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Breakfast Brief – 23 July 2009

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Table of Contents

Inquiry planned for ČMFS’s missing CZK 60m
The Football Association of the Czech Republic (ČMFS) will undergo an audit based on suspicions about the missing CZK 60 million that the association earned by selling the EURO 2004 tickets. Former Deputy Chair of ČMFS Jiří Kubíček claims the money left the account at UEFA, but never appeared in the finances of the association. Police on Tuesday charged Ladislav Malý, former head of ČMFS daughter company Fotbal Trading which was responsible for sales of the tickets, with evading tax worth CZK 20 million.
most Czech press

Squatters arrested following clashes with police
Police have arrested six squatters who clashed with police at Milada villa in Prague on Tuesday night. The clash took place after two of the squatters climbed onto the roof of the villa and started two symbolic fires, portal reported. Squatters ignored police orders to halt the protest. The squatters reportedly threw bottles at the police, causing minor injuries to one officer.
ČTK, Pd 1, 5

Kasík dismissed as Czech Radio head
The Czech Radio council yesterday sacked Czech Radio head Václav Kasík, citing the overpriced reconstruction of Czech Radio’s building at Prague’s Vinohradská street as one reason for the dismissal. Kasík has headed Czech Radio for 10 years.
most Czech press

Paroubek wants to cut political salaries
ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek yesterday proposed that the salaries of all public political figures be decreased by 20% during the economic crisis, with a 23% tax to be imposed on MPs’ bonuses. Paroubek also asked that the MPs’ impunity be limited to activities closely tied to their positions. Paroubek and ČSSD Deputy Chairman Bohuslav Sobotka intend to initiate debate on these matters inside the party.

Flood damage reaches CZK 3.7bn in Olomouc region
Floods this June caused damage of almost CZK 3.7 billion in the Olomouc region, according to information collected by the 29 affected municipalities. The floods damaged 817 households and 1,374 items of property and also claimed three lives. The Olomouc region had given CZK 5 million for immediate fuel, housing and food for the helping firefighters.

ODS senators would relax penalty system for drivers
ODS senators have proposed increasing the number of penalty points which Czech drivers start off with from the current 12 to 18. Under the proposal, drivers would receive a written or electronic warning after losing 12 points. ODS claims the current Czech penalty system is too harsh and there is no way of warning drivers about lost points. The Senate should discuss the proposal at the end of its July session.

ČSSD wants to protect Academy of Sciences
The Social Democrats have accused Jan Fischer’s cabinet of seriously jeopardising the existence of the Academy of Sciences through its proposed budget cuts. ČSSD will take steps to block the cuts during voting on the state budget so as to ensure the academy is not penalised. The Communists and Christian Democrats have also expressed their support for the academy.

Fischer plans science-IT cooperation with Israel
Prime Minister Jan Fischer is currently visiting Israel in a move to find more opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. The cooperation should take place under an agreement on joint activities in science and technology currently in the last stages of ratification. The agreement should support endeavours in industrial technology, leading to gains on the market.

Mock ODS billboards appear in ČR
A parody version of ODS’s election campaign billboard displaying ODS frontmen in bathing suits with the aim of targeting holidaymakers in Croatia has appeared in the Czech Republic. The slogan in the send-up reads “My jsme za vodou, a co vy?” meaning “We’re well-off. And you?” The author of the original billboard, photographer David Kraus, wants to file a complaint against the parody.
HN 4,

Court acquits three on piracy charges
The Prague 8 district court yesterday acquitted three young men charged with piracy. In justifying the acquittal, judge Ivo Skoupý cited a lack of evidence against the accused, who were alleged to have used the super fast computer network of the Czech Academy of Sciences to illegally download and distribute music, computer programmes and films. The cost of the piracy was almost CZK 40 million.
HN 5, LN 1, 4

ODS pledges to make top healthcare more accessible
ODS yesterday released part of its election package, promising to make consumers pay only the difference between the cost of higher-standard care or medical products and the regular standards covered by health insurance. At present, those who want higher quality care or products must bear the whole of cost of the items. ČSSD introduced similar plan on Tuesday.
HN 1, 5

Senate increases deadline for bans on extremist meetings
The Senate yesterday approved an amendment aimed to fight political extremism by changing the time limit for municipalities’ approval or banning of groups’ meetings from three calendar days to three working days. Interior Minister Martin Pecina, who presented the bill together with Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb, said some organisations submit the application on Friday on purpose.

FinMin: Budget deficit will hit 5.5% in 2009
The Finance Ministry yesterday released its forecast that this year’s public budget deficit will reach 5.5% due to worsened expectations for the Czech economy. A forecast in April had put the deficit at 4.5%. According to the Czech Statistical Office, last year’s deficit totalled 1.5% of GDP. Finance Minister Eduard Janota will meet with cabinet on Monday to discuss the impact of the new prognosis.
E15 2, Právo 15

Mortgage profits sink in H1
The total volume mortgages provided in the first half of this year fell year-on-year by 34.2% to CZK 40.1 billion. In the first six months of last year, banks sold mortgages worth more than CZK 61 billion. According to, unless the trend changes, this year’s mortgage sales will only reach CZK 75 billion, sinking to the level recorded in 2005.
HN 14, Právo 15

Czech munitions exports at record high
Czech military equipment producers last year exported products worth almost EUR 190 million in the best result recorded in the country’s history. The result was mainly due to the export of military vehicles by Tatra. National munitions imports last year plummeted to less than EUR 107 million compared to EUR 190 million in 2007.
most Czech press

OKD’s profit soars by 75%
North Moravian coal producer OKD has recorded a surge of 75% on last year’s profit (EBITDA) to reach CZK 16.7 billion. Company revenues grew year-on-year by 31% to CZK 40.2 billion. The results were influenced by last year’s favourable situation on the coal and coke market.

Senate OKs free carbon emission credits
The senate yesterday agreed to give free carbon emission credits to energy firms, provided they invest part of the money in modernising energy production. Opponents of the proposal say that issuing free carbon emission credits will cost the state the CZK 68 billion it could gain by selling them. Representatives of energy companies have also objected to the proposal, claiming it favours state-owned ČEZ.
HN 13-15, E15 5

Mexx Reality launches online auctions
Czech real estate companies will begin holding online auctions in an attempt to woo buyers. The very first online auction is set to be held by Mexx Reality on 30 July. The auction will take place after bidders have visited the property on offer. Head of Sting real estate agency Michal Pitucha said it was unlikely that 10 buyers would meet online to bid on one property in times when buyers are scarce and more properties are on offer.

Senate boosts fixed expenses for entrepreneurs
The Senate yesterday endorsed an amendment enabling business licence holders to take advantage of higher fixed rates on expenses when calculating taxes. The amendment will now be sent to the president for endorsement.

Travel agents want tougher rules
The Association of Czech Travel Agents (ACKČR) plans to fight for stricter rules for doing business on the travel market. ACKČR want to ban former managers of bankrupt travel agents from working in the field for a certain amount of time. The association decided to take these measures after last week’s bankruptcy of Tomi Tour, whose financial director and operator Václav Fischer was not registered as the company’s owner.

Sazka plans to complete new arena
Czech betting company Sazka is planning to finish building its arena with a capacity of 6,000 people on the grounds of the existing O2 Arena in Vysočany. The construction has so far cost CZK 1.1 billion, and another CZK 1 billion has been earmarked for the completion.
HN 16

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