The Czech energy giant ČEZ has launched retail gas sales to customers in
the Czech Republic, the firm’s CEO Martin Roman told reporters on
Thursday. The state-owned energy producer ČEZ is also considering retail
sales of gas in Slovakia. ČEZ offers gas at prices 5 percent lower than
the major gas supplier on the Czech market, the company RWE.
An increasing number of clients have changed suppliers in recent months. While in 2008, some 600 clients changed their supplier of natural gas, their number rose to 33,000 last year.
Most Czechs believe that keeping the Czech crown is better for the country than adopting the euro, according to a survey by the Ipsos Tambor polling agency released on Thursday. Some 88 percent of those polled said that having the koruna is an advantage, which represents an increase of 25 percentage points since the previous poll in November 2008; only four percent believe the crown can bring the country economic problems. Some 88 percent of Czechs who took part in the poll also trust banks, an increase of 6 percentage points.
Water levels of Czech rivers have been going down but many areas remain on flood alert in view of more rain predicted on Friday. The highest, level three, flood alert applied at around a dozen sites across the country with one warning of extreme danger on the Morava River at Strážnice. Heavy rain, sometimes of around 5 centimetres in the last 24 hours, led to a flood alert in Šumava in the south-west of the country. The latest flooding has claimed at least three lives in Zlín and Brno. Some areas in northern Moravia and Silesia have been hit by flooding twice in the past two weeks.
Fourth seeds Czech Lukáš Dlouhý and India’s Leander Paes reached their second Grand Slam final of the season after defeating third seeded Austrian-Israeli duo Julian Knowle, Andy Ram 6:4, 6:2 in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday. In Saturday’s finals, the Czech-Indian duo will face second seed Daniel Nestor from Canada and Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjich.
Czech trade unions and employers criticized on Thursday the government’s national development plan, a part of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy. Trade union leader Jaroslav Zavadil said the document was a total failure, while the head of the Industry and Trade Association, Jaroslav Míl, questioned the underlying idea of the Europe 2020 strategy. Mr Míl said the EU should instead focus on priorities and issues that would increase Europe’s competitiveness. In reaction to the criticism, Prime Minister Jan Ficher said the government would present only an abbreviated version of the national strategy at an EU summit in Brussels on June 17.
Police in Vienna, Austria have arrested the fugitive Czech businessman Roman Vaškůj, a Czech police spokeswoman said on Thursday. The arrest took place on Wednesday. Mr Vaškůj had been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison by Czech courts for tax evasion of around 500 million crowns. The controversial businessman was also involved in a corruption scandal related to the former Czech vice prime minister Jiří Čunek.
The Civic Democrat leader, Petr Nečas, on Thursday briefed President
Václav Klaus about ongoing negotiations on forming a coalition
Although President Klaus has sanctioned the Civic Democrat effort, he
stopped short of appointing Mr Nečas prime minister designate. President
Klaus will receive both the Civic and Social Democrat leaders at Prague
Castle on Friday.
The Civic Democrat party, which emerged second strongest from the general elections on Saturday, is holding talks with the conservative party TOP 09 and the populist Public Affairs party; they have 118 seats in the 200-member lower house of Czech Parliament. The parties had vowed to form a centre-right coalition to stabilize public finances, reform the country’s health care and pensions systems, and curb corruption.
Czech hockey goalkeeper legend Dominik Hašek is set to sign a one-year contract with HC Spartak Moscow on Monday, the club’s general manager told the Russian daily newspaper Sovetsky Sport. 45-year-old Hašek, a two-time Stanley Cup winner and a gold medallist from the 1998 Nagano Olympics, won his third Czech hockey league title last season with HC Pardubice, becoming the oldest player to win the Czech hockey extraliga. Dominik Hašek won his first league title in the season 1986-87 with the same club.
Former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek married his long-term partner, MP Lucie Talmanová, in Prague on Thursday. Mr Topolánek, whose government fell in a vote of no-confidence last March, was ousted as the leader of Civic Democrats earlier this year. He and Ms Talmanová, whose term as a Civic Democrat MP has just expired, have been together for four years, and have a three-year-old son, Nicolas. Mirek Topolánek got divorced just three months ago.
President Václav Klaus vetoed on Thursday a bill on the Czech National Bank which would prepare the bank for the adoption of the euro. As the current Chamber of Deputies will not meet again, the respective legislation process will have to start from scratch. President Klaus said euro adoption by the Czech Republic was a political issue that had not been resolved, and the bill on the Czech central bank could be adopted at a later date. A spokesman for the bank said the veto would have no effect on the bank’s functioning as it would only apply after the country adopted the euro.