The state enterprise Lesy České republiky, which administers nearly a
half of the country’s forests, has reported a 90 percent fall in gross
profits during the first half of 2019. The decrease in profits is largely
due to the ongoing bark beetle infestation, company spokeswoman Eva
Jouklová told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday.
The company increased felling of bark beetle infested trees by 112 percent compared to the same period last year. However, according to Ms. Jouklová, the resulting excessive amount of wood on the market has in turn brought down the price of the commodity.
This phenomenon has been negatively affecting the company’s profits already for some time. Last year the result was that Lesy České republiky’s net profits plummeted down to CZK 70 million compared to the CZK 3.08 billion it made in 2017.
The Czech and Polish governments are holding a joint session in Warsaw on
Wednesday. The talks are centred around EU topics and climate protection,
but will also include more focused discussions between the two states’
Speaking to journalists ahead of his flight, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš described Poland as one of the Czech Republic’s most important partners, with whom his country has above standard relations. He said that he would propose that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and representatives from Western Balkan states are invited to the September summit of the Visegrad Four.
While in Warsaw, Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar is expected to sign an agreement on military aviation cooperation with his Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak.
Regional Development Minister Klára Dostálová has said that her
department will send the much anticipated reply the European Commission’s
preliminary audit on the suspected conflict of interests of Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš, on Wednesday. In an interview with Czech newspaper Deník N,
Mrs. Dostálová said the reply contains contradictions to every sentence
on every page of the audit.
According to the preliminary audit report, Mr. Babiš still has influence on his former company Agrofert, which is drawing money from European funds, and is therefore in a conflict of interest. As a result, the Czech Republic may be forced to return about CZK 450 million to the EU budget.
The reply is being sent to the Czech Republic’s Permanent Representation at the European Union in Brussels, which subsequently has to supply it to the European Commission by Monday, when the deadline runs out.
Slavia Prague will face the Romanian side Cluj in the Czech capital on
Wednesday night with a lucrative place in the group stage of football’s
Champions League at stake. Slavia can reach Europe’s top club competition
even if the game ends in a draw, thanks to a valuable 1:0 away victory in
the first leg of the qualifying tie last week.
However, coach Jindřich Trpišovský says the Czech league champions cannot afford to play for a draw and most go for victory at their Eden stadium.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says his UK counterpart Boris
Johnson has assured him that there is nothing to worry about regarding the
status of Czech citizens and firms in Great Britain with regard to Brexit.
Mr. Babiš said on Twitter on Tuesday that he had invited Mr. Johnson to
Prague for a meeting that could also be attended by the other Visegrad Four
heads of government.
The Czech PM said the British leader told him his country and the Czech Republic were allies, he knew the country and had relationships with people there.
Mr. Johnson insists the UK will leave the European Union by the end of October, regardless of whether or not a Brexit deal is in place.
The vast majority of replica open-top old cars offering rides to tourists
in Prague failed checks carried out by City Hall, iDnes.cz reported on
Tuesday. Only three of 58 such vehicles tested were deemed to reach correct
The others were found to lack vehicle identification numbers, spare tyres, compulsory equipment and seat belts. The deputy mayor for transport, Adam Scheinhher, said that some of the would-be vintage cars had been found to have broken lights, amateur welding and motorcycle rear-view mirrors.
There are around 120 such vehicles in the Czech capital.
Doctors at University Hospital Brno have delivered the baby of a woman who
was in a state of brain death for several months, after maintaining her
vital functions. The birth took place by caesarean section in the middle of
August and the baby girl, who weighed 2.1 kilogrammes, has been in her
father’s care since Monday.
The mother suffered the complete loss of cerebral function due to a vascular malfunction that caused bleeding on the brain.
A hospital spokesperson said that the record length of time that the mother was kept alive artificially made the case unique.
Lubomír Zaorálek has been named Czech minister of culture. His
appointment brings to an end a political crisis surrounding the post that
arose when President Miloš Zeman rejected the Social Democrats’ previous
nominee for the post.
Mr. Zeman had also initially refused to accept the resignation of the previous arts minister, Antonín Staněk.
Mr. Zaorálek has said that his priorities will include dealing with leadership positions at key public institutions where his predecessor made changes.
The new minister is a veteran figure in the Social Democratic Party and headed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2014 to 2017.
The ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would have won elections
earlier this month with 29.5 percent, suggests a freshly released poll by
the Median agency. That is an increase in the party’s backing compared to
a survey by the same organisation in July. The Pirate Party on 14.5 percent
and the Civic Democrats on 13.5 percent also did better than in the
previous Median monthly poll.
Some 8.5 percent of respondents said they would cast their ballots for Freedom and Direct Democracy, 8 percent would back the Communists and 6.5 percent would support the Social Democrats, the survey indicates.
Third seed Karolína Plíšková has reached the second round of the US
Open in New York. The Czech overcame her compatriot Tereza Martincová, a
qualifier, 7-6 7-6 on Monday. Karolína Muchová also progressed at
Flushing Meadows, beating Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-4 6-4.
In the men’s draw Tomáš Berdych exited the last Grand Slam of the season in round one. The one-time world number four, who has been beset by injury problems, lost to US player Jenson Brooksby 1-6 6-2 4-6 4-6.
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