The Czech National Bank (CNB) on Thursday unexpectedly cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, with the key repo rate down at 2.25 pct as of Friday. The action was taken at the last CNB board meeting before the appointment of new board members by the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus. The reason for the move was an anticipated downwards revision of inflationary pressures and the desire to slow down the strengthening of the Czech currency.
A Prague district court this week ruled that the Czech state must pay a total of just under two billion crowns, including penalties and interest, to the company Akro with regard to the 'tunnelled' CS fondy. The firm GiroCredit had reported the suspicious transfer of huge sums of money out of the country, but the Finance Ministry approved it. Money from the CS funds was replaced by worthless shares.
From the middle of this year the Microsoft Corporation will roll out a mandatory Windows validation process. The process is being piloted currently for the Czech Republic and China, due to the high rate of pirate software in those two countries, and also for Norway. The decision to enforce validation will help Microsoft fight against counterfeit software and will also help IT departments and consumers to confirm whether or not that they have bought valid products.
Of all European Union member states, Britain and Ireland have been most attractive for Czechs seeking employment abroad. Since the Czech Republic joined the EU in May, some 139,000 Czech pages on work and life abroad were visited on the EURES website, designed to support the free movement of labour across the Union. The large number of visited pages on Germany and Austria suggest these two countries are also attractive to Czechs. Some 29,000 pages on possibilities of finding a job in the Czech Republic have also been visited.
The Cabinet this week approved a strategic plan for increasing Czech exports to China. Part of the plan is to create a holding company out of state-owned Technoexport, Skodaexport and Strojimport, which would be used to both export goods there and to arrange for acquisitions in China by Czech companies.
It will take Czechs, Poles and Hungarians decades to reach Western European income levels, according to a study by the Economist Corporate Network quoted in the Czech paper Lidove noviny on Friday. The report suggests the new EU member states will never catch up with Germany in terms of wages, but should reach the same levels as the Spanish and Portuguese in 14 to 18 years.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott