In Business News: the 2013 state budget deficit may be substantially below target, business confidence in the Czech economy has increased, the Czech Central Bank governor has been voted Central Bank Governor of the Year for Emerging Europe 2013 and Canada’s decision to lift visas for Czechs is expected to renew airline connections and revitalize travel.
The police’s anti-corruption unit has charged five people over an overpriced contract to produce tickets for Prague’s public transport system. Among those facing accusations including manipulation of public tenders and breach of trust is Martin Dvořák, former director of the city’s transport authority. The case centres on the awarding in 2008 of a contract to provide tickets for the transport system to the company Neograph, which has since itself admitted it received too much for the service.
Police have arrested a man who they suspect killed two pedestrians in a hit-and-run incident near Vodňany in south Bohemia in the early hours of Sunday, a police spokesman said. Among the victims is a 26-year-old woman and a man whose identity remains unknown. The police have asked members of the public for information on any missing persons who might have been in the area at the time of the accident.
Prague’s Smetana Embankment in the centre of the city closes for cars on Saturday, in the final installment of a pro-pedestrian campaign. Passers-by have a chance to see films as well as art and design exhibits in the area between 8 AM and 10 PM. The campaign, entitled Embankment lives, started in mid-September; organizers say they want people to experience one of Prague’s busiest areas without cars, and ultimately turn a section of the embankment into a permanent pedestrian zone.
In this week's Business News: the Czech national debt is down for first time since the 1990s; inflation levels continue a downward trend; the new Prague metro "D" line is approved; unemployment levels are up in September; Budvar declares victory over rival in Italy and former PM Vladimír Špidla says rosy Czech poverty data is misleading.
Prague City Hall has approved plans to build a new metro line in the capital which should serve the city’s southern districts. The cost of the projected new D line is estimated at 25 billion crowns or more. If Prague secures EU funding for the project, construction could start in 2017 and the line would open five years later.
Prague councillors have approved a plan to build a new “D” line on the city’s metro system. The first part of the line, from Pankrác station to a depot in Písnice, will be 10 kilometres in length. The project will cost just under CZK 25 billion, which City Hall hopes to obtain from EU funds. It is unlikely to be completed before 2022. Construction work is currently underway to extend the A line from Dejvická station to Motol; the new stretch should open next year.
The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition has revoked a contract that Czech Railways signed with Austrian Federal Railways for 11 locomotives, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Friday. Czech Railways leased the Siemens Taurus locomotives from the Austrian rail operator in 2008. However, the Czech anti-trust agency said the deal was in fact a purchase that was concluded without a public tender. Czech Railways now face a fine of up to CZK 4 million.
In Business News this week: household consumption begins to increase; Czech Republic wins a 1.8 billion arbitration case; fuel prices continue to decline; passenger rail travel goes up slightly in 1H of 2013; e-book sales are expected to double this year; Prague Zoo, ETA are among the best known Czech brands.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’