In Business News this week: the Czech Republic's leading retailers enjoy a big increase in sales; government incentives attract a major increase in inward investment, soft drinks manufacturer Kofola branches out into food supplements, and the Czech government could face sanctions from the European Commission for failing to impose a 48-hour working week.
Taiwan-based digital, mobile and electronics manufacturing group BenQ will construct an LCD screen and monitor factory in the Czech Republic's second city, Brno, the project's local promoter CTP Invest has said. According to the internet news server, Aktualne.cz, the factory will have eight assembly lines capable of producing around 500,000 LCD screens and 500,000 monitors a year. The new plant, employing around 700 people, should begin production in the third quarter of the year, it added.
In Business News this week: Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty comes up with a controversial plan to circumvent a rise in VAT on construction work; the first issue of government bonds maturing in 30 years is heavily over-subscribed; another company considers suing the Czech state over the tender to introduce a lorry toll system - just weeks before it is due to begin; trade with Poland is thriving, and should rise further with Schengen enlargement; and an unusual order could help preserve the lace-making tradition of one south Bohemian town.
A Christmas advertisement for Vodafone has become one of the most popular ads on Czech television in a long time. It stars one of the country's leading comics - and Chihuahuas wearing fake antlers. Evidently capitalising on the fact the ad is such a hit, Vodafone has, guerrilla style, placed antlers on the outdoor advertisements of rival mobile operators.
In Business News: Radiokomunikace fetches the highest price ever recorded in the purchase of a private company in this country; the strategically important state company Skodaexport is to be put up for sale; Skoda Auto produces its 500,000th car this year; the transport minister casts doubt on the ability of Kapsch to launch on time an electronic toll system for trucks; environmentalists strike an "historic" deal with Hyundai; and how much do you think the average Czech is planning to spend this Christmas?
The 10 newest members of the European Union stand to receive a huge cash injection from non-member Switzerland this weekend if Swiss voters approve controversial government plans for a one billion Swiss franc (630 million euro) grant. About half of the 10-year development package would go to Poland, ahead of Hungary and the Czech Republic, but the plan is opposed by right-wing isolationists in Switzerland who sought the referendum. The grant would be spent on chosen projects, ranging from fighting corruption, health care, cleaning up the environment, to promoting private enterprise including investment in small and medium sized companies.
Vietnamese-owned grocery stores have become a feature of cities across the Czech Republic. They're cheap, stock good-quality produce, and they stay open late. And according to a report in the Czech Business Weekly, Vietnamese small traders could be about to consolidate their place on the Czech market by opening chains of grocery stores. Rob Cameron has this report.
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery