NEWS
Four charged for arson attack on Roma
Police have charged four men aged around 25 with attempted murder of a Romani family in Vítkov near Opava. Some of the suspects have confessed to planning and executing the arson attack on a family home, which injured three residents, including a 2-year-old girl who remains in hospital in a serious condition. Interior Minister Martin Pecina told Czech Television yesterday that the ministry plans to submit another proposal for the cancellation of the far-right Workers’ Party based on its alleged connection with the arsonists.
Source: most Czech press

Paroubek fights Aktuálně over racist quote
Jiří Paroubek has demanded an apology from Aktuálně.cz after the news site reported the Social Democrat leader had said: “People from other cultures shouldn’t get jobs [in the Czech Republic]. They’ll stay, learn the language and have children, and then there’ll be an ethnic problem.” Paroubek insists he was misquoted and is threatening to bring a libel suit. Meanwhile the Chairman of the Czech-Vietnamese association, Marcel Winter, called the reported statements “highly unfortunate”, and Jiří Habrštát of human resources agency Manpower said foreigners pose no threat to local workers or Czech companies.
Source: LN 1, 4 Sat, Právo 1 Sat, ČTK

Canada declines only three visas in first month
Canadian authorities have issued 2,503 tourist visas to Czechs and rejected three applications since Canada ended visa-free travel for Czechs on 14 July.
Source: Právo 8 Sat

ČSSD launches first campaign train
Social Democrat (ČSSD) leaders on Friday took charge of one of the 28 trains the party will rent for use during its election campaign. On the weekends, the small diesel units will offer free regional travel to commuters, with campaigning ČSSD officials aboard. MfD reports that ČSSD ordered the trains from outdoor advertising company Railreklam, which has been under police investigation on suspicion of evading payment of dozens of million Czech crowns to Czech Railways.
Source: most Czech press

Paroubek steps away from Communists
Lidové noviny reports the Social Democrats are distancing themselves from the KSČM as part of the election campaign. The daily quotes an article by the ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek stating that “the Communists must re-evaluate some issues in domestic politics” and that “cooperation between ČSSD and KSČM on a government level is currently impossible”. An internal party poll shows that 65% of ČSSD supporters do not approve of cooperation with the Communists, according to LN.
Source: LN 2

Plane defect strands Czechs in Crete
A Travel Service flight from Chaniá to Brno with 179 Czech returning holidaymakers on board failed to take off on Saturday due to an aircraft defect. The charter airline sent a replacement plane in the evening after passengers allegedly waited at a petrol station for five hours in 35 °C heat when the small airport shut down. This is the second time a Travel Service plane has proven defective in the last three days.
Source: Aktuálně.cz

Karlovy Vary will refund all pharmacy fees
Starting September 1, Karlovy Vary regional government will reimburse CZK 30 in prescription fees to customers of all pharmacies across the region, including those that are privately owned. Until now the refund was only provided by sole government-run pharmacy.
Source: Právo 5 Sat

Survey: Half young Czech men live with parents
53% of Czech men aged between 18 and 30 still reside with their parents, says a new survey by the Charles University and the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs. The survey showed that 11.9% of men and 6.6% of women over 30 continue to live at their parents’ home.
Source: MfD A1, A2 Sat

Czechs to send Charles Bridge statue to Shanghai fair
Charles Bridge statue of Czech patron saint Jan Nepomucký will travel to Shanghai as part of the Czech Republic’s involvement in the EXPO 2010 world fair. The original statue on the bridge will be replaced with a copy from May to October next year.
Source: MfD A4 Sat

BUSINESS
Janota says spending reform essential
Finance Minister Eduard Janota on Saturday called for reforms that would “very significantly” reduce public spending and “increase fiscal revenue”. He suggests increasing basic VAT from 19% to 20% and the lower rate of VAT from 9% to 11%. Otherwise, the country’s 2010 budget deficit could reach CZK 230 billion, or 7% of GDP, which would be “a very poor result similar to Hungary”. The central bank on Friday put the deficit at 5.1% of GDP this year, 6.4% next year and 5.9% in 2011, all well above the 3% ceiling for eurozone accession.
Source: most Czech press

SkyEurope stays afloat with wage deal, loses Vienna base
SkyEurope employees have agreed to defer the payday for their July wages in a bid to keep the bankrupt Slovak airline in business. Meanwhile, SkyEurope planes have been banned from one of the airline’s three landing bases, Vienna, because of unpaid fees. Vienna-departing flights will now leave instead from Bratislava. Flights from Prague are unaffected.
most Czech press

Analyst: Hope despite Q2 recession
Czech GDP in April-June was a record 4.9% lower than a year earlier, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Nevertheless, the nation’s total economic output was 0.3% higher than in Q1 this year, which Raiffeisenbank’s Helena Horská on Friday called “a sign of economic recovery”. ČSOB’s Petr Dufek said it might be too early to be optimistic.
Source: most Czech press

Czech tourism fares badly
The number of foreign tourists in the Czech Republic fell annually by 18% and hotel occupancy stood at only 50.9% at the end of May, according to a survey by CzechTourism agency. Viliam Sivek, head of the association of travel agents and owner of the biggest local hotel network, EuroAgentur Hotels & Travel, predicts that 70 of Prague’s more than 420 hotels will go bankrupt. The Czech Statistical Office reported a 16% drop in the total revenues of accommodation services in the first half of the year.
Source: HN 16-18

Private banks to offer export aid
A statutory amendment signed by Václav Klaus on Friday will allow private banks to provide exporters with government-subsidised loans, which until now have only been available from state-run agencies.
Source: ČTK

Faster money transfers expected
A law signed by the president on Friday will harmonise local banking regulations on money transfers with those of the EU. Starting from 1 November, Czech banks will have to transfer money in two days instead of the current three.
Source: ČTK

Westinghouse enlists Czech firms for tender bid
US company Westinghouse, so far the only bidder in the CZK 500 billion tender to finish construction of nuclear power plants in Temelín, Dukovany and Jaslovské Bohunice, claims it would use Czech companies for the project. Westinghouse has a list of some 30-40 possible local partners, and is in talks with some about their qualifications. The list includes construction companies Metrostav and Hochtief and turbine producer Škoda Energo.
Source: E15 1, 4

Prague income could drop
The tax income of the Czech capital may fall by up to CZK 5 billion this year, which is CZK 2 billion more than city officials expected in June. The mayor Pavel Bém released the estimate in a letter addressed to the Prague Public Transit Company explaining why the company should not expect higher subsidies.
Source: MfD B2 Sat, ČTK

Crunch prompts household savings
Czech households in January-March saved CZK 170 billion more than in the first quarter last year despite a drop in real incomes, according to figures from the Social Affairs Ministry.
Source: ČTK

Survey: Top Czech firms headed by out-of-towners
A Mladá fronta Dnes survey of the 40 largest employers based in Prague shows that only nine are led by a CEO who grew up in the capital.
Source: MfD A7 Sat