Sunday, August 31, 2008

News 8.31.2008

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Copyright (c) 2008 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Sunday, August 31st, 2008

By: Ian Willoughby

* The Constitutional Court will begin assessing whether the EU's Lisbon
Treaty is compatible with the Czech constitution in September.

* Former Czech president Vaclav Havel says the EU should clearly name
Russia as the aggressor in the South Ossetia crisis.

* The Czech Republic's smallest coin, the 50-heller piece, ceases to be
legal tender at midnight on Sunday.

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No date set for ruling on constitutionality of Lisbon Treaty, says
court head
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The Czech Constitutional Court will begin assessing whether the
European Union's Lisbon Treaty is compatible with the Czech
constitution in September, its chairman Pavel Rychetsky said on Sunday.
However, Mr Rychetsky said he could not say when the court would issue
a decision. The Czech Senate, which is dominated by the somewhat
euro-sceptic Civic Democrats, sent the Lisbon Treaty to the
Constitutional Court for consideration earlier this year. The Czech
Parliament is expected to vote on ratifying the reform treaty after the
court issues a ruling, although the future of the document has been
thrown into doubt following its rejection by Irish voters - all 27 EU
members must ratify Lisbon before it can come into effect.


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EU should clearly label Russia aggressor, says Havel
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When the European Union discusses the South Ossetia crisis at a special
summit on Monday it should clearly name Russia as the aggressor in the
conflict, says former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Speaking on a TV
debate programme on Sunday, Mr Havel said the Russian bear was
trampling on the Georgian dwarf. He said the Czech cabinet had
initially adopted a correct position, but then seemed to retreat after
talks with the current Czech president Vaclav Klaus; ministers, Mr
Havel said, were now saying it was not necessary to establish the
culprit but to look to the future. He said Georgia may have made
mistakes but it was always necessary to say who the victim was and who
the aggressor.


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Fifty-heller coin no longer tender from midnight Sunday
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The Czech Republic's smallest coin, the 50-heller piece, ceases to be
legal tender at midnight on Sunday. The aluminium coin, which weighs
less than one gram, is worth half a crown. Analysts say they do not
expect an increase in prices in the wake of the coin's demise. There
are believed to be over 400 million 50-heller pieces in circulation.
The coin and the 20-crown note, which also ceases to be tender on
September 1, can be changed at high street banks for a period of one
year. After that it will be only possible to change them at the Czech
National Bank, until August 2014.


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Czech Post planning to close 179 branches
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The Czech postal service is planning to close 179 branches in small
municipalities, Czech Post's general director Karel Kratina said on
Sunday. A list of the villages and towns affected will be announced by
the end of next week. Czech Post currently has 3,387 branches, almost
half of which only have one counter. The branch closures, which are
opposed by the mayors of many of the municipalities affected, will lead
to savings of over CZK 30 million a year. Mr Kratina said despite rises
in fuel prices the cost of stamps would not increase.


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New school year gets underway on Monday
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Hundreds of thousands of children around the Czech Republic are
preparing for the start of the new school year on Monday. Both
elementary and secondary schools will have fewer pupils than last year;
the latter will open their doors to over 820,000 children, while just
over half a million are enrolled in the country's secondary schools.


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Greens to perform hip-hop song on stump
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Green Party candidates to the regional assembly in Moravia-Silesia are
planning to address voters in an unusual manner - by rapping. Nine
Green candidates are planning to perform a hip-hop song entitled We All
Want Healthy Children at public meetings ahead of elections this
autumn, the website novinky.cz reported. The song's writer, regional
deputy party leader Ladislav Vrchovsky, says the Greens want to address
people with a modern outlook and the young.


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Romany affairs council to discuss asylum applications in Canada
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The government council on Romany affairs is planning to discuss in two
weeks' time the controversial issue of the high number of Czech
Romanies seeking asylum in Canada, the minister for human rights and
minorities, Dzamila Stehlikova, told reporters on Saturday. The prime
minister, Mirek Topolanek, said last week economic factors not human
rights were behind an increase in Czech asylum applications in Canada.
Romany leader Ladislav Bily criticised the prime minister's comments,
as well as statements made by Minister Stehlikova and Interior Minister
Ivan Langer. Nearly 500 Czech Romanies have applied for asylum in
Canada since it dropped visa requirements for Czechs in November;
Ottawa had introduced the restriction in response to a large influx of
Czech Romanies in the late 1990s.


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Paraguyan student wins main prize at Fresh Film Fest
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The 12-minute short I Hear Your Scream by the Paraguayan director Pablo
Lamar has won the main competition at the Fresh Film Fest festival of
student films in the west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary. Nearly 3,000
people attended the 200 pictures screened during the five-day festival,
which came to an end on Saturday night.


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September should be relatively warm, say forecasters
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September should be relatively warm with temperatures of up to 28
degrees Celsius, the Czech Hydrometerological Institute said on Sunday.
However, the start of the month should also be cloudy with rain,
showers and even storms at times.


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Weather
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It should be mainly sunny with the chance of storms over the next few
days. We can expect temperatures of up to 26 degrees Celsius.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Letter from Prague
Kde domov muj?
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I always found it quite funny that the main verse of the Czech national
anthem, Kde domov muj is not a statement - where my home is, but rather
a question, where is my home? It seemed a perfect question for a son of
Czech parents who immigrated to Britain before I was born. When I was
small, I knew that my parents had come from another country to the one
where we lived and where all my friends were from, but often found it
difficult to understand. "We can't be there, because some bad things
have happened" was the simplistic answer given to an inquisitive child.
Yet, at home we would speak Czech and eat mostly Czech food. In fact, I
even learned to speak Czech before I learned English. Often, teachers
at kindergarten, I've been told, would call home to ask what on Earth I
was saying to them.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107725

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This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at http://www.radio.cz/en/subscribe. To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2008, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 8.31.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Letter from Prague: Kde domov můj?

I always found it quite funny that the main verse of the Czech national anthem, Kde domov můj is not a statement – where my home is, but rather a question, where is my home? It seemed a perfect question for a son of Czech parents who immigrated to Britain before I was born. When I was small, I knew that my parents had come from another country to the one where we lived and where all my friends were from, but often found it difficult to understand. "We can't be there, because some bad things have happened" was the simplistic answer given to an inquisitive child. Yet, at home we would speak Czech and eat mostly Czech food. In fact, I even learned to speak Czech before I learned English. Often, teachers at kindergarten, I've been told, would call home to ask what on Earth I was saying to them.

RCI Cyberjournal

Prime Minister still on course for early election.


Green Party introduces first member of federal parliament.


Listeriosis claims tenth victim.

OTTAWA: PRIME MINISTER STILL ON COURSE FOR EARLY ELECTION

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could find no common ground with the leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, Jack Layton, at a meeting on Saturday. Mr. Harper is meeting with opposition leaders to see whether he can delay holding an early election. On Friday, he met with the Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe. After his meeting, Mr. Layton said that his party continued to have no confidence in Mr. Harper's Conservative Party government. Mr. Harper won a minority government in 2006. In recent weeks, he's described the minority parliament as dysfunctional. Mr. Harper has suggested that he might call an election on October 14 to seek a fresh mandate. The Liberal Party leader, Stephane Dion, continues to decline Mr. Harper's invitation to meet until federal byelections are held in two ridings in September.

OTTAWA: GREEN PARTY INTRODUCES FIRST MEMBER OF FEDERAL PARLIAMENT

A former Liberal Party member of Canada's parliament was introduced on Saturday as the first parliamentarian of the Green Party. Blair Wilson was ejected from the Liberal caucus last year after it was revealed that his 2006 campaign had spending irregularities. He had been sitting as an Independent. Green Party leader Elizabeth May presented Mr. Wilson at a news conference this morning in Ottawa. Miass May characterized his switch to her party as an historic moment.

