Sunday, November 30, 2008

News 11.30.2008

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

News Sunday, November 30th, 2008

By: Dominik Jun

* A government minister states that he intends to push for discussions
on the possible impeachment of the Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

* A series of votes across the Czech Republic by regional assemblies of
the Civic Democratic Party, strengthen the position of the incumbent
party leader Mirek Topolanek.

* The Czech government has revealed a list of priorities as well as a
motto for its impending presidency of the European Union.

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Minister seeking to start discussions on possible impeachment of
President Klaus
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The Green Party Education Minister Ondrej Liska has stated that he
intends to push for discussions on the possible impeachment of the
Czech President Vaclav Klaus. The comments were made in an interview
with the daily Pravo, in which Liska stated that he does not consider
Mr Klaus to be his president, and that if impeachment proceeding were
seriously discussed, he would be "at the front of the line." The
Education Minister criticized the Czech president for his activities
opposing the Lisbon Treaty, which Mr Liska stated were far beyond the
purview of the role assigned to Mr Klaus as an apolitical president.
Under Czech law, the president can only be removed from office for
treason, or if he or she is unable to carry out their function.
Commenting on the difficulty of removing the Czech president from his
post, Mr Liska stated that: at the point when the head of state starts
actively undermining the foreign policy of the government he is
supposed to represent, then a serious discussion about impeachment must
be undertaken. Most Green Party members have long opposed the Czech
president, in particular for his controversial views on man-made
climate change.


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Civic Democrat regional assemblies strengthen incumbent leader ahead of
crucial vote
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A series of votes across the Czech Republic by regional assemblies of
the Civic Democratic Party, appear to be strengthening the position of
the incumbent party leader Mirek Topolanek. The votes are taking place
ahead of the Civic Democrat party conference to be held in a week's
time, when Prague mayor Pavel Bem will challenge Mr Topolanek for the
leadership of the party. Despite the continuing struggles within the
Civic Democrats, both opinion polls as well as the results from the
regional votes appear to suggest that Mr Bem will have a hard time
ousting his incumbent colleague. So far, Mr Topolanek has been endorsed
by six regional assemblies, while his opponent has yet to gain a single
region-wide endorsement. However, the Prague assembly is widely
expected to endorse Mr Bem, where the challenger serves as the city's
major. So far, nine of fourteen such votes have taken place, with Mr
Topolanek winning endorsements from party members in the Pardubice,
Zlin, Plzen, Olomouc, Jihlava and southern Moravia regions. Another
three regions have voted to endorse neither candidate.


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Government reveals list of EU presidency priorities and motto
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The Czech government has revealed a list of priorities as well as a
motto for its impending presidency of the European Union, which begins
1 January 2009. Its motto for the presidency will be "Europe without
barriers" - while plans include an emphasis on increased free trade,
sustainable energy development, a lowering of EU-wide carbon dioxide
emissions, and continued discussions about Croatia's potential EU
entry. Other priorities include dealing with the contentious issue of
the Lisbon Treaty on a European level, the setting up of an EU
conference on human rights in Cuba, and efforts to gain the attendance
of then President Barack Obama at an informal EU summit next spring -
though the latter goal may be complicated by the president's attendance
at a different summit in London at the same time. The Czech government
is reportedly spending more than 3 billion crowns in preparations for
its six-month term at the head of the European Union.


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President's advisor recommends Klaus take Lisbon Treaty to
Constitutional Court
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A top advisor to the Czech president Vaclav Klaus has stated that he
believes that Mr Klaus should take the matter of the Lisbon Treaty to
court himself. Ladislav Jakl also stated that he believes that the EU
document, if approved, would signal the end of the Czech Republic as a
sovereign country - a view similar to that of the Czech president. It
is unclear whether Mr Klaus will heed the advice and argue the matter
before the Constitutional Court in person during a full hearing, but in
a Czech media interview, Mr Jakl stated that he hopes that others will
join the president in an effort to, as he put it, save the sovereignty
of the country. The Czech president has previously visited the Court,
and argued his case in an informal preliminary hearing last week.
Meanwhile, the head of the Czech Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetsky
has stated that a renewed challenge to the Lisbon Treaty on
constitutional grounds would leave the challenger with "very little
room for manoeuvre".


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PM reveals he had prior knowledge of Klaus breakaway party plan
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The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has revealed that he was aware
of plans to create a Eurosceptic pro-Klaus splinter party even before
the February presidential elections. The comments were made during a
television interview, in which the PM added that despite this
information, he remained loyal to the president and did everything in
his power to secure Mr Klaus' re-election. Commenting on the plans to
create Libertas'cz, based on the Irish lobby group, Mr Topolanek stated
that he believed that the Civic Democrats will be able to continue as a
strong and unified party. In separate comments, the Czech PM conceded
that efforts by the government to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by the end
of the year will be difficult.


