The Czech Republic, consisting of the historical lands of Bohemia and Moravia, is a parliamentary democracy.
There are over 10 million inhabitants living in a country which covers some 30,000 sq miles. Its neighbors are Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia.
The official language is Czech. The educational and cultural level of the population compares favorably with the United States; German and English are spoken widely.
There is an English language weekly newspaper The Prague Post, which serves the needs of English speaking community of Prague -- some 40,000 people.
The official currency is the Czech crown. Exchange rate fluctuates around 34 crowns for 1 US $.
The average monthly salary is over 11,000 crowns. The country's unemployment has risen to 9 %; inflation in 1999 was only 2 %.
The capital is PRAGUE, population 1,200,000. Annually, this ancient capital is the destination of tens of millions of people from all over the world. BRNO, capital of Moravia, is the second largest city.
Politically, the country is stable. Since the "European Revolution of 1989", the country has been slowly undergoing the change from communist dictatorship to democracy. Although the society still has a long way to go, it is going in the right direction.
Under the leadership of the Czech President Vaclav Havel, the country has privatized most of the economy, there is freedom of press, and its citizens are learning how to live and work in a market economy and in a democracy.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, and aspires to join the European Union.
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Tel. 1 - 800 - 223 - 6108
110 00 Praha 1
Telephone from USA: 011 - 420 2 2481 4020, fax 011 - 420 2 2481 4021.
Czech Agency for Foreign Investment
Mr. Jan Havelka, General Manager
Politickych veznu 20
112 49 Praha 1
Telephone 011 - 420 2 2422 1540. fax 011 - 420 2 2422 1804.
ECONOMIC CHAMBER OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Mr. Zdenek Somr, President
170 05 Praha 7
Telephone 011 - 420 2 6669 4111, fax 011 - 420 2 6671 0805.
UNION OF INDUSTRY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Mr. Stepan Popovic, President
113 61 Praha 1
Telephone 011 - 420 2 2491 5679, ext. 261, fax 011 - 420 2 233 542
NATIONAL INFORMATION CENTER OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Mr. Stanislav Martinek, Director of Databases
130 00 Praha 3
Telephone 011 - 420 2 2422 0614, fax 011 - 420 2 2422 1484.
ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE AGENCIES
Mr. Ivan Zikes, President
Ulice Antala Staska 4
140 00 Praha 4
Telephone 011 - 420 2 692 8080, fax 011 - 420 2 692 1837.
CZECH ASSOCIATION OF MANAGERS
Mr. Jiri Styblo, General Manager
147 00 Praha 4
Telephone 011 - 420 2 6121 4111, ext. 203
AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Karlovo namesti 24
110 00 Praha 1
Telephone 011 - 420 2 299 887, fax 011 - 420 2 291 481.
AMERICAN CENTER FOR CULTURE AND COMMERCE
117 16 Praha 1
Telephone 011 - 420 2 2421 9846, fax 011 - 420 2 2421 9965.
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Mr. Paul Geczy, President
Telephone: 212 - 593 - 1616, fax 212 - 593 - 2929
Cesko - Slovenska Obchodni Banka
10 S. Eacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Mr. George Kubin, President
Telephone: 312 - 715 - 4900
Employment in Czech Republic
The work force stands at 4,175,000 people. Over 1,343,000 work in industries, 641,000 work in wholesale and retail trade, 474,000 work in construction, and 379,000 in transportation. In agriculture work only 228,000 people.
13% of the work force is now self-emloyed, approximately 643,000 persons. Prague has the highest rate at 16%.
Protest against McDonalds and globalization
The recent worldwide demonstrations against the ecological impact of globalization took place also in Prague, with McDonalds as the obvious target.
Globalization can be likened to totalitarianism, according to some. For instance, the president of the German Cental Bank, Hans Tietmeyer recently said that "from now on, politicians are under the dictate of financial markets." Daily turnover of the giant pension funds equals annual average cash reserves of all the central banks of the world combined. Democratic countries now more and more face above-national and undemocratic organizations and are forced into the role of hostages.
Austrian energy firms interested in privatization
Austrian firms would like to increase their investments in Czech energy companies, when further privatizations steps are undertaken, according to the Austrial minister of economics Hannes Farnleitner.
Czech automobile firm the largest firm in the country
The firm SKODA AUTO is the largest firm in the CR, with approximatelu $3 billion in annual sales. In the second place is UNIPETROL with over $ 2.5 billion in sales, and third is the electricity producer CEZ, with about $2 billion in sales.