OTTAWA: LISTERIOSIS CLAIMS TENTH VICTIM

The number of deaths in Canada from an outbreak of listeriosis increased to ten on Saturday after health officials announced another victim in Alberta, the first reported in that province. An advertising campaign has begun in newspapers across Canada to warn the public about the dangers associated with the outbreak. The ads warn that babies, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are at particular risk. Advice is given on how to handle food to avoid listeriosis---a type of food poisoning. Officials have linked the outbreak to meat products made by a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.

KANDAHAR: CANADIAN TROOPS GET HELP IN AFGHANISTAN

Canadian troops in Afghanistan will get help from 800 American soldiers. The U.S. forces are set to assume operations in Maywand district of Kandahar province, where Canada has 2,500 troops. The U.S. infantry unit will be responsible for conducting counter-insurgency operations in co-operation with Afghan forces under Canadian command. Earlier this week, the Canadian military said that securing Kandahar could not be done without more troops.

TORONTO: ARTS PROGRAM IS CANCELLED

Canada's government is reported to be planning to end another program aimed at the arts industry. The Globe & Mail reports that the government will stop the Canada New Media Fund, a CDN$14.5-million annual program. The development program was introduced ten years ago to create and distribute Canadian interactive new media at home and abroad. Telefilm Canada, an agency funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, operated the grants. Stakeholders have been advised by Telefilm that the program will not be extended after its latest two-year mandate expires on March 31. New media includes the creation of innovative games, television Web sites, social networking tools, mobile applications and films. Opposition politicians and artists have criticized the federal government for weeks over previous cuts of CDN$44.8 million to arts and culture.

MONTREAL: SALMONELLA OUTBREAK CONTINUES IN QUEBEC

Health officials in Quebec predict that a Salmonella outbreak that was discovered this week in the province is not yet over. The outbreak is blamed for one death and has infected 87 others. Officials have recalled three cheese products after tainted cheese was discovered by inspectors at stores. There is no connection with the listeriosis outbreak in Canada that is blamed for nine deaths.

JAKARTA: CANADIAN IS DETAINED IN INDONESIA

An Indonesian newspaper reports that a Canadian citizen has been detained in Indonesia in connection with the death of five workers after a maintenance platform plunged 50 metres from a television tower. The Kompas newspaper says that Wesley Ernest Stabner was declared a suspect in the incident on Thursday in Jakarta. Mr. Stabner could face criminal negligence charges after allegedly advising workers that the platform could safely hold five people. Mr. Stabner works for a U.S.-based company, Rohn Products International.


INDIA

At least 20 people were feared dead on Saturday after an overloaded rescue boat capsized in eastern India. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people trapped in India's worst floods in 50 years have been rescued hundreds of thousands of others remained stranded without food or water. About 60 people have died and three million people have been affected since the Kosi river breached its banks earlier this month on the border with Nepal, swamping hundreds of villages in eastern Bihar state. Another 300,000 people are living in government relief shelters, temples and high-rise government buildings. The government says that the situation is unlikely to return to normal for months.

UNITED STATES

Hurricane Gustav increased force on Saturday afternoon and was expected to turn into a highly dangerous Category 4 storm near the U.S. Gulf Coast. Gustav moved across Cuba's low-lying Isle of Youth, where 200,000 people live, and threatened to inundate Havana. It was expected to reach the United States somewhere near New Orleans. Meterologists predicted that the storm could reach 125 knots an hour, making it a Category 4 storm on the five-category Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.

LIBYA

Italy has agreed to compensate Libya for 30 years of occupation. Italian occupation ended in 1943. Italy will pay Libya $5 billion. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi signed a memorandum on the agreement at a meeting on Saturday in Benghazi. The compensation will go to construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during the Second World War. In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on illegal migrants trying to enter Italy. Italy will pay for $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on Libya's coastline. But an association representing thousands of Italians expelled from Libya in 1970 has condemned the compensation. The association denounced the government for giving funds to Libya rather than to repatriated Italians.

ZIMBABWE

Talks aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis have struck a new obstacle. The talks resumed in South Africa on Friday. But President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected the opposition's new demand. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai proposed that he and President Mugabe co-chair the cabinet jointly. A spokseman for the president called the proposal absurd. Mr. Tsvangirai has repeatedly said that he would refuse any power-sharing deal that did not give him real political power. South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki is acting as mediator between the two rivals.

INDIA

A landmine has killed at least 12 police officers in eastern India. The explosion blew up a police van that was participating in a mine-clearing operation in a densely forested area about 160 kilometres south of
Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state. Local rebels say that they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. They have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural labourers and the poor.

CHINA

A strong earthquake measuring 6.1 struck southwest Sichuan province on Saturday, killing 22 people and injuring more than 100 others. The earthquake hit about 50 kilometres southeast of Panzhihua city, near the border with Yunnan province. On May 12, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province killed nearly 70,000 people and left five million people homeless.

SRI LANKA

A powerful bomb ripped through a busy commercial area of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo,,on Saturday, wounding up to 50 people. A package left near a fruit vendor exploded in Pettah, the main commercial hub of the capital. The blast was a short distance away from the main bus station.


MOUNTAIN BIKE

Canadians Catharine Pendrel and Geoff Kabush each won a bronze medal in cross-country races on the World Cup mountain bike circuit on Saturday. In the women's race, Irina Kalentieva of Russia took the gold medal in the 31.6 kilometre race. Rosara Joseph of New Zealand was second and Pendrel, the sole Canadian entry, was third. Pendrel has had third consecutive podium finishs on the World Cup circuit.

BASEBALL

The Toronto Blue Jays lost to the New York Yankees on Friday, 2-1. The Yankees are trying to keep pace with Boston for the American League wild card. A-J Burnett allowed only seven hits in a complete game for Toronto.

FOOTBALL

In a thrilling finish, the Montreal Alouettes beat the B.C. Lions on Friday, 30-25. The Lions were unable to score from the one-yard line in three tries with less than two seconds left to play. Twice Montreal players were off-side. Montreal won its fourth in a row, and first against the West Division.


Weather

Here is Canada's weather on Sunday. British Columbia will have variable cloudiness. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 18 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny. Whitehorse, 17. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, six. Nunavut: sunny. Iqaluit, 11. Alberta: cloudy. Edmonton, 14. Saskatchewan: overcast. Regina, 19. Manitoba: rain showers. Winnipeg, 34. Ontario: sunny. Toronto, 27. Ottawa, 26. Quebec: sunny. Montreal, 26. New Brunswick: variable cloudiness. Fredericton, 23. Nova Scotia: variable cloudiness. Halifax, 22. Prince Edward Island: sunny periods. Charlottetown, 20. Newfoundland: mainly cloudy. St. John's, 22.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

News 8.30.2008

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Copyright (c) 2008 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, August 30th, 2008

By: Ian Willoughby

* The US Federal Aviation Administration is planning to test a new
Czech air traffic control system for pilot-less planes.

* One of the Czech Republic's wealthiest men has bought the group
behind some of the country's leading business publications.

* The mayor of a small town who was guest mayor of Prague for a week
says he still feels the city receives too much from state coffers.

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US aviation body planning to test Czech system for control of
pilot-less planes
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The US Federal Aviation Administration is planning to test a new Czech
air traffic control system developed for pilot-less planes, the Czech
News Agency reported. The FAA is expected to reach a deal in the near
future with the system's creators, the cybernetics department at
Prague's CVUT technical university. The AGENTFLY system does away with
the need for a control tower and was first developed for pilot-less
helicopters. The new air traffic control system could be included in a
US scheme to employ Czech technology in exchange for the positioning of
an anti-missile radar base in central Bohemia.


