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Breakfast Brief – 17 June 2009

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Table of Contents

Czech diplomat in Tehran summoned over EU election comments
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned a senior Czech diplomat as representing the country presiding over the EU to protest EU comments on the recent Iranian presidential elections. Former President Václav Havel told Radio Free Europe there are many ways in which the world could isolate the Iranian government and support those defending human rights.
HN 1, LN 1, 8

Scrapped Olympics bid cost CZK 69 million
The cost of preparing Prague’s now-scrapped bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games reached CZK 69 million, all of which went to the company set up to manage the bid: Praha olympijská. Around 60% of the money was spent on services, including various studies, while another chunk went to salaries. Prague Mayor Pavel Bém said the money was well spent as the city gained detailed planning studies as well as advertising from the marketing campaign.
most Czech press

Georgian opposition condemns ČR support for Saakashvili
The Georgian opposition has condemned a statement by the Czech ambassador to Georgia, Ivan Jestřáb, in support of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The opposition said the support, also expressed by the US and French embassies, enabled violent intervention by police against opposition demonstrators. The Georgia Interior Ministry yesterday apologised for the violence, which resulted in 17 people being sent to hospital. The Georgian community in the Czech Republic has also voiced its dissatisfaction.
LN 7

HN: Vlček’s mission to Middle East cancelled
A planned visit of 15 businessmen to Egypt, Yemen and Syria led by lower house chairman Miloslav Vlček has been officially postponed, though diplomatic sources of Hospodářské noviny claim it was cancelled. The mission was called off after an earlier visit to Gaza led by Vlček resulted in some mission members meeting with Hamas. Vlček also removed Jan Kavan and Vladimír Laštůvka from their advisory positions because of their alleged meeting with Hamas officials.
most Czech press

Prague City Hall chooses new monuments manager
Lidové noviny reports that ABL FM Services has won a tender to manage historical monuments, replacing the previous manager Prague Information Service. The paper reports ABL FM Services was the only company to bid, giving rise to speculation the tender was prepared especially to suit the company. Ondřej Šefců from the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) said he was concerned about possible damage to the monuments because of ABL FM Services’ plans to organise various events in them.
LN 6

Army selling idle properties
On Tuesday, the Defence Ministry offered 45 properties for sale, with prices ranging from CZK 20,000 to CZK 158 million. The ministry will sell the immovables, including a tank-training area, ammunition warehouses, and a baroque fortress, to the highest bidder.

MPs approve foreign military missions for 2010
The lower house on Tuesday approved a plan for deploying Czech soldiers abroad in 2010. The missions, yet to be discussed by the Senate, may cost the country as much as CZK 3 billion.
MfD A2, E15 2

Topolánek is ODS election leader in south Moravia
The ODS announced on Monday that its chairman, Mirek Topolánek, will be the party’s election leader in south Moravia. Topolánek’s regional rival from the ČSSD in the autumn early elections will be shadow finance minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
most Czech press

Czech businessman remains in Mongolian custody
Czech businessman Jan Mracký, who was arrested in Mongolia in January for allegedly taking money in exchange for promises of work in the Czech Republic, remains in custody. The original charge has since been dismissed but Mracký still faces allegations of doing business without the proper authorisation. The Czech ambassador to Mongolia, Václav Jílek, says Mracký’s company had all of the necessary permits.
HN 5

Holocaust conference to close Czech EU presidency
The last event within the Czech EU presidency will be a conference on the Holocaust to take place in Prague and Terezín on 26-30 June.

Janota: ČSA would gain from sale, but price must be right
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said Czech Airlines would gain from an alliance with a strong partner, but he said the government would not sell the airline at just any price. He declined to mention a specific figure. Air France-KLM and a consortium of Travel Service and Unimex are the two finalists in a tender that closes 13 July. The airline made a profit of CZK 499 million last year, but company head Radomír Lašák said he expects a loss of CZK 300 to CZK 600 million this year.
HN 15, 17

ČNB denies info on insolvency proceedings with Triglav
The Czech National Bank described as incorrect reports that the Regional Court in Brno has launched insolvency proceedings against the insurance company Triglav. According to the reports, the insolvency was proposed by London-based company Westminster Network Limited. Triglav now wants to take legal action claiming harm to its reputation., HN 15

ČNB: Banks succeed in stress tests
The Czech banking sector could withstand even possibly catastrophic economic developments, according to results of stress tests carried out by the Czech National Bank. Even in a worst-case scenario, domestic banks would not need massive support from their shareholders or the state, ČNB governor Zdeněk Tůma said Tuesday. Banks in April said 5.3% of loans were non-performing, while the ČNB predicted the number could reach 11.6% in a worst-case scenario.
most Czech press

Banks wary of new loans, seek more collateral
One in two firms say getting a bank loan has become more difficult in the past six months, while two thirds say banks are tightening lending conditions, according to a survey by Hospodářské noviny. Respondents said banks are asking for better collateral and requesting more detailed financial information.
HN 1-3

ČNB: Czech household debt at half eurozone level
Despite steady growth, Czech average household debt is only about half the level common across the eurozone, the Czech National Bank said in its financial stability report for 2008.

Estimate: Beer output dips 4% in Jan-May
Beer production at Czech breweries fell by some 4% on the year in the first five months of 2009 due mainly to the lower number of foreign tourists, who make up roughly a fifth of domestic beer consumption, the Czech Beer and Malt Association said Tuesday.
ČTK, LN 1, 15

Aero Vodochody 2008 profit biggest in six years
Czech aircraft producer Aero Vodochody made a CZK 401.6 million profit last year, its best result in the past six years. Sales reached CZK 4.2 billion.
HN 18

Czech Post to raise investment to CZK 2bn
The state-run Czech Post will increase investments to CZK 2 billion this year from CZK 663 million a year ago. CEO Petr Sedláček said the money would be spent on modern technologies to improve the quality of the services.

Subsidies on white goods end; ČEZ gets no fine
ČEZ’s offer to give customers a CZK 1,000 rebate for liquidating outdated household appliances and buying new ones has ended after two months. The anti-monopoly office said it would not punish the power producer for offering the subsidy only in two electronics chains.

Most Czechs believe they need to save money now
More than 70% of Czechs think it is necessary now to put aside some money for possible worse times ahead, according to a May poll by Poštovní spořitelna bank. Nearly 50% said a reserve of one to three monthly salaries would be the optimum amount.

Almost a million Czechs using Facebook
Roughly 980,000 people from the Czech Republic are members of the internet social network Facebook, including 520,000 women, according to estimates that the network provides to advertisers.
LN 1, 18

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