NEWS
Record heat wave hits Bohemia
Temperatures of 34.1 ºC and 36.8 ºC were registered yesterday at Prague’s Klementinum and in České Budějovice, respectively, record highs for 23 July. The extreme heat was followed by a storm which killed a woman in Hrádek nad Nisou. The victim was crushed under fallen tree branches as she walked in a park.
most Czech press

Minister seeks CZK 30m to upgrade flood alert system
Environment Minister Ladislav Miko suggested to the cabinet yesterday that the state spend CZK 30 million to improve the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute’s flood alert system and its communication with firefighters to more quickly inform the public of impending flash floods.
HN 1, 5

Football clubs lagging on security cameras
Citing lack of funds, the Czech Football Association has not met a promised 1 July deadline to install CCTV cameras at stadiums to prevent hooliganism. The installation should cost some CZK 55 million. Stadium security has been in the hands of football clubs since the start of this year. With the new league season starting today, the only clubs to have the CCTV system are Slavia Prague, Sparta Prague and Jablonec.
HN 4

Swiss police block Bém friend’s bank account
Police in Switzerland confirmed yesterday that they have blocked a Swiss bank account containing CZK 221 million held by Czech entrepreneur Roman Janoušek over suspicion of money laundering. Janoušek is a long-term friend of Prague Mayor Pavel Bém, who acknowledged the relationship but said he knows nothing about Janoušek’s business activities. Citing unnamed sources, Hospodářské noviny reports that two ranking Prague civil servants, Jiří Toman and Peter Ďurica, have access to the account.
most Czech press

Prague could face fine over Charles Bridge works
Jan Kněžínek of the city of Prague’s office of historical preservation said the city is likely to be fined over the ongoing reconstruction of the Charles Bridge. Preservations have raised objections about the use of industrially produced stones and are asking that as many of the original stones as possible be returned to the bridge. Such a fine would be paid both by and to the city, which owns the bridge, Lidové noviny reports.
LN 5

Govt to buy cars worth CZK 40m for army police
The Defence Ministry has called a tender for purchase and rent of 31 cars worth almost CZK 40 million for the military police. The tender comes as some 2,800 soldiers and civilian staff are to be laid off due to budget cuts. Ministry spokesman Andrej Čírtek said the military is trading in a vehicle fleet that dates to 2000 and that the cars will be adapted for police needs.
E15 1, 3

Czech swine flu cases up to 38
Another six cases of swine flu have been reported, bringing the total for the Czech Republic to 38.
Právo 1, 2

Law bans sale of dog and cat fur products
Senators yesterday passed an EU-mandated amendment banning the sale of products made from the fur or skin of cats and dogs. The bill now awaits the president’s signature.
ČTK

Toddler loses hand in mower accident
Surgeons in Olomouc had to amputate a three-year-old boy’s hand and spent half a day operating on his legs after the boy was injured by a lawn mower. The boy’s father is under investigation.
ČTK

BUSINESS
Crown reaches 2009 high
The Czech crown yesterday reached its highest point against the euro since early December 2008, firming to CZK 25.54. The US dollar fell below CZK 18. Economists say there is no obvious reason for the currency’s gains but said possible explanation is rising share prices.
most Czech press

Niedermeyer: Euro adoption possible by 2013
Luděk Niedermeyer, former vice governor of the Czech National Bank, told E15 the country could still adopt the euro by 2013, but the central bank as currently composed cannot be relied upon to address the issue. Niedermeyer said “Klaus’s people” on the bank’s board share President Václav Klaus’s scepticism about the common currency.
E15 1, 4

Billions proposed for express, regional trains
A new 10-year plan for railway financing to be submitted to the cabinet on Monday by Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka proposes annual state spending of CZK 3.9 billion on express train routes and some CZK 2 billion on regional routes. A tender for long distance rail providers will be called in autumn 2010. The cabinet is to discuss the proposal with the regions.
HN 1, 16-17

Unemployment likely to exceed 10%
The Labour Ministry and most analysts expect the unemployment rate to reach 10% within six months. Raiffeisenbank analyst Michal Brožka said that while the economy is bottoming out and could start growing again in the second half of this year, the jobless rate will probably continue rising until mid-2010.
Právo 15

Solar power sees boom in ČR
The combined output of Czech solar plants in mid-2009 was 80.2 MW, almost 50% more than in late 2008 and 24 times more than in early 2008. Czech company Ring Energy yesterday phased in 10,500 solar panels near Most in north Bohemia. The 2.1 MW power plant cost CZK 250 million. Three different investors will build large solar plants in Vranovská Ves, south Moravia, by the end of the year, covering 41 hectares of land and with a total output of 18-20 MW, making it the largest solar park in the country, according to the village’s mayor.
ČTK

Auto industry group: New fees cut into car ownership
The number of passenger cars registered in the Czech Republic dropped by just under 14,000 to 4.41 million in the first half of 2008, according to the Czech Automotive Industry Association. Some owners scrapped unused old cars after the introduction of penalties for failing to buy liability insurance and of environmental fees for the re-registration of old cars.
ČTK, Právo 14

Penta’s Privatbanka to enter Czech market
Investment group Penta will open the first Czech branch of its Privatbanka in Prague on 1 August. The bank, which has been operating exclusively on the Slovak market, will begin offering private banking services.
HN 19

Another travel agency faces bankruptcy
Prague City Court started insolvency proceedings yesterday against SPORTour, a small travel agency, upon a creditor’s request. Travel industry association AČCKA announced plans to rate Czech travel agents’ credibility to improve consumer protection. Tourism analyst Jaromír Beránek called the plan unrealistic and said the rating criteria lack objectivity.
ČTK

Electronic coffer system delayed
Launch of an electronic treasury system will be delayed by two years to 1 January 2012. The Finance Ministry wants to change the plan for developing and financing the CZK 2.5 billion programme. Project head Jan Zikl said the system, which is being built by a consortium of four companies led by IBM, will be launched piecemeal and each portion paid for only upon completion.
HN 18

Czech chemical firms increase 2008 sales
Revenues in the Czech chemical sector totalled CZK 434.7 billion in 2008, up more than 2% year-on-year in constant prices, according to the Czech Association of Chemical Industry. Exports accounted for 61.5% of the total. Oil refineries and pharmaceuticals firms saw the biggest gains, while rubber makers suffered a marked decline in sales.
ČTK

Plzeňský Prazdroj to sell bargain brands in plastic
Top Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj yesterday launched sale of its discount Klasik and Primus brands in 1.5 litre plastic bottles. Pivovary Staropramen has been selling its Měšťan in plastic bottles for years, and Heineken’s Zlatopramen and Starobrno have been on the market in plastic bottles since April 2009.
HN 15

Moravan Aviation facing administration
The regional court in Brno yesterday started insolvency proceedings against Moravan Aviation, an Otrokovice-based manufacturer of small sports aircraft, after a former employee said the company owes staff wages and has other outstanding liabilities.
ČTK

Counterfeit socks from China seized
Customs officers in Ústí nad Orlicí have seized a container with 200,000 pairs of faux brand name socks from China.
ČTK