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Times: Obama wants talks with Russia on missile shield
According to the daily The Times, US President Barack Obama, planning to reopen talks with Russia, will seek to swap plans to build an anti-missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic for mutual nuclear disarmament. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he had no official information on this.
most Czech press
Lower house approves Czech military missions
The lower house yesterday approved participation of the Czech military in foreign missions, including in Afghanistan, with 105 MPs voting in favour. The opposition Social Democrats allowed its MPs to vote according to their own opinion, with four voting to support the missions, contrary to the party’s position.
most Czech press
State to buy land of former Roma concentration camp
Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb yesterday visited Hodonín u Kunštátu to discuss the state purchase of land that held a Roma concentration camp during the second world war. Aktuálně.cz reports the owner of the land, Alena Vojtová, has agreed to sell. Kocáb promised that the state would acquire the land and build a Roma education centre there when he accepted his ministerial position.
Aktuálně.cz, HN 5, LN 1, 3
President’s office denies delay on ICC
The president’s office has denied accusations by the Green Party that President Václav Klaus is intentionally delaying signing the Czech accession to the International Criminal Court, which has already been approved by Parliament. Presidential spokesman Radim Ochvat said Klaus had not signed the treaty because of its serious legal inconsistencies.
City Council approves collection for Kaplický library
The Prague City Council has approved a public collection for building a new National Library building according to the controversial design of late architect Jan Kaplický. The collection would be run by the foundation Nadační fond pro knihovnu and would last until January 2012.
MPs postpone discussion on radar contracts
The lower chamber chose not to include a discussion of contracts associated with the planned US anti-missile radar base into its February programme. The coalition-member Greens and opposition ČSSD both voted against the inclusion. The Greens claimed that it is no longer certain the radar base still has the support of the US.
Rath considers lawsuit against Reflex
David Rath, the governor of Central Bohemia, is considering filing a lawsuit against Reflex magazine over this week’s cover that depicts him as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. In a recent interview with Lidové noviny, Rath had mentioned Hitler’s rearmament before WWII as a possible recipe for solving the economic crisis.
ČTK, LN 4
Remains of Charles Bridge predecessor found
Police divers yesterday found parts of pillars from the Romanesque Judith Bridge, the predecessor to the Charles Bridge dating from around 1170. There is not much information about the Judith Bridge and historians are hoping to use the pillars to discover exactly where the bridge once stood. The remains of the bridge will not be raised from the riverbed.
LN 1, 5
Court: Kubice report did not damage ČSSD
The Prague City Court yesterday dismissed a lawsuit by ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek against former detective Jan Kubice, claiming a report by Kubice in 2006 linked the then-ČSSD government to a crime scene and thus damaged the party’s reputation. Judge Jaromír Jirsa ruled that although the report mentioned names, it did not connect them to the party, and ČSSD is not mentioned in the report.
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ČNB expected to cut rates today
The Czech National Bank is expected to lower interest rates from the current 1.75% by 0.25 to 0.5 percentage points at a meeting today, according to Citibank and Atlantik FT analysts quoted by Hospodářské noviny. The analysts said a rate cut would probably not affect lending or mortgage rates.
HN 13, 19
Crown strengthens after big drop
The crown rebounded against the euro on Wednesday after Tuesday’s sharp drop of CZK 0.40, climbing to CZK 28.26. Vladimír Pikora of Next Finance said he would not be surprised if London brokers decided to collect profits, meaning the crown could further strengthen for a while. Patria Finance said it expected the crown to weaken in the first quarter to CZK 22.50 to the dollar.
Unipetrol warns on 2008 results
Unipetrol, the biggest refiner on the Czech market, said it may not meet its expectations for 2008 due to a probable operating loss in the last quarter because of a drop in oil prices and falling demand. BH Securities analyst Petr Hlinomaz told the daily E15 that the major impact was the change in oil prices, which makes it hard for the company to project final prices. He said, however, the company should still end up with a profit in 2008.
HN 16, E15 14
ČR wants coordinated EU plan for car-scrapping bonus
The Czech Republic has appealed to EU member countries to adopt a common plan for subsidising scrapping older cars. Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said a coordinated approach that would include financing both by individual governments and the EU budget was desirable. Scrapping bonuses have already been introduced in 10 EU countries.
most Czech press
Crystalex and Kavalier for sale
Glassmakers Crystalex and Kavalier, both from the bankrupt group Bohemia Crystalex Trading, are for sale following an agreement by banks, company owners and bankruptcy administrators.
PPF wants to dismantle Zentiva management
PPF group together with Generali PPF Holding have filed suit to call an emergency meeting of Zentiva shareholders to dissolve the pharmaceutical company’s management. PPF holds shares in Zentiva through its subsidiary Anthiarose Ltd and PPF’s partner Generali PPF Holding is a stakeholder via Česká pojišťovna. PPF is seeking information on agreements between Zentiva’s management and the French company Sanofi-Aventis, which is proposing a take-over.
most Czech press
Gas crisis likely to repeat in future
The special Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security, Václav Bartuška, said yesterday he does not have any illusions about the Russia-Ukraine gas agreement he helped conclude two weeks ago. He said a similar crisis could be expected within 10 years, adding that Europe did not have even an elementary overview of agreements between Russian and Ukraine.
PXE granted licence for commodity derivatives market
The Czech National Bank has issued a licence to the Prague Energy Exchange (PXE) to organise a market in trading commodity-based derivatives. The licence would allow the PXE to oversee physical settlement and also to launch financial products. The licence is valid throughout the EU, allowing the bourse possible future expansion.
CS Cargo acquires Air-Sea, launches overseas transport
The biggest Czech logistics company, CS Cargo, has acquired the only Czech cargo company with a Federal Maritime Commission licence for overseas transport, Air-Sea. The merger will enable CS Cargo to provide overseas shipping without the help of mediating partners.
ČEZ Turkish company gets USD 300bn loan
The Akcez company, owned by ČEZ and Turkish Akenerji, will take a loan of USD 300 million to buy the distribution company Sedaz in the northwestern Turkish province of Sakarya. ČEZ holds 50% stake in Akcez.
Náchod recommends sale of brewery to LIF
The Náchod town council has recommended accepting an offer by Liberec-based LIF to purchase 100% of the Náchod brewery for CZK 150 million. Town representatives will discuss the sale at the end of February. LIF owns the Svijany and Rohozec breweries and plans to turn Náchod’s Primátor label into the leading regional brand.
More than a million computers sold in ČR last year
According to consulting company IDC, computer sales in the Czech Republic exceeded a million units for the first time last year. Some 1.13 millions PCs were sold, an increase of 17%. Notebooks constituted the main segment, with 718,000 units sold, about a third more than the previous year. IDC said there was a drop in demand in the last quarter of 2008.