Tuesday News Briefing
Bulgaria revokes ČEZ's power distribution license; poll finds more than two thirds of Czechs regularly sort their waste
Posted: February 19, 2013
ČEZ has attacked Bulgaria's decision to revoke its license
Bulgaria has announced it will revoke the license held by Czech energy giant ČEZ for power distribution in parts of the country following allegations it systemically broke procurement rules. Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told reporters Feb. 19 that the state energy regulator will strip ČEZ of the license later in the day. The company, which insists it hasn't breached regulations, received 9.9 percent of its 2011 revenue from Bulgaria, making it the company's second-largest market after the Czech Republic. ČEZ spokeswoman Barbora Pulpanová described the statements by Bulgaria's prime minister and prosecution "a serious breach of Bulgaria's law as a member state of the European Union."
The trial of 17 Czech extremists charged with spreading Nazi ideas and racism has begun in a Brno district court. The 90-page indictment was read for four hours and the trial is expected to continue until May, said panel chairwoman Lenka Nekudová Feb. 19. She added that it could not be estimated when the verdict would be delivered. The accused are mainly musicians who performed at 14 concerts in various places in the Czech Republic between 2008 and 2009. At the concerts the Nazi salute "Sieg heil!" was allegedly shouted and Adolf Hitler and the U.S. Ku-Klux-Klan were cheered. The defendants include Dragan Petrovic from the Serbian branch of the Blood & Honor neo-Nazi organization.
A poll has found that 68 percent of Czechs regularly sort their waste, 28 percent do it occasionally and only four percent never do so. The study from the marketing agency STEM/MARK found that people with more advanced education were more likely to make the effort to sort their waste. Glass, paper and plastic materials were the waste most commonly sorted, while medicines, metals, electric appliances and batteries were sorted less often. The numbers sorting biological waste were relatively low, with just 42 percent of survey respondents doing so, ČTK reported. People in larger towns or cities tended to be less careful about sorting bio waste.
The Czech energy company Energeticky & Prumyslovy Holding AG (EPH) is among the bidders hoping to buy the Czech gas distributor Net4Gas, which is owned by Germany's RWE. Ahead of the Feb. 18 deadline, EPH confirmed to media it was making a bid in partnership with Macquarie, the banking and financial services company. Net4Gas is the exclusive license holder for gas transmission in the Czech Republic and has more than 3,600 km of pipelines. The company recently opened the Gazela pipeline, a 166 km project costing 400 million euros that will enable the Czech Republic to secure Russian gas via Germany, reducing the dependence on gas coming through Ukraine.
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