The US company Central European Media Enterprises (CME) has bought the Czech commercial television channel TV Nova for 642 million dollars in the largest direct US investment in the country. CME announced the deal on Monday and TV Nova's majority-stake owner, the financial group PPF, has confirmed the sale. CME previously held a stake in TV Nova but was involved in a long legal dispute with Nova's former general director Vladimir Zelezny, who is now a Czech MEP. Mr Zelezny eventually broke off all relations with CME and its head, the cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, in 1999. The news of the sale comes two years after an international arbitration ruled that the Czech state had to pay nearly 360 million dollars in compensation to CME for failing to protect its investment in TV Nova.
The Czech crown has improved a two-year high to the euro, firming to 30.52 crowns to the euro, a development which according to analysts was influenced by the sale of the commercial TV Nova. The crown also strengthened to 22.98 crowns to the dollar but closed at 23.05 crowns to the dollar.
The Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said that President Vaclav Klaus does not observe his promise that he would stand above parties and that he behaves like the honorary chairman of the strongest opposition party, meaning the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party which Mr Klaus chaired for many years. Mr Gross was reacting to Mr Klaus's statement for Saturday's issue of the daily Pravo that the cabinet of Stanislav Gross was unable to solve long-standing problems, reinforcing the power of state over the individual.
The Czech state paid a record 15.3 billion crowns (50 million euros) in home-building savings subsidies this year, the Finance Ministry has said. According to the Finance Ministry's data, the six building societies on the Czech market registered 6 million valid contracts at the end of September, a decline of four per cent against 2003. The interest in new contracts has decreased considerably this year after the enormous demand seen last year, largely owing to a cut in state support for new contracts. Czechs still regard home-building savings mainly as a good way to deposit money. The state support makes it one of the most advantageous savings products on the market.
Nine Slovak citizens died in two separate traffic accidents in the Czech Republic on Monday. Six people died and five were injured when a bus from Slovakia crashed on the country's main motorway linking Prague to the Slovak capital Bratislava in the early hours of Monday. The victims include a seven-month-old girl, her 24-year-old mother and a 23-year-old pregnant woman. Another three Slovaks died in a traffic accident involving two cars in North Moravia.
We can expect overcast skies in the coming days, with night time temperatures falling to minus 6 degrees Celsius and in the daytime ranging from 0 to plus 5 degrees Celsius.
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