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Czech press review – Thursday 15 January 2009

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NEWS

Architect Kaplický dies suddenly in Prague

Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický died yesterday in Prague at the age of 71. He collapsed in the street but the emergency rescue crew was unable to save his life. The architect died on the same day that his wife Eliška gave birth to their daughter.

most Czech press

Doctors say Havel’s life not in immediate danger

Former President Václav Havel’s condition worsened yesterday after he underwent throat surgery on Monday at Prague’s Motol hospital. Doctors said Havel‘s life was not in immediate danger, but that they were battling to halt the spread of inflammation to his lungs.

most Czech press

Denmark says it can see Muhammad in Černý’s Entropa

Artist David Černý denied he had placed an image of the Muhammad cartoons in his depiction of Denmark in the controversial Entropa project. The sculpture was installed at EU Commission headquarters on Monday and will be officially unveiled today. Caricatures of Muhammad published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in 2006 gave rise to anti-Danish demonstrations and boycotts of Danish goods. A member of the team that worked on the project, Krištof Kintera, said the artwork could eventually be displayed on the building of the New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague.

most Czech press

Topolánek to announce names of new ministers today

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek will announce the names of four new ministers at a press conference today. It was not clear on Wednesday night whether Topolánek would replace outgoing Health Minister Tomáš Julínek with Senator Daniela Filipiová, who had earlier accepted Topolánek’s offer of the post.

ČTK

Justice Minister presents new draft legal code

Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil presented a draft for a new civil code at a press conference yesterday. The code, which has been in preparation for eight years, will now go to the cabinet for debate and then to the lower house in May. The opposition Social Democrats consider the code unacceptable and criticised yesterday what they called its incomprehensible language, among other things.

most Czech press

Benešov police investigate golden parachutes for hospital management

Benešov police confirmed yesterday they have launched an investigation into a case involving CZK 6 million in compensation paid to the former management of the Benešov hospital. The hospital director and three of his deputies were paid off for 12 monthly salaries after new central Bohemia regional governor David Rath dismissed them in November.

Aktuálně.cz, Právo 9

Topolánek defends Klaus in Strasbourg

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek presented the Czech EU presidency’s programme and defended Czech President Václav Klaus from criticism from Socialist group president Martin Schulz and Czech MEP Miloslav Ransdorf. Topolánek called Klaus an icon of the Czech transformation in the 1990s.

most Czech press

Jan Palach concert to be directed by former communist

The concerts of the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Jan Palach’s death by self-immolation will be conducted by Jiří Malát, a former member of the Communist party, orchestra subscribers said. Malát said he was not a high functionary in the party.

ČTK

BUSINESS

Transport unions call off strike for now

Transport workers unions have called off a planned strike after Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek told them yesterday he had withdrawn a new bill on income tax. The law would have abolished some employee benefits like meal vouchers and transport passes.

most Czech press

Říman energy proposal would break limits on coal output

A new state energy concept being prepared by Industry and Trade Minister Martin Říman calls for breaching limits placed on brown coal production from 1991, reducing the use of natural gas in electricity production and expanding nuclear power. The Environment Ministry said it was not “strictly opposed” to nuclear power but that it would like to see better quality nuclear reactors. Ecological organizations have called the proposal unacceptable.

HN 1, 13, E15 4

Czech building and industrial output drops in November

Czech industrial output dropped by 17.4% in November year-on-year, more than analysts had predicted, the Czech Statistical Office said. The drop was due mainly to a decline in production of transport vehicles and equipment. Construction output fell by 5.6% in the same month.

most Czech press

Two-thirds of Czech companies have problems getting loans

More than two-thirds of Czech companies say they are having difficulties getting bank loans to fund their operations, in a poll conducted by the Czech Chamber of Commerce for the weekly Ekonom. This compares to around a third of respondents in November. The president of the Czech Banking Association, Jiří Kunert, said banks must reckon with higher risk due to the current financial crisis, however, they still have an interest in providing loans.

most Czech press

PM wants harsher measures against Russia and Ukraine

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday the EU should apply harsher measures against Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz for violating obligations to supply natural gas. EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso said the commission may recommend that EU companies sue Russia and Ukraine unless they quickly restore natural gas supplies.

Aktuálně.cz

Deloitte: Confidence in central Europe investment falling

Deloitte’s Central European Private Equity Confidence Survey dropped last October to 30% of its all-time high reached in 2007. Deloitte, however, still expects the central European region to attract investors in 2009.

ČTK

Czech crown falls to lowest since November 2007

The Czech crown weakened against the euro yesterday and hit CZK 27.23, its lowest since November 2007, according to Patria Online. Meantime, ČNB Vice-governor Miroslav Singer said the bank’s more-pessimistic outlook for Czech economic growth of 0.5% would probably apply this year.

HN 13, 19, ČTK

PKN Orlen considers investments in oil extraction

PKN Orlen, the biggest oil refiner in Poland and owner of Unipetrol, is considering investing up to PLN 1.5 billion (CZK 9.8 billion) in the oil-extraction business. Company CEO Jack Krawiec said one possibility would be to swap retail assets, including service stations in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, for access to oil fields. PKN Orlen and Unipetrol representatives denied they would sell the Benzina chain as part of the plan.

HN 14, MfD B1, B2

ČSSD: Buying foreign products in crisis is immoral

The Social Democrats have launched a campaign to combat the impact of the financial crisis that calls on Czechs to avoid buying imported products. The campaign also promotes expanding nuclear power plants, which it says is a good investment opportunity for Czech firms.

HN 3, Právo 3

Petrol prices CZK 2 higher since Monday

Fuel prices in the Czech Republic have risen by more than CZK 2 a litre since Monday in reaction to rising prices on the Rotterdam exchange and a weakening of the crown against the euro and dollar.

ČTK, HN 17

Sports chains expanding in ČR

The Czech branches of the sporting goods chains Intersport and Hervis Sport said they plan to expand the number of retail outlets in the Czech Republic in the coming years despite the economic crisis. Incoma Research and GfK Praha confirm that Czechs are spending more on sports gear. Sporting goods shops say they do not yet feel the impact of the crisis.

HN 14

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