Energy company ČEZ paid the highest amount of corporate income tax to the state last year, according to a chart annually compiled by the Finance Ministry. The second highest payers were bank Česká spořitelna and car maker Škoda Auto. Škoda moved to the second place last year from the eighth place in 2010. Česká spořitelna also placed second in 2010. Telecommunications company Telefonica Czech Republic came fourth and rival T-Mobile came fifth. T-Mobile slid to the fifth place in 2011 from the third place in the previous year. The chart is compiled by the Finance Ministry every year as a form of appreciation of companies that contribute the highest amounts of money to public budgets. Last year, the tax administration collected more than 109 billion in corporate income tax, of which around 82 billion went to the state budget.
Veteran Czech hockey player Petr Nedved helped the national squad overcome Latvia in their group stage match at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Thursday, scoring a crucial go-ahead goal in the third period to solidify Czech chances of securing a quarterfinal berth. The Czech Republic beat Latvia 3:1 in what proved to be a tough match in which both sides were long even. With the win, the Czech Republic moved to third spot in their group with 8 points, just behind Sweden and Russia who have 12 apiece.
Rejecting a motion by the opposition Social Democrats, the Czech Constitutional Court on Wednesday upheld part of the government’s health care reform under which employees receive no pay during the first three days of sick leave. The court struck down a similar measure in the past but the government passed an amended version of the reform which the court said did not constitute a major issue for patients. Reacting to the verdict, Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said his party would have to win the next elections to have that piece of legislation removed.
Police have interrogated the 51-year-old woman who became the victim of a hit-and-run accident involving the notorious Prague lobbyist Roman Janoušek. According to the woman’s lawyer, Wednesday’s interrogation lasted roughly one hour. The testimony of the Vietnamese-born woman, who was treated at hospital for weeks following the accident, confirmed details of the police investigation and appeared truthful, her lawyer added. In late April, the hit-and-run accident made headlines. Days before it occurred, wire taps of conversations between entrepreneur Roman Janoušek and former Prague mayor Pavel Bém, over whom he is said to have had considerable influence, became public.
After eight years of delays, the Czech Republic has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, according to information released by the Health Ministry on Thursday. The Czech Republic was the last EU country to ratify the treaty, which seeks to protect the health of present and future generations. President Václav Klaus signed the treaty into law May 2. Some 170 countries worldwide have signed the treaty. In the Czech Republic, some 30 percent of those aged 15 and above smoke, while the smoking rate of those aged between 15 and 18 even reaches 40 percent.
The former junior coalition partner, Public Affairs, will be electing its new leader at a conference in Hradec Králové on the weekend. Following the walk-out of Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake and several other MPs, the party is making an effort to regroup and consolidate. Its current leader, Radek John, told press on Thursday that if a candidate with the necessary strength and the ability to unite the party can be found, he would prefer to not run for the post. He added that there are two to three candidates who he considers capable but refused to specify who they were.
In related news, the new faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake, formerly of Public Affairs, has not yet managed to collect the signatures necessary to form a new party. According to news reports, the group with the name LIDEM has only collected some 1000 signatures and is short of the 5000-signature target. LIDEM has extended the deadline for signing until next week. At a news conference last week, the faction had announced its new name. Mrs Peake founded the group after walking out on junior coalition partner Public Affairs last week over the way the party presented itself. Her split with the party and the subsequent walk-out of some of its other members cast serious doubt over the future of the government coalition; however, it survived a vote of confidence.
Some 90 percent of Czechs are deeply unhappy with the current political situation in their country, according to a fresh poll released by the STEM agency. Only one percent of those polled said that they were satisfied with the country’s status quo. When asked how they rate the future development of the nation, more than half of the respondents replied with “very bad” while only 8 percent said they believed the country would be going in the right direction. The result is the worst in 17 years, STEM agency staff said.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, has said that the party’s pick to run for the post of president is its deputy leader, Senator Jiří Dienstbier. Economist Jan Švejnar, who was also being discussed as a possible candidate on the party’s ticket, has said he does not want to be the Social Democrats’ exclusive pick. Mr Sobotka refused to speculate on further candidates his party may choose to send into the presidential race. Next year, Czechs will be able to elect their new president directly for the first time.
Activists from the Prague chapter of Greenpeace on Thursday started their month-long campaign against petroleum exploration in the Antarctic. Environmentalists climbed on the roof of a Shell gas station in the city and hung a banner from it. Shell is the first major oil company to have started preparations for oil extraction under Arctic ice. The aim of the Greenpeace campaign is to raise awareness of the consequences of petroleum exploration, which the organization says could pose a serious threat to the world’s most untouched ecosystem. Among the animals that could be affected by a possible disaster as a consequence of Arctic drilling is the polar bear, who is also the mascot of the campaign.
Milan Kundera is a ‘moral relativist’ with much to hide, says Czech author of controversial new biography
Czech Republic opens up to more tourists from Europe and beyond as coronavirus travel restrictions eased
Brno scientists pair with Czech biotech firm to develop healing artificial tears
Czech nation pays tribute to Milada Horáková on 70th anniversary of her judicial murder
Facemask requirement eased but new restrictions for area hit by spike in Covid-19 cases