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Coal magnate Bakala buys group behind leading business publications
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The Economia group, which publishes the financial daily Hospodarske
noviny and the weekly Ekonom, has been bought by one of the Czech
Republic's wealthiest businessmen, Zdenek Bakala. The German company
Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt had been looking for a buyer for its
majority stake in Economia for several months. Mr Bakala, who owns
mining giant OKD, is reported to have set up a new firm 100-percent
owned by him to buy the group, which is behind a number of financial
and trade publications. His spokesman refused to comment on the matter.
Zdenek Bakala also owns the liberal intellectual weekly Respekt.


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Small town mayor learns about Prague problems but still disagrees with
capital's mayor on public financing
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The mayor of a small town who spent a week as mayor of the Czech
capital says he used to know Prague but now he knows the city's
problems. Petr Gazdik, mayor of the small town of Sucha Loz,
temporarily swapped jobs at the invitation of Prague mayor Pavel Bem
after complaining that small municipalities lost out compared to the
capital in terms of the redistribution of money collected in taxes. Mr
Gazdik told reporters he had agreed with Mr Bem on 90 percent of
issues, but they still differed over municipal financing and the idea
of Prague hosting the Olympics, which Mr Bem supports.


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Novinky: concerns in Croatia over Sparta fans' backing of Karadzic
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There are concerns in Croatia about an upcoming soccer game between
Dinamo Zagreb and Sparta Prague, after Sparta fans expressed support
for the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the Czech news
website novinky.cz reported. The Croatian newspaper Vecernji ran a
story on Friday about Sparta fans carrying a flag calling on both
Karadzic and former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic to "hold
on!" during a game against Mlada Boleslav earlier this month. A Sparta
spokesperson told Vecernji the club had no control over such
supporters. The Czech side take on Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian
capital on September 18 in the first leg of a UEFA Cup first round tie.


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Stepanek only Czech singles player into third round at US Open
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Radek Stepanek is the only Czech singles player to have made it into
the third round of tennis's US Open, in what has been a disappointing
competition for the Czech Republic. Stepanek beat Australia's Chris
Guccione 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-2 to set up a meeting with Roger Federer of
Switzerland for a place in the last 16 at Flushing Meadows.


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Press: Bohemians could be forced to leave traditional Prague home
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The Prague football club Bohemians 1905 could be forced to leave their
Dolicek stadium in Vrsovice, Lidove noviny reported. A representative
of the company which owns the stadium, CTY Development, told the
newspaper it did not have the funds to rebuild it to meet new Czech
league standards due to come into effect in 2012. However, the club's
director Lukas Pribyl said he hoped compromise could be reached in the
matter, adding that remaining at Dolicek was the number one priority of
fans. Bohemians 1905, who are currently in the Czech second division,
are one of the best supported clubs in the country.


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Vltava offering free audio books of Czech and international classics
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The Czech Radio station Vltava has begun offering free downloads of
recordings of Czech and international literary classics. Among the
Czech works available in audio book form at the station's website are
Jan Neruda's Prague Tales, The Grandmother by Bozena Nemcova and The
Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek.


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Weather
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It should be mainly sunny with the chance of storms over the next few
days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 26 degrees Celsius.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at http://www.radio.cz/en/subscribe. To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2008, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 8.30.2008

RCI Cyberjournal

Canadian voters likely visit polls Oct. 14


Epidemic continues to take life


Canadian economy avoids recession

OTTAWA: OCT. 14 LIKELY FEDERAL ELECTION DATE

Senior officials in the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper say he'll likely call an election next week for Oct. 14. The sources say his Conservative Party's main campaign theme is that competent managers are needed at the helm as the country's economy approaches tough times. The officials also say the Conservatives will seek to convince voters that they must choose between stability and certainty with the Conservatives or the risk involved in giving Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion control of the treasury.

OTTAWA: BLOC LEADER SAYS ELECTION IMPENDS

Likewise, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe came out of a meeting with Mr. Harper with the tidings that he intends to call a fall election. The prime minister last week requested meetings with the three opposition leaders in the House of Commons ostensibly to see whether his minority government can achieve its legislative agenda in the fall session of Parliament, thus avoiding an election. Mr. Duceppe says Mr. Harper's mind is made up and he wants an election. The prime minister will meet on Saturday with New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton. The Liberal leader, Mr. Dion, has said he won't meet the prime minister until after the three federal byelections scheduled for Sept. 8. But Mr. Harper has said he thinks it unreasonable to expect voters in those three ridings to have to vote twice.

TORONTO: LETHAL BACTERIUM STRIKES AGAIN

Health officials say listeriosis has killed another person. The death in B.C. is the ninth and the first outside of Ontario since the listeriosis outbreak erupted almost two weeks ago. Seven other deaths, four in Ontario one each in B.C., Saskatchewan and Quebec, are under investigation. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Friday added 50 more products to an expanding list of products made by Maple Leaf Foods Inc. which may be contaminated with the bacterium. In another development, the mayor of the Ontario town of Walkerton, Charlie Bagnato, professes shock that the federal government hasn't drawn the lessons from the medical catastrophe which overwhelmed the town eight years ago. Seven people died and thousands were sickened when the deadly E. coli bacterium was washed into Walkerton's drinking supply among other reasons because of malfeasance of its managers. The mayor noted that three current federal cabinet ministers were Ontario ministers at the time.

MONTREAL: SECOND HEALTH SCARE IN QUEBEC

While Canadian authorities deal with the outbreak of listeriosis, a different type of food poisoning is being reported in the province of Quebec. Public health officials say an unusually large number of cases of salmonella food poisoning have been found in three regions of the province. One death has been attributed to the outbreak. Eighty-seven cases of salmonella food poisoning have been confirmed. Quebec officials have recalled certain types of cheese suspected to be the cause of the outbreak.

OTTAWA: ECONOMY AVOIDS RECESSION

Statistics Canada reports that the economy grew by .3 per cent in the second quarter. The news means that the country has avoided for the time being a formal state of economic recession, growth having dropped .8 per cent in the first quarter. The federal agency says gains were recorded in the public sector, finance, insurance and the retail trade. There were declines in the energy sector, particularly in natural gas production. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty commented that the country is feeling the effects of global economic factors, particularly the struggling U.S. economy.

OTTAWA: TERROR SUSPECT'S LAWYER DECRIES 'GUILT BY ASSOCIATION'

The lawyer defending an Ottawa-area man accused of violating the Anti-Terror Act says he cannot be found guilty only because he was acquainted with some terrorists. The lawyer told Ontario Superior Court that the Crown is trying to convict Momin Khawaja based on "guilty by association." He's accused of seven counts of terrorism through alleged complicity with five British Muslims convicted of plotting a series of bombings in Britain. The five were given life sentences. Among the charges against Mr. Momin is the accusation that he built a detonator for them. His lawyer contends that his real intention was to go to fight the West in Afghanistan and that his plotters in Britain kept him in the dark about their conspiracy, to which the Crown responded that the accused knew enough about his alleged co-conspirators to be convicted.

MONTREAL: BOMBARDIER AIRLINERS SEIZED

Quebec Superior Court Friday granted Kuwait a seizure order for 10 Bombardier CRJ900 regional airliners that had been ordered by Iraqi Airways. The aircraft were being assembled in Montreal and were to be delivered to Iraq in September. The court also ordered the seizure of two properties in Quebec that belong to the government of Iraq. Kuwait has been trying since 1990 to force Iraq to pay reparations for damages inflicted by Iraq in the first Persian Gulf War. Kuwait's lawyer told the court that the seizure request results from the refusal by Iraqi Airways and the Iraqi government to engage in "meaningful negotiations."

