republic’s longest ever recession has come to an end. The second quarter of this year saw growth of 0.6 percent in gross domestic product, the Czech Statistics Office said on Tuesday, revising a previous estimate downwards by 0.1 percent. The country’s economy had contracted for the previous six quarters in a row, the longest such downturn on record. The growth has been driven by exports.
Meanwhile, Public Affairs’ one-time minister of education Josef Dobeš has resigned as chairman of For Sport and Health, a group that he founded. Mr. Dobeš said that other senior members had agreed behind his back on a plan to field candidates alongside the Citizens’ Rights Party–Zemanites in the forthcoming elections. The latter party are closely linked to President Miloš Zeman and some polls suggest they may reach the five-percent threshold needed to get into the lower house.
Czechs attach least value to jobs such as MP, cleaner, priest, secretary and journalist, suggests an annual survey conducted by the CVVM agency. By contrast, they have most respect for doctors, scientists, nurses, and university and elementary school teachers, the poll indicates. The survey asks respondents to rate 26 professions on a scale of one to 100 in terms of importance. MPs this year replaced cleaners in bottom spot.
Court-appointed experts in the trial on hit and run charges of influential Prague businessman Roman Janoušek have disagreed over where the victim was standing when the alleged incident took place. The court now has to commission a revised expert report on the matter. The state prosecutor has accused Mr. Janoušek of attempted murder and driving under the influence, charges that could carry a sentence of up to 18 years in prison. Mr. Janoušek, who is said to have been close to former Prague mayor Pavel Bém, was arrested in March last year after apparently knocking down a woman whose car he had just hit before speeding off.
The Public Affairs party will not field candidates in next month’s general election. Some of its MPs, such as de facto leader Vít Bárta, are planning to support the Úsvit, or Dawn, grouping, headed by Senator Tomio Okamura and may stand on its ticket. Mr. Okamura said he had not received any official information regarding such support. Public Affairs were the smallest party in the last coalition government but quit after becoming embroiled in scandal. Some members broke away and remained in government under the name LIDEM; they are also not taking part in the election.
The Czech striker Libor Kozák has joined the English Premier League club Aston Villa from Italy’s Lazio. Kozák, who is 24, was the highest scorer in the Europa League last season with 10 goals. The transfer fee in the four-year deal is believed to have reached six or seven million pounds. The 1.92-metre tall forward has appeared four times for the Czech national team, finding the net once.
Prague City Hall has cancelled a contract to renovate the Šlechtovka restaurant in Stromovka park. Councillors said that the project was over-ambitious and that its CZK 250,000 price tag was beyond the city’s budget. Tuesday’s decision means the long-discussed reconstruction of the protected landmark will now be put back even longer. The once grand building was completed in the middle of the 19th century. It was hit by fire twice at the end of the 1970s and has been in great disrepair ever since.
The Prague Regional Court has released Kateřina Pancová from custody. The former director of a hospital in Kladno is standing trial for corruption alongside MP David Rath, who was health minister in the mid 2000s, and 10 other people. The court refused to release another defendant, former MP Petr Kott, who is Ms. Pancová’s boyfriend. The trial concerns bribe-taking and the manipulation of tenders in the construction and health care sectors in the Central Bohemia Region, of which Mr. Rath was governor.
Two Czechs are in the running for the title of European Athlete of the Year. Vítězslav Veselý, who recently became world champion in the men’s javelin, and Zuzana Hejnová, who holds the same title in the women’s 400m hurdles, are among 12 names to appear on a shortlist released on Tuesday by the European Athletics Association. Fans will be able to vote for the winner on its Facebook page from Saturday.
Czech TV management is reported to have fired the head of the station’s New Media department Pavlína Kvapilová. Kvapilová, who has held the post since the section was established in October of 2011, recently stood up for colleague Daniela Drtinová who was abruptly taken off a high-profile Czech TV currents affairs programme. There has been speculation that Drtinová was replaced under political pressure due to her tough interviewing style. Kvapilová has refused to comment on the development.
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