NWR, the owner of the mining company OKD, has reported a net loss of 970 million euro for 2013, down from a loss of 1.25 million euro posted for the previous year. NWR management said the scope of the loss was caused by last year’s depreciation of the company’s fixed actives, worth around 800 million euro. Analysts say the results were affected by low coal prices and an uncertain outlook for the company; with over 17,000 workers, it is the largest employer in the northern Moravia-Silesia region.
More than 441,000 foreign nationals were living in the Czech Republic at the end of last year, the Czech Statistics Office said on Thursday. That represents 4.1 percent of the country’s total population. In Prague, foreigners make up 13 percent of inhabitants. Around half of the foreign citizens have permanent residency permits. The biggest surge in the numbers of foreigners moving to the Czech Republic was registered between 2001 and 2008; in recent years, mostly citizens of other EU member states have been settling in the country. Around 60 percent of all foreign residents come from Ukraine, Slovakia and Vietnam.
Czech prima ballerina Daria Klimentová on Thursday announced she would retire in June, after 25 years on stage. The 42-year-old, a graduate of the Prague Conservatory, has spent the last 18 seasons at the English National Ballet. Klimentová will make her final bow at the Royal Albert Hall in London before the end of May; her last Prague performance is scheduled for May 15 at the National Theatre.
The Czech Republic’s public broadcaster, Czech Radio, is marking World Radio Day on Thursday. All Czech Radio stations feature special programming with debates and analytical programmers focusing on the future of radio. Czech Radio CEO, Peter Duhan, appeared on Radiožurnál on Thursday morning, and said he had no doubts that radio would survive the boom of new media.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey team got off to a losing start at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, losing 4:2 to Sweden on Wednesday evening. The Czechs had found themselves 4:0 down within 25 minutes and though they subsequently found the net through Marek Židlický and Jaromír Jágr, they were unable to turn the game around. Their next match is against Latvia on Friday.
Prices barely rose at all in the Czech Republic during January according to figures released by the national statistics office. Year-on-Year inflation dropped to 0.2 percent from December’s 1.4 percent. That is the lowest level since October 2009. Prices climbed just 0.1 percent between January and December, a level that has not been seen since 1993, the office added. One-off factors such as sharp drop in electricity and gas prices, were among the reasons for the weak price rises. Some analysts say that the figures are clear justification of the Czech National Bank’s November move to boost the economy through currency interventions to weaken the crown. The central bank says it is waiting for more representative figures for February to give it a better idea of inflation trends.
The centre-left coalition government should approve its programme priorities at a special evening session of the Cabinet on Wednesday. A last minute rewrite of the document is taking place to include some of the points raised in a meeting with employers and trades unions on Tuesday. Radical changes from the existing coalition deal between the three parties are not expected. Some of the main themes of the programme are promises to boost the creation of new jobs, make the state apparatus more efficient, improve education, and foster social cohesion. Leaks of the programme suggest that the government will also pledge to meet all the conditions for adopting the single currency euro.
The police have charged former prime minister Petr Necaš with bribery in connection with a jobs for the boys scandal that led to his downfall last June. Three MPs in his party, the Civic Democrats, who threatened to bring down the government over tax legislation later received lucrative posts at semi-state enterprises. They were remanded in custody on bribe-taking charges but later released under parliamentary immunity. Mr. Necaš denies any wrongdoing and says he has been charged in retaliation for a complaint he took against the head of the police’s unit to combat organized crime.
The Czech Republic has advanced three places to be ranked the 13th best country for media freedom in an annual survey carried out by the NGO Reporters Without Frontiers. Austria is ahead of the Czech Republic in 12th place with Germany following in 14th. Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway are unchanged as the best placed of the 180 countries surveyed with Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea at the bottom of the ranking.
Growing maize in the Czech Republic for bio fuels is causing serious erosion of the soil because the crop is so demanding and fails to retain rainwater, the Mladá Fronta Dnes daily reported on Wednesday. Some farmers have taken to dub the crop ‘the syphilis of Czech fields,’ because of the damage. The problem is at its worst in South Moravia and the Vysočina region according to a state agency dealing with soil quality. One problem is that many Czech farmers rent land for cultivation and have no long term interest in preserving its fertility.