NEWS

Xmas frost kills four

A homeless woman died of hypothermia in an Ostrava hospital after being found lying on the street 23 December. Two skiers were rescued from an avalanche in Krkonoše 26 December, but one later died in hospital. A missing woman was found frozen to death in the Chrudim area 26 December, and a man froze to death the following night near Znojmo.

most Czech press Sat

Vlk: Pope to visit ČR next year

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk told Aktuálně.cz that Pope Benedict XVI might visit the Czech Republic in September. Vlk declined to discuss a programme for the visit as it has not yet been officially confirmed.

most Czech press

Brno City Hall to run trauma centre

President Václav Klaus signed legislation proposed by ČSSD to transfer ownership of the Trauma Hospital of Brno from the state to Brno City Hall. Health Minister Tomáš Julínek had wanted to close the hospital, citing ageing buildings and insufficient equipment, and move its operations to the Faculty Hospital Brno.

most Czech press

Prague to restrict New Year’s celebration sites

Public access to the sites of Prague’s major New Year’s activities will be restricted during this year’s celebrations. The upper part of Wenceslas Square, where TV Nova stages its New Year’s show, will be closed all day 31 December, and nearby Vodičkova and Jindřišská streets will be closed from 6pm. Letenské sady will be closed from the afternoon of 1 January. Official New Year’s Day fireworks will be launched from the plain at 6pm.

LN 6 Sat

Ex-hospital head to get CZK 2m bonus

Miroslav Petrík, former head of the Benešov hospital, endorsed a bonus of 12 monthly salaries totalling more than CZK 2 million for himself and CZK 4 million to be divided among the three deputies before they stepped down at the end of November. The hospital, owned by the region, is CZK 20 million in the red.

HN 1, 4

Klaus implies Sarkozy ‘anti-European’

Speaking on Z1 TV on Christmas, President Václav Klaus said politicians such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy are “damaging to the European Union” and “anti-European”. President Klaus did not name Sarkozy but was answering a question posed by Czech National Gallery Director Milan Knížák in which Sarkozy was mentioned.

Právo 1, 2 Sat

President grants 13 pardons

President Václav Klaus pardoned 13 people, including four foreigners. Humanitarian reasons were cited in most cases.

Právo 3 Sat, MfD A2 Sat, ČTK

Police relieved from handling minor crashes

Under a new law drivers will no longer be required to call police to the scene of accidents causing damage of less than CZK 100,000. In such cases, if both parties agree there will be no police investigation and motorists need only submit reports directly to the insurance companies.

Právo 1, 8 Sat

Scientists on way to Czech Antarctic base

Fifteen scientists are en route to resume operations at the Czech Republic’s Mendel Polar Station in Antarctica. The base on James Ross Island, which operates seasonally, was founded three years ago by Brno’s Masaryk University and is named for geneticist Johann Gregor Mendl. The expedition includes geologists, climatologists, geomorphologists, botanists and ornithologists.

LN 4 Sat, MfD A2 Sat

Gun ownership limited for addicts, alcoholics

President Václav Klaus signed legislation barring alcoholics and drug addicts from legal shotgun possession. The bill, effective in January, also increases penalties for gun-related offences.

ČTK

Klaus signs bill to ease subpoena delivery

President Václav Klaus signed into law an amendment aimed at speeding up court proceedings. Under the measure, to take effect in mid-2009, subpoenas can be deposited into a subject’s mailbox after 10 days of unsuccessful attempts at hand delivery. Today only about 30% of summons are delivered on the first attempt. The bill also authorizes courtroom audio or video recordings to replace stenographers.

ČTK

Bill gives regions tool to fight dust

Regional administrations will be able to cap emissions of dust particles for the largest polluters in the dirtiest areas under a climate protection amendment signed into law by President Václav Klaus.

ČTK

BUSINESS

Discounts save Xmas sales from slump

Major retailers reported that holiday sales were approximately as high as last year. The number of shoppers and the volume of purchases increased due to big Christmas discounts.

most Czech press

Kalousek: GDP growth won’t slip under 2%

Czech economic growth will probably not drop below 2% and unemployment should not grow by more than one percentage point, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said in an interview with Mladá fronta Dnes. Kalousek said inflation will be under 3% and that wage growth will also slow.

MfD A12 Sat

Tůma: ČR managing crisis well

Czech National Bank Governor Zdeněk Tůma told Hospodářské noviny that the Czech finacial sector is effectively dealing with the financial crisis. Tůma said the full economic impact of the crisis will become apparent in 2009 but added that he does not see the need for a rescue package, and he warned against over-regulating the the market.

HN 15, 16

Food prices down in ’08

Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič confirmed that food products are getting cheaper, which could slow inflation. Hospodářské noviny reports that the cost of most food products dropped during 2008. Miroslav Toman, head of the Federation of Food and Drink Industries, said prices will not change in the next six months.

HN 15, 18

Škoda not setting ’09 production target

Škoda Auto CEO Reinhard Jung told German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport that the company is not able to set a 2009 production target due to the unpredictability of the car market. Jung said a previous plan to boost sales from less than 700,000 cars this year to more than 1 million in 2011 or 2012 is no longer realistic.

HN 19, ČTK

.cz domains top half-million

More than 130,000 new .cz domains have been registered this year, pushing the total number past 500,000, according to data from domain registrar CZ.NIC.

ČTK

Securitas acquires Czech ASF

Sweden-based security services giant Securitas has taken over Czech competitor Agency of Security Fenix (ASF) for CZK 170 million, security industry news site SMT Online reported. ASF has 1,250 staff in the Czech Republic and 200 in Slovakia.

ČTK

Spin Plus to take over Šumavský masokombinát

Spin Plus, an arm of the Spin Plzeň group, has acquired Klatovy-based meat producer Šumavský masokombinát. Spin reached an agreement 23 December with current owner Xavergen concerning the plant’s property. The new owner plans to retain most employees and continue production without major changes.

ČTK

Zeman: Build more roads, tax the rich

Former PM Miloš Zeman told TV station Prima yesterday that the Czech government should counter the economic slowdown by ordering infrastructure and other projects from domestic contractors. He suggested reintroducing progressive taxation to cover the cost of the projects.

ČTK