Czech industrial output decreased in November by 3.9 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday. After seasonal adjustment, industrial production dropped by 6.2 percent compared to November 2011. That’s the biggest decline in the country’s industrial production since September 2009. Analysts say the fresh data confirm the weak state of the Czech economy which has been in recession for over a year.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has rejected as unfounded safety concerns over the planned completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant saying the country fully adheres to all international safety norms. In an interview for the Austrian magazine Profil, Mr. Schwarzenberg said the Czech Republic would not backtrack on its plans to build two more nuclear reactors at Temelin. He dismissed safety concerns stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster as irrelevant saying that the last tsunami the Czech lands experienced would have been about 500 million years ago and it was unlikely to occur for several thousand more years.
The expropriation of property in connection with the mining of mineral resources such as coal will no longer be possible, after the Czech lower house overturned a veto by President Václav Klaus. This confirmed an amendment to the law on mining that did away with the use of eminent domain in such cases. This is good news for communities in North Bohemia that had faced the threat of being forced to move, and a spokesperson for Greenpeace said they could not have received a better Christmas present.
Mladá Boleslav-based carmaker Škoda Auto began serial production of the third generation Octavia on Monday, the most important model in the company’s line-up. Production capacity has been raised from 800 to 1,200 vehicles a day. The new sedan is meant to improve brand recognition abroad, the carmaker said, and is expected to follow the success of the previous models. Octavia is Skoda’s best seller, representing 44 percent of global sales, for example, in the first 11 months of this year. The redesigned vehicle will be released onto the European market at the end of January.
France's Areva is aiming to continue its fight to be included in a lucrative tender for the completion of the Czech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power plant, Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes reports. According to the daily, the firm sees the manner in which it was excluded from the tender as problematic and far from standard procedure. Areva representatives say the price offered by the firm was in order and stress the company will push its case even at the highest instance court. Thomas Epron, Areva's regional head for Central Europe, said the French company had provided guarantees in supplied documentation that the final price of Temelín´s expansion would not exceed a certain level and the cost of the project, between 200 and 300 billion crowns, would not see manifold growth. ČEZ spokesman Ladislav Kříž told the paper that Areva´s bid had failed to meet defined criteria on a number of points.
The station Opava-východ in the north east of the country won this year’s poll for the Czech Republic’s most beautiful train station. The recently renovated structure was built in 1851 in the style of late classicism. The top prizes for the most fairytale-like train station were awarded to the train stations of Nemilkov, in western Bohemia, and Mnichovice, outside Prague. Around 8,500 people took part in the poll.
The car maker Škoda Auto has unveiled a third-generation Octavia model. The company claims the new Octavia hatchback is longer and wider than its predecessor providing more interior space and an engine starting at 1.4TSI. The new Octavia is to be shown at the Geneva international motor show show and will go on sale in March of next year. Škoda Auto is hoping to sell more than 500,000 Octavia models a year making it one of the ten top-selling cars in the world.
The project to build two new reactors at South Bohemia’s Temelín nuclear power plant represents a huge investment. But the massive project may never get off the ground, not least if the government reassess issues surrounding the project’s financing as well as continuing uncertainty on the energy market.
The head of the opposition Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka also met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, in which he stressed that a guarantee regarding the final price of completion of the project as well as an upholding of the completion deadline as well as safety of Temelín as important. Besides the Czech Republic’s nuclear power plant Temelín, Mr Sobotka and Mrs Clinton discussed other matters including the EU, the situation in Syria and Afghanistan.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was in Prague for a short visit on Monday to support a bid by the American and Japanese company Westinghouse to complete the Temelín nuclear power station in South Bohemia. Mrs. Clinton met with the Czech prime minister, Petr Necaš, her Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg, and leaders of the opposition. At a press conference in the Czech capital after meeting with the Czech foreign minister, Mrs. Clinton expressed support for Westinghouse, saying the company was offering the "best technology and security guarantees". The firm is competing for the Temelín deal with Russia's Atomstroyexport (bidding as part of a Russian-Czech consortium). On Monday, Mrs. Clinton also praised Czech-U.S. relations, calling the Czech Republic one of the closest partners of the U.S. in Europe.
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