The Czech government has decided not to sell its majority stake in the national carrier, Czech Airlines. It based its decision on Monday on a recommendation by the Finance Minister Eduard Janota. The decision means that a 92 percent share in the troubled carrier will remain in state hands. The Czech-Icelandic consortium of Unimex/Travel Service was the only remaining bidder in the tender, after Air France-KLM dropped out. Czech Airlines has posted record losses this year, leading to a new CEO, Miroslav Dvořák, being named last week. He has negotiated wage cuts with the unions.
The Agrarian Chamber has said that dairy farmers will pour thousands of litres of milk into selected fields on Thursday in protest of low purchase prices. A list of areas where the protests will take place will be released Tuesday, the head of the chamber Jan Veleba said. A representative for producers in southern Moravia confirmed that around one third of one’s day’s production in one area would be destroyed, with roughly 25,000 litres being poured into the ground.
The Czech weekly Týden has reported that the government no longer intends to sell the state-owned Štiřín Chateau (outside of the Czech capital). Under the previous government, the Foreign Ministry ordered expert assessment of the property at the cost of 600 thousand crowns, the weekly noted. The property is valued at 650 million crowns (around 38 million US dollars). Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiří Beneš told Týden that the sale of the property was no longer a priority, following the economic downturn. If the government opts to sell at a later date, a new assessment will be needed, an expert told the weekly.
Galatasaray Istanbul striker Milan Baroš, who suffered a foot injury in the Turkish league on Sunday, may head to Germany for treatment. His agent revealed that he was negotiating treatment on the part of the player with German specialist Hans-Wilelm Muller-Wohlfarht, who in the past attended to Czech players such as midfielder Tomáš Rosický and striker Patrik Berger. According to reports, Baroš suffered a broken bone in his foot, meaning he will likely be out for the next six weeks.
The Constitutional Court will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on the compatibility of the EU’s Lisbon treaty with the Czech constitution and Czech law. The court is addressing a complaint put forward by a group of right-wing senators last month. The senators have challenged that the treaty, which is aimed at reforming the running of the 27-member EU, will unduly limit Czech sovereignty through the transfer of power to Brussels. The Czech Republic is the only member country to not yet have ratified the document, although it was approved by both houses of Parliament. President Václav Klaus has conditioned his signing of the treaty to the country’s exemption from the Charter of Fundamental Rights (over fears the document could pave the way for property claims by the country’s former ethnic German minority, expelled after World War II). The Constitutional Court’s General Secretary Tomáš Langášek has said it is impossible to anticipate whether the court will issue a ruling on Tuesday or adjourn the ruling until a later date.
The Czech Medical Chamber has recommended that pharmacies only sell flu and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine through doctors’ prescriptions – reaction to current criticism by the Office for Personal Data Protection. Under regulations set by the State Institute for Drug Control, pharmacists are required to record personal information when it comes to selling medicines containing pseudoephedrine – a key ingredient in the production of the illegal drug pervetine. Pharmacists are also limited to selling 1,800 milligrams of such medicines per person, per month. The aim is to prevent abuse, such as the buying up in bulk, to curb illegal pervetine production. The Office for Personal Data Protection charged recently that the law on personal data is being broken, and called for sensitive personal data recorded by pharmacies to be esrased.
The Czech state attorney in Louny has stopped the criminal prosecution of nine suspects in connection with an illegal waste dump uncovered in Libčeves, north Bohemia, three years ago. Several thousand tonnes of waste, it was found then, had been illegally imported from neighbouring Germany. A spokesman for the state attorney’s office confirmed that overall 31 people had originally been investigated, including the head of the German firm suspected of damages. The Czech state attorney chose to drop further proceedings due to legal technicalities as well as after reviewing an assessment by the German authorities, the spokesman said.
In his then post of head of the opera section of the National Theatre, the Czech minister of culture, Václav Riedlbauch, may have threatened striking performers during the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Czech Television reported. The station said Mr Riedlbauch had threatened to fine, expel or even have imprisoned members of the theatre, backing up the assertion with a document from that time. The minister has refused to comment on the allegations.
Aneta Vignerová, a 21-year-old model from Havířov, has been named Miss Czech Republic 2009. Heading the panel of judges at Saturday night’s ceremony in Prague was Taťána Kuchařová, a former Miss Czech Republic who went on to become Miss World in 2006. This year’s Miss Czech Republic was broadcast live on Czech Television, the first time in 15 years that the public service broadcaster screened the event.
The Czech government is set to decide on Monday whether to accept the only bid it has received for the national carrier Czech Airlines. Finance Minister Eduard Janota has not said whether he will recommend that the cabinet agree to the offer from the Czech-Icelandic consortium of Unimex and Travel Service. It is the sole bidder, after Air France-KLM dropped out. However, there has been speculation that the bid will be rejected and the troubled company will remain in state hands. The government last week installed the head of Prague Airport, Miroslav Dvořák, as Czech Airlines’ CEO. He has secured an agreement with unions to cut salaries at the airline, which has seen record losses this year.
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