The value of investments in the Czech Republic has taken a year-on-year dive for the first half of 2009 to 10.5 billion crowns, the governmental investment agency CzechInvest has announced. The decline comes amid a growing number of investment projects, which increased for the same period from 16 to 140. CzechInvest says that nearly half of the new investments have been made in information technologies, and that investment in services and research and development have for the first time exceeded investments in manufacturing.
Meanwhile, higher unemployment levels in the country are increasing investor interest in Central and Western Bohemia, CzechInvest stated Thursday. Interest in business real estate has doubled in Plzeň for example, as companies find an advantageous pool of employees among growing numbers of unemployed but qualified workers.
Czech detectives in South Africa to question fugitive businessman Radovan Krejčíř have found their hotel room ransacked. Czech Television reported that the burglary took place after the detectives were picked up by Mr Krejčíř’s driver to arrange an informal meeting with him. South African police are investigating the break-in. Radovan Krejčíř is expected to testify in the case of his father, who the police believe was kidnapped in 2002 on account of his son’s debts and murdered. Mr Krejčíř himself is under prosecution in the Czech Republic for extensive property fraud and conspiracy to murder. He escaped police detention in June of 2005 and has been living in South Africa since 2007
The International Criminal Police Association, Interpol, has been searching for a 34-year-old Czech man, Vítězslav Mráček, who they say escaped from a Belgian prison. It emerged Thursday however that the Mr Mráček in question is apparently at home in the Czech Republic and has never been charged with a crime. According to the daily Právo, police became aware of a case of mistaken identity on Wednesday after visiting the alleged fugitive’s residence. Belgian authorities have stated that the escapee was serving a six-year sentence for larceny.
The automobile manufacturer Škoda Auto recorded a net profit drop of nearly 62% for the first half of 2009 compared with last year. 329,641 cars were sold, or 10.1% less than during the same period last year. The owner of Škoda, Volkswagen, reported even less positive results, with an 81% decline in profits in spite of a 6% rise in automobile sales.
Results for the first half of the year were also released by Ruzyně Airport, which reported a 13.5% year-on-year decline in passengers dispatched. The number of departures and arrivals also decreased by nearly 10%. According to the airport’s business director, the downward trends have been particularly noticeable among the low-cost carriers and charter airlines, which have seen passenger reductions of 16 and 20%, respectively.
Police have begun an investigation into the closure of the travel agency Tomi Tour, which declared bankruptcy in mid-July leaving some 3,400 clients temporarily stranded abroad. The Prague police department stated on Thursday that the investigation is responding to allegations that the company continued to take money from its clients and partners even after it was clear no more trips would be organised. Tomi Tour’s business director, former senator Václav Fischer, has said that no crime has been committed by anyone involved in the agency.
Slovak police have shot and killed a Czech man wanted for the 2002 robbery of a jewellery store. The spokesman for the Slovak Police Presidium, Martin Korch, said Thursday that officers had shot the man in the hand in self defence after six hours of negation when he drew a firearm on them. The shot however also struck him in the chest and attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. The man had previously been under arrest in the town of Havírov at the end of May when he disarmed the officers transferring him, handcuffed them to their car and escaped.
Twenty new cases of swine flu in the Czech Republic have been reported, bringing the number of infections to 95. All of the new cases involve individuals who have recently returned from abroad, and the majority of them have shown no complications and the patients have been confined to their homes with no need for antiviral medicaments.
Slavia Prague drew 0:0 away with the Moldovan side Sheriff Tirsapol on Wednesday night in the first leg of their tie in the third round of qualification for soccer’s Champions League. Next Tuesday the Czech league champions will host Sheriff in Prague in the second leg. Two years ago Slavia reached the lucrative group stage of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
Conditions in the Czech Republic on Friday are expected to be cloudy to partly cloudy with scattered showers and highs of 21 to 25° Celsius.