NEWS
Parties unite on early election plan
Leaders of the main political parties yesterday agreed on the next steps needed for the holding of an early ballot. If the Constitutional Court this Thursday approves the complaint of unaffiliated MP Miloš Melčák, parliament will pass a constitutional amendment allowing the president to dissolve parliament immediately and proceed with an early poll as soon as possible. The parties will continue talks today.
Source: most Czech press

Klaus ready to speed up elections
President Václav Klaus said yesterday he is ready to sign a law submitted to him by parliament enabling preliminary general elections to be held as soon as possible. He said the country is in dire need of a fully-fledged cabinet.
Source: ČTK

Artists come to blows over Woodrow Wilson
Rival sculptors Michal Blažek and Oldřich Hejtmánek entered into a fist fight yesterday at the main train station in Prague where Blažek has been chosen to build a monument of former American President Woodrow Wilson. iDnes.cz reports that Blažek, who was commissioned by the American Friends of the Czech Republic, lashed out at Hejtmánek, after the latter borrowed a National Museum cast needed to design the statue. Blažek must now wait for the cast’s return.
Source: most Czech press

Janota: Budget cuts could save CZK 67.7 bn
In a letter to the heads of political parties yesterday, Finance Minister Eduard Janota proposes budget cuts for 2010, which he claims will save the state budget CZK 67.7 billion. Janota plans to put the cuts to cabinet on Wednesday. The anticipated 2010 budget deficit stands at 7.4% of GDP, or some CZK 230 billion.
Source: most Czech press

LN: MPs blast globetrotting Fischer
LN reports criticism among MPs of caretaker PM Jan Fischer’s recent business trips abroad, which they claim are useless, adding they would would rather see him helping to solve the current constitutional crisis. Jiří Paroubek (ČSSD) said that Fischer’s foreign politics have no continuity or significance. Kateřina Konečná of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at Chamber of Deputies rejected Fischer’s travels as “a waste of resources.”
Source: LN 3

Con artists impersonate ČEZ workers
ČTK reports that fraudsters pretending to work for energy companies have been discovered operating across the Czech Republic. The fake employees ask people to sign documents such as invoices or advance payment slips before proceeding to steal cash. According to ČEZ’s western Bohemia spokeswoman, dozens of people have been harmed.
Source: ČTK

HN: Car-scrapping bonus likely
HN reports that the Chamber of Deputies is likely today to endorse a car-scrapping bonus, which is part of a package of economic reforms. The bill has garnered support from Social Democrats, Communists and a number of Civic Democrats.
Source: HN 1, 5

The Times: Wenceslas Square is ‘sleazy’
UK daily The Times spotlighted Wenceslas Square as one of the five “sleaziest” streets in Europe in an online feature last week. According to correspondent David Wadmore, the square “has become the nocturnal haunt of prostitutes and drug dealers”. The Times also singles out the seediness of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, Amsterdam’s Damstraat, Paris’s Place Pigalle and Omonia Square in Athens.
Source: Aktuálně.cz, MfD C1, C2

Poll: Academics back uni fees
An online poll by SC&C for the Education Ministry shows that 70% of university professors support the implementation of tertiary fees. FSV UK professor, Petr Just, said fees would support the institutions and motivate students.
Source: HN 6

BUSINESS
ČSA unions reject wage cuts
Representatives of nine Czech Airlines’ trade unions yesterday rejected pay cuts proposed by the firm’s management. The unions must submit their own proposal within a week of measures to save the airline CZK 1 billion.
Source: most Czech press

Foreign trade sees July surplus
Czech foreign trade recorded a surplus of CZK 12.3 billion at the end of July, an increase of CZK 5.7 billion year-on-year. The result was positively affected by low deficit in mineral fuel trading. On the other hand, a fall in profits from machinery and transport equipment trading had a negative impact, ČSÚ said yesterday.
Source: ČTK

NWR predicts surge in coal sales
New data from mining group NWR suggest that its coal sales will spike to 11 million tonnes this year instead of the expected 10.5 million tones, swelling the value of NWR’s shares to around CZK 200 a piece by the year-end. Cited in E15, Atlantik FT analyst, Petr Novák, said the slump in the steelmaking industry is over.
Source: E15 14

ČEZ: Supplies will skyrocket to c. Europe
Energy giant ČEZ plans next year to almost double its supplies to Polish customers to 1 billion kWh from this year’s 587 million kWh. The company also expects high increases in Slovakia and Hungary.
Source: ČTK

J&T raises stake in Unipetrol
Financial group J&T has increased its share in petrochemical group Unipetrol to 6.78%, according to J&T’s Marketing Director Petr Málek yesterday.
Source: ČTK

More firms go bust this year
By the end of August, the number of insolvency proposals in the Czech Republic had reached 5,744, exceeding filings for the whole of 2008 by 390, according to Creditreform. 2300 firms lodged bankruptcy filings in the first eight months of the year.
Source: ČTK

E15: Tesco to focus on retail
E15 reports that the Tesco Stores chain is selling off its Central European warehouses in a bid to focus on its retail business. Tesco has already sold its distribution centres in Poland and Hungary and now plans to auction off its main logistical centre in Postřižín. The retailer will, however, rent the 55,000 square metre warehouse from its new owner.
Source: E15 1, 10

Engineering Fair lures German firms
The upcoming International Engineering Fair in Brno between 14-18 September will host a record 250 German firms, of which 60 are first-timers. HN reports that many German firms are seeking to exploit a gap on the Czech market in renewable energy technologies, especially photovoltaic and solar sources.
Source: HN 20

Online gambling on the rise
The Finance Ministry has granted three new licenses for online gambling to El Rancho, Bracebridge and Rio Games as more players turn to the web. Statistics show that Czechs spent almost CZK 12 billion on gaming last year. Online gambling has been permitted since this January. Synot Tip’s Petr Mikoška said some 40% of bets occur online.
Source: HN 21

Ban on Lithuanian hog imports
The State Veterinary Administration (SVS) has banned the importing of pigs from Lithuania in a move to curb the spread of animal diseases locally and protect human health, according to spokesman Josef Duben.
Source: ČTK

ČEZ orders more GE turbines
General Electric will supply ČEZ with more wind turbines for the second phase of the energy giant’s wind park project in Dobrudja, Romania. GE, which is also ČEZ’s supplier for the first phase of the project, should provide up to 101 wind turbines with a 252.5MW output over the next two years.
Source: HN 21, ČTK

Tomi bankruptcy hearings begin
Prague City Court yesterday launched insolvency proceedings over local travel agency Tomi Tour. The company filed for bankruptcy in the middle of July.
Source: ČTK