Final talks with the South Korean automaker Hyundai over the location of its new car plant should be completed on Thursday. A Hyundai delegation arrived in the Czech Republic at the weekend. Baring last-minute surprises, the carmaker is expected to build its new 1.2 billion dollar plant in Ostrava. The main topic of discussion is what investment incentives the Czech government is willing to extend to parts suppliers for Hyundai. The Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Milan Urban, has said the deal could be officially sealed by mid February.
The Czech national rail operator Ceske drahy has said it would ask Italy's Alstom for nearly 700,000 US dollars in compensation for having delivered faulty high-speed trains. At present, only one of the seven Pendolino trains supplied by the Italian company is in operation. Four were taken out of service due to technical problems and a fifth is undergoing testing.
Severe cold caused a failure at the Temelin nuclear power plant Sunday night, forcing the plant to partly disconnect from the electricity grid for five hours. The temperature at Temelin, in southern Bohemia, fell to around minus 20 degrees Celsius, and the cold affected a sensor that automatically triggered a power reduction, a Temelin spokesman said. Temperatures reached minus 30 degrees elsewhere in the Czech Republic and the cold was blamed for the death of two homeless men.
The German automaker Volkswagen has hired two independent ombudsmen charged with rooting out corruption. The move is seen as a direct response to a fraud and bribery scandal last year involving a high-ranking official at Volkswagen's Czech daughter company, Skoda Auto. The official, a German high flyer who was seconded to Skoda as director of labour affairs, along with a senior personnel manager in Wolfsburg, were alleged to have set up fake companies in the Czech Republic, India and elsewhere to defraud local authorities seeking business with Volkswagen.
In women's tennis, the Czech star Nicole Vadisova failed to make the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday. Third seed Amelie Mauresmo of France soundly beat Vadisova 6-1 6-1 in just 52 minutes. Czechoslovak-born Martina Hingis of Switzerland, a three-times champion of the open, has reached the quarter-finals and will next take on Kim Clijsters of Belgium.
In football, Czech club Sparta Praha on Monday named former Czech Republic coach Jozef Chovanec as club president. Chovanec played 382 matches and won eight titles with champion Sparta, and was national team coach for four years, stepping down in 2002 after his team failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Freezing cold temperatures remain in the forecast, with lows reaching minus 18 degrees Celsius overnight Tuesday.