Čzech power giant ČEZ was left red faced on Thursday after sending its 2010 results out several days early in an attachment to an invitation to the official results press conference. The company, around 70% owned by the state, attempted to cover up the mistake by saying the figures in the attachment were not correct but a few hours later it came clean by publishing the results early. The later statement and figures were identical to the one sent in error. As to the results themselves, net profit for 2010 came in 47.2 billion crowns. 9.0 percent below 2009, on provisional turnover of 198.8 billion crowns. The company said it was seeking to cut costs but still had 300 billion crowns for investments over the coming five years.
Scandal embroiled Education Minister Josef Dobeš was backed by Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Thursday in the wake of a meeting between them. Speculation has mounted that the minister could be sacked following a series of media reported scandals about his management of the ministry. These include reports of high wages for his poorly qualified head of cabinet to spyware installed on the computers of some officials. The prime minister said Mr. Dobeš was the target of a smear campaign. The minister said the attacks were caused by his dismissal of around 18 percent of ministry staff last year.
Prague is the sixth richest region in the whole of the European Union and clearly the wealthiest locality in Central and Eastern Europe according to figures released by the EU’s statistics. It said the region’s Gross Domestic Product reached 172 percent of the EU average. The Czech capital is only exceeded in terms of wealth by Hamburg, the Dutch city of Groeningen, Brussels, central London and Luxembourg. The poorest region in the Czech Republic straddles the Karlovy Vary and Ústi regions with an average 62 percent of EU average wealth.
The Association of Czech Booksellers and Publishers on Thursday called on the government and parliament not to hike Value Added Tax on books from 10.0 percent to 20 percent under a proposed standardization of sales tax rates. The association said that thousands of books would not be published if the step was taken in a public call to defend books. The association has started to collect signatures against the tax rise. It says book sales and new releases were seriously hit when the tax was previously raised to 10 percent.
More than 300 entrants will be competing for awards in the Czech Republic’s premier literary competition, Magnesia Litera. Organisers announced 318 entries in all for the seven categories of awards on offer. The winners will be announced on April 10. The awards include the best Czech book for the previous year.
A Czech court gave out jail sentence of up to four years on a group of youths who carried out a racial attack on a Roma teenager. The regional court in the eastern city of Ostrava gave out two four-year sentence and one of three years. Three others in the group were given suspended sentence for the attack in the nearby town of Havířov. Another two were acquitted due because of a lack of evidence. Their victim suffered serious head injuries with the court told that he could have been killed during the attack in November 2008.
Czech tennis player Klára Zakopalová has pulled off one of the the biggest upsets of her career by beating Chinese player Li Na in the Doha tournament. She beat the fourth seed in straight sets 6:2, 6:1 in the second round in under an hour. Li was recently the finalist in the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open and is seventh in the world rankings.
Tomáš Berdych has reached the semi-finals of the Dubai tournament after beating German Philips Petzschner 7:5, 6:4 in a roller coaster match. The third seed will proceed to face Serbian Novak Djokovic who recently knocked out the top ranked Czech on his way to winning the men’s title at the Australian Open.
Czech Radek Štěpánek will not take part in the Davis Cup first-round tie against Kazakhstan in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava from March 4-6 because of flu, the CTK news agency said. Team captain Jaroslav Navrátil may also be without Jan Hájek, the world number 102, who retired from the Delray Beach tournament on Tuesday. The other two Czech players named to face Kazakhstan are world number seven Tomáš Berdych and 17-year-old Jiři Veselý, who won the junior Australian Open this year.
Czech football club Sparta Prague take on Liverpool on Thursday evening for a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. The two teams drew 0:0 in their first round encounter in Prague last week during which Sparta probably had the better chances. Sparta is the last Czech club in top European competition.
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