News

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Czech Republic loses arbitration case over bank sell-off

The Czech Republic may have to make a huge pay-out after losing an international arbitration case taken by the Japanese bank Nomura over the sale of IPB bank. The Czech government put IPB under forced administration when it collapsed in the year 2000 before selling it to another Czech bank, CSOB. Nomura, which owned almost half of IPB, said the Czech state had failed to protect its investment; it is now demanding over one and a half billion US dollars in compensation. The actual amount it receives will be set by a second arbitration hearing.

But Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, whose Social Democrats were in power at the time of the sale, said there was no immediate threat of the country having to pay the compensation; he said negotiations would continue and it could take years for the matter to be resolved.

Senate delegation trip delayed due to government plane fault

A delegation from the Czech Senate was delayed at the start of a visit to south-east Asia after a Czech government plane was hit by a technical fault. The senators left Prague half a day late on Saturday after there was a problem with the plane's battery. The government's fleet, operated by the Czech Army, has been hit by a number of technical problems in recent years. New planes have been ordered with the first set to go into operation in 2007.

Bodies of German WWII soldiers stored in warehouse for three years

The remains of around 4,000 German soldiers who died on Czech territory during World War II are being stored in a warehouse in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. A project to rebury the soldiers, who were exhumed around the Czech Republic, collapsed after the German organisers ran out of money; the bodies have not been moved for three years.

Pravo: Hyundai looking for accommodation in Moravia, despite no deal finalisation

The South Korean company Hyundai is actively looking for high-quality accommodation for its managers, despite the fact a deal to open a huge car plant in north Moravia has not yet been finalised, Pravo reported on Saturday. Industry and Trade Minister Milan Urban says he expects a decision on whether the factory will be built in the Czech Republic to be made in April, several months after originally expected.

Janda first Czech ever to win ski jumping World Cup

Jakub Janda has become the first Czech ever to win the ski jumping World Cup. He finished just 29th in a competition in the Slovenian resort of Planica on Saturday, but a poor placing by his closest rival meant the Czech could not be overtaken on points. Janda came first in five World Cup competitions during the season, and was joint winner of the prestigious Four Hills event.

Former first lady Dagmar Havlova returns to stage

Dagmar Havlova, the actress wife of former Czech president Vaclav Havel, made her first stage appearance in almost a decade on Friday evening when she appeared in a production of Moment of Truth by US playwright Israel Horovitz. Critics have described the performance at Prague's Vinohradske Divadlo as a resounding success, while Mr Havel said he was very glad his wife had returned to her profession.

Weather

It should remain cloudy over the next few days, though we can expect some sunny spells. Temperatures will reach up to 10 degrees Celsius.