INUVIK: NWT ANXIOUS TO SEE MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT

The premier of Canada's Northwest Territories, Floyd Roland, says his government is considering forming for a partnership with the private sector to build a crucial highway linking the territory's north and south. Mr. Roland says the territory is tired of waiting for the federal government to decide whether to share in the financing of a $700-million, 800-kilometre highway that would link the territory north coast on the Beaufort Sea to the south. The idea of building a highway from the south through the Mackenzie Valley to Inuvik, now the centre of the territory's energy industry, has been weighed since the late 1950s. Goods intended for Inuvik now must be trucked through a long detour in Yukon to the west. The highway has long been considered as a vital piece of infrastructure along with the also long-delayed Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline.

MONTREAL; STUN GUN A FACTOR IN DEATH

A coroner has concluded that the use of the Taser contributed to the death of Quilem Registre in Montreal in 2007. The 38-year-old man high on cocaine received six electric shocks from police Tasers in less than one minute after having resisted arrest. The coroner concludes that to have received such shocks in his physical condition could have had a negative impact on his health, which quickly worsened. Registre died in hospital several days later. The coroner advises that the use of the Taser musn't become routine for the police. In October 2007, would-be Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Hospital after police shot him twice with stun guns.

WINNIPEG: FLAP OVER FOREIGN WORKERS AT CONSTRUCTION SITE

Controversy has arisen over the employment of several dozen temporary foreign workers to expand Winnipeg airport. Manitoba Member of Parliament Pat Martin has protested to the federal human resources and immigration department over the granting of permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker program to 36 foreign workers to work at the site. Mr. Martin says they should be sent home to allow local workers to be employed and thus keep the benefits of the large project in Manitoba. The MP says the foreign workers are from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Poland. The company that has a sub-contract for the airport project, Reemaco, says it went through the proper government channels and has approval for 36 foreign workers, although only 23 are actually on the site. The company describes them as skilled carpenters.


GEORGIA

The Georgian government says it will break off relations with Russia, Georgia's legislature having voted on Thursday in favour of that eventuality because of their conflict over the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgian embassy diplomats were to leave Moscow on Saturday. Russia criticized the decision, saying it wasn't Russia's choice. However, both countries will maintain their consulates. Earlier in the week, Russia announced it had recognized the two territories' independence. On Friday, a South Ossetian legislator said that Russia plans to absorb the territory. The conflict between Georgia and Russia started after Georgia tried to regain control of South Ossetia by force, to which Russia responded with an invasion.

UNITED STATES

Republic Party presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. If elected, she would become the first female U.S. Vice-president.

THE NETHERLANDS

Former Bosnia Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has refused to enter a plea at his trial in The Hague by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, obliging the judge to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf. Mr. Karadzic refuses to accept the court's legitimacy, calling it a proxy of NATO. The Western alliance launched a bombing campaign in the former Yugoslavia in 1995, forcing Serbs to negotiate an end to the various wars. The defendant is accused of planning the worst atrocities committed in Bosnia, including the massacre of 8,000 Muslim males in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo.

UNITED STATES

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL, has upgraded Gustav to a Category 1 storm which could strike anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas sometime next week. The storm killed 71 people earlier in the week as it ploughed through Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. A storm ravaged the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi exactly three years ago. In New Orleans, the last seven unclaimed bodies from that disaster were laid to rest. Mayor Ray Nagin says an evacuation order for the city is likely but not before Saturday.

ITALY

The country's national airline, Airitalia, has filed for bankruptcy protection as the first step in a restructuring plan. The airline says it has asked the government, which owns a 49.9 per cent stake in it, to name an administrator. Airitalia is losting US$3 million a day, and has been hurt by labour strife, the high cost of fuel and competition from budget airlines.

PAKISTAN

The military reports having killed 22 Islamic militants, including two commanders, in an airstrike in the Swat Valley in the northwest. Troops supported by helicopters and artillery having been staging attacks in the valley for weeks. One spokesman said that the army has succeeded in disrupting the militants' command and communications structure. A Taliban cleric launched a violent campaign to enforce Islamic law in the Swat Valley in 2007.


TORONTO: CRTC SLAPS SHAW HARD ON THE WRIST

The federal communications watchdog has taken the unusual step of placing the country's second-biggest cable company on probation for ignoring its rules. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has renewed the broadcast licence of Shaw Communications Inc. for only two years instead of the usual seven. The CRTC says Shaw has broken at least two rules, one being the dropping or rescheduling of channels without warning their producers. The Commission also says the company put too many commercial messages on its community channel against the rule. Shaw, with 3.3 million customers and a market value of $10 billion, is the largest telecom ever to have had its licence put on probation by the CRTC.

MONTREAL: BOMBARDIER WINS TURKEY RAIL CONTRACT

Bombardier Transportation Inc. says it has won a US$13 billion contract to supply 30 light rail vehicles to Turkey's fourth-biggest city, Bursa in the northwest of the country. The contract has an option for as many as 28 more vehicles. The vehicles will be built at several Bombardier factories in Europe.

TORONTO: GREENPEACE SLAMS SYNCRUDE LAWSUIT

The Greenpeace environmental lobby has reacted angrily to a lawsuit brought against it by Syncrude Canada Ltd., claiming the court action is aimed at intimidating critics like itself of the huge oilsands developments in northeastern Alberta. The group says the action is "a punitive lawsuit designed to financially cripple a non-profit organization and intimidate critics of the tar sands." The suit results from the invasion of a Syncrude operation by Greenpeace members who put a cap on a pipe that led to a toxic waste-water pond at a mine site on July 24. The pond attracted world notoriety when a flock of 500 migratory ducks died after landing on it. Syncrude says the environmentalists had trespassed on a industrial area containing large, complex mining equipment, thus endangering the company's workers and themselves. A Syncrude spokesman says it's legitimate to debate the oilsands issue, but trespassing dangerously isn't the way to achieve such a debate. Syncrude is also demanding $100,000 in damages.

MARKETS

TSX on Friday: 13,771, up 21. Canadian dollar: US94.16 cents, down 0.91 of a cent. Euro:C$1.5580, up 1.24 cents. Light, sweet crude: US$115.46 down $0.13.


GOLF

Canadian Mike Weir is in the lead early after a career round at the PGA Tour's Deutsche Bank Championship. The Bright's Grove, ON, native shot a 10-under 61 in the first round, the lowest round score of his career.

CANOE

The federal and Nova Scotia governments have
announced funding for an international canoe competition that's
expected to draw competitors from more than 90 countries to a
Dartmouth lake next year.
Peter MacKay, the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency, says the federal government will provide up to
$2 million for the 2009 ICF World Senior Canoe Championships.
The province says it will contribute $500,000 for course upgrades
at Lake Banook and a new starting system.

FOOTBALL

In the Canadian Football League, Montreal Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon was approaching a milestone going into Friday's game against the visiting B.C. Lions. The 36-year-old needs a catch to give him at least one pass reception in 100 consecutive games. The Lions are in last place in the West going into the game.


Weather

British Columbia on Saturday: rain, high 18 Celsius Vancouver. Yukon: sun. Northwest Territories, Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 14, Yellowknife 7, Iqaluit 9. Alberta: rain south, cloud north. Saskatchewan: cloud south, rain north. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 13, Regina, Winnipeg 28. Ontario: sun. Quebec: sun south, rain north. Toronto 27, Ottawa 26, Montreal 24. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 26, Halifax, Charlottetown 22, St. John's 20.

Friday, August 29, 2008

News 8.29.2008

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2008 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Friday, August 29th, 2008

By: Ruth Frankova

* Two hundred candidates will run for the seats in the Senate elections
this autumn.

