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Breakfast Brief – 10 June 2009

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Source: Schwarzenberg to lead TOP 09
Hospodářské noviny quotes an unnamed co-worker of former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek as saying Schwarzenberg will take part in the new TOP 09 political party established by Kalousek, adding that Schwarzenberg would be named party chairman. Kalousek is expected to present the party at the end of the week.
most Czech press

Police arrest 10 extremists in raid
The police arrested 10 people suspected of propagating nazism in series of a coordinated raids yesterday around the country. Press reports called it the biggest-ever raid against neo-Nazis in the ČR.
most Czech press

Five deputies, one Senator leaving KDU-ČSL
Five of 13 Christian Democratic deputies have decided to leave the party, but chairman Cyril Svoboda said it will not jeopardise KDU-ČSL. Miroslav Kalousek, Pavel Severa and Vlasta Parkanová left on Tuesday, joining Jan Husák and Ladislav Šustr. Senator Ludmila Müllerová said she will leave soon. Svoboda was elected as new chairman of the KDU-ČSL deputies club on Tuesday.
most Czech press

Another anti-Klaus protest planned for Prague Castle
The initiative Už dost! will organise another protest against President Václav Klaus at Prague Castle on 17 June. The organisers accuse Klaus of failing to respect the Constitution, rejecting European integration and degrading the importance of environment protection.

Klaus aide questions 9/11
In a new book of essays called Smrt ve středu, Petr Hájek, the deputy head of the Office of the President, presents some radical opinions, including that the 11 September 2001 attacks may have been organised by US intelligence services and that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was invented by the media. Hájek provides no evidence for his statements.
MfD A1, A3

Judge rules against Paroubek in organised crime suit
Prague judge Martin Valehrach yesterday ruled that the former head of the police’s organised crime squad, Jan Kubice, does not need to apologise to ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek for a report linking Paroubek and top ČSSD leaders to organised crime. Valehrach said Kubice acted as a state employee and could not be prosecuted as a private person. Valehrach also suspended Paroubek’s lawsuit against the state, arguing Paroubek should first have requested compensation and only then turned to the court. Paroubek said he would appeal.
most Czech press

Parliamentary parties sign agreement against extremism
The chairpersons of all the parliamentary parties and of both chambers of parliament, as well as all cabinet members, ombudsman Otakar Motejl and former president Václav Havel have signed an agreement on a joint action against rising extremism and racism.
Právo 3, MfD A2

Cabinet introduces fees for doctor exams
The cabinet on Monday approved imposing a CZK 3,500 fee for administering the final exams that doctors and nurses must take. Deputy Health Minister Markéta Hellerová said doctors often sign up for the exams but do not turn up. Milan Kubek, the president of the Czech Medical Chamber, called the fees “egregious” and said he would consider calling on doctors not to pay them. MPs from both ODS and ČSSD also protested and ČSSD shadow health minister David Rath said he would abolish the charge if his party wins elections.
HN 5

Police: Alcohol-related deaths more than doubled last year
The number of people who died in alcohol-related road accidents increased by 122% last year, from 36 to 80, the biggest number in five years.

Czech troops may stay in Afghanistan for five more years
The Defence Ministry expects that Czech soldiers will be operating in Afghanistan for five more years, according to a document on foreign missions that MPs are expected to discuss later this month.

ČSÚ: Czech economy shrinks by 3.4%
Gross domestic product decreased by 3.4% in the first quarter of the year, the biggest year-on-year quarterly decline in modern history, the Czech Statistical Office said Tuesday.
most Czech press

PPF ups 2008 profit to EUR 2.5bn
The financial group PPF increased consolidated profit to EUR 2.489 billion last year from EUR 244 million a year earlier. The figure was influenced by a strategic partnership with the group Generali.
Právo 5

Inflation slows to 1.3% in May
Consumer price growth slowed to annual rate of 1.3% in May, the lowest in more than two years, from 1.8% in April. The decline reflected lower food prices and came in spite of higher fuel prices.
most Czech press

HN: Dispute over MND nearly over
Hospodářské noviny reports a four-year-old dispute between Karel Komárek’s family, Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas and the Slovak gas company SPP over mining company Moravské naftové doly (MND) could end soon with Komárek’s company KKCG agreeing to pay billions of crowns and fixed assets for control of the company. Ruhrgas currently holds over 40% of MND and SPP less than 25%.
HN 1, 19

Bobošík liquidating interest in Sklárna Heřmanova
Pavel Bobošík is selling his stake in the Luxembourg company Vetro Investment, the owner of the only domestic producer of drinkware, Sklárna Heřmanova Huť, to Vetro’s majority owner, the German glassworks Sahm. HN reports the reasons behind the sale are disagreements between Bobošík and Vetro. The glassworks will shutter operations in July due to a more than 40% decline in orders but could re-open in December.
HN 15, 19

C.S. Cargo increasing capital
Road haulier company C.S. Cargo’s CEO Jiří Zrůst told E15 the company is wrapping up a EUR 10 million capital increase and is expecting to raise EUR 10 million more by the end of Q3. Both owners, Trifid and UniCredit, are contributing equal amounts but Trifid will continue to hold a 70% stake and UniCredit 30%.
E15 1, 8

Prague Airport launches check-in over mobile phone
The Prague Airport has introduced a system enabling airlines to check in passenger using mobile phones. The first three carriers, including Air France-KLM, will start offering the service within a few weeks. Czech Airlines said it might introduce the service next year.
MfD A5, Právo 14

Farmers to block motorways
Farmers will block motorways at one or more places in the country at the end of June or at the start of July to protest low milk prices. Agrarian Chamber head Jan Veleba said he expects a few hundred farmers to take part in the protest.
ČTK, LN 15

ČNB rejects reports on pension fund problems
The Czech National Bank has rejected press reports that pension funds are experiencing serious problems and are short some CZK 5.9 billion. Analysts said in a ČTK poll that fund holders could only lose their money if a pension fund went bankrupt, which they said was very unlikely.

Crystalex Nový Bor is up for sale
The insolvency administrator and the consulting company Deloitte Advisory have called a tender to sell the glassmaker Crystalex Nový Bor of the group Bohemia Crystalex Trading.
ČTK, Právo 14

ČSA wants to stop double-checking aircraft before take-off
Czech Airlines is seeking to end the procedure of double-checking airplanes before they take off at Prague Airport. Planes are now checked by both mechanics and the crew, while in the future only the crew would carry them out. ČSA has been doing single checks at airports abroad for a while.

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