The chief executive of Cesky Telecom, Gabriel Berdar, credited with transforming the company, has been replaced as Telefonica of Spain has acquired the business. An annual meeting of Cesky Telecom shareholders on Thursday replaced Mr Berdar with Jaime Smith Basterra, chief financial officer at Telefonica, as well as nine out of fifteen members on the company's supervisory board. Last week, Telefonica paid 82.6 billion crowns (3.36 billion dollars) for the government's 51.1-percent stake in the Czech Republic's dominant land line operator.
The Czech Statistics Office has released new statistics which show that the number of divorces in the Czech Republic has increased by a third over the 15 years since the fall of communism. According to statistics, marriages in the Czech Republic most often break up between their third and sixth year. Statisticians predict the Czech Republic's divorce rate should stabilise this year at just below 50 percent. In the first three months of 2005 almost 5,500 couples were married in the Czech Republic which is by 250 fewer than in the same period of last year.
A faction within the ruling Social Democrats, called the Platform for the Renaissance of the Social Democratic Party, has announced its plan to call an extraordinary party conference to deal with personnel changes at the party head, the election manifesto, next year's general election campaign and a change in the party statutes. The faction said on Thursday that the continued chairmanship of Stanislav Gross markedly decreased the party's chance for a good result in next year's elections. A spokesman for the platform said it supports Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, party deputy chairman, who since taking office last month has been able to reverse the plummeting voter support for the party.
A new party, called the Independent Democrats, has been founded in Prague, former Social Democrat MP Jana Volfova announced on Thursday and said its manifesto was put together by MEP Vladimir Zelezny, the former CEO of the successful commercial TV Nova. Mr Zelezny who is not a member of the Independent Democrats said the manifesto will be released in late July or early August after it is approved by the party conference. Mr Zelezny also said the party will mainly focus on the defence of Czech national interests and it will also address EU-related issues.
The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who is on an official visit to East Asia, has met Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo. After the meeting on Thursday, Mr Paroubek said they spoke about Prague, culture, music, issues related to global warming and also about the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Mr Havel was host to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko who visited Prague in July 2002. Prime Minister Paroubek started an eight-day visit to Asia in Tokyo on Wednesday, he is due to visit China next.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) which represents the recording industry worldwide has included the Czech Republic among a group of 31 countries where more counterfeit CDs than original ones are sold. According to the federation the situation in the Czech Republic is getting worse. The IFPI did not disclose the source of its data.
The Constitutional Court has ruled against a lower house approval of an amendment to the conflict-of-interest law. The amendment, which came into effect in March, has been under much criticism mainly because it prohibits councillors from heading regional or district organisations and has thereby forced several to resign from their posts. The amendment also changes local election rules, which according to the Constitutional Court can only be approved by both houses of parliament. Since it made it through parliament only because the lower house overrode the Senate, the court says the amendment has been approved unlawfully.
Slavia Prague football club have protested to UEFA about Liverpool's admission to next season's Champions League; UEFA have allowed Liverpool - who won the trophy last season - to enter the competition, despite not qualifying from the English league. This means Slavia look certain to lose their seeding in the third qualifying round. A spokesman for the Czech club told Sky Sports News that Slavia could now face tougher opposition, such as Manchester United. Slavia, who finished second in the Czech league last season, have never reached the lucrative Champions League.
The Czech Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, on an official visit to Japan,
met with his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi and Japanese
businessmen on Wednesday. Speaking to journalists in Tokyo, Mr Paroubek
said Japanese companies intend to continue investing in the Czech
Republic but do not plan any projects as big as the recent opening of a
Toyota and Peugeot Citroen TCPA production plant in the town of Kolin.
The 153 Japanese investors currently active in the Czech Republic have invested some two billion US dollars and created tens of thousands of new work places. Mr Paroubek also discussed the possible introduction of direct flights between the two countries. Some 150,000 Japanese tourists visited the Czech Republic last year. Before Mr Paroubek leaves for China on Sunday, he is also scheduled to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito.
The Czech Police President, Jiri Kolar, has resigned after Prime Minister
Jiri Paroubek called on him to do so, following a police blunder. Czech
multi-millionaire Radovan Krejcir managed to escape from police custody
last weekend during a search of his house. Mr Krejcir faces charges of
fraud and tax evasion amounting to almost three billion Czech crowns
(around 120 million US dollars) and is also suspected of planning a
murder. Latest reports say he walked out of the main door of his home and
escaped in his car. The head of the police anti-corruption department and
his deputy have also been let go, while ten other police officers have
According to the interior minister, Frantisek Bublan, there is some evidence that Mr Krejcir has fled the country. On Wednesday, a man resembling Radovan Krejcir was caught on a video surveillance tape at a petrol station in neighbouring Slovakia. Both Czech and international warrants for his arrest have been issued.