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Breakfast Brief – 24 March 2009

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Table of Contents

PM: Elections by summer if government fails confidence vote
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said if the cabinet loses a vote of confidence in the lower house today and ODS is not able to form a government with a majority of deputies (excluding the Communists), it would call for new elections as early as summer. Topolánek said he would expect President Václav Klaus to ask ODS to form a new cabinet.
most Czech press

Ministry: Real estate companies responsible for Janov unrest
The Ministry for Human Rights and Minorities has blamed two real estate companies that own property in the Litvínov district of Janov for current social problems there. The ministry said in a report that the companies moved what it called “certain types” of people to Janov while the companies then sold the occupants’ original flats all over the Czech Republic at a big profit. The report does not name names, but two of the real estate firms that own property in the area were identified as Krušnohor and Haines. Haines is threatening to file a lawsuit.
HN 4

Ministry would penalise companies for offering bribes
The Interior Ministry is proposing to introduce penalties for companies that attempt to corrupt, including a fine of up to CZK 50 million and the loss of any state subsidies or orders for five years. The cabinet will discuss the proposal next week.
HN 2

PM presents report on alleged manipulation of presidential vote
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has presented a report to the cabinet on the alleged manipulation of the presidential election last year. The cabinet has proposed that the document be declassified.
Právo 4

Sanitary office: HIV-positive dentist didn’t violate rules
The regional sanitary station in Prague said yesterday that an Albanian dentist who is HIV positive and currently undergoing deportation proceedings did not violate any hygiene rules. HIV-positive individuals are only banned from performing activities that are determined to be high risk.
Právo 4, ČTK

Cabinet approves new police oversight agency
The cabinet yesterday approved a new independent inspection office to be charged with investigating the police as well as the customs and prison services. The office would be independent of the ministries and answer directly to the cabinet. ČSSD Shadow Interior Minister František Bublan said he objected to a provision whereby the inspectorate would oversee investigations of its own staff. If approved by parliament, the new office would start next year.
MfD A4, Právo 4

Krejčíř may have to leave South Africa
Radovan Krejčíř, who is wanted on fraud charges and is now living in South Africa, could face deportation from that country on charges he used a fake passport on his arrival. Other possible penalties include a fine or imprisonment. South Africa refused to extradite Krejčíř to the Czech Republic a year ago after the Czechs requested his return.
HN 1, 5

Rath to write letter to Obama on radar
Central Bohemia governor David Rath is planning to ask US President Barack Obama in a letter to drop a proposal to build a US anti-missile radar base in the Brdy military area, arguing that Brdy is an important nature preserve.

NGO: Motorway in České středohoří delayed
The Czech non-governmental organisation Děti Země said a planned motorway across the České středohoří, north-west of Prague, will not be completed by the end of 2010 as planned due to delays in building a tunnel at Radejčín. The state has not yet acquired all of the necessary land or won approval to cut down trees in the area, Road and Motorway Directorate said.

Prima files lawsuit against ministry
TV station Prima has filed a lawsuit against Ministry of Trade and Industry demanding that the Czech Trade Inspectorate (ČOI) publish information on petrol stations that the office fined for selling low-quality fuel. The ministry decided earlier this year that the ČOI does not have to publish the information.

Olympic committee may raise medal bonus
The Czech Olympic Committee is considering raising the bonus paid out to Olympic gold medalists to CZK 1.5 million from the current CZK 1 million. Silver and bronze medalists would also get more money.
E15 1, 32

Time Warner acquires Nova parent CME
Time Warner has acquired a 31% stake in CME, the owner of commercial television station Nova, for almost CZK 5 billion. CME is planning to launch a number of new stations, including an MTV music channel and a theme channel with foreign films and shows.
most Czech press

Developer ECM posts giant loss
Property developer ECM Real Estate Investments posted a loss of EUR 92.1 million, or around CZK 2.5 billion, in 2008, down from a net profit of EUR 25.6 million a year earlier. The loss was blamed on a revaluation of the company’s City Tower, City Empiria, Epoque Residential, City Deco and City Element projects.
HN 19,, ČTK

Four bidders in competition to buy ČSA
Unimex-Travel Service consortium, Air France-KLM, Darofan from the Aeroflot group, and Odien AV III all submitted bids by the Monday deadline to compete to buy a 91.51% stake in Czech Airlines, the Finance Ministry said. Experts said they had expected more applicants.
most Czech press

January industrial output plunges 23.3%
Czech industrial output in January plummeted 23.3% year-on-year, its fourth monthly fall in a row, according to the Czech Statistical Office. The office said construction output fell 11.1%. Industry was pulled lower by a plunge in vehicle production, which was down by a third in January. Analysts said they expect industrial output for the year to fall 6%, while Raiffeisenbank analyst Pavel Mertlík said he thinks the drop could be as much as 12%.
most Czech press

Škoda Auto net profit falls by a third
Carmaker Škoda Auto’s net profit in 2008 fell by a third year-on-year to CZK 10.8 billion, while revenue shrank 9.8% to CZK 200.2 billion. The company sold a record 674,500 cars during the year, up more than 7% from 2007. The carmaker is planning to produce a new model in 2011 that would be smaller than the Fabia.
most Czech press

Prague stocks rise nearly 5% on CME
The main PX share index on Monday rose by 4.78% to 764.9, its highest level in more than a month. Shares of media group CME, which owns TV Nova, rocketed 37.8% to CZK 255.7, following news that American media giant Time Warner would acquire a 31% stake in the company.

Zentiva sees net profit plunge in 2008
Pharmaceuticals firm Zentiva saw its net profit in 2008 fall 32.9% year-on-year to CZK 948 million. Revenue rose 10.2% to CZK 18.4 billion, thanks mainly to higher sales in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Právo 18, HN 16, ČTK

FinMin calls tender to sell Tanari debt
The Finance Ministry has launched a public tender to sell CZK 293.5 million worth of debt held by the České Budějovice-based firm Tanari.

Sporting goods stores see strong winter sales
Sporting goods stores recorded a successful winter season thanks mainly to favourable weather conditions. Representatives of larger stores said revenues this winter were better than in the previous two years. Czech families on average spend CZK 23,220 a year on sports equipment, according to research carried out by Incoma and GfK Praha.
E15 8

Prague Airport offers new connections
Airlines servicing Prague Airport are offering several new destinations on their summer schedules, valid as of Sunday, including to Eindhoven, Forli, Ibiza, Corfu, Malmö and Zakinthos. Two more destinations in the Middle Asia will be announced Thursday.
E15 12

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