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Breakfast Brief – 3 August 2009

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Table of Contents

Topolánek: Holiday snaps show ČSSD parroting StB
Speaking at a press conference Friday, ODS leader and ex-PM Mirek Topolánek accused ČSSD head Jiří Paroubek of adopting the methods of the communist-era secret police to shadow Topolánek on his recent holiday in Tuscany. Mladá fronta Dnes last week published photos obtained from Karel Randák, former head of the Czech intelligence service, of Topolánek meeting in Italy with ČEZ CEO Martin Roman. Paroubek and other ČSSD officials denied any role in obtaining the shots. Topolánek refused to say what he discussed with Roman.
Source: most Czech press

Extremists visit Roma camp in Husinec
Some 13 members of the far right Workers’ Party (DS) visited an encampment of Romanian Roma in Husinec north of Prague Saturday, watched over by police emergency and anti-conflict units. Some 50 Roma are staying at the riverside site while a 17-year-old relation who nearly drowned two weeks ago in Stará Boleslav is being treated at Prague’s Vinohrady Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said Sunday that the teenager’s condition has worsened.
Source: most Czech press

Survey: More women favour going childless
Some 6% to 8% of Czech women do not want to have children, according to a survey by Charles University and the research arm of the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. The figure 20 years ago was 4%. The study also found that the more education a woman has, the fewer children she wants.
Source: MfD A1, A4

Zubová to spend CZK 9m in campaign
Olga Zubová, head of the Democratic Green Party, will get CZK 9.14 million for her personal election campaign from her patron, businessman Jaromír Soukup. Tý reports that the campaign will involve advertisements on hundreds of billboards and buses in Prague, where Zubová is running on the ČSSD candidate list.
Source: LN 1, 3

LN: Bém avoiding controversial friend Janoušek
In an interview with Lidové noviny, Prague Mayor Pavel Bém said he is not seeking the company of his friend, entrepreneur Roman Janoušek, out of concern over media reaction. Swiss authorities recently blocked Janoušek’s bank account in that country. Bém said he does not ask his friends where they get their money but that he did ask Janoušek “whether there was any real, factual problem … that might create a worry” and was told there was not.
Source: LN 9 Sat

Mother jailed for raping sons
A court in Hradec Králové sentenced a 37-year-old woman convicted of raping her two minor sons to nine years behind bars. She was also ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment. The defendant said her stepfather had molested her as a child.
Source: MfD A4 Sat, Právo 8 Sat

Sacked guest workers seeking business, student visas
Social workers in Plzeň say an increasing number of non-EU citizens who have lost jobs and the work visas linked with them are legalising their stay in the Czech Republic by acquiring a business licence or enrolling in a school and then applying for a business or student visa.
Source: ČTK

New auto equipment rules postponed
The Transport Ministry will postpone implementation of new rules on compulsory equipment for motorists until January 2011. The change had been set to take effect this month. Under the new rules drivers must travel with a first aid manual, a reflective vest, a thermal blanket in case of injury and a mask for mouth to mouth resuscitation. It will no longer be obligatory to carry a spare tyre.
Source: MfD A4 Sat

ČT: Rath uses public funds for self-promotion
The Social Democrat-led regional government in Central Bohemia paid CZK 230,000 for a full-page ad in the tabloid Blesk featuring local news, criticism of the previous administration and positive news about Governor David Rath, Czech Television reported on Friday.
Source: ČTK, MfD A4

Swine flu incidence exceeds 100
The Health Ministry on Friday announced that nine more people had been diagnosed with swine flu, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 104.
Source: ČTK

ČTK gets six applications for top post
Six candidates have applied for the post of general director at the Czech News Agency (ČTK). Milan Stibral is stepping down as head of the news service on 30 September.
Source: ČTK

Industrial output decline slows in June
Industrial production was down 12.3% year-on-year in June, according to preliminary figures from the Czech Statistical Office. Coming after May’s 22% drop, the numbers are “a pleasant surprise” and show the automobile industry is benefiting from car scraping schemes abroad, KB analyst Jiří Škop said.
Source: most Czech press

LN: Vietnamese saving real estate market
The Vietnamese community is the only group in the country that is maintaining its demand for property, Lidové noviny reports, citing information from real estate agencies. Jiří Fajkus of Real Spektrum Group said Vietnamese tenants are highly reliable when it comes to payments. Marcel Winter, head of the Czech-Vietnamese association, said his organisation is being solicited by agents looking for Vietnamese buyers.
Source: LN 1, 13

Economist: Recession to stay ‘ugly’ into 2010
Pavel Mertlík, chief economist at Raiffeisenbank’s Czech unit, says the Czech recession is now spreading from the export-oriented manufacturing sector to domestic services. “While it may seem that the worst is behind us, next year and the second half of this year will still be rather ugly,” Mertlík said.
Source: ČTK, HN 1, 17, E15 1, 2, 3

Ministry mulls raising construction permit fee
The Regional Development Ministry is considering a proposal to base fees for construction permits on the cost of the project rather than charging a flat rate. The measure would raise the price for a permit to build a home from CZK 300 to as much as CZK 5,000. SMOČR, the association of Czech towns and municipalities, welcomed the plan, saying they are losing money on the operation of permitting offices.
Source: MfD A6 Sat

Austrian investor rescues SkyEurope
SkyEurope has signed an agreement under which Austrian firm Focus Equity will invest up to EUR 16.5 million in the bankrupt budget airline provided it restructures.
Source: ČTK, HN 18

Beer production down 6% in H1
Beer production fell by more than 6% in the first half of 2009, according to initial estimates by the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Declining tourism and chilly spring weather were cited as factors. Leading Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj recorded a 7% drop in demand on European markets in the second quarter.
Source: HN 17, 21

Fewer Czechs taking sick leave
The number of employees taking sick leave in the first half of 2009 was 30% lower than a year earlier, according to the Czech Social Security Administration. Absenteeism has been declining since the previous government abolished sick pay in the first three days of illness.
Source: ČTK

Hotel revenues plunging
The Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants says revenues per room at most of the country’s hotels are 20% to 35% lower than last year due to declining tourism and price reductions.
Source: ČTK, E15 4

ČEZ to get out of apartment business
Saying that property is not its business, power company ČEZ announced that it will sell approximately 2,000 flats it currently leases. Current tenants who are up to date on their rent will be eligible to buy their flats for CZK 1,183 per square metre. Most of the units are in the Chomutov area.
Source: E15 6

Personal debt up, corporate debt down
Czech household debts grew to CZK 933.1 billion in June, up CZK 10.24bn from the previous month and a nearly 17% increase year-on-year, according to Czech National Bank figures. Corporate debt dropped by CZK 4.47bn year-on-year to CZK 975.1bn.
Source: ČTK

Metrostav wins CZK 1bn campus project
Metrostav has secured a CZK 1 billion-plus contract to erect a new classroom building for Czech Technical University in Prague’s Dejvice.
Source: ČTK

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