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NEWS

Schwarzenberg: Europe underestimates Iranian technology

Iran is a country with advanced technology and Europe has a tendency to underestimate that, said Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg yesterday after Iran reported its first successful satellite launch. The ČSSD does not consider the launch a threat to the Czech Republic and remains in opposition to deploying a US anti-missile shield on Czech soil.

most Czech press

Langer would offer laid-off foreign workers free ride home

Interior Minister Ivan Langer is considering a proposal that would give non-EU workers who lost their jobs due to recent layoffs a free flight ticket and an additional EUR 500 if they decide to return to their home country. According to the ministry, the total bill would come to CZK 55 million, a cheaper option than allowing workers stay in the country illegally and then having to deport them, Mladá fronta Dnes reports.

MfD B1

MEPs criticise ČR over labour proposal

Some members of the European Parliament have criticised a proposal by Czech Labour Minister Petr Nečas that would encourage parents to stay home with their children rather than place them in child-care centres. Opponents argue the measure would force mothers to give up their jobs in order to stay home with their children.

LN 1, 3

MPs postpone vote on Lisbon

After a five-hour debate, the lower house yesterday postponed until today a vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

most Czech press

Krejčíř handed 6.5 year sentence in absentia

A court yesterday sentenced runaway billionaire Radovan Krejčíř to 6.5 years in jail for embezzling CZK 75 million at the company Frymis. Krejčíř, now residing in South Africa and holding a Seychelles passport, is wanted by Czech courts for fraud and a murder plot.

HN 2, Právo 7

Sick pay reform cuts absenteeism in 2008

The number of sick leaves last year dropped by more than 20% from 2007 and the total number of sick days taken was also lower as a result of reductions in sick pay benefits introduced in 2008, according to the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ).

ČTK

Plzeň’s Inwest centre to be demolished

Prague-based developer Amádeus Real said yesterday it plans to demolish the Inwest shopping and cultural centre in Plzeň and replace it with a modern shopping mall. The Inwest was built in 1986 and is architecturally similar to the Prague Congress Centre. The developer is not planning to rebuild the Inwest centre’s theatre and halls for hosting events.

HN 17, E15 12

Greens urge Klaus to sign ICC accession

The Green Party yesterday called on President Václav Klaus to sign the Czech accession to the International Criminal Court. The Czech Republic is the only EU member that has not yet joined the treaty, due mainly to Klaus’s reluctance to sign the document. The treaty has already been ratified by parliament.

ČTK

Czech women’s pensions 20% lower than men’s

Retired Czech men last year collected an average pension of CZK 10,715 per month, while women pensioners got only CZK 8,784 on average, according to figures from the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ).

ČTK

Second boy dies after tree accident

A 12-year-old boy died yesterday in a Brno hospital after being hit by a falling tree in Zlín two weeks ago. Another 12-year-old boy died a day after the accident, in which five other people were injured.

most Czech press

BUSINESS

Economic council pledges to back employment, lending

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek and the National Economic Council (NERV) yesterday announced a package of anti-crisis measures, including reducing VAT on restaurant services from 19% to 9%, lowering social insurance payments for employers, making tax write-offs faster and making it easier for small and medium-sized companies to get bank loans. The proposal now goes to the lower house.

most Czech press

Weaker crown means higher holiday prices

Travel agency CK Fischer said yesterday it would increase prices of summer holidays by 15-20% to offset the weakening crown. Other agents are expected to follow suit as the Czech currency yesterday fell to CZK 28.57/EUR, its weakest since July 2007.

most Czech press

Tesco Europe CEO announces expansion in CEE region

Tesco will open 137 new stores in central and eastern Europe, including some 30 in the Czech Republic, as well as increase its presence in smaller towns and build up sales of non-food items, Tesco Europe head Bob Robbins said at Retail Summit in Prague yesterday.

HN 13, E15 11

ČEZ plans investments in geothermal heating

Czech energy giant ČEZ is planning to build a geothermal heat plant in Liberec. The firm announced a tender this week to launch research into geothermal drilling to cost CZK 250 million.

E15 1, 8

New website to list property liens

The Czech chamber of debt collectors (Exekutorská komora ČR) is planning to launch a new website (www.ceecr.cz) by the end of the month to register all property restraint orders to help avoid instances where property subject to a court order is sold and to better enable checks on businesses and customers.

HN 15

Czech firms’ 2009 expectations bleak

Almost 70% Czech firms expect their 2009 orders and revenues to decline and 46% plan to cut jobs, according to a Chamber of Commerce survey. Retailers and analysts told yesterday’s conference in Prague that retail revenue growth would likely slow this year or that revenues could even contract.

ČTK, E15 10

Unpaid debt growing sharply in ČR

The number of unpaid debts handed over to debt collectors has been growing sharply since October and in January was more than four times higher than a year earlier, according to the debt-collection agency Deredes.

ČTK

Builders mulling rental housing projects

Czech property developers told a meeting yesterday organised by the magazine Stavební fórum that falling demand for home ownership may force them to start renting out new flats or build new rental units. Developers have traditionally not offered new flats for rent on the Czech market. Most Czech developers and real estate agents report a decrease in sales of new units year-on-year despite special offers such as a free car or kitchen vouchers.

HN 13, 17, ČTK

Vodafone ČR beefs up customer numbers in 2008

Mobile operator Vodafone had 2.89 million clients in the Czech Republic at the end of 2008, 233,000 more than a year earlier.

ČTK

ČR ranked 11th most globalised economy

The KOF Globalisation Index ranks the Czech Republic as the 11th most globalised economy in the world, three notches lower than last year. Belgium and Ireland now lead the list, while the US ranks 38th.

ČTK

Ready-made firm registrations on the rise

A study by Smart Office & Companies shows that 2,600 Czech entrepreneurs last year started a business by buying a ready-made company to avoid red tape associated with registration. In 2007 there were 2,000 such transactions.

ČTK