Top Czech men’s single hope Tomáš Berdych has won his way through to the quarterfinals of the French Open for the third time in his career. He beat 11th seed Spaniard David Ferrer in straight sets 6:3, 7:5, 6:3.. The match started Monday was delayed due to rain for completion on Wednesday. Berdych will face world number one Novak Djokovic in the next round.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has praised ministries for stepping up their pumping of European funds. Sobotka’s comments followed a meeting of the Council for Structural and Investment Funds, which includes most spending ministers. It was called in mid-May to deal with concerns that Czech attempts to pump the around 650 billion crowns on offer from 2014-2020 were progressing too slowly. The prime minister said ministries were attempting to simplify and streamline procedures so that applications can be deal with faster and funds accessed. The prime minister had earlier criticized the Ministry of Finance for slowing down the drawing a funds.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek held talks Wednesday with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris. The talks covered current international and European affairs, for example the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as economic issues. The French ministry underlined the excellent state of current bilateral relations and the constructive stance taken by Prague during its current presidency of the Visegrad regional grouping, which includes Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, which ends in June.
In tennis, Czech doubles pairing Barbora Krejčiková and Kateřina Siniaková are through to the women’s semi –finals. They beat fellow Czechs and sixth seeds Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká 6:3, 7:6. The young couple, both aged 20, earlier knocked out the top seeds in the doubles tournament. Krejčiková and Siniaková won three grand slam doubles tournaments when they played as juniors.
The state budget ended May with a surplus of 22.4 billion crowns, the best May result since 1993. Details were given by Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš to the lower house of parliament. The minister added that tax revenues during the first five months of the year are nearly 24 billion more than during the same period in 2015. The target budget deficit for the whole of 2016 has been set at 70 billion crowns.
A court in Brno dealing with the murder trial of US citizen Kevin Dahlgren heard reports of how he told the FBI that he feared for his life as a result of attacks by Russians or Romanians. According to Dahlgren’s account he found the bodies of his four Brno relatives when he returned from a walk in the forest. There was a note on the bed of the 23 year old from Russians or Romanians saying they would find him as well if he stayed in Europe. He fled the same day, May 22, 2013, back to the US. Dahlgren was later extradited to stand trial in the Czech Republic. He has so far refused to speak in person at the trial.
Economic confidence has dropped in the Czech Republic for the fourth month running according to a poll of key managers in manufacturing. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 53.3 points in May from April’s 53.6 points according to the monthly index released by Markit Economics. The index is based on the state of new orders, stocks at factories, delivery deadlines, and the recruitment of new workers. Any score higher than 50 is still in positive territory. The fact that many companies are still hiring is seen as an indication that growth is not going to peter out altogether.
The average price of new flats in Prague rose in March and April by 1.5 percent compared with the first two months of the year, according to a survey by consultants Deloitte. The survey said the shortage of new flats coming onto the market during the Spring was clear with around 1,400 fewer being offered than at the same period last year. That translates into a fall of around 22 percent. Many of the new flats being offered are part of projects already started with few new developments coming on stream, the report added. Prices are estimated to have climbed by 13 percent compared with the average in 2014.
ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš has accused the other two parties in the Czech government, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, of breaching the coalition agreement, Czech Television reported. Mr. Babiš says ANO’s coalition partners have repeatedly voted together to defeat his party on the division of next year’s budget. He said the minister of finance had never previously been outvoted on such matters. Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called on Mr. Babiš to discuss the budget patiently with his ministerial colleagues.
The Czech crowns jewels have been put back in their vault at Prague Castle’s St. Vitus Cathedral. The valuable collection, including the Crown of St. Wenceslas, had been on display for two weeks at an exhibition marking the 700th anniversary of Bohemian king and Holy Roman emperor Charles IV. Once the crown jewels had been returned on Tuesday evening their vault was ceremonially locked by seven key holders, including President Miloš Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka. They will not be put on public display until after the inauguration of the next president in 2018.