* The number of Czechs arrested or imprisoned abroad has risen in
recent years.

* The minister of culture is reported to be planning to sack the head
of the National Library, Vlastimil Jezek.

========================================================================
Two hundred candidates to run for Senate in autumn
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two hundred candidates will run for the seats in the Senate elections
this autumn, in which one third of the Senate - 27 of the 81 Senators -
are to be replaced. The deadline for the registration of the candidates
expired on Friday. Altogether 31 parties and movements have fielded
their candidates. Only three parties, the Civic Democrats, the Social
Democrats and the Communists have fielded their candidates in all 27
constituencies. Out of the 27 senators whose mandate expires in the
autumn, 20 will seek re-election.


========================================================================
Czech-US talks on the SOFA treaty to resume next week
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Czech-US talks on the SOFA treaty concerning the presence of US
personnel at the planned radar base on Czech soil will continue
simultaneously in the Czech Republic and in the US at the end of next
week, Deputy Defence Minister Martin Bartak said. Defence Minister
Vlasta Parkanova said earlier this week that the bilateral SOFA
agreement will soon be completed. The Czech and the US in July signed
the main treaty on the radar base. The ratification process of both
treaties in Czech parliament might be completed by the end of this year.


========================================================================
Number of Czechs detained or imprisoned abroad on rise
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The number of Czechs arrested or imprisoned abroad has risen in recent
years. According to the data released by the Foreign Ministry, 869
Czechs were arrested in 2005, while a year later it was 999. Last year
the figure increased to 1093. Czechs are most frequently detained
abroad on suspicion of theft, burglary, violent crime or the violation
of their residence conditions. Most cases have been reported in
Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, which are countries visited by a
high number of Czechs.


========================================================================
Culture minister reported to be planning to sack National Library head
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The minister of culture, Vaclav Jehlicka, is planning to sack the head
of the National Library, Vlastimil Jezek, the Czech News Agency
reported. The move is believed to be connected with a dispute over a
planned new national library building. Mr Jezek refused to abrogate the
international competition for the new library building last year,
saying such a move could lead to an arbitration dispute. A design by
renowned Czech-born architect Jan Kaplicky was originally chosen as the
winner in the competition and was to have stood on Prague's Letna
plain, but the project lost the backing of City Hall, in a dispute over
land and funds.


========================================================================
Prime Minister refuses to earmark more money to universities
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has rejected request by Education
Minister Ondrej Liska for an additional funding for universities
amounting to two billion crowns (approximately 120 million US dollars).
Mr Topolanek said the money could be acquired by reassessing the
distribution of means in the budget of the Education Ministry. Ondrej
Liska justified his request by pointing to the growing number of
university students. He also stressed that the annual state allowance
per student in 2009 will be lower than in the previous years.


========================================================================
Trial of Czech entomologists to continue on Saturday
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The trial of two Czech entomologists, who were detained in north-east
India last month for the alleged collecting of rare insects, will
continue on Saturday. Emil Kucera and Petr Svacha were arrested near
India's Singalila National Park on 23 June for collecting rare insects
in the park without a permit. The two men spent a month in prison and a
month on bail before their case reached trial on Monday. Recent reports
revealed both men had signed several blank documents when first taken
into custody, which were later passed off as their confessions. The two
Czechs on Friday denied all the charges against them.


========================================================================
Repair work on Tugendhadt Villa delayed
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Repair work on one of the most important examples of modern
architecture in the Czech Republic, Brno's Villa Tugendhat, will be
delayed. The antimonopoly office on Thursday ruled that the tender for
restoration of the functionalist villa had been conducted improperly.
The authorities in Brno now have two months to either select another
bidder or call a new competition. The Villa Tugendhat was designed by
renowned German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1928. The
building has belonged to the city of Brno since 1994 and local
authorities have been planning a comprehensive renovation for several
years.


========================================================================
Prague Castle the most visited tourist destination in Czech Republic
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prague castle is the most visited tourist destination in the Czech
Republic, followed by Prague Zoo and the National Museum. The list has
been put together by the state agency CzechTourism. Most of the places
in the top ten have reported increased number of visitors in the past
year, despite a sharp fall in the overall number of tourists. Six of
the ten most popular tourist destinations are in Prague. The list also
includes the National Gallery, the Jewish Museum and the zoological
garden in Dvur Kralove.


========================================================================
Slavia's Tomas Necid transfers to CSKA Moscow
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slavia Praha striker Tomas Necid will move to Russian club CSKA Moscow,
the Czech club announced on Friday. Necid will play for Slavia until
the end of the year before moving to Moscow. The club did not disclose
financial details of the transfer. Necid was the highest scorer at the
2008 Under-19 European Championship in July with four goals, helping
the Czech team to reach the semi-finals. The 19-year-old is Slavia's
top scorer this season with three goals from four matches.


========================================================================
Weather
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The coming weekend will be mostly cloudy, with showers in places.
Temperatures are expected to reach the highs of around 24 degrees
Celsius.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Business News
Business News 8.29.2008
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Business News this week: the Czech power giant CEZ announces plans
to build Europe's largest onshore wind farm; the average monthly salary
in the Czech Republic is up 8 percent, but high inflation means real
growth is at its lowest in a decade; Hyundai is reported to be
three-months ahead of schedule for the beginning of production at its
new plant in Moravia; two Czech firms develop a special car that could
prove very useful for wheelchair users; and spend those hellers! - the
aluminium coins cease to be legal tender at midnight on Sunday.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107734

Arts
The favourite sounds of Prague
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prague is the city of hundred spires and countless historic sights, but
what does it look like when you close your eyes? A new project called
Favourite Sounds of Prague attempts to draw attention to the
"soundscape" of the Czech capital, exploring how local people perceive
the sounds that surround them. One of the fruits of the project will be
an archive of sounds, something like an acoustic portrait of the city.
The man behind the idea is British artist Peter Cusack, who has carried
out similar projects in several cities across the world. The Czech
project is supported by a German state fund and is coordinated by Milos
Vojtechovsky.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107732

Current Affairs
Raduza does it for the kids with new CD and book
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The popular Czech folk singer Raduza has just released a new CD for
children entitled O Mourince a Lojzikovi. The album combines stories
with songs and is part of a project which also includes a nicely
illustrated book. Raduza told me how it came about.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107731

Current Affairs
Czech president pardons man who tried to sell his hip
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In recent days, an unusual story has emerged about a man allegedly
trying to sell the Czech president's removed hipbone on an online
auction site. Now, in the latest twist, President Vaclav Klaus has
decided to pardon the man at the centre of the storm.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107730

Current Affairs
PM signals future changes in sports funding
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Few sports fans in the Czech Republic will forget the recent Beijing
Olympics, where the country notched up six medals, three silver and
three gold. The games featured a number of gripping stories, including
the very first gold medal win of the games by shooter Katerina Emmons
as well as Barbora Spotakova's stunning last-minute win in the javelin.
Yet days since the Olympics ended, the country's prime minister, Mirek
Topolanek, has now expressed disappointment. On Wednesday, Mlada fronta
Dnes writes, he stated flatly that Czechs should have won more medals,
given how much money the state spends on sport. He made clear, too,
that there could now be changes to come.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107729

------------------------------------------------------------------------
This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at http://www.radio.cz/en/subscribe. To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2008, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 8.29.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Business News: Business News 8.29.2008

In Business News this week: the Czech power giant ČEZ announces plans to build Europe's largest onshore wind farm; the average monthly salary in the Czech Republic is up 8 percent, but high inflation means real growth is at its lowest in a decade; Hyundai is reported to be three-months ahead of schedule for the beginning of production at its new plant in Moravia; two Czech firms develop a special car that could prove very useful for wheelchair users; and spend those hellers! – the aluminium coins cease to be legal tender at midnight on Sunday.

