NEWS
Illegal immigrants can apply for voluntary departures from September
The Interior Ministry will launch an information campaign at the end of July and beginning of August for foreigners illicitly living in the Czech Republic. They will be able to apply to the project from September and will face no punishment for their illegal stays. However, unlike foreign citizens living in the country legally, they will be entitled to no state subsidy for their return home.
ČTK



ČR ranks second among asylum seekers to Canada
The Canadian embassy said Tuesday that authorities had registered 1,720 Czech applications for asylum in the first half of this year, the second highest number behind Mexico, from where citizens submitted nearly 5,500 applications.
ČTK, LN 3



Kohout: Canada has not reintroduced visas for now
Canada has not imposed a visa duty for Czech citizens for the time being, and the Czech Republic is trying to persuade the country to keep visa-free travelling, Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Kohout told Radiožurnál on Tuesday. Whether Canada will bring back visas for Czechs is not clear yet, but the threat persists, owing to a rising number of asylum seekers, mostly members of the Roma community.

ČTK, LN 3

Lavrov: Missile shield would jeopardize disarmament
A possible decision to build a US missile-defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland would jeopardize the Russian-American agreement to reduce strategic nuclear arsenal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday. Czech politicians welcome the preliminary agreement that the United States and Russia achieved on Monday, but some worry that the US might make excessive concessions to Moscow, for instance by halting NATO enlargement.

ČTK, Právo 1, 8



Defence Ministry to cut jobs
The Defence Ministry announced Tuesday that it would dismiss 1,800 people from the army in the near future, of which 1,200 are soldiers and 600 are civilians. The ministry itself will lay off a further thousand employees owing to its reduced 2009 budget.
ČTK,Euro.cz, E15 2

Rich sponsor behind Zubová’s shift to ČSSD
The Social Democrats could get millions of crowns for putting former Green Party MP Olga Zubová on their list of candidates for October’s early elections. The advertising tycoon, and Zubová’s sponsor, Jaromír Soukup will help finance her – and, therefore, the ČSSD’s – campaign.

most Czech press






VV and SNK ED to fight jointly in elections

The political parties Věci veřejné and SNK Evropští demokraté will have a joint list of candidates in October’s early parliamentary elections because their agendas are the same, Věci veřejné chairman Radek John said Tuesday. Some independent candidates will join the ticket as well, and talks with Alternativa and Strana pro otevřenou společnost are still under way.
ČTK, LN 1, 3, Právo 4




Ministry wants to protect land against floods

The Agriculture Ministry has come up with a proposal for new binding rules for farmers in an effort to return the ability to retain rainwater to intensively cultivated land and protect towns and villages against floods, the ministry’s Kateřina Čapounová told Aktuálně.cz. The latest environmental report found that water erosion endangers 42.2% of farmland in the country.

Aktuálně.cz

Jižní spojka blocked by roadwork

Yesterday Prague’s Jižní spojka motorway was blocked by 25 kilometres of traffic caused by roadwork. The construction ought to continue until 14 July. Prague City Hall claims that there are no suitable detours.

MfD A1, C1, C2, LN 1, 4



BUSINESS
Prague ranks 70th among expensive cities

Prague decreased to 70th place on the ladder of the world’s most expensive cities this year, after ranking 29th last year, according to a survey by the Mercer consulting company. On the top of the list is Tokyo, followed by Osaka and Moscow.

ČTK

Foreign trade shows CZK 11.7bn surplus in May

The Czech Republic recorded a foreign trade surplus of CZK 11.7 billion in May, an increase of CZK 2 billion against 2008. Exports in current prices decreased 21.2% and imports dropped 23.2% in May, according to preliminary data the Czech Statistical Office released on Tuesday.

most Czech press

Klaus signs amended bill on social insurance

Employers will be able to pay lower social insurance for workers until the end of next year, in line with the amendment to the law on social security that President Václav Klaus signed Tuesday. The measure is to reduce labour costs and prevent job cuts during the recession.

E15 4, Právo 4

Passenger numbers at Prague Airport keep falling

Travellers at Prague Airport decreased 14% to 988,000 on the year in May, airport statistics showed. Charter flights ordered by travel agencies registered a 27% decline in passenger numbers.
ČTK

SkyEurope will fly until 25 October
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Slovak Republic (CAA) will allow SkyEurope to operate until 25 October, when the airline’s temporary licence will expire. Unless SkyEurope prove finances available for the following months, the CAA will not issue a new licence.
MfD B2

ČR may get CZK 3-4bn from EIB for flood damage

As early as next month, the Czech Republic could receive CZK 3 billion to CZK 4 billion from the sale of government bonds to the European Investment Bank, Finance Minister Eduard Janota said after the Tuesday meeting of EU finance ministers. The Czech government would use the funds to deal with damage caused by the recent floods. Janota said he would discuss details with the EIB today or tomorrow.

ČTK

Estimates: One-third of households uninsured
According to Právo, representatives of insurance companies and regional administration estimate that every third property is not insured. The Czech Insurance Association (ČAP) registers almost 2 million contracts for households and 1.9 million for buildings. It is impossible to estimate how many of those households recently affected by floods are uninsured; the companies only confirm that such cases are not infrequent.

Právo 14

Car sales drop 12% in H1
Sales of new passenger and light utility cars on the Czech market decreased 12.4% to 92,100 units in the first half of this year owing to a drop of about 25% in purchases by corporate customers, the Car Importers Association announced Tuesday. Imports of used passenger cars fell 41% on the year to 71,411 units.
most Czech press

Barrandov Studios to attract Czech producers
Prague’s Barrandov Studios is putting together packages to attract domestic filmmakers after foreign producers moved on to countries offering better incentives. Jana Vozárová, chairwoman of Barrandov Studios, said the packages will offer prices for Czech producers that differ from the standard rates. The packages will be announced in September. Revenues for the studios fell 6% to CZK 600 million last year.

E15 8



Energy company Dalkia ČR searching for new investor
The multinational Veolia Environnement is searching for an investor to buy 30% of the shares in Dalkia ČR, this country’s third-largest heat and electricity producer. A well-informed source told HN that only selected financial investors advanced to the second round of a relevant tender and they should present binding bids by the end of July.

HN 13, 14, 15



Ad spending falls 15%-20%
Advertising expenditures in the Czech Republic have dropped 15%-20% this year compared to 2008, while the decline on the global market reached 8.5%, Petr Majerik of ZenithOptimedia Prague said Tuesday.

ČTK

Orea preparing Family Inn chain
One of the largest Czech hospitality operators, Orea Hotels, will launch the new Family Inn franchise chain consisting mainly of small hotels and guesthouses.
HN 13, 22