The Czech agricultural sector last year saw overall profits slide dramatically from the record year of 2014, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Profits for the sector dropped by around 27 percent to around 16.9 billion. The main factor was lower prices for goods, in particular milk and pork but earnings were also affected by the drought over the summer. Overall sales in the sector amounted to 127 billion crowns with crops making up around 75 billion crowns of that. The Agricultural Association, which uses different figures and calculations, says profit more than halved last year to 9 million crowns from 19 billion.
Czech authorities have found discrepancies in the drawing of funds for the Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre of ANO leader and minister of finance Andrej Babiš with fines of 6.0 million crowns at one stage imposed, the server Neovlivni.cz wrote on Wednesday. The circumstances of EU funds awarded to the project are now being investigated by EU anti-fraud authorities. Babiš and his massive Agrofert agro-chemical group have until now maintained that Czech authorities had no misgivings about the funding of the centre.The company denied again on Wednesday it was asked to pay any penalty.
The Czech National Bank Wednesday took the exceptional step of banning the Russian bank active in the Czech Republic, ERB, from offering loans or accepting cash on accounts. Its remaining activity has been limited to zero risk areas. Most of the bank’s operations regard financing Czech business in Russia but it also offers basic banking services with branches in Prague and Karlovy Vary. It opened its first Czech branch in 2009.
The country’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto has announced its best ever February for worldwide sales. The manufacturer racked up total sales of 78,800 over the month, 3.6 percent more than in 2015. Sales in Western Europe and China were particularly strong. Škoda was also helped by the launch of new models of the top of the range Superb and down range Fabia.
Around 40 people, mostly children, were injured on Wednesday morning when their bus overturned on a busy road near Louny, northwest of Prague. Emergency services were called in from Prague and the Central Bohemia region. Police said injured ranged from slight to serious. The injured composed 36 children and four adults. The bus is thought to have skidded on ice.
Sales of the flagship beer Pilsner Urquell rose by more than 8 percent overall last year compared with 2014 based on sales on the domestic market and abroad. That means that a new record for overall sales surpassing the 2 million hectoliters of 2014 will be set. The beer is one of the main marks of Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj, which belongs to the SAB Miller group.
The rate of year-on-year inflation slowed in February to 0.5 percent from January’s 0.6 percent, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office released on Wednesday. One of the main factors for the slowdown were weaker price rises for alcohol and tobacco and more moderate cost increases for utilities and housing. Prices rose 0.1 month-on-month. The inflation figure is well below the target rate of the Czech National Bank of 2.0 percent.
A monument in Plzeň honouring the city’s liberation by US soldiers at the end of World War II may have to be rebuilt, the newspaper Plzeňský deník reported. There are visible cracks in the Díky, Ameriko (Thank You, America) monument and a study found that the two granite columns that comprise it are in poor condition. The mayor of the district of Plzeň where it stands said the columns would have to be replaced, adding that a discussion should be held on the future form of the monument, which was unveiled in 1995.
A 14-year-old boy accused of killing a 13-year-old female friend in Teplice, north Bohemia last month was also planning to murder other girls, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday, quoting investigators. Though his family, his psychiatrist and the local social services were aware that the boy had serious mental problems a failure in communication meant he was not placed in institutional care, the daily said. The boy is reported to have pushed a friend into a lift shaft last year.
Former Czech president Václav Klaus says he expects the incumbent, Miloš Zeman to stand for a second term. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, Mr. Klaus, who himself held the post for 10 years, said his successor had considerable support and that there was no point in competing against him if he runs. Polls have consistently suggested that Mr. Zeman is one of the most trusted politicians in the Czech Republic. Mr. Klaus said Mr. Zeman had not told him he was planning a second candidacy; he had merely deduced it from his behaviour. There have been suggestions that Mr. Klaus himself might seek a third term.
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