The Czech foreign trade balance ended in May with a surplus of 12.3 billion crowns. Overall exports rose by 24.4 percent and imports by 25.9 percent compared with the same month a year earlier. That sort of increase has not been seen since 2005, soon after the country became a full member of the European Union. Analysts said that Czech trade volumes have now returned to the sort of levels seen in 2008, before the economic crisis. But they have also warned that it is too early to say that the economic crisis is over.
Over 60 percent of the fruit and vegetables sold in the Czech Republic are imported, and that share of the market continues to grow, the head of the Czech vegetable growers organisation said on Tuesday. Jaroslav Zeman said some types of imported greens on Czech shop shelves could be grown in the Czech Republic, describing the battle against products from other countries as the biggest problem facing his industry. The Netherlands is the most common country of origin, with tomatoes the most commonly imported item in this area, he said.
Robert Maclean is editor-in-chief of the Central and Eastern European Construction and Investment Journal, a publication he helped set up in 1995. He had already been living in Prague for some years at that point, having “caught the bug” while reporting from the region in the late 1980s. When we met at his office on Wenceslas Square we discussed how the construction industry here has changed in the last two decades, and whether property in the Czech Republic represents a good investment. But I first asked Maclean what had drawn him to the field
The Botanicus chain of stores offering herbal soaps, extracts and delicacies is a Czech, and growing international, success story. Most tourists will have probably bought something from one of their outlets in the country. The small business was founded in the early 1990’s after the restitution of a family farm around 40 kilometres north-east of Prague. That has become the centre for the business and a tourist attraction with more than 50,000 visitors a year. One of the firm’s co-founders Dana Hradecká explained the roots of the original inspiration
The Czech Republic’s pavilion at the Expo 2010 fair in Shanghai welcomed its 2 millionth visitor over the weekend. Wu Pcho, a twenty-eight-year old businessman from China received books about the Czech Republic, a gift of Bohemia crystal and a crate of Czech beer. The head of the pavilion Miloslava Kumbarová said she was delighted with the success of the Czech undertaking. China has even expressed interest in buying the pavilion and apparently plans to move the complex to a town outside Shanghai.
Jana Zielinski is the director of Designblok, a Prague-based festival that brings together designers from the Czech Republic and abroad. What started 12 years ago as a small event targeted at design professionals, has blossomed into Prague’s biggest design festival, attracting 30,000 visitors last year. I spoke to Zielinski about her love for design, how the festival started and her plans for the future.
Last month Prague hosted Bookworld, one of Europe’s major international book fairs. Writers from around the world, whose work covers a Babel of different languages, converged on the Czech capital. As part of the event, six of the writers got together to talk about how literature can play a role in helping to build understanding between cultures. A lively discussion emerged, chaired by Radio Prague’s David Vaughan.
The heads of primary schools in Brno and the vicinity say they are shocked by a paintball company advertisement called “Come and shoot your teacher”. The advertisement arrived by mail and evoked a critical response from the local authorities. Deputy mayor Daniel Rychnovsky, who is responsible for education in the city, said the ad was in extremely bad taste in view of the growing incidence of school violence in the United States and Europe. The paintball company responsible has apologized for the ad, saying it was intended as a joke.
There has been a marked slowdown in the construction of large shopping centres in the Czech Republic, market specialists Cushman and Wakefield said. Eight new shopping centres should go into operation by the end this year; a year ago developers said they were planning to open twice that number in 2010. A representative of Cushman and Wakefield said that whereas previously building would begin when leases had been signed on 50 to 60 percent of a projected centre, now developers require at least 70 percent before they start construction.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czech pop music legend Karel Gott dies at the age of 80
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott