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Breakfast Brief – 27 July 2009

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Table of Contents

Senate passes amended smoking law
Restaurant and bar operators will have to label their facilities to show whether or not they permit smoking under a bill approved by the Senate Friday. The measure, passed by the lower house last month, also toughens sanctions for selling alcohol or tobacco to children.
most Saturday press

Kreuziger’s Tour finish a Czech best
Roman Kreuziger finished ninth in the Tour de France, which ended Sunday in Paris, the best performance by Czech cyclist in history. The 23-year-old Kreuziger finished 12th last year.
most Czech press

Communists offer apology to get into govt
Communist Party leader Vojtěch Filip told Hospodářské noviny that the party is prepared to repeat its 1989 apology for crimes committed under the former regime to ease the way for cooperation between left-wing parties. ČSSD head Jiří Paroubek has previously listed the apology as a condition for a cabinet alliance, but ČSSD deputy chair Zdeněk Škromach said it will not change the party’s opposition to cooperating with the Communists.
HN 1, 4

Prague 3 pays to lodge Roma near hospital
About 50 Roma, most of them from Romania, descended on Prague’s Vinohrady Hospital on Friday to support a critically ill 17-year-old relative. Prague 3 Town Hall is paying to house the visitors at the Pražačka camp ground. Dozens more relatives of the young man are reportedly coming to Prague from Poland and Germany.
most Czech press

Klaus blasts EU leaders’ ’empty’ statements
Pronouncements by European Commission President José Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are full of “empty formalities”, President Václav Klaus said in an interview with Lidové noviny. Klaus said he was alone in trying to stir up discussion at the EU summits with Russia, Japan and China which he chaired earlier this year as part of the Czech EU presidency.
LN Friday supplement

ODS senators urged to act now on Lisbon
Senators from ČSSD, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09 called on their ODS colleagues to submit the Lisbon Treaty to the Constitutional Court for analysis immediately or not do so at all. ODS senators planned to seek a second court review of the EU pact in the first half of August, but Senator Jaroslav Kubera said the submission could come as late as the start of September.

Senators back easing penalties for drivers
Senators on Friday voted in favour of a more lenient penalty point system for drivers. The measure raises the point level at which drivers lose their license from the current 12 to 18. The proposal will be discussed in the lower house after the autumn elections.
LN 1, 3 Sat, Právo 1 Sat

Police find body of second storm victim
Police have found the body of a 25-year-old man who drowned in the Vltava river in the Příbram area Thursday, the second victim of a storm that halted rail traffic on many routes and left roughly 150,000 households without electricity. Almost 5,000 ČEZ customers were still without power on Saturday night. Major insurers told ČTK damages would run to dozens of millions of crowns.
most Saturday press

TOP 09 party receives CZK 11m donation
Dušan Novotný, a Brno veterinarian, is the top contributor to TOP 09, giving CZK 11 million to the new conservative party founded by former KDU-ČSL head Miroslav Kalousek. TOP 09 has collected CZK 14.67 million in contributions, according to its website, about half its estimated budget for the fall election campaign.
most Czech press

Floods caused CZK 3bn damage in N Moravia
Last month’s floods caused nearly CZK 3.1 billion in damage in the Nový Jičín district in northern Moravia, Regional Governor Jaroslav Palas said Friday. Flood damage nationwide exceeded CZK 8.5 billion.

New tram fleet launched in Prague
On Friday the Prague Public Transit Company launched the new ForCity tram model. By 2017 there will be 250 ForCity trams serving the capital, replacing the ageing fleet of T3s.
MfD B1 Sat, Právo 20 Sat

Radar base opponents stage march
Several dozen people opposing the construction of a US radar base in the Czech Republic staged a protest march on Saturday through the Brdy military area, the prospective site of the facility.

Applications for Staropramen buyer close today
Multinational brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev today closes the submission of applications for purchase of its operations in seven central and eastern European countries, including the Staropramen brewery. E15 reports that potential buyers include private equity funds CVC Capital Partners and TPG. A-B InBev is seeking as much as USD 2.6 billion, but international analysts assess the value of firm’s assets in the region at USD 2 billion.
E15 1, 6

Casino operator seeks millions over online gaming rejection
Vlastimil Vyhlídal, owner of the Casino Kartáč Group, has asked the state to cover CZK 2.5 billion in profits he claims he lost due to the Finance Ministry’s rejection of his 2003 application to provide online roulette. Prague City Court last week confirmed a Supreme Administrative Court ruling in favour of Vyhlídal’s appeal of the 2003 decision.
HN 1, 17

Downturn could threaten language schools
Demand for language courses could fall by 20% to 30% in September as firms and individuals drop classes to save money, said Petr Pasek, vice president of the AJŠA association of language schools and agencies. He predicted many language schools will go bankrupt.

Most Czechs expect crisis to deepen
Nearly two-thirds of Czechs believe the economic crisis will deepen in the coming months, according to a new Eurobarometer survey. Czechs were slightly more sceptical than the EU average.

Flood-hit towns can seek low-interest loans
Municipalities hit by the recent floods can apply for loans at below market interest as of 17 August, the Ministry for Regional Development said Friday. Loans for infrastructure repair, ranging from CZK 8 million to 250 million, will be provided by the state-run Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank.

Bad weather cuts beer output
Aggregate Czech beer production dropped by 6.5% in the first six months of the year, according to preliminary figures from the Czech Beer and Malt Association. First half production last year reached a record 9.873 million hectolitres. Association head Jan Veselý blamed the drop on the rainy weather, which reduced business at outdoor restaurants and camps.
ČTK, Aktuálně.cz

Foreign film productions going to Hungary
The Czech film industry is losing business to neighbouring countries, particularly Hungary, which offer tax breaks for foreign productions, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. According to consulting company EEIP, foreign filmmakers spent USD 40 million in the Czech Republic last year, down 85% from USD 270 million in 2003.

Vodafone ups client numbers
Czech mobile operator Vodafone increased its customer base by 43,000 to 2.935 million in the first half of the year.

New cargo terminal planned for Ostrava airport
Slovak developer HB Reavis plans to build a new cargo terminal at the Ostrava airport by the end of 2010. The company says the project will create 100 jobs.

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