General Electric gets a Czech banking licence
General Electric International Holding Company (GE) plans to purchase a large part of the Czech bank Agrobanka.
The 45th annual meeting of CIC attracts much attention
Under the patronage of the minister of agriculture Lux, the international Council for Hunting and Preservation of Wild Life (CIC), over 420 representatives from all over the world attended the 5-day event in Prague, according its President Nicholas Franco of Spain.
Among the attendeed were Prof. Heinz Sielmann, a prominent photographer who has made a number of movies about wild life all over the world, as well as the famous animal sculptor and portraitist Kurt Arentz from Leverkusen. Arentz has created larger-than-life bronze portraits of over 100 prominent European and American personalities, among them Ronald Reagan, Herbert von Karajan, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and George Bush.
Semafor Theater Celebrates 40th Anniversary
A gala evening took place in Prague on October 30, 1999. Besides Jiri Suchy, the leader of the famous theater, many other Czech celebrities took part in the celebration. Songs were performed by Waldemar Matuska, Karel Gott, Pavlina FIlipovska, Hana Hegerova a Eva Pilarova.
Writer Bohumil Hrabal Honored
A plain concrete wall in Liben, Hrabal's beloved Prague neighborhood, has been decorated by painter Tatiana Svatosova to honor the author's work and life.
Leaders of 1989 Celebrate November 17 Anniversary in Prague
Michail Gorbatchov, George Bush, Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa and Danielle Mitterrand commemorated the 10th anniversary of the student demonstration in Prague which led to the fall of communism.
The guests were the very ones responsible for taking down the Iron Curtain and establishing democracy in the former Soviet Union satellites.
President Vaclav Havel decorated all the guests with the Order of the White Lion, the highest state honor, to express gratitude for their great influence in dismantling the totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe.
Action 99 Asks for Investigation of November 1989 Events
Signatories of Action 99 want to open discussions about the events of November 17, 1989. Among the 74 signatories is Petr Cibulka, who leaked unofficial list of secret police collaborators. Signatories say the events of 1989 did not defeat bolshevism in Czechoslovakia, but rather Communist Party and secret police leaders simply moved into top positions in the new regime.
Gorbatchov on NATO
NATO is suffering from the victory syndrome, said Michail Gorbatchov during his visit to Prague. He said it is dangerous that NATO doctrine now allows intervention anywhere in the world without consulting the United Nations. Gorbatchov said Russia cannot be ignored.
Zeman visits Berlin
Prime Minister Milos Zeman visited Berlin on November 9, where he participated in celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Student Leaders of 1989 Demand Top Politicians Resignations
Six student leaders of 1989 published an appeal called "Thank You, Now Leave!", demanding the resignation of most political leaders. The authors declare that they are "deeply disgusted and outraged by the current political representation's performance." The student leaders also wrote that they feel deceived by an arrogant political power and they demand "the return of decency, morality, political correctness and human orientation."
The appeal was supported by President Vaclav Havel, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk and leaders of the Four-Party Coalition. The text has been signed by more than 150,000 citizens.
Volkswagen wishes to buy up Skoda Auto
The German car maker Volkswagen, which owns 70% of the Czech carmaker Skoda Auto, is interested to buy the remaining 30% of its shares for 8 billion crowns. Prime Minister Zeman says that this price is too low, hinting a price in the area of 20 billion crowns would be more realistic.
Which are the top Czech companies?
The best Czech company is Skoda Auto, followed by the Investment and Postal Bank and Glaverbel Czech. The following places are taken by Microsoft CR, SPT Telecom, RadioMobil, Fischer, Pilsner Urquell, Barum Continental. Brno Fairs and Exhibitons finished 10th.
Pope Expresses Regret over Execution of Czech Reformer Jan Hus in 1415
"On the treshold of the great anniversary of the year 2000 I want to express my deep regret over the cruel death of John Huss (Jan Hus), which became the source of many conflicts and divisions in the hearts and minds of the Czech nation," said Pope John Paul II in a speech at the Vatican.
Huss, a priest, was considered a heretic by the Catholic Church for his reformist ideas, and in 1415 was burnt at the stake.
