Korean Air has acquired a 44-percent stake in the troubled Czech national carrier, Czech Airlines. The contract between Korean Air and Czech Aeroholding, ČSA’s mother company was signed in Prague on Wednesday. Under the deal, the Korean carrier will pay 3.4 million US dollars for the minority stake in Czech Airlines, the Korean carrier’s first such investment abroad.
The Czech government on Wednesday failed to reach a decision on whether the controversial system of welfare payments, known as S-Cards, should continue. The cabinet refused a proposal by the labour and social affairs minister, Ludmila Müllerová of TOP 09, to use the cards as identification for welfare recipients. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said the best solution would be to scrap the system, a move opposed by the coalition TOP 09 group.
Car production in the Czech Republic dropped by 18 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest figures released by the Czech Automotive Industry Association. In total, over 287, 700 vehicles were made in the Czech Republic between January and March. All Czech-based car producers saw a decrease in production. Meanwhile, the production of trucks registered a 56-percent drop over the same period, and reached a mere 157 vehicles.
The levels of overweight and obesity in the Czech Republic have stopped rising, according to a new survey commissioned by the public health insurer, VZP. The survey found that 21 percent of Czechs are obese while another 34 percent are overweight, the same numbers that were recorded in a similar study three years ago. There are now fewer obese and overweight women whereas the number of overweight and obese men grew slightly. The survey also found that 20 percent of women aged 18 and 19 were underweight.
The last four weeks were the coldest in a hundred years, according to the Czech Meteorological Institute. Temperatures in the period between March 11 and April 7 averaged -1 degree Celsius, the lowest temperatures on record since 1912 when nationwide measuring began. Meteorologists said the unusually cold start of spring was due to strong jet streams over the Atlantic which created cyclones that brought cold air to central Europe from Scandinavia and Russia.
The captain of the Czech Fed Cup team, Petr Pála, on Wednesday announced the nominations for the upcoming semifinal rubber against Italy. The Czech team includes the country’s top player, Petra Kvitová along with Klára Zakopalová, Lucie Šafářová, Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká. The Fed Cup semifinals are to be played out in Palermo on April 20 and 21.
Zlín host Plzeň in game two of the finals of the Czech hockey league playoffs. Tuesday’s opening game of the best-of-seven final series was won by visitors Plzeň who have never won the league title. On Wednesday, Plzeň were leading 1:0 at the start of the match after the team’s captain Martin Straka scored in the 4th minute.
Unemployed people who start businesses that operate for at least two years could receive a handout of up to CZK 80,000 from the state, while firms could get support for employing parents part-time or the under 30s, as part of a wide-ranging government plan to fight unemployment discussed by the government, unions and employers on Tuesday. A commission comprised of representatives of the three groups – known as the tripartite – are to work on developing the plan, which will be discussed again on April 25.
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic fell from 8.1 percent in February to 8 percent last month, according to figures released on Tuesday. Some 573,875 people were out of work in the country in March. Analysts said the slight improvement was down to seasonal factors and pointed out that the Czech labour market was still beset by negative trends linked to the overall economic development. The jobless rate in Prague last month was 4.6 percent, the same as in February.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says the late UK leader Margaret Thatcher was a person who also had respect for her ideological opponents. Mr. Zeman made the comment in a telegram of condolence he sent to the current British prime minister, David Cameron. In the telegram, which was posted on his office’s website on Tuesday, Mr. Zeman, the former leader of the Social Democrats, also said “her ideas were an inspiration to many of us” and that Mrs. Thatcher – who died on Monday aged 87 – would rank among the greatest British politicians of all time.