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Breakfast Brief – 20 October 2009

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Table of Contents

PM rules out changes in cabinet
PM Jan Fischer told a news conference yesterday that no minister in his caretaker cabinet would be replaced, despite the efforts being made by political parties. He said he would present the lower house on Wednesday with a list of priorities for his cabinet until elections are held next spring.
Source: Právo 1, 2, HN 4

Fischer: Choosing Czech EU commissioner 2-3 weeks away
PM Jan Fischer said yesterday that choosing the next Czech EU commissioner is still two to three weeks, not days, away, and added that European Commission President José Barroso has not yet sent him a formal request to start the relevant procedures. The Czech Republic’s priority with respect to the EU is ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, Fischer said.
Source: ČTK

Govt approves CZK 400m for film industry
The state will provide roughly CZK 400 million to support film production in the Czech Republic, according to a government decision yesterday. In line with the proposal, both foreign and domestic filmmakers would qualify for state aid up to as much as 20% of a film’s costs under certain conditions.
Source: LN 1, 14

Biden to discuss energy security during Czech visit
Besides the now-defunct plans to build an anti-missile shield, US Vice-President Joe Biden will discuss energy security during his visit later this week to the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, Biden’s advisor Anthony Blinken said yesterday. He said the planned Nabucco gas pipeline would probably be on the agenda. Other topics would include climate change and investments. MF Dnes is quoting unnamed sources as claiming Biden will offer modernised F-15 or F-16 fighter planes.
Source: MfD A3, ČTK

Guns used in Afghanistan insufficient
Defence Minister Martin Barták said the 25-year-old guns Czech soldiers are using in Afghanistan are ineffective since they often fail because of climate conditions. The ministry will buy 1,000 new guns from the Austrian arms maker Glock.
Source: HN 1, 5

Government CZK 33bn short on pensions
The Finance Ministry yesterday estimated it will pay out CZK 33 billion more in pensions this year than it took in through the retirement insurance scheme due to a drop in income from insurance fees of CZK 47 billion. TOP 09 founder Miroslav Kalousek said high unemployment was to blame for the weak retirement fund results.
Source: HN 1, 4

Czech embassies force foreigners to pay in cash
The Czech Foreign Ministry has defended a practice used by Czech consulates in Vietnam and Ukraine requiring foreigners to pay administrative fees in cash rather than to a bank account, saying it boosts transparency. David Ondráčka of Transparency International says, however, that cash payments are the riskiest in terms of possible corruption.
Source: HN 6

Plzeň law faculty to dismiss former dean, vice-dean
Jiří Pospíšil, the head of the Plzeň Law Faculty, has decided to dismiss former dean Jaroslav Zachariáš and former vice-dean Ivan Tomažič, the main suspects in a recent scandal involving faked dissertation papers. The two resigned their administrative posts but were still working as teachers. Two graduates could now lose their degrees since defending their dissertations since the scandal began.
Source: most Czech press

Speeding heads list of most frequent traffic offences
The latest data from the Transport Ministry has found that the most frequent driving offences include speeding, failing to obey traffic signs, not wearing seat belts, using a telephone while driving, not having the headlights switched on, driving under the influence, and driving without a licence.
Source: ČTK

Czech Airlines has new board chairman
Prague Airport CEO Miroslav Dvořák has replaced Radomír Lašák as the chairman of the board at troubled state-run Czech Airlines, Lašák said, following a meeting of the company’s supervisory board yesterday. Four of the company’s nine board members stepped down yesterday.
Source: most Czech press

HN: Fortuna to list on Prague Stock Exchange
According to anonymous sources, the betting office Fortuna, owned by investment company Penta, is planning to list on the Prague Stock Exchange, Hospodářské noviny reports. Penta’s spokesman Martin Danko and the exchange’s chief executive, Petr Koblic, did not confirm the report.
Source: HN 17

Vodafone CEO rated top woman in business
In a ranking by Hospodářské noviny, Vodafone CEO Muriel Anton placed first among 80 top female managers in the Czech Republic. Anton was praised for her leadership of the company during the economic crisis. With just 6% of top management positions held by women, the Czech Republic lags behind the European average of almost 10%.
Source: HN 1 & supplement

Mediatel launches cooperation with Skype
Yellow pages publisher Mediatel is launching a new service to enable Skype users to call the land lines of companies that advertise in both print and online editions free of charge. Mediatel has also been offering its online advertisers the possibility of including panoramic views of their companies since the start of October.
Source: HN 19

Louis Roederer opens wine shop in Prague
The French champagne and wine producer Louis Roederer has opened a “Champagne Boutique” in Prague, the company’s first around the world. Roederer export manager Damien Motte said Czechs understand and appreciate good wine in spite of their long beer tradition. He said the company could also buy a Czech vineyard if it finds a good one.
Source: HN 19

EU to support milk producers
The European Union is likely to earmark EUR 280 million from next year’s budget to help milk producers affected by low milk prices, EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said yesterday. The aid follows a request from 21 member states, including the Czech Republic, for an extraordinary subsidy.
Source: most Czech press

Passenger car output falls 4.5%
Czech carmakers produced 711,445 passenger and light-utility vehicles from January to September, around 4.5% fewer than the previous year. Lorry output fell 61% to 791 units, the Automotive Industry Association said yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Govt approves dissolution of state-run paper producer
The government yesterday approved the liquidation of state-run Brněnské papírny, a leading Czech paper and cardboard producer employing some 160 people. An official with the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the company was facing a poor economic situation.
Source: ČTK

Unclear law costing banks money
Hospodářské noviny reports that a law requiring banks to pay out a minimum of CZK 6,252 to customers who have had their bank accounts blocked by a bailiff is costing banks money since it does not specify that the customers can apply for the sum only once. The paper reports that if a bank customer is undergoing several court orders at once, he can apply for the money each time and at every bank he has an account with. Officials are now working on fixing the error and changes are expected to come into force in December.
Source: HN 20

Anti-monopoly office fines Agriculture Ministry
The anti-monopoly office, the ÚOHS, has levied a CZK 1.8 million fine on the Agriculture Ministry for mistakes in IT orders worth more than CZK 500 million that Telefónica O2 won without a public tender.
Source: ČTK

Elmarco to cooperate with Ohio university
The Czech company Elmarco, a leader in developing nanofibre materials and their applications, has signed an agreement to co-operate with the University of Akron in Ohio. Elmarco joins a global consortium working on research into filtration systems able to trap smoke, fog and aerosols containing dangerous substances.
Source: ČTK

Spending on advertising drops 3%
Advertisers reduced spending in the Czech media by 3.2% year-on-year to CZK 42 billion in the first three quarters of the year, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence.
Source: ČTK

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