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Breakfast Brief – 27 February 2009

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Press: Obama will visit Prague 4 April

Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, Hospodářské noviny reports that US President Barack Obama will likely pay a short visit to Prague on 4 April after attending a G20 summit in London and a NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl.

most Czech press

Presenter fired for dropping -ová in female names

Czech Television’s chief sports editor, Otakar Černý, yesterday fired Zuzana Kocumová, a former competitive skier hired as a commentator for the Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, after she ignored Černý’s order to use the Czech feminine ending -ová for all female racers’ last names.

most Czech press

Kocáb considering Chomutov stay

Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb is considering accepting Chomutov’s offer to live for a week in housing occupied by the “socially unadaptable”. The minister and town officials have been sparring over Chomutov’s handling of rent-delinquent residents, usually jobless Roma. Kocáb pledged to seek a suitable date for the stay but said he would need internet access and facilities for his staff. Chomutov Mayor Ivana Řápková, who made the offer, said she is glad the minister “finally came around”.

most Czech press

US financing Czech science

The US Army has signed a contract with the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) for guidance software for unmanned surveillance aircraft. ČVUT Professor Vladimír Mařík said the Obama administration plans to double its investment in foreign research not connected to the proposed US radar base on Czech soil. Another Czech-American contract involves ČVUT-developed communication technologies to eliminate illegal attempts to penetrate a network.

HN 3

Amateur footballer sentenced for disabling opponent

Aleš Sokolík, a 22-year-old member of the Bartošovice village league football club, was given six months probation, banned from playing for a two and a half years and ordered to pay CZK 40,000 in damages for breaking an opponent’s leg during a match. Radim Výtisk from the Jistebník club was granted a disability pension due to the injury.

HN 5, Právo 1, 8

Rath offering up to CZK 100,000 pay to dentists

Central Bohemia Governor David Rath is offering monthly salaries of CZK 60,000-100,000 to attract dentists to the region’s five hospitals. Dentists are in short supply throughout the Czech Republic. Rath’s plan could add CZK 4.5 million to the regional budget.

HN 1, 3

Kalousek rebukes Ostrava over fee decision

In reaction to Ostrava Town Hall’s decision Wednesday to cover medical fees in its regional hospital, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the ministry will not support transferring control of the hospital to the town. Kalousek termed Ostrava’s move anticompetitive.

HN 2, Právo 2

Harrach loses court battle for properties

The Constitutional Court yesterday rejected an appeal filed by Ernst Harrach for reversal of lower court verdicts denying his efforts to reclaim properties in northeast Bohemia once owned by his noble antecedents.

Právo 8, ČTK

Dienstbier sued by campaign sponsor

Non-parliamentary party Liberálové.cz has sued current Senator Jiří Dienstbier, claiming fraud in connection with last year’s Senate election. The party says it paid CZK 155,000 to organise Dienstbier’s campaign in exchange for a promise that he would take office under the Liberal banner, but instead he ran as a candidate of the Social Democrats.

Právo 4


Czech carmakers see signs of recovery

Škoda Auto will gradually renew Friday shifts over the next two months to meet a recent revival of demand, and Hyundai’s Nošovice plan might extend working hours or introduce Saturday shifts due to a rise in orders. The carmakers attribute the recovery to cash incentives introduced by some EU countries, most notably Germany, for people who scrap cars older than nine years.

most Czech press

ČEZ offers 15% rate cut in 2010

Power giant ČEZ will offer households and businesses a 15% discount in 2010 electricity tariffs if they sign a contract now, following a decline in wholesale prices. The Czech Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement but said prices are still too high.

most Czech press

KB to lose CZK 1bn in a single default

Reuters reports that Komerční banka expects to write down up to CZK 1 billion due to a major corporate client’s insolvency. There is speculation on the market that the defaulter might be power distributor Moravia Energo.

most Czech press

Ministry wants tender for e-toll chip cards

Transport Minister Petr Bendl wants to call a tender for a system of electronic toll chips to be used on Czech motorways, which should replace the current practice of affixing stickers to windscreens. Kapsch, the Austrian firm that operates the Czech e-toll system, was to have introduced the chip system in mid-2009, but after studying Kapsch’s contract the government determined the job could be put out to bid.

E15 1, 4

Unipetrol’s profit shrinks by 95%

Czech petrochemical group Unipetrol, owned by Poland’s PKN Orlen, netted CZK 65 million last year, 95% less than in 2007, despite an 11% growth in sales to CZK 98.1 billion.

most Czech press

State to sell property despite drop in prices

The government is looking to sell dozens of houses despite the recent drop in real estate prices. Among the houses for sale is a prominent villa in Karlovy Vary, the value of which had been estimated at CZK 50 million-60 million. If it is sold now the state would likely lose about CZK 20 million.

HN 4

Raiffeisenbank ČR defies crunch

The Czech arm of Raiffeisenbank saw 2008 net profits soar 39% year-on-year to CZK 1.4 billion. The bank finalised a takeover of eBanka in mid-2008.

E15 11, ČTK

Builders get fewer but fatter orders in 2008

Construction companies received 72,424 orders last year, down 10% from 2007, but the total value of orders was up 17.4% to CZK 309.4 billion, the Czech Statistical Office reports.


Danes and Belgians seen opening work markets

Denmark and Belgium will likely soon lift employment restrictions for Czechs and other nations which joined the EU in 2004, said Vladimír Špidla, EU commissioner for labour.


Building societies cleared in antitrust suit

In the final verdict of an 11-year legal dispute, the Supreme Administrative Court has confirmed that Czech building societies did not violate the law by exchanging business data in 1997. The firms need not pay a CZK 55 million fine imposed by the antimonopoly office.


Chemist chain to sue over fee waiver

Pharmacy Dr. Max plans to sue Czech regional governments, claiming it will suffer losses in the hundreds of millions of crowns this year because the regions’ policy of reimbursing patients for a CZK 30 prescription fee applies only to public pharmacies.


Textile firm Slezan winds up

A court will send bankrupt north Moravian textile mill Slezan into liquidation. About 60% of the company’s 634 employees have already received redundancy notices.


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