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Breakfast Brief – 21 September 2009

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Table of Contents

Senators to file complaint against EU treaty
A group of ODS representatives will file their planned constitutional protest against the Lisbon Treaty on 29 September, Senator Jiří Oberfalzer said on Friday. Several EU member states have criticised the Czech Republic for delaying the treaty’s ratification process last Thursday.
Source: Právo 16 Sat, MfD A7 Sat, ČTK

Vondra: Obama calls Prague visit waste of time
Former Deputy PM for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said in an interview with Lidové noviny that US President Barack Obama called his April visit to the Czech Republic a waste of time. The Czechs should ratify the Lisbon Treaty to avoid a collision with its European allies now that the Czech-US relations have reached their limits, he said.
Source: LN 1, 11 Sat

Clinton: Czechs still involved in US plans
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the Czech Republic and Poland are major candidates for hosting a new anti-missile system the United States plans to deploy in Europe and that the US wants to further develop scientific anti-missile research with the Czech Republic. Foreign Minister Pavel Kohout is meeting his US counterpart in New York today.
Source: most Czech press

Klaus to attend UN summit, go to Obama’s reception
President Václav Klaus left for a five-day visit to the United States on Sunday. He will lead the Czech representation at the UN General Assembly and give a speech at the summit on climate change. He is also to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and attend a reception held by US President Barack Obama.
Source: ČTK

Havel: Russia was testing us on radar
Russians were surveying how much Czechs still fear them, former President Václav Havel wrote on his website on Friday, commenting on that country’s disapproving stance toward the original US intention to station an anti-missile base in this nation. Havel wrote that it is a pity the US has scrapped the plan and the Czech Republic cannot complete the test.
Source: Právo 4 Sat, MfD A2 Sat

Prague metro station receives international design award
The Střížkov stop, designed by the Czech architect Patrik Kotas, has been honoured with the European Steel Design Award, given every two years by the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork to encourage the creative use of steel in architecture. Judges cited Kotas’s combination of steel and glass that resembles a whale skeleton. Altogether, 18 European projects were awarded.

Czechs reach Davis Cup final after 29 years
The country will compete in the Davis Cup finals for the first time since then-Czechoslovakia played against Italy in 1980, after Radek Štěpánek and Tomáš Berdych defeated Marin Čilić and Lovro Zovko 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in Croatia’s Porec on Saturday and secured a 3-0 lead over Croatia. The Czech Republic will play in the finals against Spain, the defending champion, in December.
Source: most Czech press

Man suspected of detonating grenade once ordered executed
The man accused of setting off a grenade in a Prague restaurant and hurting four people in early July was sentenced to death in the 1970s for having killed a cellmate, TV Nova reported on Friday. The man’s punishment was later lightened, and he spent 32 years in prison, the longest sentence ever in the Czech lands.
Source: ČTK

First subsidies for flood damages to be approved
A Regional Development Ministry committee has approved the first 43 applications submitted by flood-hit municipalities, to cover damage worth CZK 56 million. The subsidies now go to the minister for approval.
Source: ČTK

Klaus appoints 104 new professors
On Friday, the president appointed 104 new professors specialising mainly in natural science and technology. Education Minister Miroslava Kopicová said that this was the largest number of professors appointed in the last five years.
Source: ČTK

University professor plagiarised
Ivan Tomažič, a vice-dean of the law faculty at a university in Plzeň, has been found guilty of plagiarizing his dissertation work, which he defended in 2006. One of the school academics discovered that dozens of pages in the work have the exact same content as some of the academic legal studies. Tomažič told LN he might have to leave the school.
Source: LN 1, 3 Sat

Lobbyist Janoušek under investigation
A Finance Ministry unit that provides analyses of suspicious bank transactions has launched an investigation into the bank accounts of Prague-based entrepreneur and lobbyist Roman Janoušek, a close friend of Prague Mayor Pavel Bém.
Source: Právo 1, 11 Sat

FinMin survey: Economy to fall by up to 5% this year
According to a Finance Ministry poll of 15 institutions, the Czech economy will contract by more than 2.7% this year, but not more than 5%. Forecasts for next year say that the economy should grow by 0.7% or fall moderately. More significant growth is expected in 2011 and 2012.
Source: LN 13 Sat

Janota wants to cap deficit at CZK 157 billion
Finance Minister Eduard Janota on Friday presented political parties his proposal of anticrisis measures that anticipate a 2010 state budget gap of CZK 157 billion. Janota wants to increase both the 9% and 19% VAT rates by one percentage point as of next year and to cut the pay of constitutional officials by up to 20%. The cabinet is to discuss the package on Monday.
Source: most Czech press

ODS says yes to higher tax burden for millionaires
The Civic Democratic Party announced that it agrees with Finance Minister Eduard Janota’s plan to introduce a special VAT rate of 23% for people with a monthly income exceeding CZK 145,000. The rate would increase from the current 15%.
Source: LN 1, 3 Sat

Auto workers down by 19,000
According to the Automotive Industry Association, car manufacturers let 11,000 regular staffers and 8,000 external employees go during the last year, as part of cuts in expenses. The association’s president, Martin Jahn, told HN that the sector managed the crisis well thanks to Škoda, TPCA, Hyundai and suppliers benefiting from scrapping subsidies.
Source: HN 17, 18, 19, LN 1, 15

Transport Ministry lacks CZK 24bn for projects
Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka said on Friday that his department is short CZK 24 billion for construction scheduled for next year. The dates for completion of some projects have been removed from the newly updated schedule of transport works that the cabinet endorsed on Wednesday.
Source: ČTK

Toll fees to vary according to time
Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka will soon present to the cabinet three possible variants of a new toll fee system that would introduce different rates depending on the days of the week and the hour. The new toll fee system would come into effect next year.
Source: LN 14 Sat, Právo 7 Sat

Beer exports to Russia plummet by 43% year-on-year in H1
Due to lower consumer demand in Russia, the ČR’s beer exports there in H1 decreased from 161 hectolitres to a record low of 92 hectolitres year-on-year. Overall production and export dropped by 13% year-on-year.
Source: HN 20

ČD Cargo: Electricity prices too high
A subsidiary of national rail operator České dráhy refused to sign contract with the Railway Infrastructure Administration, which supplies both ČD and its daughter company ČD Cargo with electricity, due to high prices. At the end of 2008, the administration sealed a three-year contract with ČEZ for CZK 1,981 per megawatt hour. ČD Cargo continues to pay off electricity from last year at the price of CZK 1,570 per megawatt hour.
Source: HN 21

Česká pošta to electrify delivery bikes
In an attempt to ease the strain on its carriers and speed up distribution, the state-run postal service plans to purchase about 450 electrical bikes within the year.
Source: HN 20

Lesy ČR’s property sales questioned
The state-run forest company sold a recreational cottage in the Jizerské mountains to Ivana Petříková, who manages the contactor SMA. The house was sold for a below-average CZK 3.6 million, HN reported.
Source: HN 1, 4

Travel agency in trouble
Sixteen clients of the Holiday service did not leave for their prepaid vacation in Istanbul on Saturday because of the company’s unpaid debts to the air carrier, Tomio Okamura from the Czech Association of travel agents (ACČKA) said.
Source: LN 15

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