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Czech News in English » News » Breakfast Brief » Breakfast Brief - 22 May 2009

Breakfast Brief – 22 May 2009

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Czech TV, Czech Radio sue over NS spots
Czech Television yesterday filed suit over a National Party (NS) campaign commercial offering the “final solution of the gypsy question”, claiming it violates the country’s laws on racial defamation and inciting hatred. The public broadcaster said it will no longer show the far-right party’s ad, which aired once on Wednesday. Czech Radio refused to air the spot and is going to take similar legal action. NS officials said the party plans to sue Czech TV over the ban.
most Czech press

Chomutov mayor wants tougher debt penalties
Testifying yesterday at a Senate hearing, Chomutov Mayor Ivana Řápková, an ODS parliamentary candidate in the October general election, called for tougher penalties for citizens who owe municipalities for rent and services, ranging from community work to prison or expulsion from the town. Minority and Human Rights Minister Michael Kocáb refused to attend the hearing, saying it was part of Řápková’s pre-election campaign.
most Czech press

Survey: 37% of kids talk to strangers online
According to a survey conducted for the Our Child foundation, 37% of Czech 14-year-olds communicate with people they do not know on the internet, and 14% would go on to meet the strangers in person. More than a third of Czech kids aged 14-15 pass personal details and contact data to strangers online.
MfD A1, A3, ČTK

Child abuse reports up in 2008
Some 1,239 cases of physical and mental child abuse and 739 cases of sexually motivated child abuse were reported to social workers last year, according to Labour and Social Affairs Ministry data. Zuzana Baudyšová, head of the Naše dítě (Our Child) foundation, said the case load grew by about 100 over 2008. Unofficial estimates place the number of abuse cases at 20,000 to 40,000 such cases in the Czech Republic.
LN 2

Artists lead anti-Klaus rally
Several dozen people gathered at Prague Castle yesterday to protest statements made and positions taken by President Václav Klaus, including his views on climate change and Prague architecture and his close ties with Russia. A group of artists led by sculptor David Černý organised the demonstration.
Právo 4, ČTK

HN: Strapped KDU-ČSL shutting branches, cutting jobs
The Christian Democrats are running out of money and might have to close some regional branches, Hospodářské noviny reports, citing a report prepared by a party commission ahead of next week’s KDU-ČSL congress. The party plans layoffs and has reduced campaign budgets for next month’s European Parliament election and October’s national election.
HN 1, 4

Kalousek’s party to be called TOP 09
Rádio Česko reported that Miroslav Kalousek’s new political party will be called TOP 09, an acronym for tradice, odpovědnost, prosperita (tradition, responsibility, prosperity). The former finance minister reportedly has triple the 1,000 signatures required to register a new party. Ex-Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told Mladá fronta Dnes that he is sceptical about launching new political parties but they can succeed in times of major social change or upheaval.
Právo 1, 4, ČTK

Army removes barbed wire around US base site
Czech soldiers yesterday began taking down three kilometres of concertina wire that had been placed around the prospective site of a US radar base in Brdy following Greenpeace protests last year. Defence Minister Martin Barták said the fence is no longer necessary. Six members of Greenpeace arrived at the site to celebrate the removal with a bottle of champagne.

Smolek: EU might sue over lack of anti-discrimination law
Martin Smolek, head of the Czech representation at the European Court, warned that the country faces a possible European Commission lawsuit and fines amounting to hundreds of millions of crowns for its failure to enact an anti-discrimination law. He said the country should adopt such legislation as soon as possible and correct any flaws in the law later.

Poll: 40% satisfied with EU membership
Two-fifths of Czechs are satisfied with EU membership, according to a survey by polling agency CVVM. Fifteen percent of respondents were dissatisfied, and 38% were neutral. Young people, university graduates and ODS voters were most pleased with EU membership.

Small towns to protest tax distribution
Protests are planned in some 1,000 small towns and municipalities nationwide Tuesday to call for reform of tax revenue distribution. Stanislav Polčák, an attorney for the association of municipalities (SMS), said 49% of the tax money earmarked for municipalities goes to the four largest cities where only a fifth of the country’s population lives.

Tý Kocáb facing property seizure
Tý reported that the land registry shows a distraint order on Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb’s property. According to the news site the order was filed in 2005 by Liberec entrepreneur Radovan Alt and confirmed by the Prague 1 City Court. Alt denied filing the seizure order, and Kocáb said it arose from a misunderstanding. LN reports the distraint order has been cancelled.
Tý, LN 3

Moody’s downgrades outlook for Czech banks
Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its outlook for the Czech banking sector from “stable” to “negative” yesterday on the expectation of a sharp spike in unpaid loans. Czech banks performed well in the first quarter of this year but top executives say the sector will fully feel the impact of the economic crisis next year.
most Czech press

Czech Airlines CZK 1.3bn in red for Q1
Czech Airlines recorded a pre-tax loss of CZK 1.318 billion in the first three months of 2009, almost CZK 500 million worse than its first quarter showing last year. The carrier cited an “unprecedented” 12% decline in passenger numbers and estimated its full-year losses would total CZK 361 million.
most Czech press

World Bank sees 3% contraction in CEE economies
Gross domestic product in 10 newer EU member states in central and eastern Europe will drop by some 3% in 2009 but could start growing at the end of the year, according to a World Bank forecast. The bank did not issue forecasts for individual countries, but Reuters quoted World Bank analyst Kaspar Richter as saying the Czech economy is among the region’s most stable.
HN 21

Raiffeisenbank earnings up 15%
Raiffeisenbank’s earnings grew by 15% to CZK 341 million in the first quarter, the second best performance among large Czech banks behind ČSOB’s 22% increase. Jiří Matoušek of the Czech Banking Association said the results show Czech banks invested with care and keep a close eye on costs. The country’s five largest banks netted a combined CZK 9.715 billion in the first quarter., E15 10, Právo 18

First breweries debut ‘České pivo’ logo
Heineken’s Krušovice brand and Plzeňský Prazdroj’s Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Radegast and Gambrinus lines are the first beers to sport the protected geographic designation “České pivo”. The trademark was approved last autumn by the European Commission but implementation was delayed as breweries used up their stock of old labels.
HN 17, 22

ČR on Forbes list of affordable trips for US tourists
The Czech Republic ranked 13th on a list of 15 affordable holiday destinations for US travellers compiled by Forbes magazine. Hungary topped the list, which was based on currency exchange rates and the price of round-trip airfare. Sweden ranked second and Poland third.

Hyundai extends working hours
Hyundai’s Nošovice plant will operate an extra two hours four days a week due to growing demand for the carmaker’s i30 model, specifically designed for Europe. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech boosted sales by 12.5% to 82,000 cars in the first quarter of 2009, compared to a 17.2% drop in the European car market.
HN 20

Shoemaker Svit’s holdings auctioned for CZK 61m
A portion of property owned by Zlín shoe manufacturer Svit was sold at auction yesterday for almost CZK 61.5 million. Twenty of 22 immovables were sold, with the proceeds going to cover company debts.

Builder Hochtief in insolvency, claims error
Prague City Court has launched insolvency proceedings with building company Hochtief based on a complaint filed by Liberec firm Alga cz, which claims Hochtief owes it more than CZK 700,000. Hochtief says the proceedings were launched in error and that it never had a signed contract with Alga cz.

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