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Czech press review – Tuesday 30 December 2008

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Table of Contents


ČR to deal with Gaza conflict

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told Hospodářské noviny that he is calling his EU colleagues and gathering information and opinions on whether they should meet to discuss an EU reaction to the recent escalation of tension in Gaza. France has called for a meeting of EU foreign ministers today. Schwarzenberg told E15 that the Middle East peace process is a priority for the Czech EU presidency but he did not specify any steps.

most Czech press

Vondra rejects rumours of NATO post

Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said yesterday he is not thinking of working for NATO nor does he consider it a realistic possibility. He was reacting to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune that named him as one of five possible candidates to replace NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

LN 2, Právo 4

Prague expects 100,000 tourists for New Year celebrations

Experts say about 100,000 foreign tourists will come to Prague to celebrate the New Year. Tomio Okamura, the head of the Association of Czech travel agents, expects a 20% drop in revenue from last year. Compared with past years, more Polish, Russian and Slovak tourists and fewer British and American visitors are expected to come.

LN 6

Many trains won’t run on New Year’s night

Most local and some long-distance Czech Railways services will not operate between Thursday night and Friday morning until 6-7am. Sunday timetables will kick in on Friday morning.


MfD: Trains on time, but lights not working

Two reporters from Mladá fronta Dnes spent nine hours on the trains to see if quality had improved since Czech Railways increased ticket prices. The reporters found the biggest problem to be an open door during one of the rides. Other problems included lights that did not work and one train with a conductor who was not wearing a full uniform. The reporters found the toilets to be clean, with toilet paper and soap, and that the trains were on time.

MfD A4

Czech Republic invites foreign journalists for get-acquainted visit

The Czech government has invited 60 foreign journalists to participate in a three-day trip to the Czech Republic at the beginning of January in conjunction with the EU’s rotating presidency. Journalists will be transported from Brussels on an army plane for visits to Prague, Karlovy Vary and Plzeň.

LN 1, 9

Bailout needed for sinking Náchod hospital

A district hospital in Náchod is facing bankruptcy, with debts exceeding CZK 100 million, an auditor has determined. The Hradec Králové regional government says it will have to give the hospital a CZK 50 million cash infusion to save it.


Central Bohemia to have its own university

New central Bohemia regional governor David Rath plans to open a public university in Kutná Hora within two years, with four to six branches located in other regional district capitals. Kutná Hora would host a faculty of art history, while future hospital staff would be educated in Mladá Boleslav, Kladno and Kolín. Příbram would have a pharmaceuticals faculty.

Právo 12

Avalanche survivors face high penalties

Two skiers rescued Friday from under an avalanche in Krkonoše could face fines of up to CZK 100,000 for moving outside marked trails in the protected zone of the national park. A third skier died in hospital.


Severe cold claims another victim

A Ukrainian man has died in hospital from hypothermia after being found by municipal police in Pardubice. A day earlier another man froze to death near Znojmo.


Woman accused of sexually abusing sons

Police are investigating a 35-year-old woman from Přibyslav on a suspicion she sexually abused her sons, aged 11 and 13, for several years, according to the local daily Deník.

Právo 8


ČR offers green cards to only 12 countries

A Czech green card programme starting in January will be available only to guest workers from 12 non-EU countries listed by the Interior Ministry, including all of the former Yugoslav republics (with the exception of Kosovo) and Ukraine. Vietnam and Mongolia have been excluded over alleged security risks. The only Asian countries included are South Korea and Japan.

most Czech press

Prague shares lose a trillion crowns in 2008

The value of shares traded on the Prague stock exchange fell by around 1 trillion crowns during the past year as the main index plummeted 52% to its value of about three years ago. Karel Potměšil, a Cyrrus analyst, said share prices usually start rising about half a year before the economy begins to recover and so should start growing again in the second half of 2009. Tomáš Končický, the head of the Czech branch of Sal bank, told E15 he recommends investing into energy and food company shares that saw sharp falls in value.

HN 13, E15 1, 8, 9

ČSOB owner to write off EUR 900 million

The biggest Belgian banking and insurance company, KBC Group, the owner of Czech ČSOB, has to write off another EUR 900 million following a downgrade by Moody’s. A ČSOB spokesman said the writeoff would have a minimal impact on its financial results.

HN 13, 16

Czech banks plan to expand despite financial crisis

Česká spořitelna head Gernot Mittendorfer said his bank plans to open 20 new branches and modernise its existing units next year regardless of the global financial crisis. mBank wants to open new branches through franchising. Raiffeisenbank, GE Money Bank, Poštovní spořitelna and UniCredit Bank also said they plan to expand next year.

HN 17

Slowdown hits hardest in Liberec region

The global economic crisis has affected companies across the Czech Republic this year, but firms in the Liberec region on average have seen the largest year-on-year deterioration in their financial results.


Most Czech investors lost money in 2008

The vast majority of Czech investors lost money in 2008 as financial markets tumbled, stock and bond funds plunged, and inflation cut into yields of interest-bearing building society savings plans. Analysts say some financial products may become profitable again in 2009 with an expected slowdown in inflation.


Registering outdated cars will cost more

About 2.5 million used cars in the Czech Republic, or about a half of all cars, do not meet the “Euro 3” emission standard, according to the Czech Automotive Industry Association. Motorists buying such cars will have to pay an environmental fee of CZK 3,000-10,000 at registration.

Právo 1, 8, LN 13, 14

Korean nuclear company seeking cooperation

Jung Young-eek, the head of overseas trade at Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), told Právo his company is interested in cooperating with Czech firms and the government on nuclear power plants. State-controlled KHNP operates hydro and nuclear plants in Korea with a total output of around 18,000 MW.

Právo 19

Companies spent CZK 3bn on online ads this year

Around CZK 3 billion were spent on online ads this year, compared with CZK 12 billion on TV commercials. Štěpán Wolde from the Media One agency said video ads, a new online form of advertising, do not yet pose a threat to traditional TV commercials but this may change since big companies have started offering them.

HN 16

1% of Czechs to spend New Year’s abroad

Some 100,000 Czechs will celebrate the New Year abroad, most typically in the Alps, which is 3-5% more than last winter, according to Mag Consulting.


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