The Czech government has approved an agreement with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing under which it will acquire the company's stake in the state-controlled subsonic jetmaker Aero Vodochody for a symbolic price of 2 crowns, or 7 cents. Details of the negotiations that led to the symbolic price were not released but Boeing initially had demanded 1 billion crowns, nearly $40 million, for its 35.29 percent stake in the company. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn told reporters the agreement with Boeing should be signed within the next couple of weeks.
A poll by the state-funded Centre for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) found that 53 percent of respondents consider the Czech economy to be in "very bad" or "bad" shape. Only 9 percent of people surveyed said they were happy with the current economic situation. According to the business daily Hospodarske noviny, the economy is in better shape than at any time since the start of 2000.
Housing Minister Jiri Paroubek this week revealed the conditions for the government's much-touted "newlywed" loans — for starters, they are now to be called "youth" loans, as unmarried couples will also be eligible to apply. The loans will be available in January to couples if at least one of them is younger than 36 and they have a child. Single parents will also qualify and income is not a factor. The repayment period will be at most 20 years, at 2 percent interest.
EU and Czech officials have convinced the United States to drop plans to impose certain higher import duties that could have hurt Czech glass companies. Those producing exclusively for the U.S. market had faced financial ruin. Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn reportedly told U.S. negotiator Robert Zoellick that the duty would be discriminatory.
CzechTourism will become the first government agency to join the "Viva Etika" project for promoting transparency, an effort established by the Czech branch of the corruption watchdog group Transparency International. CzechTourism has agreed to voluntarily disclose the names of all its suppliers and the amounts the agency pays them. In the past, the government's Supreme Audit Office had found irregularities in the agency's books.
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