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Breakfast Brief – Thursday 29 January 2009

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Senate votes to end medical fees for children

The upper chamber voted yesterday to eliminate mandatory medical fees for young people under 18 years and to lower the CZK 5,000 annual limit in fees and payments for medicine to CZK 2,500 for those under 18 and over 65. Former Health Minister Tomáš Julínek (ODS) voted against the proposal. The bill now goes to the lower house and if passed would come into effect on 1 April 2009.

most Czech press

Journalist charged over weapons report

The Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting has filed a criminal suit against TV Nova reporter Josef Svoboda for illegally possessing a weapon. The council said Svoboda broke the law when he demonstrated how easy it is to obtain a shotgun in a news report in November, despite the fact that he returned the weapon to police in the end.

HN 2

Bém could be offered EU Commissioner post

The Prague branch of ODS is considering nominating Prague Mayor Pavel Bém for a European Commissioner, Prague 6 district mayor Tomáš Chalupa confirmed. Hospodářské noviny has not been able to reach Bém for a month.

HN 1, 3

Havel could leave hospital today

A spokeswoman from the Motol hospital said yesterday the health of former president Václav Havel is improving and that he could be released as soon as today, pending a final decision by doctors.


Nearly two-thirds of Czechs support Lisbon Treaty

According to a STEM opinion poll this month, some 64% of Czechs believe Parliament should ratify the Lisbon Treaty, an increase of 19 percentage points from last October. At the same time, 70% admit they do not understand the impact of the treaty.


Former National Library head blames mayor for demise of blob

Vlastimil Ježek, the former director of National Library, has blamed Prague mayor Pavel Bém for the collapse of talks on building a new library at Letná according to the late Jan Kaplický’s designs. In a new book to be published, Ježek said Bém’s enthusiasm for the project disappeared after the design was criticised by President Václav Klaus and National Gallery head Milan Knížák.


Students planning anti-Roma demonstration in Kolín

Students in Kolín are planning a demonstration next month in reaction to the beating of a 17-year-old classmate by two Roma men. The men are awaiting trial, but the students say the state protects Roma more than “white” people. Kolín Mayor Jiří Buřič said the demonstration would require police cooperation though he said the organisers are not neo-Nazi sympathisers.

HN 1, 3

Upper house strips senator of immunity

The Senate yesterday revoked the immunity of Senator Pavel Trpák (ČSSD), an obstetrician suspected by police of wrongdoing in the death of a newborn baby in Trutnov hospital in May 2007.


Gas pipe explodes near Karlovy Vary

A gas pipeline explosion near Karlovy Vary on Tuesday night left some 2,000 people without gas, though no one was injured. RWE Transgas spokesman Jiří Bezděk said it’s still not known what caused the explosion. Gas supplies are expected to resume today.

HN 5, Právo 7


ČEZ withdrawing from Bosnian Nove Elektrarne RS

The power company ČEZ will sell its 51% share in Bosnia’s Nove Elektrarne RS company to its partner, the state energy company ERS. ČEZ has not ruled out it may still participate in building a power plant at Gacko.

most Czech press

EU Commission allocates EUR 25m for expanding gas storage capacity

The European Commission has allocated EUR 25 million (about CZK 690 million) for expanding storage capacity for natural gas in the Czech Republic. RWE Transgas spokesman Martin Chalupský said the company is planning to invest up to CZK 7 billion for increasing tank capacity in Moravia.

most Czech press

Senate wants EU to re-evaluate labour market restrictions

The Senate has called on the European Commission to reassess continuing restrictions on labour market mobility that some older EU members have imposed on workers from countries that joined the EU in 2004, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The restrictions are set to remain in place for an additional two years.


Student Agency to open subsidiary to run high-speed trains

Radim Jančura, owner of the Czech bus operator Student Agency, announced yesterday his company will set up a subsidiary in the Netherlands within a week to eventually operate high-speed trains between Prague and Ostrava. The firm plans to sign a contract for five trains worth CZK 1.6 billion with the Swiss company Stadler by the end of 2009. The operation should be launched in 2012.

HN 16, MfD B3

Toyota recalling Yaris model for seat-belt defect

Japanese carmaker Toyota has recalled some 1.35 million Yaris models, including those sold on the Czech market, to repair defective safety belts that can catch fire when the car collides. Last year 2,673 Yaris models were sold in ČR.


Bursík wants to lower VAT on eco projects

Deputy Prime Minister and Greens leader Martin Bursík is proposing to lower VAT on projects involving energy saving, renewable resources and recycling as a way of combating the economic crisis. Patria Finance’s main economist, David Marek, said the proposal would not minimise the impact of the crisis on the Czech economy.

Právo 19, ČTK

Mortgage market fell 20% last year

Czech banks provided mortgages worth CZK 114 billion last year, about 20% less than the previous year, according to data released yesterday by the Ministry for Regional Affairs. Hypoteční banka General Director Jan Sadil blamed the financial crisis and the record number of mortgages in 2007 as reasons behind the decline.

HN 16, ČTK

Míl: Banks make crisis worse by holding onto funds

The head of the Confederation of Industry, Jaroslav Míl, said banks only worsen the financial crisis by holding onto funds and being less willing to provide operating loans or providing them at higher interest rates. He said Czech banks could even be transferring money to parent companies abroad. The managing director of the Czech Banking Association, Josef Tauber, said the state should help the market by providing deposit guarantees, state contracts and direct capital deposits. Banks say demand for loans from businesses is falling.

E15 1, 8, ČTK

Lego examining further investment in ČR

Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said his company is considering further investment in the Czech Republic, though he declined to specify how much. Lego is hoping the global financial crisis will lead to lower property prices here., HN 15

Logistic centres empty

Filip Kozák from the consultancy CB Richard Ellis says demand for distribution centres is falling. E15 writes that almost 20% of industrial property now stands empty. New construction of logistics centres has stopped but tens of thousands of square metres of additional space is expected to come on stream in the near future.
E15 10

Air carriers sold more tickets last year than ever

Air carriers operating on the Czech market sold a record 790,000 air tickets worth more than CZK 10 billion in 2008, an increase of 10% from the previous year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA’s numbers do not include data from low-cost and charter airliners meaning that actual sales may have exceeded CZK 12 billion, reports.

Retailers Kaufland and Lidl report highest sales in 2008

Sales of the 10 largest retailers on the Czech market last year rose by CZK 23.2 billion from 2007 to a record CZK 312.2 billion, according to preliminary results published by Incoma Research and Moderní obchod magazine. The Kaufland hypermarkets and Lidl discount stores from the German group Schwarz recorded the highest sales, of CZK 54.5 billion, with Tesco (CZK 47 billion) and Ahold (CZK 44 billion) placing second and third respectively.

HN 15, Právo 17

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