ODS congress backs Topolánek’s leadership
The Civic Democrats did not vote on a new party head during the 20th ODS congress this weekend after only 142 of 523 delegates asked for an internal confidence vote on current chair Mirek Topolánek. Topolánek said on Saturday that changing the party’s management before the elections would pave the way to power for rival Social Democrats and TOP 09. He also pledged to resign if ODS loses next year’s parliamentary elections.
Source: most Czech press
Klaus: Extremists to target ODS voters
President Václav Klaus said in a letter to ODS delegates on Saturday that extremists threatened to woo voters on some of the party’s traditional issues. The president encouraged ODS to provide such potential swing voters with positions on topics including the welfare state, increased control over citizens’ private lives, and the rise of leftist groups promoting environmental and EU-imposed reforms.
Czech soldier shot at Kosovo army base
A Czech soldier was shot at a military base in Sajkovac, Kosovo, on Saturday. The Defence Ministry said the soldier might have been injured by another member of the Czech contingent.
Another 90,000 vaccines to arrive in ČR
A second round of at least 90,000 vaccines against swine flu should arrive in the Czech Republic after 4 December, Health Minister Dana Jurásková said on Saturday. These vaccines will be administered to chronically ill individuals and healthcare staff. The first wave of inoculations will start today. Although experts say that the chances of vaccine’s negative effects are small, Jurásková assured doctors that the state will be responsible for possible side effects.
Source: ČTK, Právo 5, HN 1, 4
ČSSD backs away from cash-for-clunkers
The ČSSD’s Shadow Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told Czech Television yesterday that car scrap subsidies would not be needed if the market develops steadily. If car manufacturers fare badly, the Social Democrats will reconsider the subsidies after the elections, he said. Together with KDU-ČSL and KSČM, ČSSD pushed a bill through the Senate in September providing a state subsidy of CZK 30,000 for each new car bought under the scheme.
Source: most Czech press
ODS deputy blasts Topolánek
ODS Deputy Chair Petr Gandalovič criticised party head Mirek Topolánek at this weekend’s internal congress, citing Topolánek’s poor communication with party members and inadequate preparation of the ODS Vision 2020 programme. Gandalovič is one of several ODS members pushing for another party congress in February 2010.
Source: ČTK, E15 3
Schwarzenberg urges ODS to end internal disputes
Addressing the ODS congress on Saturday, TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg called on the Civic Democrats to stop internal quarrelling and acting for personal profit, warning that voters were opting for his own party. He said he was not happy about the problems inside ODS, despite the benefits for TOP 09, because a strong democratic rightwing party is needed for the country’s democratic development.
Source: Právo 3
New zoning plan excludes metro to airport
The latest Prague City Council zoning plan for the next decade does not include any extension of metro line A to Prague Airport, MfD reports. City Councillor Martin Langmajer said that priority had been given to the construction of new metro line D. The plan proposes building a tram line from Divoká Šárka, which would, however, end by the airport’s old terminal T3.
Source: MfD A1, B1, B3 Sat
HN: More cheating at troubled law faculty
Current University of West Bohemia students Jan Kocina and Barbora Baxtová, whose fathers teach at the scandal-ridden institution, enrolled in tertiary studies there despite having reportedly received zero points on their entrance exams, Hospodářské noviny reports. University dean Josef Průša would not rule out an administrative error behind the admissions, adding that he had no time to probe the two cases right now.
Source: HN 5
VirtualTourist: Žižkov TV tower 2nd ugliest building in world
Žižkov TV tower in Prague has been named as the second ugliest building in the world by international website VirtualTourist.com. The website published its second annual list of the world’s ten most unsightly buildings, awarding first place to Morris A. Mechanic Theater in Baltimore. The website criticised the installation of David Černý’s climbing babies in Žižkov.
Source: MfD B1, B3 Sat
Poll: Fewer Czechs focus on politics
New studies from Masaryk University in Brno and SC&C show the Czech public’s interest in politics has decreased substantially over the last 18 years. People are looking for fulfilment in their private lives and care less about public affairs, political scientist Roman Chytilek commented on the study.
Source: LN 6 Sat, MfD A1, A3 Sat
Drug control body cracks down on illegal online sales
Seven online stores offering prescription pharmaceuticals removed their illegal offers after being urged by web providers under a three-day international crackdown on the sales of illegal medication starting November 16, the State Institute for Drug Control’s spokeswoman Veronika Petláková said on Friday.
HN: Brokerage Atlantik up for sale
The fourth largest Czech brokerage firm Atlantik owned by KKCG Finance is up to sale for CZK 900 million, Hospodářské noviny reports, citing an anonymous source. Ernst & Young will act as a consultant during the transaction, the daily claims.
Source: HN 17
Antimonopoly office OKs ČD Cargo purchase
The antimonopoly office on Friday approved the acquisition by leading rail transport company ČD Cargo of a majority share in ČD Logistics after the takeover of Viamont’s 22% share, office chair Petr Rafaj told ČTK. The sale increases ČD Cargo’s stake to 56%.
Deloitte: Prague hotel market in trouble
A new Deloitte study says Prague hotels have one of the lowest profit rates in Europe, with average prices per room falling to EUR 45 due to declining tourism and greater competition in the hotel sector. The daily E15 reports realtors have seen dozens of new sale offers for Prague hotels in the past few days, adding the exact number is hard to estimate as most transactions happen privately.
Source: E15 1, 9
Travel agents must state full price under new law
A new pricing law has taken force obliging travel agents that advertise holidays to state total prices. The obligation so far only affects online advertising and leaflets, but it does not apply to catalogues printed before 18 November. Fines for misleading prices might reach CZK 1 million, MfD reports.
Source: MfD A1, A9 Sat
Czech road cargo up in 2009
According to Eurostat, Czech road cargo increased annually by 5.7% in 2009, while the EU average decreased by 1.8%. New member states including Slovenia and Estonia recorded the greatest increase of 18% and 15%, respectively.
ČD to launch taxi service in major cities
State company Czech Railways (ČD) plans to introduce a taxi service from train stations in major Czech cities, including Prague, Brno, Ostrava, by mid-2010, HN reports. Customers will be guaranteed a fixed fare, with ČD receiving a portion of the profits. A tender for the taxi service will be announced in coming weeks.
Source: HN 21
EU backs CZK 150m handout to milk producers
EU agriculture ministers have approved the distribution of EUR 300 million among milk producers in member states, allocating CZK 150 million to the Czech dairy industry, Czech Agriculture Minister Jakub Šebesta said on Friday. The financial aid aims to alleviate tough conditions on the milk market, Šebesta said.
Source: Právo 12
EC blasts ČR for unsafe airways
The European Commission warned the Czech Republic that it would bring legal action over the country’s failure to approve any of the regulations set out under the EU air traffic management paper Single European Sky, in 2004. Transport Ministry spokesman Karel Hanzelka told the news site iHNed.cz that the Czech Republic had approved the amendment long ago and it would come into effect at the beginning of 2010.
ČSA heads to receive CZK 4m in severance
The former management heads of Czech Airlines (ČSA) will receive about CZK 4 million in severance pay as well as a performance bonus, former ČSA president Radomír Lašák told Lidové noviny in an interview on Saturday.
Source: LN 1, 13 Sat
Fire grounds flights at Prague Airport on Saturday
Flights at Prague Airport had to be suspended for two-and-a-half hours on Saturday morning after local control tower cables caught fire, airport representative Eva Krejčí and spokesman for state air navigation services Richard Klíma each confirmed. Ten flights were cancelled and 17 rerouted, Krejčí said.