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Breakfast Brief – Friday 23 January 2009

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Experts: Pact needed for ČR to take Gitmo prisoners

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg’s suggestion that the Czech Republic accept and try suspected terrorists from America’s Guantanamo Bay detention facility would require an international agreement, according to legal experts queried by ČTK. Under current law, the only foreigners who can be prosecuted and jailed on Czech soil are those charged with committing crimes in the country.


Kundera: No suit over informant story

Famed Czech-born author Milan Kundera said he will not sue the weekly Respekt for libel for publishing a story last year alleging he reported a supposed western spy to the communist authorities in 1950, when Kundera was a student. Jiří Srstka of Dilia, Kundera’s Czech literary agency, said the decision does not mean the author feels guilty.,

Court finds for landlord seeking back rent on regulated flat

The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a Prague landlord who is seeking CZK 200,000 in back rent from the tenant of a previously rent-regulated flat. The verdict could produce another flurry of lawsuits over the issue, as it seemingly authorises property owners to retroactively demand higher rents for the period since the rent-regulation law lapsed.

HN 4

Klaus authors book on Lisbon Treaty

A book by eurosceptic President Václav Klaus regarding the Lisbon Treaty will be published on Monday, TV Nova reported. The book, whose cover shows the EU’s yellow stars in the shape of question mark, aims to help readers better understand the treaty, presidential spokesman Radim Ochvat said., MfD A2

Pope confirms autumn Prague visit

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted President Václav Klaus’s invitation to visit the Czech Republic in late September, the Presidential Office said. The visit is likely to take place around 28 September, St Wenceslas’s Day. Brno Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle said the pope might also come to Brno.


Tram driver gets three years for fatal crash

Ostrava tram driver Petr Hroch was sentenced to three years in prison for causing an accident that killed three people last April. The District Court in Nový Jičín also banned Hroch from operating any public transport vehicle for three years after his release.

most Czech press

ČSSD dismisses Dryml from regional post

Social Democratic Senator Vladimír Dryml has been dismissed by party representatives from the posts of deputy governor of the Hradec Králové region and councillor in charge of heath care. Dryml was penalised for seeking compromising information about party colleague Hana Orgoníková last December, and for retaining the directorship of Vrchlabí hospital after assuming influential posts in the regional government.

most Czech press

ODS to spend CZK 40m on EP campaign

The Civic Democrats will spend CZK 40 million on the European Parliament election campaign this year, MEP Jan Zahradil, who leads the party’s EP slate, said yesterday.

most Czech press

MEP Březina to run for KDÚ-ČSL chair

MEP Jan Březina plans to run for the chairmanship of KDÚ-ČSL at the party’s congress in June, Czech Television reported. Březina will also seek re-election to the European Parliament that month but said he will give up his EP mandate if elected to the party post. KDU-ČSL leader Jiří Čunek has not said publicly whether he plans to defend his post.

E15 2 registered without Ganley’s OK

Declan Ganley, leader of the European party Libertas, said yesterday that MEP and former media mogul Vladimír Železný registered the party’s Czech branch without the consent of Libertas’s Brussels headquarters. Ganley disclaimed retaining Železný to help set up a Libertas branch in the Czech Republic.

LN 1, 2

ODS senators: Send Lisbon back to court

A group of ODS senators are considering sending the EU’s Lisbon Treaty back to the Constitutional Court to determine whether selected provisions are compatible with Czech law. The new complaint would only concern those parts of the treaty the court has not already declared compatible with Czech law., Právo 2


Beer production down, Pilsner sales drop

According to preliminary results from the Czech Beer and Malt Association, Czech breweries’ production output fell to 19.5 million hectolitres of beer last year, down from 19.9 million hectolitres in 2007. The country’s leading brewery, Plzeňský Prazdroj, sold 10.7 million hl in 2008, a 2% decline year-on-year.

most Czech press

ČSOB 2008 net profit drops to CZK 1bn

The ČSOB group saw its net profit fall to around CZK 1 billion last year, down from CZK 10.8 billion in 2007, according to preliminary results released yesterday. The drop resulted from the revaluation of the bank’s investment portfolio to zero, the move tied to the financial crisis.

most Czech press

Bank group head admits crisis worries

The head of the Czech Banking Association, UniCredit Bank CEO Jiří Kunert, acknowledged for the first time yesterday that Czech banks will likely be hit by the financial crisis, facing pressure to provide loans at a time of significant drops in exports and production. Kunert said banks increasingly fear corporate clients will not be able to pay off their debts as they lose contracts.

HN 1

Chamber chief predicts recession this year

The Czech economy will go into recession this year, Economic Chamber President Petr Kužel said yesterday, citing a significant drop in production output caused by sinking demand. The chamber’s prescription for the economy includes no further cuts in interest rates, greater tax relief for businesses and resistance to wage hikes in all sectors.


E15: Neocity pulls plug on CZK 3bn Prague project

Israeli real estate developer Neocity Group has ended work on its Neo Rivier project in Prague-Modřany, E15 reports, citing the financial crisis as the main reason. The company declined to comment. The CZK 3bn investment was to have converted the 12-hectare area of a former sugar refinery into residences and a community leisure centre.

E15 10

Record number of investment projects in 2008

The Czech Republic was involved in a record number of investment projects last year. Government economic development agency CzechInvest secured 213 new projects, 12 more than in 2007. However, the overall value of projects fell by more than half, from CZK 71 billion to CZK 30 billion, due to an emphasis on less financially demanding investments in research and services.

most Czech press

Power exchange prices hit record low

Electricity to be delivered next year was selling at EUR 50 per megawatt hour on the Prague Energy Exchange this week, the lowest since the power bourse opened in 2007. Brokers and analysts expect the price will continue to drop. Household power prices rose by about 10% this year, reaching their all-time high.

HN 15

Agrofert acquires dairies Milkagro, Olma

Agrofert Holding yesterday officially acquired Milkagro and its subsidiary, Olma, the country’s Milkagro Director Roman Beneš said. Agrofert currently controls more than 50% in Milkagro, which has a majority share in Olma, the country’s No. 2 dairy.

Právo 19

E15: Aero ending repair works on L39

Aero Vodochody is winding down general maintenance and repair operations on its jet trainer aircraft L-39 Albatros, E15 reports, citing sources in the military aviation sector. State-run Slovak firm Letecké opravny Trenčín is reportedly to take over the repair operations. A spokeswoman for Aero denied the report, and the firm’s parent, financial group Penta, had no comment.

E15 1, 8

Court acquits steelworks owners

The Regional Court in Plzeň yesterday dismissed charges against Petr Lukeš and five partners accused of moving assets worth CZK 800 million from VT Dioss Chomutov to a new steel tubes maker, Válcovny trub Chomutov, saddling VT Dioss with multibillion crown debts. The court determined that the 13-year bills of exchange VT Dioss creditors received in lieu of money are of greater value than the assets concerned.

HN 18, Právo 7

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