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02-11-2016

Six companies express interest in Czech nuclear expansion

The Czech government appointee tasked with fulfilling its nuclear action plan, Ján Štuller, has said six companies and partnerships have expressed interest in building new reactors in the country. The companies are Russia’s Rusatom Overseas; Westinghouse; France’s EDF; the joint venture of Areva and Mitsubishi ATMEA; Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation. The end of October was the deadline for companies to submit technical details of the reactor they could offer. The Czech government wants to build a new reactor at Dukovany, one at Temelín, and possibly a follow-up one at each site.

Czech foreign minister regrets China’s cancellation of trip by agriculture minister

Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has expressed his unhappiness at the Chinese move to cancel the visit of Czech Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka to China. He said that the matter would be broached by deputy minister Martin Tlapa in a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic on Thursday which had already been scheduled. Mr. Zaorálek said the agriculture mission which Christian Democrat minister Jurečka was supposed to head was aimed at helping to redress the massive trade imbalance between the country and China. Minister Jurečka has been an outspoken backer of fellow Christian Democrat minister Daniel Herman, who has come under fire from Mr. Zaorálek in particular over whether he broke a pledge from government ministers over meetings with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Czech Export Bank (ČEB) given 2.5 billion crown bailout

The government on Wednesday agreed to a cash injection of 2.5 billion crowns into the Czech Export Bank (ČEB), which helps Czech companies funds export projects in risky financial environments. Much of that sum will be aimed at covering losses from a Czech project to build a power station in Russia. The Czech Ministry of Finance has complained that losses by the bank since 2014 have climbed to around 18.4 billion crowns and have called for its shake up as well as that of the state export insurance agency. Some of the ČEB support has been investigated by the police.

Russian request made for extradition of dissident and artist, Oleg Vorotnikov

The Czech Ministry of Justice has said that an official request has been received from Russia for the extradition of the artist and dissident Oleg Vorotnikov. The request was received on Tuesday. Vorotnikov is the subject of an international arrest warrant by Moscow which claims he is guilty of hooliganism, offending state officials, and violence against them. Czech Minister of Justice Robert Pelíkán has said previously that it is unlikely that Vorotnikov, who arrived in the Czech Republic in September, will be handed over.

Minister backs far-reaching proposals to boost birth rate

The minister of labour and social affairs, Michaela Marksová, is preparing far-reaching changes in family policy in a bid to boost fertility rates in the Czech Republic, Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. Her proposals include free kindergartens, higher one-off maternity benefits and children’s allowance and encouraging father’s to take paternity leave. Minister Marksová’s plans have the support of her Social Democrat party leader, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. However, coalition partners the Christian Democrats want the project to be halted and the issues considered at government level. ANO chief Andrej Babiš said he had not yet seen the proposals. The likely cost has not been outlined, Mladá Fronta said.

Arca Capital files state aid complaint with European Commission

The company Arca Capital Bohemia has filed a complaint with the European Commission against alleged Polish state subsidies of hard coal mines. Arca says the state subsidies amount to around 27 billion crowns (around 1.0 billion euros) and it argues that such help has contributed to the woes of Czech hard coal mining company OKD. Without such aid, OKD, would have been able to export coal across the border to Polish customers. Arca was a minority shareholder in now bankrupt OKD. Management have been tasked to draw up a restructuring plan for the Czech mining company.

Supreme state attorney again “most influential Czech woman”

Supreme state attorney Lenka Bradáčová has been named the most influential woman in the Czech Republic for the fourth year running by Forbes magazine. The magazine’s editor said she merited top spot in the survey thanks to the courage and energy with which she tackles major cases involving business, politics and sometimes billions of crowns. Second on the list was the county’s European commissioner, Věra Jourová of ANO, followed by the financial director of PPF, Kateřina Jirásková.

Czech football trainer keeps with squad for upcoming Norway match

In football, Czech manager Karel Jarolím has named no new players for the key upcoming world cup qualifying group game against Norway. The game will be played at Prague’s Eden stadium on November 11. Jarolím should be able to call on Tomáš Kalas and Daniel Pudil since they are fit again. The Czechs need a win to get their qualification campaign back on track with only two points so far from three matches after draws with Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan and defeat against Germany.

02-11-2016