A memorandum, released by the advocacy group Amnesty International last week, calls on the Czech Foreign Ministry to improve the process of approving arms deals for local weapons producers. The analysis says that more than 38% of the total weapons exports in 2012 went to countries where human rights are not respected and where the political systems are barely democratic. This, the organization claims, hurts the positive image of the Czech Republic abroad and contributes to atrocities and violence perpetrated in certain countries. RP spoke to Andor
More than a third of all the weapons exports from the Czech Republic last year went to countries which gravely violate human rights, according to a report released by the Czech branch of the advocacy group Amnesty International (AI). The study shows that of the 6.8 billion crown total arms exports, 38.6 percent were sold to countries without a democratically controled of the military, independent courts or police force and with authoritarian style of government. AI included countries such as Yemen, Egypt and Algeria on that list. The percentage of weapons exports to such countries increased by more than 4 percentage points since 2011.
The Czech Republic’s state agencies CzechTrade and CzechInvest are opening new trade missions in Buenos Aires, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Casablanca and Beijing in the coming days, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Trade said. Before the end of the year, new missions will also open in Turkey, India and Indonesia. In 2014, some five or six trade missions will be established in Africa and Asia. The ministry plans to spend around 200 million crowns on Czech trade missions abroad whose number should increase to between 60 and 70, the spokesman said. The ministry eventually plans to merge the two agencies into one body to support Czech foreign trade and attract investors to the Czech Republic.
The European Commission has approved a major dust control project for two steelworks in northern Moravia, a spokeswoman for the commission said. Two projects worth some 1.2 billion crowns should lower the volume of dust emitted by Třinecké železárny and the Ostrava plant of ArcelorMittal by around 230 tonnes each year, significantly reducing air pollution in the area. Třinecké železárny is planning to start work on dust reduction immediately. A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal said dust filters should be installed in 2016.
According to the 2013 Global Competitiveness report compiled by the World Economic Forum the Czech Republic has suffered the worst slide since monitoring began. In the past year it dropped seven rungs down the ladder to 46th place. Former finance minister, now rector of the College of Banking in Prague, Pavel Mertlík explains what caused the slump.
The Jan Becher liquor company has posted a 171 million crown pre-tax profit in the financial year 2012-2013, which amounts to an 80 million crown loss year-on-year. The company ascribes the drop to the brief period of prohibition in late 2012 enforced in connection with the methanol crisis and the drop in liquor sales in the following months. Becherovka sales suffered not only in the Czech Republic, but in Slovakia, Russia, Germany, Hungary and Ukraine. The appearance of deadly methanol-laced bootleg liquor on the market caused a nation-wide scare, claiming 47 lives. The sale of all spirits plummeted in the wake of the scandal.
The latest figures suggest that the longest recession in modern Czech history is over. The Czech Statistical Office reported the country’s gross domestic product increased by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of this year. If confirmed, the Czech economy would have grown for the first time in 18 months. The growth has been very fragile and fuelled mainly by exports while domestic spending remains depressed – but can exports provide a base for sustainable growth? And what can the caretaker Czech government do to boost the recovery? In this edition
In Business News this week: viewers get a first glimpse of the redesigned Škoda YETI; the grain and rapeseed harvests this year are a success; the number of self-employed has moved closer to one million; tourist agencies are offering clients travelling to Egypt a chance to switch destinations at the last minute; the Czech Republic is out of recession.
One of the leading local real estate developers, the Developer Central Group has expressed an interest in purchasing the so-called Dancing House in the center of Prague for a quarter of a billion crowns. The developer announced that they want to house a museum of architecture and design in the modernist structure, co-designed by the world-famous architect Frank Gehry. The building’s current owner, CBRE Global Investors, said a few weeks ago that they want to sell the Dancing House. The building, which was completed in 1996, was originally meant to house a library, theater and a café, but the Dutch investor at the time opted for commercial use of the space. Currently, it houses offices and a restaurant on the top floor.
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
‘The fat lady sings’: Prague’s State Opera marks restoration to former glory with gala concert
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal