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Czech press review – Tuesday 20 January 2009

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Gas crisis could be over

The heads of Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz yesterday signed a 10-year contract under supervision of the two countries’ prime ministers. Russian PM Vladimir Putin said Gazprom has now been ordered to restart gas supplies to Europe, which should see gas coming to the Czech Republic by the end of the week. Czech Industry Minister Martin Říman said he would believe it once the gas really arrives.

most Czech press

Klaus urged cabinet to disavow Entropa

President Václav Klaus in a letter last Wednesday urged the cabinet to disavow the controversial installation Entropa by artist David Černý, the news site reported. On the same day, Klaus sent a letter of apology to Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov saying he did not think the artwork was funny or well done. ČR last night honoured Bulgaria’s request to either remove or cover up part of the installation depicting the country as a Turkish toilet, Lidové noviny reported without specifying how.

most Czech press

Cabinet approves foreign military missions

The cabinet has approved a modified plan on foreign military missions for 2009 that must now be approved by the lower house. If rejected, the country will have to withdraw its troops from foreign missions, mainly from Afghanistan. The shadow defence minister, Petr Hulinský (ČSSD), said his party would like to discuss the missions from the mid- and long-term perspective.

most Czech press

Zahradil to lead ODS ballot in EP elections

Jan Zahradil, the former ODS deputy chairman and head of the ODS MEPs, was elected to head the ODS ballot for elections to the European parliament by the party’s executive council yesterday.


Kocáb would vote to abolish communists

The future Minister for Human Rights and Minorities, Michael Kocáb, told Radio Impuls that he would vote to support a proposal to abolish the Communist Party of the Czech Republic and Moravia. The proposal was put together by a senatorial committee and will be discussed by the government. If approved it would be passed on to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Právo 3, ČTK

President to appoint new ministers on Friday

President Václav Klaus will appoint four new members to PM Mirek Topolánek’s cabinet on Friday, according to the president’s website.


Topolánek’s popularity rising

Czech PM Mirek Topolánek’s popularity rating has risen by nine percentage points from November 2008 to 30%, according to a STEM poll. STEM said the PM’s rising popularity might be connected with the Czech EU presidency. ČSSD deputy Bohuslav Sobotka was considered the most popular politician with a rating of 55%.

Právo 1, 2

Klaus unveils Jan Palach monument

President Václav Klaus unveiled a sculpture called “Honour to Jan Palach” in Mělník yesterday. The statue commemorating the self-immolation of student Jan Palach in 1969 was created by Hungarian sculptor András Beck.

Právo 3

Cabinet approves proposal on care for disadvantaged children

The cabinet yesterday approved a proposal that it hopes will improve care for disadvantaged children, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Nečas said. The new system will favour the family environment over institutions and strengthen the role of field social workers.



Cabinet kicks off Czech Airlines privatisation

The Czech cabinet launched the privatisation of Czech Airlines yesterday by approving a Finance Ministry document setting out the conditions of a tender for the new owner, which should be known by the end of September. PM Mirek Topolánek expects that five to seven firms will make it to the second round of bidding. The state owns about 92% of the company’s shares. The privatisation is expected to yield up to CZK 5 billion.

most Czech press

EU Commission: Czech economic growth to slow to 1.7%

Czech economic growth will slow to 1.7% this year and 2.3% in 2010, according to the latest prognosis by the European Commission. An earlier forecast in November expected GDP growth of 3.6%. In reaction to the revised estimate, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said he would consider lowering VAT on some services, including restaurants and construction work, from 19% to 9%.

most Czech press

Czech EU presidency: EU states should cut deficits after stimulus

The Czech Republic will submit a non-binding document at a meeting today of EU finance ministers suggesting that EU member states coordinate efforts to reduce budget deficits following a financial stimulus to help offset the impact of the financial crisis.

ČTK, HN 20

Sazka to sue Skanska over arena

Sazka, through its sister company Bestsport, plans to sue the largest construction company in the Czech Republic, Skanska, for overcharging in building the former Sazka arena. Bestsport, in turn, is being sued by Lefkosia, the company that was in charge of overseeing supplier prices. Lefkosia has not gotten paid and claims that Bestsport did not cooperate during construction. It is prepared to prove the project was overpriced by at least CZK 568 million. Skanska has refused to comment.

HN 1, 3

ČEZ to build two new power units at Dukovany

Energy giant ČEZ plans to build two new power units, each with a minimum capacity of 1,200 MW, at the Dukovany nuclear power station by 2035. The two units should replace the current four power units after they are retired from service in 2045 at the latest, Dukovany’s plant director Zdeněk Linhart said.


Siemens and ArcelorMittal pay workers to leave

The trade union at Siemens Kolejová vozidla has managed to push through a severance package that gives workers forced to leave the company from 16 to 20 times their monthly pay. ArcelorMittal Ostrava is offering employees who choose to leave voluntarily from 11 to 20 times the average monthly salary. In the first week 130 people accepted the offer.

HN 15

ČR will have more new breweries

Two new small breweries, Tambor in Dvůr Králové and Městský podorlický pivovar in Rychnov nad Kněžnou, will launch production in February, bringing the number of breweries in the ČR to 80. In April, the company Ross Holding will open a brewery in Chotěboř.

HN 15, 19

Concordia Lesov in bankruptcy

The Prague City Court yesterday declared Concordia Lesov from the porcelain and glassworks group Porcela plus and Bohemia Crystalex Trading to be bankrupt. The porcelain works is still operating and the management hopes to find a buyer for parts of the company.

HN 16

Globus ČR increases profit

Globus ČR, which owns 13 Globus hypermarkets and Baumarkt shops in ČR, saw net profit rise by CZK 66 million year-on-year to CZK 421 million in the fiscal year ending in June 2008. Hypermarket revenue rose by CZK 2.6 billion to a record CZK 22.7 billion.


České radiokomunikace to launch WiMAX internet in Prague

České radiokomunikace will launch a new wireless internet service, WiMAX in Prague, offering internet speed up to 5MB/s. The company’s marketing director, David Mašát, said the firm hopes that companies will form 90% of its customers.

HN 19

Czech Coal calls on ČEZ to withdraw lawsuit

Companies from Czech Coal Group have asked the energy company ČEZ to withdraw a lawsuit to ensure the company supplies of brown coal from the Vršany mine till 2055. Czech Coal says the lawsuit blocks other companies’ access to the coal reserves.

HN 19, E15 8

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