NEWS
Topolánek: Government must fight extremism
Expressing concern over “mounting extremism,” PM Mirek Topolánek told ČTK he wants to add the issue to the agenda of today’s cabinet meeting. Topolánek said there is a link between far-right political activity and violence, citing a recent attack on a Romani family in Vítkov which left a 2-year-old in critical condition. Sociologist Ivan Gabal said Czech extremists have become more organised while the regions and central government have inadequately addressed integration of minorities.
most Czech press

Právo: ODS wants Havel in campaign
ODS would welcome Václav Havel’s support in its election campaign, Právo reports. In an interview with Saturday’s Lidové noviny, Havel spoke warmly of the current ODS and blamed ČSSD for the government’s collapse, saying he hoped voters would punish the latter in the October election.
Právo 1, 3 Sat, LN 1, 10-11 Sat, LN 1, 4, ČTK

Havel blasts Klaus over condition for new cabinet
In an interview with Lidové noviny, former President Václav Havel offered unusually sharp criticism of his successor, Václav Klaus, for saying he would only authorise a new government by someone who obtains the signatures of at least 101 deputies. Havel said requiring signed pledges was an insult to Parliament, comparable to communist-era police practices.
LN 1, 10-11 Sat, ČTK

Kalousek mulls forming new party
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Czech Television Sunday that he is considering leaving KDU-ČSL and founding a new centre-right party. Kalousek said that “socialist egalitarianism is really taking the upper hand” in his current party. He would not say whether the new group would run in the October snap election.
ČTK, Právo 1, 2 Sat

Klaus will not shake Lukashenko’s hand
President Václav Klaus will not greet his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, if the latter attends next month’s Eastern Partnership summit in Prague. Responding to the government’s invitation of the Belarus to the 7 May meeting, Klaus spokesman Radim Ochvat said the Czech president “will neither shake hands with Mr Lukashenko nor accept him at Prague Castle”.
LN 1, 8 Sat, Právo 11 Sat

League: 40-plus antisemitic Czech sites on web
There are more than 40 Czech antisemitic websites on the internet, according to Zbyněk Tarant of the League Against Antisemitism. Half of them are neo-Nazi sites, and the rest are run by radical Christian groups and extremist left-wing organisations, Tarant told ČTK during a conference in Prague on contemporary antisemitism.
ČTK

Paroubek: Campaign has priority over government
ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek urged his party on Saturday to focus on the upcoming election campaign rather than becoming too involved in the temporary government of experts being set up to carry the country into the October balloting.
Právo 1, 2

ODS to seek EP link with Tories
Jan Zahradil, head of the ODS delegation at the European Parliament, said the party would like to join forces with the British Conservatives after the EP elections in June. “We want to present an anti-federalist but pro-European alternative” to the dominant EP factions, Zahradil said.
ČTK

ČSSD postpones election of deputy chair
The Social Democrats decided Saturday to postpone the election of a new party deputy chairwoman until its next executive central party committee meeting on 13 June. Alena Borůvková is the only candidate running.
ČTK

BUSINESS
Minority shareholders seeking greater control of Orco
Orco minority shareholders are holding talks with an investor in hopes of securing enough shares in the development company to call an extraordinary general meeting and push through a new management programme. A general meeting is scheduled for 30 April, but Orco management said it will merely be a pro forma session as the company does not yet have audited results for last year.
E15 1, 13, Právo 12

ČD chief releases salary figures
Czech Railways (ČD) CEO Petr Žaluda has released information on the firm’s executive salaries, saying his pay reaches CZK 500,000 a month and his deputies get up to CZK 400,000. Žaluda told Hospodářské noviny the rail company has nothing to hide and said he wanted to counter reports in the tabloid press that his monthly wage was as high as CZK 2 million.
HN 1, 17

ČEZ cuts short subsidy for energy efficient appliances
ČEZ sales director Vladimír Vokroj said yesterday that the firm would offer a CZK 1,000 rebate to anyone buying a new, energy-efficient appliance only until mid-May. The power company announced last week that the campaign would run through 15 June, but Vokroj said high customer interest means ČEZ will more quickly use up the approximately CZK 10 million earmarked for the scheme.
HN 18

Self-pay petrol on the rise
Benzina petrol stations are due to start offering self-payment at some outlets this summer, and COOP stories will launch 19 self-service petrol stations this year and 100 over the next three years. Self-service was launched in the country last year at a Tank & Go station near Průhonice, and Pap Oil currently has three such locations.
HN 15, 18

Thousands of brand-name knock-offs found at Prague market
The Czech Retail Inspection confiscated several thousand counterfeit products during its Saturday inspection at Prague’s Holešovice market. The value of the goods is estimated at CZK 2 million to 3 million.
ČTK

Capgemini: Czechs pay more for bank account services
Client and account management charges are the dominant source of fee income for Czech banks and exceed those in other countries, according to the Capgemini World Retail Banking Report 2009. Clients of Czech banks pay an average of CZK 188 a month in such fees, compared to CZK 158 in the eurozone and CZK 156 worldwide.
ČTK

Škoda to make Superbs in China
Škoda Auto will launch production of its Superb model for the Chinese market at a Volkswagen plant in Shanghai. The car will be sold in China under the name Superb Hao Rui.
HN 15, 20

Kalousek: Deficit to stay under CZK 150 billion
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Czech Television Sunday that it should be possible to keep the state budget under CZK 150 billion both this year and next. Economists polled by ČTK gave Kalousek a mostly positive evaluation, praising his tax reforms and his focus on curbing spending and managing state debt.
ČTK

Czech firms collect nearly CZK 8bn from EU
Czech companies have so far been granted subsidies worth CZK 7.8 billion under the EU’s Enterprise and Innovations operational programme in the current budget period, according to figures from CzechInvest and the Industry and Trade Ministry. Most of the funds will go to manufacturers. Czech firms can obtain up to CZK 95 billion from the programme between 2007 and 2013.
ČTK

EU accession raised farmers’ profits
Czech farmers have been able to turn a profit thanks to EU funds, earning more than CZK 45 billion in the last five years after losing CZK 2 billion in 2003, prior to the country’s EU accession. Agriculture organisations complain that old EU member states continue to get bigger farming subsidies than new members. Conditions are not slated to be equalised until 2013.
ČTK

Student Agency to seek express rail subsidies
Transport company Student Agency wants to compete with Czech Railways for Transport Ministry subsidies for providing express train service. Student Agency head Radim Jančura said the firm could begin operating on some routes within a year of signing of the relevant contract.
ČTK

Tesco to introduce biodegradable bags
Czech Tesco stores will introduce biodegradable shopping bags to replace the current plastic ones starting this month. The bags will still be given out free of charge.
ČTK