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Breakfast Brief – 22 July 2009

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Table of Contents

Football rep charged with tax evasion
The police anti-corruption department yesterday arrested three representatives of the Football Association of the Czech Republic based on a suspicion of failing to pay taxes on CZK 50 million the association earned from the sale of Euro 2004 championship tickets, sold through Fotbal Trading. Police charged Ladislav Malý, the association’s former executive board member and deputy education minister. Former association head Pavel Mokrý and Václav Chvála, another board member were released without charges.
most Czech press

Scientists protest budget cuts
Some 200 to 300 people protested on Tuesday against planned cuts in subsidies for the Czech Academy of Sciences. KDU-ČSL deputy head Michaela Šojdrová said after the party’s leadership meeting on Tuesday that the KDU-ČSL would not allow such harmful budget cuts.

Brits detain Czechs, Slovaks over fake marriages
The British police in Yorkshire on Monday seized 14 people from Nigeria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who were involved in fake marriages of Nigerian men with women from EU countries, according to local media. The UK estimates that the gang bosses made some GBP 15,000 (CZK 450,000) on each such marriage.

ČR has 29th swine flu case
Doctors announced the 29th case of swine flu in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. The latest infected person is a 6-year-old boy who caught the virus at home from a relative living in Great Britain. Experts claim the pandemic might arrive in the Czech Republic in autumn. The Central Bohemian factory of the American pharmaceutical company Baxter plans to start selling swine flu vaccinations by the end of July or the middle of August at the latest.

most Czech press

Rath: Swine flu a media bubble
Central Bohemia regional governor David Rath told Rádio Česko that unnecessary hysteria surrounds swine flu. He said it is probably a media bubble similar to that concerning bird flu roughly four years ago, which seemed to have been hyped up by the producers of anti-viral drugs that nobody needed and bought., Tý, LN 5

Deputy head: Paroubek should resign if ČSSD loses election
ČSSD deputy head Roman Onderka and an influential party member in Ústí nad Labem region, Jaroslav Foldyna, asked party leader Jiří Paroubek to resign if the ČSSD loses the snap election in October. Paroubek called the appeal “excessive and stupid”.
HN 1, 2, 3

Albright to visit Prague for Herbalife
Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will visit Prague for business on Friday. Several independent sources, including Senator Alexandr Vondra, confirmed in that Czech-born Albright will be involved with the Herbalife cosmetics brand in Prague. She will also visit a seminar on cervical cancer to be held in the Chamber of Deputies as part of the Albright Group’s consulting activities.

Extremists plan demonstration in Prague
Extremists want to stage a demonstration in front of police headquarters in Prague’s Batolomějská street on Thursday afternoon as part of a series of protests against the June seizure of 10 neo-Nazis.

Pravčice Gate not a wonder
The Pravčice Gate and Slovakia’s Štrbské pleso lake did not make it on the list of 28 finalists in the contest for seven natural wonders of the world the Swiss foundation New7Wonders, which organises the contest, said on Tuesday.

GDP prospects worsen
ČNB Vice-Governor Miroslav Singer told Reuters yesterday it is necessary to start reforming public finances now, otherwise the Czech Republic might find itself in a similar situation as countries now forced to adopt dramatic measures deepening the crisis. Singer did not exclude the possibility of ČNB worsening its May GDP prognosis for the year, which is currently at 2.4%. Finance Minister Eduard Janota told Mladá fronta Dnes that the latest estimate of the Czech economy’s decline for this year is 4.3%.
HN 13, MfD B1

University: Rent regulation should stop
Rent regulation should disappear from the Czech economy as soon as possible because a large portion of people living in flats with regulated rents are not poor at all, a new study by Miroslav Ševčík and Miroslav Zajíček from the University of Economics, Prague (VŠE) says. The solution would be gradual deregulation, lasting for a maximum of five years, and temporary social allowance for low-income tenants, they said on Tuesday.

Last Tomi Tour clients to return home Monday
The last clients of the bankrupt travel agency Tomi Tour will return home from Egypt on Monday, said Judita Smatanová from the Slovak insurer Union poisťovňa that is helping the clients to return. The travel agency probably received money from clients and partner tour operators just minutes before announcing its collapse last Friday although its employees knew already that the tours would not take place, the television channel Z1 reported on Tuesday.
most Czech press

Congress Centre facing bankruptcy
The Prague Congress Centre is unable to settle its debts, which total up to CZK 1.9 billion, and is facing bankruptcy. Prague City Hall, the centre’s owner, will probably need to sell some of the company’s properties, but wants to keep the centre itself, Prague councillor Milan Richter said on Tuesday.
MfD C1, C2, Právo 4

Big Mac in Prague almost as expensive as in US
The latest Big Mac Index in the Economist showed that prices in the Czech Republic are 2% higher than those in the US, after the crown weakened. In the summer of 2008, the price level in the Czech Republic was 28% higher.
HN 14

ACM Money to be tried over usury
The Prague 8 district court is to launch proceedings in autumn against ACM Money based on charges of mass usury. This would be the first mass proceedings over usury in Czech history. State prosecutor Marie Musílková said the charges include 46 attacks and involve 67 of the company’s clients. ACM Money Chairman of the Board Robert Valenta rejected the accusations.
E15 1, 7

AE&E wins EUR 35m contract in Turkey
The Czech unit of AE&E has won a tender to supply two waste heat boilers worth EUR 35 million to the Turkish power station Ambarli.

ČSSD to introduce commercial health insurance
ČSSD announced, as part of its election programme, the introduction of commercial bonus insurance that would cover above-standard services not included in regular health insurance. The party also plans to abolish the current medical co-payment fees.
MfD A2

65% Czechs say unemployment high
A total of 65% of respondents in a June CVVM poll said they regarded the present unemployment rate as too high, compared to 36% respondents in a similar poll conducted in June 2008. Respondents this year said it is possible to find work, but hard to get a good job.

Minister rebukes ŘSD director over party
Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka rebuked Road and Motorway Directorate (ŘSD) executive director Michal Hala for an opulent celebration of his 30th birthday, but did not take any other steps. The weekly Ekonom and the Czech Television reported in mid-July that the birthday party of the state officer, who is in charge of distributing money to private companies, cost an estimated CZK 0.75 million. Hala was reportedly able to prove he covered part of the cost himself and another part was covered by his friends.

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