News Consumer, business confidence up in June

24-06-2014 10:36 | Jan Richter

After two months of stagnation, the overall confidence in Czech economy increased in June to 8.3 points, 1.2 points up from the previous month, according to fresh figures by the Czech Statistics Office released on Tuesday. An increase in the business confidence was registered in the service, retail and construction sectors while a slight drop occurred in the industry sector. The consumer confidence index, which rose by 1.2 points month on month in June, however remains at -2.8 points. Analysts say Czech consumers are less concerned about the worsening of the economy but remain worried about their own financial situation and unemployment.

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Berdych reaches prestigious World Tour Finals for fifth time in row

01-11-2014 09:50 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has qualified for the prestigious season-ending ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth time in a row. Berdych, who is 29, assured himself of one of the eight places available after overcoming Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-7 6-4 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of an indoor tournament in Paris. The World Tour Finals get underway in London on November 9. 

New Národní třída office complex gets artworks by Černý and Velčovský

01-11-2014 09:43 | Ian Willoughby

A newly opened office complex above Národní třída metro station in Prague has been fitted with artworks by the well-known Czech sculptors David Černý and Maxim Velčovský. A small “square” by the Quadrio building is now adorned by a 39-tonne moving statue of Franz Kafka produced by Černý at a cost of CZK 30 million. Velčovský has created a large glass piece for the foyer of the complex which occupies a previously open space in the downtown area. 

Klaus compares Havel to “reform communist” in newspaper interview

01-11-2014 09:33 | Ian Willoughby

Former Czech president Václav Klaus has described his late predecessor and political rival Václav Havel as having the mentality of a “reform communist”. In an interview carried in Mladá fronta Dnes, Mr. Klaus said Mr. Havel had hated political parties and been fundamentally opposed to the free market. He said his then party the Civic Democrats’ support for Mr. Havel in repeated presidential elections had been a “necessary evil”. Saturday’s interview comes less than three weeks before the 25th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution in which Václav Havel, who died in 2011, led Czechoslovakia to democracy after over four decades of communist rule. 

Černín Palace gardens open to the public

31-10-2014 17:30 | Daniela Lazarová

The beautiful baroque gardens of Černín Palace, home to the Czech Foreign Ministry, will now be open to visitors on a daily basis. At the opening ceremony on Wednesday Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, said he wanted the beautiful terraced gardens to serve as an oasis of calm in the bustle of the city and a meeting place for both locals and tourists. The Foreign Ministry also aims to organize more social events on the premises. The gardens will be open daily from 10am to 5pm. 

Israel says Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestine will hinder, not help peace talks

31-10-2014 16:21 | Daniela Lazarová

Israel does not fear that Sweden’s decision to recognize the Palestinian state will trigger a snowball effect in Europe, the Israeli ambassador to Prague, Gary Koren told journalists. Ambassador Koren said that Sweden’s step would not help, but rather hinder the Middle East peace process. According to the ambassador the only way to an agreement is through direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinina representatives.The Czech Republic has not recognized the Palestinian state, and according to Foreign Minister Zaorálek, does not plan to do so. 

Adriana Krnáčová confirmed as new Prague mayor

31-10-2014 14:17 | Daniela Lazarová

Adriana Krnáčová of the ANO party is to become the new mayor of Prague, under a coalition agreement sealed on Friday. ANO won the local elections in Prague and has reached a deal with the Social Democrats and the three-way grouping of the Green Party, the Christian Democrats and Mayors and Independents who ran on a joint ticket. The winning ANO will hold the city’s finances, security, health and housing. The Social Democrats should get transport, social policy and European funds while the three-way grouping should take the environment, culture and infrastructure. 

Czech-Serbian talks in Prague

31-10-2014 13:40 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday met for talks with the visiting Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic. The two officials discussed bilateral ties and economic cooperation, with the Czech side expressing interest in partaking in the planned reconstruction of Serbia’s infrastructure, putting down rail tracks and building highways. The two heads of government discussed the possibility of holding a Czech-Serbian business forum to boost cooperation and trade. Prime Minister Sobotka is expected to visit Serbia in mid-December. 

Inspection Office warns not all travel agencies trustworthy

31-10-2014 13:39 | Daniela Lazarová

A third of Czech travel agencies failed to pass an inspection by the Czech Trade Inspection Office which handed out fines amounting to 300,000 crowns, the ctk news agency reports. According to the office inspectors found fault with 25 out of 74 agencies audited. The failings most often had to do with not providing objective information about the conditions in which holiday makers would be living and a laggardness in dealing with complaints. 

Czech foreign minister says Prague not closing the door on human rights issues in China

31-10-2014 13:00 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government will continue to bring up the question of human rights in talks with Chinese officials, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told journalists in the lower house on Friday in response to questions pertaining to the country’s foreign policy on this matter in the wake of President Miloš Zeman’s visit to China. During talks with Chinese top officials in Beijing the Czech president said Prague would not question China’s stand on Tibet or Taiwan and stressed that he had not come to the country to mentor its officials about human rights. The Czech Foreign Minister said that while the Czech Republic had economic interests in China it would not close the door on human rights issues. 

Military Intelligence Service says Al Qaeda radicals trying to influence Muslims in Czech Republic

31-10-2014 12:19 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Al Qaeda radicals are striving to spread their ideology to Muslims in the Czech Republic, the Czech Military Intelligence Service says in its annual report. According to the report, released on Friday, this is happening largely through internet sites and social networks. Such activities are dangerous in that they increase the chance of lone wolf terrorist attacks that are hard to prevent, the Military Intelligence says.

The Military Intelligence also monitored the activities of Chinese companies in view of the threat of technological espionage in the defense sector. The civilian counter intelligence service BIS likewise this week warned of what it called an “exceptionally high” number of Russian and Chinese spies operating on Czech territory. 



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