In Business News: the National Bank governor warns the government's spending programme for 2006 could jeopardise plans to introduce the euro in 2010; the cabinet rejects an opposition plan to cut bureaucracy for small companies; employers will have to pay the first two weeks' sick pay; the Czech IT market grows by a tenth in 2005; and while over 5 percent of Czechs have broadband internet, plans for free WiFi in Prague meet opposition.
Just four days left to Christmas and no doubt many of you are still desperately running around the shops trying to do the last of your Christmas shopping. This year Czechs are borrowing more than ever to buy presents for their nearest and dearest - according to some figures Czechs will borrow some 415 billion crowns from banks alone.
There is reported to have been a breakthrough in talks with landowners in the Nosovice region in Moravia-Silesia, opening the way for a deal with the Hyundai car manufacturer who favours this particular site for the construction of a new plant. The governor of the region Evzen Tosenovsky ran into serious problems persuading some of the landowners to sell. After announcing that he would halt preparations for the industrial zone if a deal was not reached by Friday, the negotiations are said to have gained new impetus. Hyundai's decision on the location of the new plant is expected by the end of the year.
A new survey released by Intrum Justitia has revealed that when it comes to payments Czech firms are the second-worst in Europe. Of seventeen countries examined only Portugal fared worse. According to the survey, among developed countries, the Czech Republic has three times the number of cases where creditors never receive payment. Justitia's director indicated on Tuesday that over two years of study the Czech Republic had improved somewhat on the risk index, but not enough to see a change in the country's position overall on the ratings ladder.
In Business News: the Czech crown reached a record high against the euro this week; the average gross monthly wage grew to almost 19,000 crowns in the third quarter; the anti-monopoly office has imposed a fine of over 8 million dollars on Cesky Telecom for abusing its market dominance; and the prices of gas, electricity and heating are set to rise from the start of next year.
Former Prime Minister Gross, Trade Minister Urban asked to testify before Parliament on Unipetrol privatisation; CTS Corporation of the US to invest $22m in new electronic components plant in Ostrava region; German retailer Edeka may exit Czech Republic, denies plans to sell its Polish, Austrian and Danish outlets; Police bust illegal alcohol production and distribution network; CNB, financial associations object to Parliament provision in bankruptcy bill compensating holders of anonymous accounts; Health Minister Rath wants Parliament to investigate
Doing business in the Czech Republic poses few risks for the foreign investor, but corruption and bureaucracy remain problematic, the British analytical firm Control Risks says in its annual flagship publication RiskMap 2006. The report predicts that the main opposition Civic Democrats will win the June 2006 parliamentary elections but will fail to secure a majority in the 200-member lower house. RiskMap therefore expects the ruling Social Democrats to remain in power as part of a coalition. Whatever the outcome of the elections, the Control Risks firm expects no major reforms before June and a stable economic and business climate.
Farmers 'ready' to accept land swap deal at Hyundai site; Czech household savings rate down 50 percent since 1995; Parliament budget committee proposes lower penalties for unpaid taxes; Czech exporters say corruption a far greater problem than terrorism; Fastest growth of 2005 inflation recorded in October
This year we have had a glorious and mild autumn with few signs of the winter to come. So it seems so much the more strange to see Christmas trees, Santa Claus and jingling bells here in the heart of Prague. Christmas decorations are already going up in shops around the city, and the prize for milking the Yuletide season for all its worth has to go to the Flora Palace shopping centre in the district of Vinohrady. Ever since mid-October it has been decked out in its full seasonal regalia. Alexander Ohrn went down there to see how people feel about
Ceska Sporitelna predicts 2013 Czech entry into eurozone; Initial compromise reached with health insurance companies; Czech Republic has among the highest perceived levels of corruption in the EU; Group of Civic Democrats file criminal complaint over Unipetrol deal; Paroubek says France may be willing to relax labour market restrictions on Czechs; COI imposes record fine on Ahold supermarket chian
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Czech IT specialists organize “hackathon” to give government online motorway vignette sales system for free
Minister: Czech Republic won’t take in 40 child refugees from Greek camps
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events