The Czech trade balance in November stood at 11.8 billion crowns according to figures released by the statistical office on Thursday. Exports rose 21 percent over the month compared with November 2009 but imports climbed by 24 percent. This resulted in a 2.7 billion crown shrinking of the surplus year on year. Experts also expect the trade surplus for the whole of 2010 to shrink by between 20 billion and 30 billion crowns. Part of the reason for that is the surge of imported material during the year to feed the boom in solar power plants.
The second annual “Sexist Piggy” awards were handed out this week for the most sexist ads of the year. The contest, organized by the Brno-based NGO Nesehnutí, wants to draw attention to offensive and stereotype depictions of men and women in advertising. This year, the organizers handed out two prizes – one awarded by the public, the other by an expert jury.
The Czech-owned loan firm Home Credit announced on Monday they were pulling out of Ukraine. The firm has sold its Dnepropetrovsk-based branch to the Ukrainian Platinum Bank although the deal is yet to be approved by the country’s regulators. Home Credit is a major loan firm, owned by the Czech financial group PPF. In the Czech Republic, it provided loans worth 3.7 billion crowns, more than 195 million US dollars. It is also doing well in other countries of the former Eastern bloc including Russia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and China. Next year, the firm is planning to set up new branches in Egypt and Indonesia.
President Václav Klaus says Czech firms should rely less on Western European countries as a market for their exports and try to increase sales elsewhere. Speaking in Prague on Wednesday, Mr Klaus said it is fortunate that there is still demand for exports, which are important to a small open economy like that of the Czech Republic. Around 85 percent of Czech exports go to other EU states, which is above the average for the bloc of 67 percent.
The WikiLeaks deluge of leaked US diplomatic cables has underlined the dangers of information escaping from discontented employees. In the Czech Republic, dismissed or unhappy workers are increasingly blowing the whistle on their bosses, or going straight out of the door armed with sensitive or compromising data.
Rachel Kanarowski has the kind of job that must make her the absolute envy of her peers. At only 30, she is the editor-in-chief of the Czech version of InStyle, a major international women’s magazine. At the magazine’s offices, we discussed shopping in Prague and the Czech take on style. But first Kanarowski described the unlikely sounding way in which the opportunity to enter the business arose, and how she made the most of that chance.
Hundreds of billboards are to be gradually taken down from the country’s highways for safety reasons, the Czech roads authority said on Tuesday. An inspection of the country’s main highways recently revealed that a vast number of billboards had been put up in violation of road safety norms. The first four hundred or more billboards are to disappear in the first quarter of next year. Many of them have been put up illegally, without a permit.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’