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Breakfast Brief – 15 September 2009

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Table of Contents

LN: Lower chamber will dissolve today
The lower house will today vote on its own dissolution in an urgent move to permit early elections. Daily Lidové Noviny reports that major parties ODS and ČSSD should have enough votes between them to pass the bill. They will likely be joined by KDU-ČSL deputies; the Greens and unaffiliated MPs will reject the measure and the Communists will abstain.
Source: most Czech press

Squatters turn out in court
A court in Prague 2 yesterday sentenced 7 of the 23 squatters standing trial to suspended jail terms and community service in the largest hearing involving squatters in the country’s history. The squatters were removed from a house they occupied in Apolinářská street this Saturday after police asked them to leave.
Source: most Czech press

More Czechs against car-scrapping bonus
Only 39% of Czechs now support the state car-scrapping bonus plan, which won the favour of 60% of the population in June, according to a new survey from GfK Czech. 44% of respondents were against the bonus, which they said would not revive the motor industry, and only 20% thought they would take advantage of it. The lower house last week approved the bonus that was earlier vetoed by the president. No date has been set for its introduction.
Source: LN 1, 14

HN: MPs cheat on sick leave
Hospodářské noviny claims that MPs are taking sick days without filing official leave forms so they can claim their full wage. All employees receive no salary during the first three days of sick leave.
Source: HN 1, 5

Govt to fly illegal workers home
In a scheme starting today, foreigners staying illegally in the country who report themselves to the Interior Minister will be flown home for free, but allowed to return to Czech soil sooner than if they were caught. Those who can finance their flights will face a shorter re-entry ban. The government has so far only granted free flights home to guest workers who lost their jobs but had a valid visa.
Source: ČTK

Police: No ODS plot behind Topolánek assault
A new police report has found the Civic Democrats were not behind the stone-throwing attacks on Mirek Topolánek in August, according to today’s dailies. ODS Deputy Chairman, Ivan Langer, called on ČSSD last week to prove that it had no connection with the four men charged with the assault.
Source: most Czech press

Legerova lane closed for another six months
Prague council transit department voted yesterday to continue the restriction of Legerova street from four to three lanes for another six months, ignoring protests from Prague 4 city officials, who claim that the obstruction is detrimentally affecting traffic.
Source: Právo 10, Pd 1, 2

Crisis managers enter Czech Airlines
The government yesterday replaced half of the supervisory board of Czech Airlines (ČSA) in a bid to save the struggling state-run operator. Václav Novák takes over from Ivan Kočárník as chairman of the new board, which has three weeks to come up with a rescue plan. Hospodářské noviny writes Novák’s main task is to prepare ČSA to stay in state hands. Airline unions yesterday presented Finance Minister Eduard Janota with their own scheme to save ČSA over CZK 900 million next year.
Source: most Czech press

Advisers put forward anti-crunch plans
The National Economic Council (NERV) has wound up its meeting by presenting the government with a list of anti-recession recommendations, council member Vladimír Dlouhý said yesterday. Dlouhý speculated that national GDP might rise by up to 1% next year, after a likely drop this year of as much as 5%. ČTK reports that Vladimír Tomšík, a director of Czech National Bank (ČNB), gave a similar forecast. The Finance Ministry and ČNB had previously predicted growth next year of 0.3% and 0.7%, respectively.
Source: most Czech press

MfD: ČEZ did nuclear deal with dodgy company
Mladá fronta Dnes reports that energy giant ČEZ awarded a tender to store burnt-out nuclear fuel to controversial Liechtenstein-based company CEEI, whose former representative and alleged co-owner Martin Peter now faces 12 years in prison for plotting to kidnap a colleague, Jiří Kovář. Kovář is now executive head of CEEI. ČEZ managers claim CEEI was the only company that entered the tender, asking CZK 1.5 billion, which was triple the amount ČEZ wanted to pay. The identity of CEEI’s owners is unknown.
Source: MfD A1, A3

Brussels blasts high mobile fees in ČR
In a written statement yesterday, the European Commission called on the Czech telecoms regulator to reduce the interconnection fees charged by Czech mobile operators to other networks. The statement claims the Czech rates are the second highest in the EU.
Source: ČTK

Czech farmers say no to EU milk strike
The Agrarian Chamber said yesterday Czech milk farmers would not join a strike launched last week by their French colleagues, which has since spread to Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Source: ČTK

EC: EU economy will bounce back in H2
The EU economy is in recovery from the recession, according to a statement yesterday from the European Commission, which expects GDP in the second half of 2009 to exceed the result in Q2. The EC believes that Germany, the main destination for Czech exports, should see one of the highest growth rates.
Source: ČTK

Czech retail sales in 10-month tumble
In the tenth consecutive monthly drop, Czech retail revenue in July was 4.9% lower than one year earlier, the Czech Statistical Office said yesterday. The July loss represents 3.1% even after seasonal adjustment.
Source: E15 8

Doosan to buy Škoda Power
Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will take over Czech turbine manufacturer Škoda Power by the end of the year under a new agreement with Appian Group. The acquisition will cost some EUR 450 million (CZK 11.5 billion).
Source: HN 15, Právo 14

Tesco union threatens strike
The trade union of Tesco Stores ČR declared a strike alert last night over alleged staff shortages and changes in the retailer’s remuneration system.
Source: ČTK

Strong crown, recession hit glass and china firms
A report published by the Czech Association of Glass and Ceramic Industry says the sector’s orders last year declined by 5.6% to CZK 49.8 billion. The slump was attributed to the strong crown, competition from Asia manufacturers and global recession.
Source: ČTK

Škoda unveils luxury Superb wagons
Škoda Auto announced yesterday that its cheapest new Superb Combi, which has a 1.4 TSI/92 kW engine, will cost CZK 589,900, some CZK 20,000 more than the lowest-priced saloon version of the vehicle. The most expensive new Superb, with a 3.6 FSI V6 4×4/118 kW engine, has a price-tag CZK 1,071,900. Production of the deluxe cars will start in October.
Source: most Czech press

Ex-Škodaexport goes bust
A court yesterday ordered the liquidation of PA Export (formerly Škodaexport) over its unpaid debt totalling CZK 879 million. The company has been in administration since mid-June.
Source: ČTK

AAA Auto plans Hungary comeback
Used car dealer AAA Auto may re-open a branch in Budapest next year, CEO Anthony Denny told ČTK yesterday. The Prague-listed company pulled out of Poland and Romania in 2008 and closed all nine of its branches in Hungary earlier this year, citing a decline in demand.
Source: ČTK

E15: ČR might host laser research centre
E15 reports that the Czech Republic is ahead in the bidding to host a EUR 260 million (CZK 6.5 billion) laser research centre that is part of the lucrative EU project Extreme Light Infrastructure. Results of the tender won’t be known until mid-2010. The Czech centre planned for Dolní Břežany would have be ready by 2015.
Source: E15 1, 10

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