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Figures reveal Czechs have been cautious over finance all year
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New figures cited by the website aktualne.cz reveal that Czechs have
been wary of the effects of the global financial crisis for far longer
than was initially believed. While household spending for 2007 climbed
by 15% on the previous year, this year's figures show a large trail-off
to only 2%. When adjusted for inflation, the figures in fact reveal
that Czechs bought less goods and services than last year. Despite
being more isolated from the effects of the global financial crisis
than much of Western Europe, the Czech National Bank has decreased the
growth forecast for the Czech Republic for 2009, but so far, talk of an
actual recession has been minimal.


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Meat factory announces layoffs
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One of the largest meat-processing factories in the Czech Republic,
Masokombinat Klatovy, west of Prague, has announced both a cut in
production as well as a round of layoffs. According to news sources,
180 of 208 of the company's worker's are to be made redundant. Analysts
say that the layoffs are unrelated to the global economic slowdown, but
rather reflect the long-term financial woes and deep debts of the
company, which has existed since before the Velvet Revolution.


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Weather:
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Cloudy skies continue across the Czech Republic, with slightly more
favourable temperatures of around 6 degrees Celsius. Next week should
see clearer skies, but also lower temperatures.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Music Profile
Lucie - One of the definitive Czech bands of the '90s
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In this edition of Music Profile we look back at one of the most
successful Czech bands of the 1990s, the rock group Lucie. Founded by
singer/guitarist Robert Kodym together with bass guitarist Petr
Chovanec (P.B.CH), Lucie's success was unrivalled, with the band
filling stadiums like no other in the years following the Velvet
Revolution. From the early 90s up until 2002 the band was incredibly
productive. Their songs remain instantly recognisable to most Czech
listeners and still get tons of radio play.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110818

Mailbox
Mailbox 11.30.2008
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Today in Mailbox: Czech paratroopers Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis and the
presence of Czechoslovak troops in exile in Leamington Spa, UK, during
WW2; the mysterious belly button of Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova.
Listeners quoted: Alistair Pamphilon, David Brauchli.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110710

Letter from Prague
Dr Strossmayer and health care reform
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Czechs, doctors and patients alike, seem to be really worried about
their health care and the government's plans to reform it. These plans
which, among other things, include fees for visits to the doctor's,
emergency wards and prescriptions, might have even cost the ruling
coalition the recent regional elections. Most people are apparently
happy with the way things are now, and have been since the state
nationalized all medical care. Well, for one, I am not.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110757

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 11.30.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Music Profile: Lucie – One of the definitive Czech bands of the '90s

In this edition of Music Profile we look back at one of the most successful Czech bands of the 1990s, the rock group Lucie. Founded by singer/guitarist Robert Kodym together with bass guitarist Petr Chovanec (P.B.CH), Lucie's success was unrivalled, with the band filling stadiums like no other in the years following the Velvet Revolution. From the early 90s up until 2002 the band was incredibly productive. Their songs remain instantly recognisable to most Czech listeners and still get tons of radio play.

Mailbox: Mailbox 11.30.2008

Today in Mailbox: Czech paratroopers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš and the presence of Czechoslovak troops in exile in Leamington Spa, UK, during WW2; the mysterious belly button of Czech supermodel Karolína Kurková. Listeners quoted: Alistair Pamphilon, David Brauchli.

Letter from Prague: Dr Strossmayer and health care reform

Czechs, doctors and patients alike, seem to be really worried about their health care and the government's plans to reform it. These plans which, among other things, include fees for visits to the doctor's, emergency wards and prescriptions, might have even cost the ruling coalition the recent regional elections. Most people are apparently happy with the way things are now, and have been since the state nationalized all medical care. Well, for one, I am not.

RCI Cyberjournal

Harper government reverses position to avoid non-confidence vote.


Canadians returning from Mumbai.


Canadians among tourists trapped in Thailand.

OTTAWA: HARPER GOVERNMENT REVERSES POSITION TO AVOID NON-CONFIDENCE VOTE

Facing threats from opposition parties and widespread media criticism, the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday abandoned a plan to end government subsidies for political parties. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the plan in his fiscal update on Thursday. Opposition parties said that they need the subsidies to conduct their operations. They threatened to vote against the plan next week, a move that would lead either to an election or to a coalition government of opposition parties. Kory Teneycke, Mr. Harper's communications director, said that the subsidy issue is not worth holding an election or risking a constitutional crisis. The Conservative Party won a minority government in a federal election in October. But the Conservative Party remains threatened. Parliamentarians of the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party might still go ahead and form a coalition if the government fails to propose a major economic stimulus package.