Havel Talks about Globalization in New Year's Speech
"My dear fellow citizens, at midnight we entered the year of a great change of ages. People traditionally consider such a time as a challenge for more fundamental contemplation of themselves, about the world, about the meaning of all things," began President Havel's annual New Year's address. The main theme of his speech was globalization. Havel said our planet is becoming "unified and electronically connected place of information, communication, finance and trade, in which circulate not only news, but also billions of dollars, cultural values and pseudo-values, good and bad goods, good and bad approaches to life." Havel called on people to change their values, to be more humble and considerate: "We should understand much more strongly that we are not only the members of our family, employees or owners of a company, residents of our village or city, members of our profession, members of our group or party and members of our nation, but that we are residents of this Earth." Havel in the end wished the Czech people "a great return of hope-hope in our personal lives, the life of our land and the life of the entire human community."
Havel, who among the world's statesmen is the only one who can be called a "philosopher-king", is an example that a small country can raise great men.
Lowest inflation of the decade
The average rate of inflation in 1999 in the Czech Republic was only 2%, the lowest since 1991.
Unemployment hits record high
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic was in December 1999 at 9.4%, a record. About 487,000 people were out of work. The regions most severely hit are north Moravia and northwestern Bohemia, where unemployment rate was around 20%. The lowest unemployment rate is in Prague.
New Year should be more prosperous for the Czechs
After two years of recession, economists are predicting growth. They expect the GDP to rise by 2% in 2000.
Jan Palach Monument opens on Wenceslas Square
31 years after setting himself on fire, the student Jan Palach was honored by a monument in front of the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square in Prague. In 1969 Jan Palach, then a student of Charles University, set himself on fire in protest against the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia on August 20, 1968.
Palach set himself on fire on January 16, 1969 and died three days later. In his courageous act of protest he was later joined by two other young men-student Jan Zajic and a worker, Emil Plocek.
Current popularity of the political parties
The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) would be the strongest party in Parliament with 22%, if elections were held in January 2000. The Communists (KSCM) would be second with 18%, the Social Democrats would be third with 15%.
Czech export on the rise
Last year's foreign trade deficit was nearly $ 2 billion, which is the best result in the past five years. Exports to the countries of the European Union increased by 18%, including exports to Germany, which alone increased by 20%. Germany is the Czech Republic's biggest and most important trading partner, taking 42% of all Czech exports. Although the export of foodstuffs and consumer goods has decreased, exports of machinery, expecially cars, has increased.
New rector of Charles University takes office
The three year term of the 506th Charles University Rector Ivan Wilhelm, 58, began on February 1, 2000. President Vaclav Havel himself inaugurated him into office.
The new rector said that he is going to demand perfect knowledge of foreign languages from students, he wants to expand seminars at the expense of lectures, make entrance exams more objective and broaden bachelor studies. He said he is also going to support scientific research and motivate young scientists through foreign exchanges.
Bronze bust for President Havel
President Vaclav Havel was honored during his first state visit to Germany in May with a bronze portrait bust by the German sculptor Kurt Arentz.
The ceremony took place in the Czech Embassy in Berlin. The event was initiated by the Czech Honorary Consul and Museum Director B. John Zavrel.
His Museum of European Art in Clarence, New York has cooperated with the Europaeische Kulturstiftung (The European Cultural Foundation) in Berlin and the Alexander Order for Art and Science in Paris.
President Havel said to Zavrel that the cultural cooperation between the countries is very important in supporting a better understanding among people. "This supports also our policy for a free and united Europe," emphasized Havel. He thanked Zavrel and the art organizations for their engagement. In further discussions with the German president Johannes Rau and the former presidents Roman Herzog and Richard von Weizsaecker Consul Zavrel announced bilateral and multilateral cultural events.
The sculptor Kurt Arentz is a leading artist in Europe. His works are in official collections of the German Government. Arentz also created the portraits of the US Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
American businesses located in the Buffalo, New York and in the Western New York which are interested in receiving more information about possible business contacts (export, outsourcing, or import) in the Czech Republic can contact:
Consul B. John ZAVREL
B. John Zavrel, P.C.
Certified Public Accountants
10545 Main Street
Clarence, New york 14031, USA
Telephone 716 - 759 - 6078, fax 716 - 759 - 7925.
Czech artists (painters or sculptors) interested in cooperation with the United States can write to:
Consul B. John ZAVREL
The Museum of European Art
10545 Main Street
Clarence, New York 14031, USA
Web Site: http://www.meaus.com