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Breakfast Brief – Wednesday 28 January 2009

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Ministry undecided over Russian warning on Georgia

The Czech Foreign Ministry said it would for now take no action regarding a threat by Russian President Dmitrij Medvedev to apply economic sanctions against countries that supply weapons to Georgia. There is currently no ban on Czech companies exporting weapons to Georgia and the Czech Defence and Security Industry Association is seeking help from the government.

Aktuálně.cz, HN 16

ČR reprimanded for failing to ratify ICC

The Council of Europe is criticising the Czech Republic for failing to ratify the agreement on establishing the International Criminal Court and is calling on the eight member countries of the Council of Europe (Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Monaco, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) that have not ratified the document to do so as quickly as possible.


Anti-missile radar could be tool in US-Russia negotiations

US President Barack Obama could use the planned missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic as a tool in negotiations with Russia to gain its support to put pressure on Iran, according to Dan Allin of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the UK. A number of other political analysts agree.


Hundreds attend Kaplický’s funeral

Some 500 people attended the funeral of Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický, held on Tuesday at St. Anne’s church in Prague. Dagmar Havlová, the wife of former president Václav Havel, read aloud a letter from Havel in which he said he nearly died on the same day and would fight to realise Kaplický’s architectural visions.

most Czech press

Children under 18 exempt from doctors’ fees

Health Minister Daniela Filipiová on Tuesday secured the support of Green Party deputies Věra Jakubková and Olga Zubová to revise the regulations on doctors’ fees. Under the new plan, supported by PM Mirek Topolánek, children under 18 would be exempt from paying for a doctor visit. The Senate will vote on the fees today.

most Czech press

Klaus signs new penal code

President Václav Klaus signed into law a new penal code on Tuesday. The code lowers the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 14, introduces stricter sanctions for corruption and plans the establishment of special institutions for sexual deviants and psychopaths. The penal code will come into force on 1 January 2010.

most Czech press

German press: Czechs a nation of ‘Švejks’

According to the German weekly Das Parlament, the Czech Republic, in its EU presidency role, is living up to its reputation of being a nation of “Švejks”. The paper calls artist David Černý’s Entropa a “Švejkery” and Czech Foreign Minster Karel Schwarzenberg’s diplomatic efforts in the Gaza conflict a “botched attempt”.

Novinky, ČTK

Yearly tram pass could cost CZK 10,000 next year

In order to offset lower subsidies from the city, the Prague Public Tranzit Company wants to raise the price of yearly public transport passes to CZK 10,000 next year. It would also do away with senior discounts. Monthly passes covering two city zones would cost CZK 550 and passes for three zones CZK 800.

Diag Human wants to complain to EC

The company Diag Human, a blood plasma trader which is in a court dispute with the Czech Republic, wants to complain to the European Commission and to the European Parliament over the proceedings. According to Diag Human, the Czech Health Ministry tried to compromise the independence of the appeals committee. The company is seeking a review of a 2007 arbitration ruling.

Právo 7


Aeroflot officially confirms interest in ČSA

The CEO of Russian airline Aeroflot, Valery Okulov, officially confirmed his company’s interest in buying Czech Airlines, in a report by Czech television yesterday. He said Aeroflot’s participation would help ČSA expand flights to the east, Prague would become a transit city for Russian flights, and the Czech Republic would gain access to cheaper fuels and other services.


EBRD: Czech economy will stagnate

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects the Czech economy to stagnate this year as a result of the global economic crisis. It expects the country’s GDP to grow by only 0.1%, significantly less than the 3% growth the EBRD projected last November.


New ČEZ offer could lower electricity prices in 2010

The energy giant ČEZ is considering revising a special offer for electricity prices that would guarantee customers a fixed rate in 2010 if ordered by a certain date in 2009. The company is reacting to a drop in electricity prices this month on the Prague Energy Exchange from EUR 60 to EUR 50 per MWh.

most Czech press

Debtors on the increase in ČR

According to Solus, the association that monitors personal indebtedness, the total number of debts to banks and telephone providers in 2008 rose by a third year-on-year to 1.2 million, involving some 750,000 people. Cofidis, a finance company, confirmed an increase in clients in the second half of 2008.

HN 15, 18

Crisis driving up demand for rental flats

The demand for rental flats in the Czech Republic has grown by up to 50% in some locations. According to real estate experts, stricter conditions for obtaining mortgages are behind the high demand for rentals, as fewer people can now afford to buy homes.


Small companies report sharp fall in orders in January

The Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises said a majority of small companies reported a sharp fall in orders in January. Some 42% of small companies reported a 30% decrease in the number of orders in January. Another 39% reported a 16%-30% decrease.


Kalousek: Tax offices to continue checks on businesses

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said tax administrators will still carry out random checks on Czech businesses to ensure they are paying taxes in spite of a recent ruling of the Constitutional Court against the checks. Kalousek said the ruling helps tax frauds.

HN 1, 2

Almost 700,000 airplanes flew over ČR last year

Last year a record 694,157 airplanes flew over Czech territory, a 6.2% increase from the year before, according to the Air Navigation Service of the Czech Republic. A total of 179,011 planes landed at Prague Aport, a 2.3% increase from 2007.

Právo 19, ČTK

Tipsport revenue drops 10% in 2008

The leading Czech betting company, Tipsport, generated an estimated CZK 5 billion in revenue in 2008, about 10% less than 2007. The global economic crisis and competition from foreign betting firms were reasons behind the drop. Tipsport is expecting to sell bets worth CZK 6 billion this year, owing to a newly launched online betting centre.

HN 16, E15 11

65,000 old cars pulled out of service in December

Some 65,000 cars were taken off Czech roads in December – a six-fold increase from a year earlier – because of the newly introduced eco-fees for registering older cars, the Czech Insurance Bureau announced Tuesday.

ČTK, Právo 17

Digital news television Z1 in financial straits

The digital news television Z1, which launched broadcasting 1 June 2008, has not paid some of its employees for several months and owes millions of crowns to its suppliers. Its Slovak investor, financial group J&T, promised to meet with creditors but failed to do so.

HN 1, 15

Lesy ČR spends millions on cookbook

State forest manager Lesy ČR has awarded a CZK 4 million tender for creating a venison cookbook to Ora Print, a company associated with infamous lobbyist Roman Janoušek. Hospodářské noviny today writes about a 2007 report by the Czech counter-intelligence service BIS that reveals suspicious marketing tenders at the Agriculture Ministry, which Lesy ČR is a part of.

HN 1, 3

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