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Breakfast Brief – 24 February 2009

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Abbas, Klaus agree on Middle East peace talks

The Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinian territories must continue and result in the existence of two countries, Israel and Palestine, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in Prague yesterday. Czech President Václav Klaus said it would be a mistake to forget what has been done so far and bring the negotiations back to the beginning under a new Israeli government.

most Czech press

Langer threatens to close football matches to public

Interior Minister Ivan Langer has threatened to close stadiums of football clubs that cannot handle their fans during matches in response to yesterday’s riot of Baník Ostrava fans in Brno. The leader of the opposition, Jiří Paroubek, said he will pursue laws to return police back to football matches.

most Czech press

Vondra: Middle East peace process priority for EU

Deputy PM for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said yesterday in Brussels that the EU’s cooperation with a possible Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, would have a rough start but that the EU’s priority is to continue with the Middle East peace process.


Prostitutes earn total of CZK 9bn a year

The Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) estimates Czech prostitutes earn a total of around CZK 9 billion a year and constitute 0.2% of the country’s overall economic output. Jiří Vopravil of the ČSÚ said the number of prostitutes has not changed in the past five years and hovers between 9,000-10,000 women.

LN 1, 4

Czech businessman arrested in Mongolia

Jan Mracký, the Czech owner of a job agency offering employment to Mongolians, was arrested in Mongolia at the end of January and charged with fraud because 12 Mongolians for whom he arranged jobs in the ČR did not get working permits. He faces 5-10 years imprisonment.

HN 4

ČSSD wants Bill Clinton to attend party congress

The Social Democrats want former US president Bill Clinton to speak at their party congress in March. The head of the Prague Society for International Cooperation, Marc Ellenbogen, is helping to arrange the visit. Clinton will be in Europe at the end of March and early April.

MfD A1, A2

Bursík to hold talks on climate change in US

Deputy PM and Environment Minister Martin Bursík will travel to the US in mid-March to discuss climate change. The Czech minister and his Swedish counterpart, European Commissioner Andreas Carlgren, are aiming to open discussion on a treaty to be negotiated at a UN climate summit in Copenhagen later this year.


New insurance company to open in ČR

The Health Ministry on Monday granted a license to GES Medical Care to operate a health insurance company in the Czech Republic. GES Medical Care, controlled by TV Prima co-owner Ivan Zach, will have a year to attract 50,000 clients to maintain the license. The country has currently 10 insurance companies.

HN 3

Anti-communist event opens in Prague

The multicultural Mene Tekel festival has opened in Prague with the goal of warning a younger generation against totalitarianism and commemorating the victims of communist suppression. The organisers, the Czech Institute for Studies of Totalitarian Regimes, Confederation of political prisoners, and the city of Prague, have prepared a series of events to take place in Prague in the next five days.


NGO: Prague City Hall quiet about zoning plan

Prague residents have until the beginning of April to raise objections and proposals concerning the city’s new zoning plan. The Czech civic association Arnika said Prague City Hall should be more active in informing the public about the planned changes. Citizens can see the plans at the city’s official website and the city hall’s zoning plan office.


Poll: Czechs trust their president

Czech President Václav Klaus remains the most trustworthy politician in the Czech Republic, according to a February CVVM survey, in which 67% of Czechs said they trusted the president and 32% said they trusted the government.


Czech deputy honoured with French decoration

KDU-ČSL Deputy Michaela Šojdrová has received the Grand Cross of the Legion, a French decoration, for her work in promoting relations between the two countries as the chairwoman of the group of friends of France. French ambassador Charles Fries will decorate Šojdrová 16 April.



Expert: German economy could fall 5%

Deutsche Bank’s lead economist, Norbert Walter, warned yesterday the German economy would fall more than 5% this year, far more than previous estimates for countries within the Eurozone. Aleš Michl of Raiffeisenbank said a one percentage point drop in German economic output would result in a 0.5-point decrease in Czech output.

HN 13, 17

HN: Prague Airport overpaid for runway land

Prague Airport could have bought the land for a new runway in 2005 for one-tenth the price it paid in 2008, but the director at the time, Martin Kačur, refused to sign a contract authorising the sale. HN reports the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised against signing the contract. The airport eventually paid some CZK 5,500 per square metre.

HN 13, 16

Crown strengthens on banker’s comments

The Czech crown rose Monday afternoon, reaching CZK 27.96/EUR, after Czech central bank Governor Zdeněk Tůma told Reuters the recent sharp drop in the crown and other central European currencies had been overdone. The weakening of the crown could reverse the current interest rate cycle toward lower rates, he said. The crown later weakened to CZK 28.38/EUR.

most Czech press

Náchod to sell brewery for CZK 150 million

The city of Náchod announced plans yesterday to sell the local brewery, Pivovar Náchod, to Liberec-based LIF for CZK 150 million. The Náchod brewery is the country’s 13th largest beer maker. Sixteen town officials voted in favour of the sale and 11 were opposed. LIF, which owns the Svijany and Rohozec breweries, wants to increase annual sales of Náchod’s Primátor brand to 200,000 hectolitres in three years.

ČTK, HN 15

Moravia Energo excluded from trading

Czech electricity provider Moravia Energo has been excluded from the market as it failed to pay deposits for pre-booked electricity supplies, the Energy Regulatory Office said yesterday. ČEZ, E.ON and Pražská energetika will provide electricity for Moravia Energo’s clients.

most Czech press

Tatra still planning to produce retro passenger cars

The Tatra Kopřivnice carmaker plans to go ahead with a project to produce original Tatra passenger cars on modern chassis. The first model to appear will be the T87, built on a Subaru Outback chassis. Tatra says the date of the launch will depend on the market situation. The company is also cooperating with Tomas Bata University in Zlín, where students are working on designs for future models.

HN 16

Penta to enlarge Letiště Vodochody for international flights

Letiště Vodochody, owned by Penta investment group, has filed plans to build more runways and enlarge capacity. Company chief Martin Kačur said the aim is to make the airport suitable for handling international charter and low-cost carriers.

E15 1, 4

Škoda Holding doubles profit in 2007

Czech engineering company Škoda Holding generated net profit of CZK 3.168 billion in 2007, almost double the figure in 2006 and up from last year’s estimated net of over CZK 1 billion. The company’s statement is consistent with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).


Jungmannova Plaza office centre sold to German fund

Germany’s real estate fund Deka Immobilien has bought the Jungmannova Plaza office centre in central Prague for EUR 40 million (some CZK 1.15 billion) from Austrian real estate and investment company Immoeast. King Sturge analyst Dušan Šťastník told ČTK that Jungmannova Plaza ranks among the best office buildings on the market.


Source: Vodafone to offer music downloads

Vodafone is expected today to launch a new service allowing customers to download music directly onto their mobile phones and computers. The service is expected to involve the largest Czech music download company One song will cost from CZK 15-35. T-Mobile began offering a similar service in February 2007.

E 15 8, 9

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