Arts: The favourite sounds of Prague

Prague is the city of hundred spires and countless historic sights, but what does it look like when you close your eyes? A new project called Favourite Sounds of Prague attempts to draw attention to the "soundscape" of the Czech capital, exploring how local people perceive the sounds that surround them. One of the fruits of the project will be an archive of sounds, something like an acoustic portrait of the city. The man behind the idea is British artist Peter Cusack, who has carried out similar projects in several cities across the world. The Czech project is supported by a German state fund and is coordinated by Miloš Vojtěchovský.

Current Affairs: Radůza does it for the kids with new CD and book

The popular Czech folk singer Radůza has just released a new CD for children entitled O Mourince a Lojzíkovi. The album combines stories with songs and is part of a project which also includes a nicely illustrated book. Radůza told me how it came about.

Current Affairs: Czech president pardons man who tried to sell his hip

In recent days, an unusual story has emerged about a man allegedly trying to sell the Czech president's removed hipbone on an online auction site. Now, in the latest twist, President Václav Klaus has decided to pardon the man at the centre of the storm.

Current Affairs: PM signals future changes in sports funding

Few sports fans in the Czech Republic will forget the recent Beijing Olympics, where the country notched up six medals, three silver and three gold. The games featured a number of gripping stories, including the very first gold medal win of the games by shooter Kateřina Emmons as well as Barbora Špotáková's stunning last-minute win in the javelin. Yet days since the Olympics ended, the country's prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, has now expressed disappointment. On Wednesday, Mladá fronta Dnes writes, he stated flatly that Czechs should have won more medals, given how much money the state spends on sport. He made clear, too, that there could now be changes to come.

NEWS /www.nrcu.gov.ua/

Dear subscriber!

We offer you most recent news by this moment on air at National radio company of
Ukraine. To read these news items in full, please, refer to our site
www.nrcu.gov.ua.

Sincerely yours, administrator.
webadm@nrcu.gov.ua
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
2008-08-29 16:43:00
Explosions continued in territory of Defense Ministry's 61st arsenal near
Lozova, Kharkiv region, on Friday morning.
Emergencies and Defense Ministries units are extinguishing flames.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73258

2008-08-29 16:39:00
11th Brigantine international film festival opened in Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia
region.
This year's event will have a new format, Oleksandr Makhotin, director general
of the festival, said.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73257

2008-08-29 16:35:00
Arsenal # 61 of South Operations Command of Ukraine's Land Forces to be
withdrawn from list of military facilities.
Its territory will be transferred to the local community, First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleksandr Turchynov told an emergency meeting of the fire mitigation
headquarters.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73256

2008-08-29 16:12:00
President Viktor Yushchenko held telephone talk with European Union's Council of
Ministers Secretary General, EU High Commissioner for Common Foreign and
Security Policy Javier Solana.
The main subject of Thursday's talk between the parties was the situation around
Georgia.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73254

2008-08-28 15:48:00
Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko ranks 17th on Most Powerful Women in World list
of US Forbes magazine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the front-runner third year in a row.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73194

2008-08-28 15:43:00
Central Electoral Commission overestimated costs for creation of
information-telecommunication system of voters' state register for one third.
Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Ukrainian President's
representative to the Constitutional Court and CEC Maryna Stavniychuk told this
a press-conference today.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73193

2008-08-28 15:36:00
Statement passed following August 27 meeting of NATO - Ukraine commission in
Brussels.
The statement reads that the commission condemns the decision of the Russian
Federation to recognize independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73192

2008-08-28 15:24:00
Ukrzaliznytsia state railway transport administration planning to launch
up-to-200-kmph train traffic on highly popular Odesa - Kyiv route by Euro 2012.
To carry out the project, it is planned to divide passenger and cargo flows.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73190

2008-08-28 15:18:00
Waves of explosions frequently cover Ukrainian arsenals because of difficulties
involved in disposal of outdated ammunition.
Colonel-General Hennadiy Vorobyov, first deputy chief of the Armed Forces'
General Headquarters, told this a briefing at the Defense Ministry today.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73186

2008-08-28 15:15:00
On September 1, 2008, about 378 thousand children will start school.
Minister of Education and Science Ivan Vakarchuk told this a press-conference
today.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=73185


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

RCI Cyberjournal

Bacterium kills three more Canadians


Canadian coast guard to get new flagship


Two Canadian parties neck-and-neck as vote nears

TORONTO: MORE DEATHS IN PUBLIC HEALTH SCARE

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports three more deaths in the listeriosis outbreak, bringing the total to eight. All three of the latest victims are in Ontario and had been among cases that were under investigation. There have been 29 confirmed cases, with another 36 under investigation. The meatpacker Maple Leaf Foods has accepted responsibility for the outbreak, a plant in Toronto having been found contaminated with listeriosis. Meanwhile, the Consumers Council of Canada has denounced the contamination as "an outrageous situation" that never should have happened. Council Vice-president Eleanor Friedland says consumer confidence in both the federal government and companies like Maple Leaf is nil. Mrs. Friedland is calling on the federal government to increase inspections and on municipal and provincial governments to pressure Ottawa into taking the issue seriously. She says as well that the Council intends to make the listerosis outbreak a campaign issue in the coming federal election.

OTTAWA: FLOOR INSPECTIONS FOR MEAT UNEVEN

In related news, the federal government is backing away from a claim about how meat inspectors spend their time. Earlier in the week, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz claimed that inspectors spend one-half of their time inspecting products on the floor, and the other half doing paperwork, most of it of a scientific nature. But the inspectors' union reacted with incredulity. On Thursday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency acknowledged that although the 50-50 use of time is the way the inspection system was designed, but that it doesn't necessarily work that way. One agency official told the Canadian Press that inspectors know best how to perform their duties. But the agency's agriculture union says inspectors are overwhelmed with paper audits and lack time to inspect products.

INUVIK: COAST GUARD TO GET NEW ICEBREAKER

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a new flagship icebreaker for the Coast Guard. The $720-million vessel will be called the John G. Diefenbaker, after a former Conservative prime minister. The ship will replace the current flagship, the Louis St-Laurent, in 2017. Mr. Harper, who is making a three-day visit to the North, used the occasion in Inuvik, NWT, to remind his listeners of his government's initiatives such as major military infrastructure and the creation of new parks and protected areas in the Arctic. Critics claim that of the initiatives will benefit few actual residents. Mary Simon, the head of the Inuit Taparisat Kanatami group, says military infrastructure is welcome but that the Conservatives should consider "the human dimension." On another issue, Mr. Harper said that one reason an election may be needed is that opposition Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has taken his party so far to the left that co-operation between his minority government and the Liberals is becoming impossible.

OTTAWA: POLL SHOWS CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS IN DEAD HEAT

A new poll shows the two biggest federal parties running neck-and-neck, as the next election looms. The Canadian Press/Harris-Decima survey shows the Liberals with the support of 34 per cent of voters and the Conservatives with 33 per cent. The New Democratic Party stands at 15 per cent, the Green Party 11 per cent and the Bloc Québécois at nine per cent. The poll says that although 55 per cent find the country heading in the right direction, 47 per cent say it would be best served by a new government.

OTTAWA: EXPORTS FUEL FAVOURABLE TRADE BALANCE

Statistics Canada reports that the country's trade balance expanded to $6.8 billion in the second quarter. The agency attributes the gains chiefly to higher prices for several commodities, particularly natural gas and oil.

