Report: As many as 10 infected with swine flu at Prague hospital
Two patients, a doctor and two nurses have been confirmed as contracting swine flu from another patient at Prague’s Vinohrady hospital. Two of them are in serious condition. In addition, Mladá fronta Dnes says five unconfirmed cases have been reported in the hospital’s dermatology unit. The Health Ministry said yesterday that vaccinations against swine flu will only start at the end of November at the earliest due to delays in supply.
Source: most Czech press
Prison escapee shot dead by police
Police yesterday shot and killed escaped prisoner Pavel Tauchen after finding him and his wife in the Strakonice region. Reports said Tauchen was shot in the head during crossfire and that his wife was injured as she tried to escape. Tauchen had earlier fled police custody at a hospital with the help of his wife.
Source: MfD A1, A2
Havel speaks out in support of EU, charter of rights
Speaking to the European Parliament yesterday, former Czech president Václav Havel defended the European Union as well as its charter of fundamental rights, from which the Czech Republic recently negotiated an opt-out in exchange for President Václav Klaus’s signature on the Lisbon Treaty. Havel rejected statements linking European integration with a loss of national sovereignty. Havel also told journalists that the communist past of the new Czech candidate for EU Commissioner, Štefan Füle, should not be used against him.
Source: ČTK, HN 1-3, MfD A6
Czech EC candidate prefers EU enlargement, transport
Štefan Füle, who was officially nominated for the post of EU commissioner for the Czech Republic, said yesterday he would prefer to be in charge of EU enlargement or transport policy in the new European Commission. Other areas the Czech Republic could deal with include energy, science and research, regional development, and environment, he said.
Source: HN 1-3
LN: State celebrations of fall of communism to be low-key
According to Lidové noviny, the official part of the November 17 celebrations this year will be low-key and feature an international conference at the Senate and a book-signing of President Václav Klaus’s new book “Where Tomorrow Begins”. The head of the president’s office, Jiří Weigl, said the president thinks it is better to remember the day among and with the people as 20 years ago.
Source: LN 1, 2
EC: Czechs must cut spending
The Czech Republic must avoid excessive budgetary spending in the years to come and reduce its budget deficit to below 3% of gross domestic product by 2013, the European Commission said yesterday.
Source: most Czech press
Inquiry shows no public prosecutors involved in university scandal
The public prosecutors who studied law at the scandal-stricken University of West Bohemia are beyond suspicion regarding their shorter-than-usual studies at the school, according to the findings of an inquiry ordered by the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy ombudsman: Banks handling client data too freely
Czech banks do not take sufficient precautions in handling the personal information of their customers, which could hurt people applying for loans or leasing contracts, deputy ombudsman Jitka Seitlová said. She said the answer would be to change the laws and set clearer rules.
Source: ČTK, Právo 4
Dollar loans pushing crown higher
The Czech crown has risen for eight days in a row and gained around 5.7% against the dollar since the start of November. HN reports that investors are taking out profitable loans in US dollars and using the money to push the crown up. The crown has risen 4.5% against the euro.
Source: HN 19
Telefónica O2’s net profit beats market forecast
Consolidated net earnings at the biggest Czech telecommunications company, Telefónica O2, dipped 1.2% on the year to CZK 8.896 billion in January-September, but nevertheless exceeded analysts’ expectations of CZK 8.3 billion. The company said in a release yesterday that revenue fell 6.7% year-on-year to CZK 44.742 billion, above expectations of CZK 44.68 billion.
Source: most Czech press
Tůma: ČR unlikely to see 5% growth in near future
Czech National Bank governor Zdeněk Tůma told a business conference yesterday he was doubtful the Czech economy would be able to return to 5% annual growth in the next few years. He said budgetary policy was now the country’s biggest challenge and required significant reforms.
ČEZ to buy 49% of Pražská teplárenská
The energy giant ČEZ is planning to buy a 49% share of the Prague-based heating plant Pražská teplárenská worth CZK 15 billion. This follows the company’s recent acquisition of a minority share in Dalkia, the country’s largest heat producer. ČEZ Executive Director Daniel Beneš said the company is looking to become a key player on the domestic heating market.
Source: HN 1, 13
Transport unions threaten indefinite strike
Union leaders at the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) have threatened an indefinite strike and called on Mayor Pavel Bém to meet their conditions concerning subsidies for the company and planned job cuts. Talks between DPP unions and City Hall are expected to continue at 10am today. The news site Lidovky.cz reports that union leaders have set a possible strike date of Wednesday next week.
Source: most Czech press
Q3 industrial production drops; construction output rises slightly
Industrial production fell 13% year-on-year in the third quarter, while construction output rose by 0.1%, the Czech Statistical Office said yesterday. Adjusted for workdays, industrial production dropped by 11.4% and construction output increased by 1%.
Source: ČTK, LN 14
OECD says ČR should cut labour costs
The Czech Republic should take steps to reduce labour costs as they represent one of the biggest problems for the Czech economy and its competitiveness, according to representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development speaking yesterday at a meeting with the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic.
NWRT acquires Čechofracht
The company New World Resources Transportation (NWRT), part of a group controlled by financier Zdeněk Bakala, has acquired the Čechofracht group for an undisclosed price. Čechofracht will now be merged with the NWRT subsidiary OKD, Doprava and its employees will be transferred.
Oil companies discuss tighter regulations to prevent VAT leaks
Leading oil companies and representatives of the Finance Ministry are negotiating new criteria for companies to prevent VAT leaks that add up to billions of crowns, according to Václav Loula of the Association of Oil Industry and Trade. The regulations will close legal loopholes and include making business licenses compulsory and requiring companies to pay deposits in advance of their VAT payments.
Source: HN 16
Mark BBDO awarded three gold medals
The advertising agency Mark BBDO yesterday received three golden Effie awards for the effectiveness of its ad campaigns. Mark BBDO won for campaigns for Müller Mix yogurt, Direct Pojišťovna insurance and the humanitarian organisation People in Need. A campaign on behalf of the Transport Ministry, Nemyslíš, zaplatíš, that led to a lower number of roadway deaths was awarded a gold medal in the social, ecological and cultural marketing category.
Source: HN 13, 16
ČEZ launching solar power plant in Hrušovany
The energy group ČEZ will soon launch a solar power station worth hundreds of millions of crowns in Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, south Moravia. The facility, one of the biggest in the region, will generate 3.7 million kilowatt hours a year, enough to cover 1,100 households, ČEZ spokesman Martin Schreier said yesterday.
Česká spořitelna named best equal-opportunity employer
In a contest organised by the Gender Studies organisation, Česká spořitelna was declared the year’s best equal-opportunity employer, followed by IBM ČR and Unicredit Bank ČR.
Klaus: Crisis shows good foundations of Czech economy
The current financial and economic crisis shows that the economy and the banking are built on good foundations established over the past twenty years, President Václav Klaus told a banking conference in Prague yesterday.
Source: HN 20, Právo 2