One of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks, Česká Spořitelna announced a drop in net profits for 2015 of 5.2 percent to 14.3 billion crowns. High provisions for bad loans and low interest rates eroded profits, the bank said. Most of the other big banks on the Czech market have already announced much better results. Česká Spořitelna is regarded as the biggest Czech bank according to the volume of client deposits.
In tennis, Czech number one player Tomáš Berdych lost in the quarter finals of the Dubai Open. He went down 6:4, 6:4 against Australian Nick Kyrgios. Berdych lost his serve at the start of the encounter and was on the defensive against his more aggressive opponent for most of the match. He was also defeated by Kyrgios in the semi-finals of the Marseille event on Saturday.
The Czech Minister of Justice has given the go ahead for a third Lebanese man to be extradited to the US in connection with suspected terrorism charges. The decision about Faouz Jaber was confirmed by the ministry on Thursday. Jaber had asked for asylum in the Czech Republic. Two Lebanese citizens also wanted by the US were allowed to return to their homeland in exchange for five Czechs held for more than half a year in the country. That move sparked sharp criticism of the Czech action from US authorities. They wanted to question the trio in connected with a suspected drugs for arms involving the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has accepted an invitation to visit Prague. The invitation was made by Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek during a visit to the country. Zaorálek said that diplomatic relations between the countries were at an optimal level but not matched yet by economic ties. The Czech foreign minister is being accompanied by a 32-strong business delegation. The next step of the Asian tour will be Burma, where Zaorálek is due to meet the leader of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi.
Police have charged three of the art activists from the group Ztohoven who hauled down the Czech president’s standard at Prague Castle and replaced it with a large pair of red underpants in September last year, the daily Právo reported Thursday. The three have been charged with causing public disorder, theft, and damage to property. They could face up to three years in prison. The case was returned to the police after a judge refused to deal with it under a fast track procedure.
Court proceedings against the Czech Republic have been launched by the European Commission in Brussels. The Commission has launched court action against Prague over the fact that only Czech citizens are allowed to be notaries. It said that there was no cause for such national discrimination and pointed at that the Court of Justice had already delivered guilty verdicts in similar cases. Brussels said it was also monitoring the actions of other states with similar cases.
Participants marched to Prague castle on Thursday to commemorate the events 68 years earlier when around 7,000 students protested the takeover of power by the Communist Party in a move which was to herald 40 years of party dictatorship. Deputy chairman of the Senate, Přemysl Sobotka urged the marchers not to lose their ‘historic memory,’ describing the Communist era as the darkest chapter in Czech history since the Nazi occupation. The Communist Party seized power on February 25, 1948, when president Edvard Beneš agreed they could form a new government after members of democratic parties resigned.
Škoda Auto has more brand loyalty from owners than fellow Volkswagen company Porsche, company board chairman Bernhard Maier said on Thursday. Maier, who joined that biggest Czech car maker in Autumn last year, said that 60 percent of Škoda Auto owners bought the car again compared with 58 percent of Porsche owners. Maier said Škoda will develop more SUV and eco models over the next decade. He confirmed that the first hybrid car to be rolled out will be the top of the model Superb.
A third direct airline link between the Czech Republic and China was launched on Thursday. Sichuan Airlines begin its first flight to the city of Cheng du, the third destination for Prague flights after Beijing and Shanghai. The airline is still dealing with paperwork and formalities and has still to declare how the timetable will develop.
The Health Ministry announced Thursday that the Czech Republic has registered the first cases of the Zika virus. The infection is suspected of leading to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains; it is thought to spread from mothers to their foetus and can possibly also be spread through sexual intercourse. The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency; the Czech Health Ministry is to hold a press conference later on Thursday morning to discuss steps to be taken.
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