INUVIK: CANADA TO PROCEED PRUDENTLY TO SAVE POLAR BEAR

A scientific panel has made public the results of research on the present situation of the polar bear which it turned over to the government in April. The review classifies the animal as a "special concern" but not endangered or threatened with extinction. Federal Environment Minister John Baird on Thursday announced the creation of a national round table to consult on the polar bear's future with a variety of groups, including Arctic residents and says that the government will eventually act on the basis of science. Two-thirds of the North's 25,000 bears live in Canada. Environmentalists have demanded that Canada declare the polar bear an endangered species as the U.S. has done. The bear is menaced by the melting of Arctic ice caused by global warming. However, the Inuit say the bear population is not in as much trouble as some think. To classify the animal as threatened would entail a hunting ban.

TORONTO: EXPERTS TO STUDY PROPANE DISASTER

The Liberal government has named two experts to conduct an investigation of Ontario propane safety standards after the huge explosion at the Sunrise Propane facility in northwest Toronto on Aug. 10. The blast killed two people and forced the evacuation of thousands of terrified residents. The disaster led to calls for stronger regulations governing such facilities and questions about how such a dangerous plant could be located in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. The two experts will examine all aspects of propane regulation, comparing the province's regulations with those of other jurisdictions. The opposition Conservatives and NDP dismissed the review as a stalling tactic, saying the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty has been dithering in such crises as the economy and the outbreak of listeriosis.

MONTREAL: HOSPITAL BACTERIA VICTIMS LAUNCH CLASS-ACTION

Victims of a two deadly outbreaks of the C. difficile bacterium are asked a court to allow them to launch a class-action against a hospital southeast of Montreal where 16 people died and 70 contracted bacterial infection in two outbreaks between May and November 2006. The victims are demanding that Honoré-Mercier Hospital in St-Hyacinthe. A lawyer filed the suit on behalf of the sister of a victim as well as of an advocacy group that defends people stricken by hospital-acquired infections. A coroner who conducted an investigation of the deaths found the hospital's administration partly to blame for failing to stop the spread of the infections.


GEORGIA

In Tbilisi, Georgia's parliament has called on the government to cut diplomatic ties with Russia. The resolution is in reaction to Moscow's decision to recognize the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The resolution also calls on the government of President Mikhail Saakashvili to declare the presence of Russian military forces in Georgia illegal. Russia recognized the two breakaway regions on Tuesday. Earlier this month it sent tanks and troops over its southern border to repel a Georgian military offensive to retake South Ossetia from pro-Moscow separatists.

ESTONIA

The presidents of Estonia and Poland and representatives of Lithuania's met in Tallinn on Thursday to discuss the situation in Georgia, of which they are staunch supporters. They called on the EU to demand that international observers be sent there, and that humanitarian aid be offered to war refugees and those rendered homeless by Russia Aug. 8 invasion. The three states called on the EU to be "decisive" in defending the community's values. The EU will hold an emergency summit on Georgia on Monday.

TAJIKISTAN

Russia has failed to win overt support for his recent actions in the Caucasus from its five partners in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, which comprises Russia, China and four Central Asian states. The six parties met in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev represented his country. The grouping issued a routine declaration condemning the use of force. China issued its own declaration expressing concern about the "latest changes" in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

JAMAICA

Tropical Storm Gustav is lashing Jamaica with winds of 110 kilometres and is expected to dump up to 12 centimetres on Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, with 25 centimetres possible in some areas. The wind has torn off roofs in eastern Jamaica and threatens the island's banana industry, which had been only recovering from last year's Hurricane Dean. Meanwhile, energy firms off the Gulf coast of Mississippi and Louisiana are braced for the worst. The offshore oil and natural gas rigs provide the U.S. with one-quarter of its crude oil and 15 per cent of the country's natural gas.

SWITZERLAND

The UN High Commission for Refugees has called on Malta's authorities to release the eight survivors of this week's migrant disaster in the Mediterranean Sea from custody and to provide them with medical care and other support. The Commission says its representatives have interviewed several survivors and found them in poor condition. Two survivors told the UNHCR that the boat set out from Libya on Aug. 21 with 78 people on board, most of them from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan before the boat sank. Malta's military sent out a patrol plane to look for survivors but none were found. The UN urged Malta to continue the search.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Violent combats erupted on Thursday between government forces and Tutsi rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, jeopardizing the peace accord that the government reached in January with a dozen armed groups in North and South Kivu provinces. The UN says the clashes occurred between the rebel army of Tutsi Gen. Laurent Nkunda in North Kivu. The fighting has forced 857,000 residents from their homes since December 2006.


TORONTO: AUTO PARTS MAKER LAYS OFF HUNDREDS

Linamar Corp., the country's second-biggest maker of auto parts, has announced 800 layoffs, about four per cent of its workforce. As many as 500 employees were informed of the layoffs Thursday, while some 300 others already laid off will see their suspension extended. Linamar blames the layoffs on falling orders from its customers in the automotive and building trade industries, as well as rising costs for raw materials, energy and the high Canadian dollar. A majority of the layoffs are at Linamar facilities in Guelph, ON.

MONTREAL: SMALL AIRLINE THROWS IN THE TOWEL

Ottawa-based Zoom Airlines has suspended its operations, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Canada and Britain. Zoom says the economic downturn and the high price of fuel had made it impossible to continue, and that it has begun bankruptcy proceedings in both countries. The airline employed 250 people in Canada and 260 in Britain. It operated five aircraft.

TORONTO: BANKS' PROFITS DOWN

The country's biggest banks suffered a 21 per cent in earnings in the third quarter, at $4.15 billion, on losses from bad loans as the credit crisis continued. All of the main banks suffered to some degree because of their links to problems with the U.S. housing and financial sectors. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce suffered the most, reporting a profit of only $71 million on Wednesday.

TORONTO: RIVAL SEEKS TO UNDERCUT TSX FEES

Alpha Trading Systems will seek to undermine the dominance of TMX Group Inc.'s TSX stock exchange. Alpha begins operations on Sept. 26. The new exchange is being launched by a consortium that includes Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and eight of the country's biggest brokerages. Alpha says its prices are designed to save big firms as much as 25 per cent compared with what they would pay the TSX, while smaller firms which generally are charged more could save up to 55 per cent. Investor concern with competition from new players like Alpha and Pure Trading have dragged TSX shares down by 40 per cent since the stock reached a 52-week high of $57.25 in December.

TORONTO: AUTO PARTS WORKERS COULD UNIONIZE

The United Steelworkers union has applied to unionize the Magna International plant at St. Thomas. Magna has historically been opposed to labour unions. United Steelworkers has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to hold a certification vote next week. The application comes despite an agreement last October between the auto parts maker and the Canadian Auto Workers union that it would receive improved access to Magna facilities for the purpose of unionization, in exchange for giving up the right to strike. In Ontario, a union can seek certification if 40 per cent of workers sign membership cards.

MARKETS

TSX on Thursday: up 220 points to 13,750, on top of Wednesday's 232-point surge. The Canadian dollar closed at 95.07 US, falling 0.46 of a cent. The euro was worth C$1.5456, up 0.44 of a cent. Light, sweet crude: US$115.59 down $2.56.


OLYMPICS

Organizers of Vancouver's Olympic organizing
committee say tickets for the Paralympic Games in 2010 will be
affordable.
Caley Denton, vice-president of ticketing for Vanoc, says most of
the tickets for sports and ceremony events will start at $20 or
less.
Ticket prices will range from $15 for alpine skiing to between
$20 and $50 for ice sledge hockey.


