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NEWS

Police launch checks of foreigners

On Tuesday police launched a countrywide check of foreigners to find out whether they work and stay in the Czech Republic legally. Some 3,000 foreigners were checked and 170 brought into police stations for questioning. Proceedings have started for deporting five of them. The police also informed foreigners about a government programme allowing foreign workers who have lost jobs due to the economic crisis to get an air ticket to their home country and a EUR 500 allowance.

Týden.cz, Aktuálně.cz, Právo 8

Právo: Obama to take a walk through Prague

According to a diplomatic source familiar with preparations for US President Barack Obama’s visit in April, Obama will take a walk with Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek across Charles Bridge up to Prague Castle. The walk will include stopping for a beer at a typical restaurant in Malá Strana.

Právo 1, 3

Obama links missile shield and Iranian actions

US President Barack Obama said yesterday after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that if Iran reduces its attempts to own nuclear weapons, it would also lower the need for an anti-missile shield. Obama expressed a similar idea in a recent letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev said it was “not constructive” to link the proposed missile shield and Iran.

most Czech press

Ministry may postpone rent deregulation

Pavel Rakouš of the Ministry for Regional Development told a seminar yesterday that up to 40,000 people living in rent-controlled flats would have problems paying rent next year as the increase would be higher than expected. He said the ministry would support postponing plans to deregulate rents in Prague and several other towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants from 2010 until 2012.

Právo 1, 3

Former communist prosecutor refuses to start sentence

Former communist prosecutor Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, sentenced to six years in prison for taking part in the show trial of Milada Horáková more than 50 years ago, is refusing to begin her sentence set for 20 March. Her lawyer, Vladimír Kovář, said the refusal is on health grounds and that she would only be able to get to prison with the help of a police escort.

most Czech press

Rule to prevent foreign employment applies to Czechs by accident

Monday’s cabinet decision to bar job agencies from giving temporary unqualified work to uneducated people is set to be amended on Thursday. The rule was aimed at preventing foreigners from taking jobs, but it would also apply to Czechs.

HN 4

MPs approve reform of research financing

The lower house on Tuesday approved a proposal to reform the system of financing research and development that should simplify how state subsidies are granted and make them more efficient. The bill would reduce the number of central bodies distributing state money for research from 18 to 7 and give up to CZK 1 billion to universities at the expense of the Academy of Sciences, which now receives most of the research funds. The proposal now goes to the Senate for discussion.

ČTK, Aktuálně.cz

Chomutov mayor wants to abolish Kocáb’s ministry

Chomutov mayor Ivana Řápková called on Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb to come up with a meaningful plan to deal with Chomutov tenants who fail to pay rents by the end of March or to abolish his ministry. Řápková said Kocáb just criticises her method of dealing with defaulters but has not proposed any solution.

most Czech press

Policemen accused of keeping fines from Vietnamese

Two Prague police officers are facing up to five years in prison for keeping fines imposed on Vietnamese citizens.

ČTK

Court to decide on dissolution of Workers’ Party

The Supreme Administrative Court will issue a verdict today on the government’s proposal to dissolve the far-right Workers’ Party.

ČTK

BUSINESS

State could get CZK 20bn in ČEZ dividends

The energy giant ČEZ will pay out 50-60% of its profit in dividends this year, which means the state, which holds nearly 70% of ČEZ shares, could get CZK 17 billion to CZK 20 billion. ČEZ raised net earnings by 10.7% to a record CZK 47.4 billion last year.

most Czech press

AAA Auto leaves PSE; Zentiva, Orco may follow

The Prague Stock Exchange said yesterday shares of AAA Auto will stop trading on the PSE on 23 March because of low trading volume. The PSE said daily trading in AAA from 1 September 2008 till 27 February 2009 reached an average of CZK 370,000 per day, below the minimum requirement of CZK 2 million. Zentiva and Orco could also soon leave the exchange.

HN 20

Mortgage market set to shrink in 2009

Czech banks provided 2,700 new mortgages worth CZK 4.6 billion in January, down 44% year-on-year. For the year, the volume of mortgages could fall to CZK 100 billion, around 2006’s level, according to Hypoteční banka chief Jan Sadil. He added that economic uncertainty is prompting more people to fix their rates for five years instead of one year.

E15 12, 13

Stock brokers see profits fall, trading shift abroad

Stock brokers on the Czech market are seeing their profits fall due to lower share prices as well as a decrease in trading on the Prague Stock Exchange. Atlantik FT and Patria Direct confirmed that a growing number of clients are trading on foreign exchanges. Atlantik FT chairman Jan Schiesser said too few companies trade on the PSE.

HN 20

MPs approve VAT deductions on passenger cars

On Tuesday, the lower house approved a measure that would allow businesses to deduct VAT paid on purchases of new passenger cars. By contrast, deputies turned down three proposals for changing VAT rates.

most Czech press

OECD: ČR continues with reform but still below average

Growth in labour productivity and employment have accelerated the transformation of the Czech economy, but per capita GDP and labour productivity still lag well below the OECD average, the organisation said in its latest “Going for Growth” report published Tuesday.

ČTK

Hyundai to produce new model at Czech plant

By the end of the year, Hyundai will launch production of a new small car at its Czech plant in Nošovice, Hyundai Motor Europe vice-president Allan Rushford confirmed to the daily MF Dnes. It would be a new model that the manufacturer will present at the Frankfurt motor show in the autumn, he added.

iDNES.cz

Czech Airlines raises passenger numbers by 2.4%

Czech Airlines transported 5.6 million passengers last year, up 2.4% year-on-year. However, the company said passenger number started falling in September in connection with the global economic crisis.

HN 16, Právo 18

Toll collections fall 20%

Electronic toll collections reached CZK 831 million in January-February, down from just over CZK 1 billion a year ago, according to data from the website Myto.cz. David Šimoník, a spokesman for the project Myto.cz, said the decline reflected the worsening condition of industry both in Europe and the Czech Republic.

E15.cz

State plans to buy debts from food makers

Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič is hoping to launch an CZK 800 million programme to buy debts from food companies who complain that customers are not paying their bills on time. The programme still has to be approved by the cabinet.

Euro.cz

Czech competitor to YouTube ends after eight months

The Czech website Ochutney.cz, a Telefónica O2 project for sharing videos and photos, ended yesterday after eight months. The official reason was that the pilot project came to an end. Others speculated the site could not compete with YouTube or that the Czech market was more focused on illegally sharing titles protected by copyright.

HN 4