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Breakfast Brief – 7 July 2009

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Table of Contents

ČT: Canada reintroducing visa for Czechs
Czech Television reported Friday that the Canadian government has determined to reintroduce visitor visas for Czech citizens in response to a surge in Czech asylum seekers. Leaders of the four largest Czech parliamentary parties said such a move would be ungrounded, and some said the country might seek EU help to fight it. Experts on minority issues told Lidové noviny Canada’s shift would not prevent Roma families preparing to emigrate from seeking asylum overseas, with Great Britain, Ireland and Australia the most likely destinations. Právo quotes the daily Toronto Star as reporting the Canadian government will decide on the issue today.
most Czech press

Insurers: Flood claims to total CZK 1.8bn
Insurance companies have received 8,147 claims for flood damages totalling CZK 1.3 billion and they expect the figure to reach CZK 1.8 billion. Finance Minister Eduard Janota said Sunday that disaster relief will cost the public sector CZK 3bn-4bn, which will deepen this year’s deficit to some CZK 160bn-170bn.
most Czech press

Squatters granted new flats, neighbours protest
A group of squatters who were recently banned from Prague’s last squat, Milada, have been granted the right to stay in a building on Truhlářská street near náměstí Republiky. The owner of the house, real estate developer Petr Svinka, signed an agreement with the squatters to rent three flats and use the basement area for concerts for a symbolic CZK 1 per month. Longtime residents oppose the move, which was negotiated with the help of the Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb.
most Czech press

Ex-Green Zubová will run for ČSSD
Olga Zubová, former Green Party member and now head of the non-parliamentary Democratic Green Party, has been named to the Social Democrats’ candidate list for the October elections. She will hold the No 5 slot on the Prague slate. Controversial Central Bohemia Governor David Rath was also nominated and will hold second spot on his region’s list. Some party members have expressed disapproval of the Zubová and Rath nominations.
most Czech press

High waters take 14th life
The disastrous floods in the Czech Republic claimed a 14th victim late on Thursday. A 53-year-old man from Bory near Velké Meziříčí drowned while checking a local pond he was maintaining for the municipality.
LN 5 Sat, Právo 1, 3 Sat

Top cop seeks quicker rotations to fight corruption
Responding to revelations of a probe into corruption by high ranking police officers in Teplice, Czech Police President Oldřich Martinů said he would seek new legislation to shorten the rotation period for police chiefs to five years to prevent top officers from developing local underworld ties.
MfD A1, A3 Sat

Former dissident to publish broader StB list
Former anti-communist dissident Stanislav Penc will launch today a more detailed online list of ex-secret police (StB) agents than that published by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Penc’s list at is based on two StB computer databases compiled before the November 1989 revolution. He said he decided to act to prevent the institute from withholding information and monopolising historical views of the communist era.
LN 1, 2

Crunch cuts social security contributions
Social security contributions paid by Czech employees and employers in the first five months of 2009 were CZK 8.2 billion shy of last year’s January-May total. The economic downturn and growing unemployment are seen as the main cause of the shortfall.

Students planning more protests against leaving exams
Czech students are planning another protest on 16 July against the planned system of unified state secondary school-leaving exams. The organisers have invited MPs to sign up for a text exam the students are preparing for them.
LN 4 Sat

Downturn affects Czech sex industry
Many Czech streetwalkers and nightclubs are reducing rates as the declining number of foreign tourists have affected their revenues, according to the NGO Bliss Without Risk.
Právo 5 Sat

Weekly cleared over Paroubková caricature
Prague City Court ruled Friday that weekly Mladá fronta Plus need not apologise to Petra Paroubková for a caricature published in June 2008 portraying her half-naked and in bed with her husband, ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek. The weekly said the cartoon, which lampooned Paroubková’s plan to launch a nationwide collection for a new National Library building, played on a media image she had created by commenting publicly on her husband’s “sexy brain”.

ČR has 17 swine flue cases
The number of confirmed Czech swine flue cases has reached 17. The last two people diagnosed with H1N1 contracted the virus in the US and Thailand.

ČR wins CZK 7bn suit over Union banka
An international arbitration court in London has ruled that the Czech government does not have to pay CZK 7 billion to Italian-Dutch firm Invesmart over the 2003 liquidation of Czech bank Union banka. Invesmart, which had invested in Union banka, argued that the state failed to provide it with the same public support given to other banks.
most Czech press

Car sales down, production rising
Preliminary results from the Car Importers Association show Czech car sales down 12% in the first half of the year to about 93,000. Final numbers are expected today. Pavel Tunkl, deputy chair of the association, said the main cause is companies buying fewer cars than they did in 2008. Martin Jahn, head of Automotive Industry Association, said Czech car production will top 1 million this year, a first in the country’s history.
HN 1, 17

Regional rail transport facing more cuts
Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka said Friday the number of regional rail routes should be cut by some 12% next year, as they are highly unprofitable and public funds are limited. The Transport Ministry wants to open 75% of Czech long-distance passenger rail services to competition in the next 10 years. Today all express trains are run by Czech Railways and are supported by hefty state subsidies.
most Czech press

TPCA slightly increases H1 output
Kolín-based TPCA assembled 174,949 small Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën cars in the first half of 2009, 0.6% more than a year earlier. The firm does not publish a mid-year financial statement.
ČTK, Právo 5 Sat

Used diesels popular as fuel price drops
Car dealers say demand for used diesel models has spiked by some 20% over the past three months as diesel has again become markedly cheaper than petrol.

CK Fischer to offer winter holidays
Jiří Jelínek, head of travel agency CK Fischer, told Hospodářské noviny the company aims to begin offering holiday packages year-round, including winter ski trips. The firm hopes to sell more than 10,000 packages and boost revenue by some CZK 100 million in the first year. Exim Tours is planning to start offering individual packages and, subsequently, flight tickets.
HN 17

ČEZ moves to centralise distribution
Power giant ČEZ has established a new subsidiary, ČEZ Distribuční zařízení, to take over all of its distribution companies.

Škoda Electric testing new trolleybus
Plzeň-based Škoda Electric has launched trials of an upgraded trolleybus model, 26Tr Solaris. The firm will start supplying the model to Jihlava and Teplice later this year.

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