NEWS
Civic Democrats say Pecina must step down
Civic Democrat deputy chair Ivan Langer said yesterday his party will demand the Interior Minister Martin Pecina be sacked over his decision Wednesday to change the portfolio of his deputy Zdeněk Zajíček (ODS). Zajíček resigned in protest against Pecina’s move.
Source: most Czech press

ODS backs Vondra for EU commissioner
The Civic Democrats yesterday nominated Alexandr Vondra, former state minister for EU affairs, as its candidate for the next Czech EU commissioner, ending speculation that party leader Mirek Topolánek was interested in the post.
Source: ČTK

Survey: Most docs refuse own swine flu inoculation
A survey of Czech doctors by Lidové noviny shows most are reluctant to get a swine flu inoculation, often fearing side effects or claiming the vaccine is unnecessary. The Health Ministry says it knows of the situation and plans seminars to convince 160,000 medical staff to get immunised.
Source: LN 1, 2

Direct presidential voting gets another chance
A two-year-old Social Democrat (ČSSD) bill to replace current parliamentary voting for the Czech president with a popular ballot yesterday passed its first reading in the lower house. The Green Party has proposed a referendum so the public can decide if it wants direct voting.
Source: most Czech press

EU presidency bill hits CZK 3bn
The rotating EU presidency of the Czech government in the first half of 2009 cost the country government CZK 3 billion, which was roughly the amount expected, Minister for EU Affairs Štefan Füle said yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Prague ring road delayed and more expensive
Construction of a Prague ring road section between the D1 motorway and Slivenec in the southern part of the city will be delayed by about four months, according to the latest audit of the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate yesterday. HN reports some CZK 71 billion is needed to complete the ring road, an increase of CZK 18 billion from the last estimate in 2005.
Source: HN 1-3

New phase starts in Blanka tunnel construction
Another building phase was launched yesterday for Blanka tunnel, part of the Prague ring road project. Construction has now moved to Myslbekova street going towards Prašný most. The entire tunnel running between Malovanka and Pelc Tyrolka will be 6,300 metres long and should open in the second half of 2011, the Prague city mayor told the media.
Source: most Czech press

Topolánek is assessing his priorities
Civic Democrat chair Mirek Topolánek says he is evaluating his political future and plans to present his ideas on his position in ODS, local politics and international relations at a party congress on 21 November. If ODS does not renew his leadership mandate, he will reconsider his future participation within the party, he said.
Source: E15 1, 3

Supreme Court: Probe mishandled in Čunek corruption case
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the case of Jíří Čunek, the former deputy prime minister and Vsetín’s mayor once charged with accepting bribes from a real estate company for flat privatisations, had been unlawfully investigated. The probe, which ended in autumn 2007, should not have been conducted by Přerov public prosecutors, but by those in Vsetín, the court ruled. Although Čunek’s case was closed two years ago, the details of the suspected bribes remain foggy.
Source: most Czech press

BUSINESS
IMF: Deep recession, quick rebound forecast for ČR
An updated International Monetary Fund report expects the Czech economy will contract by 4.3% this year and grow by 1.3% next year. Earlier IMF estimates predicted a 3.5% depression this year, with 0.1% growth in 2010.
Source: most Czech press

Industry showed signs of August recovery
Czech manufacturing output in August declined 8.1% from a year earlier, coming back from a massive 18.2% annual drop in July, the Czech Statistical Office said yesterday. Raiffeisenbank’s Michal Brožka called the figure “good news”. Industrial revenues and new orders for August were down 12.5% and 13.8%, respectively, from the year before.
Source: most Czech press

Škoda cuts production as car sales slow
Škoda Auto will suspend production for two days at the end of October, according to the company’s magazine. The reason is a drop in demand for the Fabia super-mini in Germany after the country terminated its cash-for-clunkers programme there.
Source: LN 1, 13, Právo 4, ČTK

Janota rejects mining clean-up costs
Hospodářské noviny reports the Industry and Trade Ministry wants another CZK 1.4 billion in subsidies so that state-run clean-up companies Diamo and Palivový kombinát Ústí can repair damage caused by mining. Environment Ministry spokesman Jakub Kašpar said that without the aid, Diamo would have to halt repairs of sulphuric acid damage in Stráž pod Ralskem. Finance Minister Eduard Janota said his budget simply could not accommodate the subsidy.
Source: HN 17

New campaign targets local software piracy
International anti-piracy group Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a plan to tackle software piracy in the Czech Republic. About 20,000 local companies will be asked to report on their competitors who use illegal software. BSA spokesman Jan Hlaváč said the number of complaints from local businesses about illegal software was up by 60% annually, with dozens registered by the alliance each month.
Source: HN 17, 20

Banks freeze mortgage repayments for struggling clients
With the number of Czechs unable to settle their mortgages rising, banks including Česká spořitelna, Raiffeisenbank, UniCredit Bank and Hypoteční banka have begun offering a temporary freeze on repayments. General Director of Hypoteční banka Jan Sadil said that about 20 clients make use of this option each month.
Source: E15 1, 11

Orco plans new share issue ‘for investments’
Developer Orco Property Group wants to issue new shares and use the revenue for investment and project financing. Company CEO Jean-Francoise Ott told Bloomberg news agency that Orco shareholders are interested in injecting funds in the company. This revenue is not meant to cover Orco’s debts, the firm’s spokeswoman said.
Source: HN 25

GZ Digital Media to launch Blu-ray production
The largest CD and DVD manufacturer in the CEE region, GZ Digital Media, plans to invest more than CZK 250 million over the next three years in producing Blu-Ray discs, fuelled by the expected rise in demand for the high-capacity optical format. GZ’s Blu-ray production will be in full swing by January 2012, HN reports.
Source: LN 15

NKÚ: Shift to renewable energy is too slow
The Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) said yesterday that the effect so far of Czech government support for renewable energy sources had been limited. The state spent over CZK 2 billion on ensuring the changeover to renewable power between 2005 and 2008, but the country will still fail to meet its plan to generate 8% of all energy from more efficient sources next year, the office said.
Source: ČTK

New solar park launched in Hradec
Yellow Energy yesterday started trial production at a new CZK 250 million solar power plant in Hradec Králové. Its output is 2.2 MW, making it one of the country’s largest solar parks.
Source: ČTK

Ecology investments exceed CZK 20bn in 2008
Czech investors spent more than CZK 20.2 billion on environmental protection last year, a rise of CZK 335 million from 2007, say new Czech Statistical Office figures. The private sector invested CZK 14.6 billion in pro-environment projects while the state spent CZK 5.5 billion. Standard project costs were down 3.5 billion to CZK 46.2 billion.
Source: ČTK

Lidl reveals expansion plans in ČR
Discount grocery chain Lidl wants to open up dozens of new outlets in the Czech Republic in coming years on top of its 200 stores already in business, according to a report by news server ČTK.
Source: ČTK

Asiana buses return to Prague-Brno route
After more than a year’s hiatus, coach operator Asiana will next week launch two daily services on the busiest Czech route between Prague and Brno, currently dominated by Student Agency buses.
Source: ČTK

ČS has most ATMs in ČR
Czech bank Česká spořitelna has the highest number of cash machines, with 1,190 service points across the country. ČSOB/Poštovní spořitelna and Komerční banka lagged behind, with 700 and 680 national ATMs respectively, in a survey by the website Bankovnípoplatky.com.
Source: ČTK