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Breakfast Brief – Monday 2 February 2009

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Parents of swapped babies awarded CZK 3.3m

A Brno court ordered a hospital in Třebíč, south Moravia, to pay CZK 3.3 million to two families for exchanging their newborn babies in 2006. The damage award, set Friday, is the highest for emotional suffering ever granted by a Czech court.

most Czech press

EU-China summit to be held in Prague

Prague will host the EU-China summit in May, PM Mirek Topolánek said Friday after meeting his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, in Brussels. The date is yet to be announced. The summit will focus on the economic crisis, global warming and human rights. Topolánek noted that demonstrations are likely as the meeting will take place 20 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre and 50 years after the violent quashing of the anti-Chinese revolution in Tibet.

most Czech press

Govt will help schools teach about communism

Education Minister Ondřej Liška said Friday his ministry is compiling guidelines to help schools teach about modern history, especially the second half of the 20th century. Liška said current teaching about the communist era is inadequate.

MfD A5 Sat, LN 5 Sat

Regions start waiving medical fees

Regional governments yesterday launched their schemes to cover some or all cash medical fees in local hospitals. Fees in Prague will remain the same.

most Czech press

Abbas scraps visit to ČR

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has postponed a visit to Prague, planned for today, in order to attend urgent talks in Cairo on the Gaza crisis. A new date for Abbas’s visit will be set next week.


Dienstbier: Obama will shelve missile defence

The new US administration is unlikely to build missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD), former Czech foreign minister and current chair of Senate foreign affairs committee, told Czech Television yesterday. “The global financial crisis may be a good pretext for shelving,” he said.

Právo 1, 2, LN 4

Green card programme launched

Starting today, citizens of 12 selected non-EU countries can apply for Czech green cards.


Kaplický home design might built in Moravia

A snail-shaped family house designed by the late Jan Kaplický’s studio could be realised in Babice nad Svitavou near Brno. The CZK 25 million project for an unknown investor will have to wait until bigger projects are settled, said Misha Gabriel of Future Systems, Kaplický’s UK-based firm.

MfD A1, A5 Sat

Poll: Most Czechs favour death penalty

According to a CVVM survey, 62% of Czechs still support capital punishment, which the Czechoslovak parliament abolished in 1990 and which is ruled out by international legal bindings.



Analysts see contraction despite govt optimism

The Finance Ministry said on Friday it expected Czech economic growth to slow to 1.4% this year after growing 6% and 4% respectively in the past two years. The ministry acknowledged that a recession “can’t be ruled out”. Independent analysts polled by ČTK predicted GDP would contract by up to 2%. UniCredit’s Pavel Sobíšek said the Finance Ministry forecast was “like from a different country or a different time”.

ČTK, most Czech press

Goldman Sachs: Euro could reach CZK 32

Analysts with investment bank Goldman Sachs predict the euro will cost CZK 32 in six months due to weakening Czech economy and low interest rates. Head of the exporters’ association Jiří Grund says many automotive companies secured euro exchange rates at CZK 25 in banks last summer and are now losing money.

HN 1, 22

PPF sets up new fund

Financial group PPF is teaming with Italian company Generali to establish a new fund, PPF Partners. Hospodářské noviny reports that Generali has filed for registration in Ukraine and the new fund should be introduced this month. The new partnership’s first deal is a joint venture with investment group J&T announced last week.

HN 1, 17

Uranium mining might be renewed

Diamo, the state-owned firm which oversees Czech uranium extraction, is seeking permission to resume mining at Stráž pod Ralskem. Diamo head Jiří Jež said there is some CZK 500 billion worth of uranium at the site. Industry and Trade Minister Martin Říman said the mine could be reopened as part of a plan to maximise exploitation of domestic resources. The Stráž pod Ralskem mines were closed in the mid-1990s due to large-scale environmental damage and the loss of its chief customer, the Soviet Union.

HN 1, 15, 22

Crunch, cold reduce building activity

Most Czech makers of construction materials say the global credit crunch and a cold winter have cut demand for their products by up to 50%.


E15: Crisis creates opportunity for small banks

E15 reports that small banks are planning to take advantage of the financial crisis and expand their portfolios. mBank wants to double its Czech branch and customer numbers this year. LBBW plans to broaden loan services for private and business clients, and Banco Popolare is putting together special loan offers for small entrepreneurs. LBBW’s Martina Lambertová said small banks’ narrower client base allows for greater flexibility and speed in meeting customers’ individual needs.

E15 1, 8

ČNB expected to cut rates

Analysts expect the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate from 2.25% to 1.75% on Thursday in a bid to cushion the economic downturn.

HN 22

Czech, Slovak premiers back nuclear energy

Appearing together Saturday on a radio discussion programme, Czech PM Mirek Topolánek and Slovak counterpart Robert Fico agreed that nuclear energy should become an alternative to natural gas in view of the recent outage of Russian gas supplies.

MfD A8 Sat

ČR calls for fees to build EU power grid

The Czech EU presidency will press for standardised charges for the use of cross-border power lines, Deputy PM Alexandr Vondra said Friday. Vondra said the fees would help develop an EU-wide grid that would enhance cross-border trading and prevent blackouts.


Government to back business loans

The Industry and Trade Ministry will release CZK 2.5 billion in February and March to help Czech businesses borrow cash from banks with state guarantees and to make new investments.


Power usage 1.2% up, production down

The Czech Republic used up 60.48 terawatt-hours of electricity last year, 1.2% more than in 2007, but domestic production dropped 5.3% to 83.52 TWh.


Downturn cuts volumes of toxic waste

Waste management firms say the current decline in industrial output is also reducing levels of dangerous waste products.


Bids filed for Karlovarský porcelán takeover

Several investors have shown interest in taking over bankrupt ceramics producer Karlovarský porcelán, insolvency administrator Tomáš Čermín said yesterday.


ČKD Blansko windup ending after 11 years

The liquidation of machinery manufacturer ČKD Blansko is nearing its end after 11 years. A thousand creditors will recover roughly CZK 120 million, about 7% of total claims. Four administrators will split CZK 21 billion in fees. The company never ceased production, kept 1,200 jobs and is now run by the J&T group.


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