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Breakfast Brief – 25 February 2009

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Rath threatens insurance companies over fees

Central Bohemian Governor David Rath threatened to fire the heads of health insurance companies if they issue fines to hospitals in central Bohemia for not collecting medical fees, in case ČSSD wins the next parliamentary election. The head of the Interior Ministry insurance company, Jaromír Gajdáček, said he would not hesitate to fine hospitals if he finds them breaking the law.

HN 1, 3

70 Roma fight in Brno

On Tuesday afternoon some 70 people had a fight in Brno’s Cejl street, where a large Roma community lives. The fight, in which at least 50 police intervened, stopped tram service in the city centre for about 30 minutes.

Právo 7, ČTK

Minister Kocáb has ‘no time’ to live with minorities

Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb has turned down an offer by both Litvínov and Chomutov to live in a block of flats populated mostly by Roma. Visiting the Litvínov neighbourhood of Janov yesterday, Kocáb said the prime minister would not let him leave Prague due to the EU presidency programme.

most Czech press

Extremists heading for politics

In a report on extremism in the Czech Republic, experts warned that neo-Nazis joined together last year and can be expected to continue efforts to establish themselves on the official political scene. The report said extremists have learned to keep within the law and that their popularity with the public is growing.


Schwarzenberg tomb will be returned

The Jindřichův Hradec regional court yesterday confirmed the claim of Alžběta Pezoldová from the Schwarzenberg family to the family tomb in Domanín near Třeboň. The court decision does not include the land surrounding the tomb.

most Czech press

Justice Ministry wants attorney Bašný back

Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil has asked for state attorney Adam Bašný to return to the Liberec court after he was dismissed last week for calling the legal case over KDU-ČSL leader Jiří Čunek a travesty. The ministry examined Bašný’s work and did not find any fault. Bašný’s superior, Jiří Křivanec, has refused to take him back and decided to resign instead.

most Czech press

Špidla: Great Depression won’t come back, but situation serious

There is no threat the Great Depression of the 1930s will reappear, but those who oppose state intervention in the economy or accuse the media of provoking panic underestimate the seriousness of the situation, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimír Špidla, said on his blog.


Illegal cannabis farm found in former school

Police have uncovered an illegal cannabis farm inside an abandoned school in the village of Slavětín in central Bohemia. Some 2,000 plants were confiscated and one Czech and one Vietnamese citizen were arrested. Energy company ČEZ helped find the farm by tracking illegal power consumption. ČEZ estimates its loss could reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of crowns.

MfD A5

Liberec region to give further CZK 15m for ski championships

Liberec regional representatives on Tuesday approved an additional CZK 15 million for the ongoing world skiing championships. The money will swallow most of the region’s reserve for unforeseeable situations.

LN 1, 2, ČTK

Bus drivers pocket ticket money

The Ropid company, which coordinates Prague’s public transport, has discovered that suburban bus drivers often fail to issue tickets and pocket the fare instead. The company carried out spot checks and said 2.8 million riders may have been affected. Drivers caught keeping the money face a fine of CZK 4,000 as of 1 January.

LN 1, 6


ČNB protests against misleading data in foreign press

The Czech National Bank on Tuesday protested against several foreign press reports that the central bank said contained misleading and inaccurate data on the Czech economy. The reason behind the reaction is the markets’ sensitivity to inaccurate information in the current economic crisis, the bank said, adding that misleading interpretations of the data could confuse investors.

E15 1, 7, MfD A1,B1

S&P: ČR likely to cope relatively well with crisis

The Czech Republic is likely to cope with the economic crisis better than most other eastern European countries thanks to its resistant consumer demand and relatively strong economic fundamentals, the international rating agency Standard & Poor’s said on Tuesday.

HN 15, Právo 19

Railway workers about to strike due to job cuts

The railway union association OSŽ has launched preparations for a strike, but the date has not yet been set. The unions are protesting transfers of staff from the railway infrastructure operator SŽDC to a private company, job cuts in the cargo transport firm ČD Cargo, as well as a shortage of money in regional transport.

most Czech press

RWE faces charges from antimonopoly office

The antimonopoly office launched proceedings against RWE yesterday for incorrectly calculating gas prepayments last September. The deputy chair of the office, Robert Neruda, said the higher prepayments meant, in effect, RWE was borrowing money from its customers. RWE spokesman Martin Chalupský disagreed, saying the majority of RWE’s customers set their prepayments individually.

most Czech press

Small businesses seek refuge behind market leaders

Small retail businesses, fast foods and real estate agencies are increasingly hoping to operate as franchises of bigger, better-known brands, according to Martin Jonáš, the head of consulting company Profit System. RE/MAX, McDonald’s and Žabka all confirm an increase in demand from small businesses this year.

HN 18

Flat prices to drop further

Czech property developers continue to offer discounts on new flats as demand remains low. Jakub Sedmihradský of Lexxus said his company is selling around 50 percent fewer flats than a year ago. Ekopol is promising the lowest prices in Prague; CPI, Finep and Central Group are offering free cars. Experts of the CERGE-EI institute said prices are likely to fall further as they rose artificially in 2007 and are still too high.

HN 1, 19

Aeroflot ends talks with Czech investors over ČSA sale

Aeroflot vice-president Lev Koshlyakov told that talks with three leading Czech investors, Penta, PPF and J&T, on a strategic partnership in Czech Airlines’ privatisation have ended unsuccessfully.

NWR raises 2008 net profit by 76%

Mining company New World Resources increased net earnings by 76% to EUR 352 million last year largely thanks to higher coal prices. Sales rose by 49% to EUR 2.04 billion.

most Czech press

Pilsner Urquell sales in Germany untouched by crisis

Plzeňský Prazdroj raised sales of its Pilsner Urquell beer on the German market by 23% last year and have recorded a moderate increase in the first two months of 2009.


Telefónica O2 increases profit to CZK 11.6bn

Telecommunications group Telefónica O2 raised net consolidated profit by 12% to CZK 11.63 billion and total revenue by 2.9% to CZK 64.45 billion last year.
HN 22, ČTK

Pardubice to reconsider airport terminal project over crisis

The Pardubice town hall and the regional authority want to assess thoroughly a planned CZK 1 billion airport terminal project. Regional governor Radko Martínek (ČSSD) said the global tourism decline would certainly hit the city and the region, and they therefore cannot make “experiments with no clear result”.


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