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25-01-2018

Social Democrats say ANO cancelled cooperation talks

The ANO party has cancelled talks over possible cooperation in a new government with the Social Democrats, according to Social Democrat party chairman Milan Chovanec.

Chovanec said in a statement Thursday that he interpreted the move as an attempt to undercut the party’s demand that ANO leader Andrej Babiš should not be prime minister due to the fact he is facing criminal charges over alleged EU subsidy fraud.

He suggested it also indicated that ANO preferred to a deal with the communists or the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPO).

Babiš responded saying that ANO is waiting for the outcome of the mid-February meeting of the Social Democrats where a new leadership should be chosen.

Škoda Auto unions seeking pay rise of around 18 percent

Unions at the Czech Republic’s biggest car maker, Škoda Auto, have tabled a demand for pay rises this year of 18 percent.

They have asked for a 14 percent increase in the basic wage and a further 4.0 percent rise related to personal evaluations. Unions are also seeking to repeat last year’s practice where two special one off payments totalling around 90,000 crowns. The average wage for a car worker last year was around 40,000 crowns a month.

A new deal should be in place by April 1 to cover the following 12 months. Škoda Auto employs around 30,000 people at its three Czech plants.

Zeman and Drahoš to meet in second TV debate

Incumbent Czech president Miloš Zeman and his challenger Jiří Drahoš are set to meet in the second and final television debate on Thursday night, on the eve of the presidential runoff.

The 90-minute duel will take place on Czech public television and will be broadcast live. Compared with the first debate broadcast by commercial TV Prima on Tuesday night, the audience will be significantly smaller. Voting in the second round of presidential elections begins at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Czech Republic set to lose solar arbitration: report

Business daily E15 says that the Czech Republic appears to have lost at least one of the outstanding arbitration procedures launched by investors in solar power plants.

The paper says that a so far report to the Ministry of Finance suggests that in one of the six outstanding arbitration cases the investor has the rights to compensation.

It adds that the bill from this and other possible findings in favour of the claimants could come to billions of crowns. The arbitration procedures were launched after the Czech government imposed special taxes on solar investors in 2011 to claw back some of the payments made to them under a much criticised programme to boost renewable power.

Czech minister and Australian mining firm meet over lithium reserves

Czech minister of industry and trade, Tomáš Hüner, met with representatives of Australian mining company, European Metals Holdings (EMH), over future lithium mining in the Czech Republic.

In a statement after Thursday’s meeting in Prague, the ministry said that EMH had agreed to sign an additional clause over a previously agreed memorandum on lithium mining.

The memorandum blew up as one of the major issues in October’s parliamentary elections with ANO leader Andrej Babiš accusing Social Democrat leaders of betraying the company by selling off its mineral assets cheaply.

The memorandum covered the Australian company’s plans for extracting lithium in the far north of the country near the German border at Cínovec where reserves are believed to be among the biggest in Europe. Lithium is used for batteries in electric cars and other applications related to renewable energy.

Czech ad revenues seen around 10 percent higher in 2017

Advertising revenues in the Czech Republic climbed by around 10 percent to around 150 billion crowns, according to the Association of Communications Agencies on Thursday.

Spending on television advertising is estimated by Nielsen Admosphere to have climbed by around 13 percent to just over 48 billion crowns. Spending on printed publicity rose by just under 3 percent to total around 19 billion. The figures for Internet spending are expected to be known in February.

Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts maps history of Czech prefabs

An exhibition mapping the history and design of the country’s communist-era housing estates gets underway in Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts on Thursday.

Called Residence: Prefab Estate, the exhibition concludes a five-year research into the development of selected housing estates in the Czech lands, from their start in the late 1940s up until the early 1990s. It will be on display until May 20.

Jaromír Jágr will fail to beat NHL appearance record

Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has lost the opportunity this year to set a new NHL record for the number of games played.

Jágr hopes of equalling the record of Gordie Howe for the number of games played evaporated on Wednesday when he failed to play for the Calgary Flames against Los Angeles.

Forty-five year old Jágr so far has a tally of 1733 games, 34 short of Canadian Howe’s total of 1767. Calgary has 34 games left to play this season but the Czech, who has been sidelined by injury recently, looks doubtful to feature in all of them.

Weather

The weather on Friday is expected to be cloudy with some sunny intervals. Top daytime temperatures will range between three and seven degrees Celsius.

25-01-2018