The Czech government has extended the so-called solar tax, introduced in 2010 to balance high buying price of photovoltaic electricity. The 26-percent tax was to end at the end of the year; however, the government decided to extend it for years to come, lowering it to 10 percent. The decision has drawn criticism from owners of photovoltaic plants who say a series of government measures aimed at driving down the costs of solar electricity has greatly diminished the profitability of the industry.
The police have arrested a 50-year-old man suspected of robbing four banks in Prague. The man used a different disguise in each of the robberies, posing as a person of a different age each time. The police said he had confessed to the crimes, saying he robbed the banks so that he could pay his large debts. The police did not reveal the amount of money the man stole; he faces ten years in jail.
In Business News this week: The finance ministry has released a more pessimistic economic forecast for this and next year; Reconstruction of the D1 highway has resumed after two weeks of delays; The mortgage market grew rapidly in the past half year; The European Commission has approved 400 million euros for railway revitalization in the Czech Republic; Energy giant ČEZ set to launch a new virtual mobile network.
The Prague City Hall announced that the current calculation of the damages caused by this year’s flooding in the capital is more than four billion crowns. Around 2.2 billion were damages to municipal property, while around two million crowns worth of damages were registered on private property. The city hall presented this calculation to the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, though deputy mayor Jiří Vávra said the number may rise. The largest damages were to waterways infrastructure, roadways, monuments and the Prague zoo.
Sensitive data relating to clients of the bank Komerční banka was accidentally made accessible to other clients, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. A listener contacted the station to say that while using regular internet banking services he had been able to access names, addresses and other information on some of the bank’s other customers, including the former minister of finance Miroslav Kalousek. Visitors could also have made changes to the data of other customers. The bank said it was taking the matter, which affected 47,000 customers, very seriously and blocked access to its database. It could face a stiff fine from the country’s data protection watchdog.
The country’s largest bank Česká Spořitelna has apologized to its clients for problems with its internet banking service. The problems which persisted throughout Monday affected predominantly its BUSINESS 24 service, as well as its Telebanking and S-Card call lines. The bank says its other services as well as its money machines are fully functional.
The power giant ČEZ has decided to postpone a decision on the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant by at least a year, the head of the company’s planning department Pavel Cyrani told the economic weekly magazine Euro. Mr. Cyrani said the decision would only be made after the approval of a long term state energy strategy and the possible approval of a fixed price on energy from the two new reactors. The government was to have selected the winner of a multi-billion crown tender on the completion of Temelín in the autumn of this year, but there has been increasing controversy over whether the country needs two more nuclear reactors in the first place.
A report in the weekly news magazine Euro suggests the Czech power giant ČEZ intends to delay a final decision on whether to expand the Temelín nuclear plant by at least 12 months. ČEZ is due to announce a winner for the multi-billion dollar tender this autumn; a ČEZ official quoted in the magazine now says that even if a winner is chosen this year, the final contract may not be signed until the autumn of 2014.
Moody’s Investors Service rating agency has renewed the Czech Republic’s A1 rating on Friday. The agency gave the country a stable economic outlook thanks to the significant stabilization of the tax system and the limited negative effects of the debt crisis of the Eurozone on the country’s economy. The Czech Republic has held the A1 rating from Moody’s since 2002. According to the agency, Prague has proven that it is determined to take drastic measures in order to lower the deficit, which has been a key factor in maintaining trust in its fiscal policies and creating financing reserves before the recent change of cabinet.
Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok will head a working group overseeing the drawing of EU funds. The group will also include two government ministers and representatives of the regions, the prime minister told reporters on Friday. The Czech Republic has had serious problems with securing EU funds, and has been criticized by the European Commission over insufficient control of EU-funded projects.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur
Divided by Freedom – Large-scale Czech Radio survey finds six social classes in Czech society