Daily news summary


Czech army planes to airlift Ukrainian injured to Prague hospitals

Two Czech army transport planes will take 27 severely wounded Ukrainian demonstrators to Prague for treatment on Thursday. The youngest of the injured to be airlifted from Kiev to one of two Prague hospitals is around 17 years old. He was shot in the legs and could face amputation. Arrangements for the transport have been made in the Ukrainian capital by a six person team from the Czech charity People in Need. They have drawn up a list of another 70 people who could be brought to the Czech Republic if funds are forthcoming. The Czech government decided to release 10 million crowns for the humanitarian airlift on Wednesday.

Czech power utility ČEZ’s net profit dropped by 12.3 percent last year

The Czech power utility ČEZ’s net profit dropped by 12.3 percent year-on-year last year to 35.2 billion crowns, the state-run firm said on Thursday. The company’s revenues in 2013 increased by one percent to 217.3 billion. ČEZ’s operating profit before depreciation and amortization, meanwhile, dropped by 4.4 percent to 82.1 billion crowns. The company quoted low wholesale electricity prices, economic stagnation in Europe and an uncertain regulatory outlook as the main reasons behind the drop in its profit. This year, ČEZ expects its net profit to further decrease to around 27.5 billion crowns.

ČEZ boss avoids questions about jewellery purchases for Jana Nagyová

ČEZ boss Daniel Beneš did not appear at the power company’s press conference on Thursday due to illness. Company officials refused to answer media questions about his reported purchase of expensive jewellery for Jana Nagyová, the former head of ex prime minister Petr Nečas’ private office. They said it was a personal matter. The daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported Wednesday that Beneš bought Christmas and birthday gifts for Nagyová, now Nečas’ wife. The ČEZ boss said that the sums involved were from his own funds and had been exaggerated by the media. The former Civic Democrat leader fell from power last year after it was revealed that Nagyová had used to state surveillance machinery to spy on the prime minister’s wife at the time.

Former interior minister Richard Sacher has died at the age of 71

Former post Velvet Revolution Czechoslovak interior minister Richard Sacher has died. Sacher was elected to the federal assembly in 1990 as a Christian Democrat. He was best known for his short stint as interior minister between December 1989 and June 1990, during which time the Communist era secret police, the StB, was broken up. But Sacher was later involved in controversy over the claims that he allowed many of the secret police documents to be destroyed or go missing.

Anti-monopoly agency approves sale of Ringier Axel Springer CZ media group

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition has approved the acquisition of the Ringier Axel Springer media group by businessmen Daniel Křetínký and Patrik Tkáč, office’s director Peter Rafaj said on Friday. The anti-monopoly agency said the acquisition would not substantially distort economic competition. The transaction, which was announced last December, was estimated at 4.7 billion crowns. Ringier Axel Springer CZ publishes the Czech Republic’s biggest selling daily, the tabloid Blesk, along with several other publications. In 2012

Metrostav ups Blanka tunnel court claims

Building company Metrostav has increased its Blanka tunnel court claims against Prague City Council by around 500 million crowns to 2.7 billion crowns, the company said on Thursday. The additional sum represents claims for unpaid work in November and part of December, the company said. Metrostav halted work on the Prague road tunned in December because the city council had not paid bills and the two sides failed to agree on how work should go forward. In separate news, justice minister Helena Válková has demanded Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman keep an eye on the Blanka tunnel case. The tunnel was originally supposed to open in 2011.

Tomáš Pitr has remainder of prison sentence suspended

One time fugitive businessman Tomáš Pitr has had the remainder of his four year jail sentence overturned by a Prague 6 district court on Thursday. The court ruled that Pitr’s outstanding two year prison sentence be suspended on condition that he does not break the law over the next four years. Pitr was sentenced to five years for tax evasion in June 2013 with the sentence cut later by one year following an appeal. He fled the Czech Republic following an earlier sentence but was eventually apprehended in Switzerland in 2010. Pitr was linked to a series of major share and tax evasion cases over the last decades after making his first money in the early 1990’s from the resale of Tuzex duty free rum.

Czech teams seek to make last 16 of Europa League

Czech football teams Viktoria Plzeň and Slovan Liberec will seek on Thursday night to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League in second round legs of the competition. Viktoria Plzeň drew 1:1 last week at home in the opening leg against Ukrainian team Sakhtar Donetsk with Slovan going down 0:1 against Dutch team Alkmaar after conceding a late goal.

Petr Čech gets ‘Simpsons’ treatment

Czech and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech has been ‘Simpsonized’ as part of a marketing deal between the company behind the hit animated series, The Simpsons, and the London football club. Merchandize showing Čech as a Simpsons-style character will be sold as part of a tie-up with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. Four other Chelsea players have so far been given the same treatment. The iconic animated tv series is entering its 26th season.

Midfielder Daniel Pudil called up for Norway friendly

Czech manager Pavel Vrba has called up Watford defensive midfielder Daniel Pudil to the squad ahead of the friendly against Norway at home on March 5. Pudil’s call up follows an injury to Sparta Prague’s Ladislav Krejčí who has been ruled out of the league match against Bohemians 1905 on Saturday. The Watford player last appeared for the national team in a friendly against Israel in May, 2012. Vrba created some surprise this week by adding no new names to the squad selected for his first game in charge of the national football team.