Weather

British Columbia on Friday: rain, high 21 Celsius Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: rain. Alberta: mostly sunny. Saskatchewan: sun south, rain north. Manitoba: sun. Edmonton 13, Regina 21, Winnipeg 23. Ontario, Quebec: rain south, sun north. Toronto 24, Montreal, Ottawa 26. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 22, Halifax 21, Charlottetown 20, St. John's 17.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

News 8.28.2008

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Copyright (c) 2008 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Thursday, August 28th, 2008

By: Ian Willoughby

* A deal on the conditions under which US soldiers would operate at a
radar base in the Czech Republic is very close, says the Czech defence
minister.

* The Czech prime minister says the country should have won more medals
in Beijing, given how much the state spends on sport.

* President Vaclav Klaus has pardoned a man being investigated for
trying to sell what he said was one of the president's hip joints on
the internet.

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Status of forces agreement on US troops for radar base close, says
Czech defence minister
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A deal on the conditions under which US soldiers would operate at a
radar base in the Czech Republic is very close and should be completed
next month, the Czech defence minister, Vlasta Parkanova, said after
talks with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Thursday. Mr Topolanek
told reporters the status of forces agreement should then be discussed
by the Czech Parliament in October. Czech legislators are set to vote
on both it and the main treaty on the US radar by the end of this year.
In July Prague and Washington signed the main treaty on the radar base,
which will be part of an American anti-missile defence shield.


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Czech athletes should have won more medals given state spending, says PM
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Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says the Czech Republic should have
taken more than six medals at the Olympic games in Beijing. He said
results could have been better at the Olympics, given how much money
the Czech state puts into sport. Mr Topolanek also said the problem was
that the country had too few top athletes. However, the prime minister
praised veteran kayaker Stepanka Hilgertova, who finished ninth after
her boat capsized - he said she had behaved in an "unCzech" way when
she risked all for gold and received no medal, rather than being
satisfied with settling for silver.


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President grants pardon over internet auction of hip joint
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President Vaclav Klaus has granted a pardon to a man who was being
investigated for trying to sell what he said was one of the president's
hip joints by internet auction. The accused, doctor of law Premysl
Donat, set a starting price of CZK 35,000 (just over USD 2,000) for a
joint he said had been removed from the president's body during a hip
replacement operation in June. Police began a fraud investigation after
the president's office said the joint was not Mr Klaus's. But the
president has now pardoned the man, so as to bring what a spokesman
called an "undignified game" to an end.


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Average monthly salary up 8 percent, not much more than inflation
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The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic grew by 8 percent
year-on-year to CZK 23,182 (nearly USD 1,400) in the second quarter of
this year. However, inflation is at around 7 percent, meaning the real
increase in Czechs' income is just 1.1 percent, the lowest rise in a
decade. Prague is the region with the highest average monthly pay,
while Karlovy Vary is the lowest.


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Over 26,000 foreigners get Czech citizenship in seven-year period
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Over 26,000 foreigners have gained Czech citizenship since 2001,
according to government data released on Thursday. Two-fifths of those
who have received Czech citizenship in the last seven years are from
the neighbouring state of Slovakia, while Ukrainians make up the second
biggest group. The number of new Czech citizens last year was the
lowest since 2001.


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Prague Buddhists planning first temple in capital
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Prague's Vietnamese community are planning to build a Buddhist temple
within the next three years. The announcement was made after a Buddhist
holy day, festival of Vu Lan. Prague's Buddhists currently make use of
a temporary shrine. The Czech Republic's first Buddhist temple, in
Varnsdorf in north Bohemia, was opened in January.


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Giant striker Koller says retirement decision is final
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Jan Koller, who holds the record for the most goals scored for the
Czech Republic, will not appear for the national team again. The
country's new manager Petr Rada had said he hoped to persuade the
35-year-old to reconsider his decision to retire. However, Koller's
agent said the giant striker would not change his mind and would not be
available for the Czech Republic's World Cup qualifying campaign, which
begins with a game against Northern Ireland in a fortnight's time.


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No Czech participation in this season's Champions League
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There will be no Czech club in this year's Champions League, after
Slavia Prague were knocked out in the last qualifying round by
Fiorentina. Slavia drew away 0:0 with the Italian side on Wednesday,
two weeks after losing 2:0 in Prague in the first leg. Sparta Prague
also failed to make it into the lucrative competition after going out
in the final qualifying round to the Greek club Panathinaikos.


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Weather
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It should be mainly sunny with the chance of rain at times over the
next couple of days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 28
degrees Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Current Affairs
Government proposal may see patients paying for ambulance trips
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A new proposal by the Czech Health Minister Tomas Julinek will see some
Czech patients having to pay for ambulance trips. At present, such
journeys are covered by health insurance, but if the changes are
approved, come next January, patients may have to pay for ambulances
the same way they pay for taxis.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107701

Current Affairs
Czech government outlines position on Georgia ahead of EU Summit
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Maintaining Georgia's territorial integrity and helping the
reconstruction of the country following the recent armed conflict with
Russia: those are priorities outlined on Wednesday by the Czech
government ahead of next week's EU summit.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107700

Panorama
New book focuses on problem of drug-abuse through story of teen addicts
on Charles Square
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Alcohol and drug-abuse and addiction continue to grow in the Czech
Republic, especially among many young people, who, for various reasons
turn to drugs and alcohol to escape. All too often, many end up hitting
rock bottom, a bitter reality that Monika Plocova knows well. The
42-year-old therapist works with groups of alcoholics and drug addicts
at the Bohnice psychiatric hospital, helping them try and beat their
addiction. She has published several books on the subject and herself
battled alcoholism before undergoing treatment nine years ago and later
completing a degree in order to be able to help others. Her latest
book, Ventil (translatable as "outlet" - as in an outlet for escape) is
aimed at helping young people avoid the allure of drugs and the dead
end of addiction.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107685

From the Archives
After 1945: something like normality
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In From the Archives this week we carry on where we left off at the end
of July in our chronological journey through the Czech Radio archives.
We had reached the point just after the end of World War Two; after the
initial euphoria, the hard work of rebuilding the country began: not
least at the Czechoslovak Radio building itself, which had been shot to
pieces in the Prague Uprising and received a direct hit from a German
aerial torpedo.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/107681

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Radio Prague Today 8.28.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Current Affairs: Government proposal may see patients paying for ambulance trips

A new proposal by the Czech Health Minister Tomáš Julínek will see some Czech patients having to pay for ambulance trips. At present, such journeys are covered by health insurance, but if the changes are approved, come next January, patients may have to pay for ambulances the same way they pay for taxis.

Current Affairs: Czech government outlines position on Georgia ahead of EU Summit

Maintaining Georgia's territorial integrity and helping the reconstruction of the country following the recent armed conflict with Russia: those are priorities outlined on Wednesday by the Czech government ahead of next week's EU summit.

Panorama: New book focuses on problem of drug-abuse through story of teen addicts on Charles Square

Alcohol and drug-abuse and addiction continue to grow in the Czech Republic, especially among many young people, who, for various reasons turn to drugs and alcohol to escape. All too often, many end up hitting rock bottom, a bitter reality that Monika Plocová knows well. The 42-year-old therapist works with groups of alcoholics and drug addicts at the Bohnice psychiatric hospital, helping them try and beat their addiction. She has published several books on the subject and herself battled alcoholism before undergoing treatment nine years ago and later completing a degree in order to be able to help others. Her latest book, Ventil (translatable as "outlet" - as in an outlet for escape) is aimed at helping young people avoid the allure of drugs and the dead end of addiction.

From the Archives: After 1945: something like normality

In From the Archives this week we carry on where we left off at the end of July in our chronological journey through the Czech Radio archives. We had reached the point just after the end of World War Two; after the initial euphoria, the hard work of rebuilding the country began: not least at the Czechoslovak Radio building itself, which had been shot to pieces in the Prague Uprising and received a direct hit from a German aerial torpedo.