TORONTO: CANADIANS RETURNING FROM MUMBAI

About half of the 17 Canadians who survived the assaults this week in Mumbai are either leaving India or have already left. Four others have continued on their travels, while two are staying on work permits. Two Canadians were killed in the attacks, an elderly doctor, Michael Moss, and a still-unidentified victim. Two others were injured. Toronto yoga instructor Helen Connolly, was released from hospital but Montreal actor Michael Rudder remains in hospital in stable condition, recovering from three gunshot wounds. Canada's consul general in Mumbai, Gary Luton, narrowly escaped violence after he fled to what he thought was safety inside the Taj Mahal Hotel, one of two luxury hotels in which militants took hostages. But he changed direction when he heard gunshots inside the hotel. In all, left 195 people were killed, including 17 foreigners.

BANGKOK: CANADIANS AMONG TOURISTS TRAPPED IN THAILAND

At least 34 anti-government protesters were injured in a grenade attack at Thailand's prime minister's office in Bangkok. Eleven other people were injured. Protesters have occupied a stage in front of Government House for several months. There have been a string of explosions at the site. Meanwhile, a mass protest continued at the city's international airport. Riot police fled their checkpoint near the airport after coming under attack by anti-government protesters. Members of the People's Alliance for Democracy threw firecrackers and iron rods. All flights in or out of Bankok have been cancelled. It's estimated that about two thousand Canadians are among thousands of foreign tourists who've been unable to leave Thailand. Among them are 82 Canadian senior citizens who were on the last day of a 30-day Asian tour when the protest at the airport began. The Canadian seniors were visited by Canada's ambassador after they sent a message to a member of Canada's parliament requesting help.

QUEBEC CITY: OPPOSITION LEADER MAKES ACCUSATIONS

Faring badly in electoral polls, the leader of the opposition Action democratique du Quebec, Mario Dumont, strongly criticized Premier Jean Charest on Saturday for allegedly undisclosed losses at Quebec's pension fund manager. At a morning news conference in Quebec City, Mr. Dumont said that the provincial election next month was called to hide the losses. Mr. Charest's Liberal Party holds a commanding lead in opinion polls. Campaigning in Quebec City, he repeated that at a time of financial difficulty, he needs a strong mandate from voters. The leader of the opposition Parti Quebecois, Pauline Marois, campaigned in the Saguenay-Lac-St. Jean region. Her party is in second place in opinion polls.


INDIA

Commandos killed the last three gunmen inside the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on Saturday, ending a deadly rampage across the city that began on Wednesday in which 195 people were killed. Other targets included the Oberoi hotel, restaurants, hospitals, and a Jewish centre. Hundreds of people, many of them Westerners, were trapped or taken hostage. Twenty-two of those killed were foreigners---three Germans, three Israelis, one American, one Australian, a Briton, two Canadians, an Italian, a Japanese, a Singaporean, a Mauritian, a Thai and a Chinese national. Five were unidentified. In all, nine militants were killed and one survived. An unidentified defence ministry official said that the captured militant told interrogators that he wanted to go down in history as India's version of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Public anger over the attacks has mounted. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hinted that elements from Pakistan might have been involved. Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, says that he would take swift action if evidence surfaces of any individual or group from Pakistan who took part in the attacks.

NIGERIA

The United Nations says that armed clashes broke out again on Saturday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Pro-government militia and fighters loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda fought in the Masisi region, 50 kilometres west of the Nord-Kivu provincial capital of Goma. The militia was forced to retreat from Masisi's centre under rebel pressure. But General Nkunda claimed that he knew of no fighting when he met with U.N. special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday afternoon. General Nkunda threatened war unless Congo's government enters a new round of talks.

EGYPT

The oil cartel, OPEC, ended a meeting in Cairo on Saturday without making any changes to its oil production. OPEC president Chakib Khelil says that members will decided whether to cut supplies further at a meeting in Algeria next month. OPEC met to assess whether members would comply with a cut of 1.5 million barrels a day announced last month.

MEXICO

At least 12 masked gunmen opened fire inside a restaurant in northern Mexico on Friday evening, killing eight people. The shooting occurred in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. The gunmen arrived in three cars, approached a group of people and opened fire. Earlier this week, police found the bodies of seven men who were killed in an upscale neighbourhood of Ciudad Juarez. Hundreds of killings have occurred in the city related to drug trafficking.

CUBA

Cuba held a ceremony on Saturday for its first religious beatification. President Raul Castro attended the ceremony, another sign of warming government relations with the Roman Catholic Church. A mass was conducted for Father Jose Olallo, the first Cuban to be beatified. Several thousand people filled a plaza in Camaguey, around 500 kilometres from Havana. Father Olallo worked with cholera sufferers before he died in 1889. Cuba's Communist government expelled priests in 1959 and Catholics faced decades of official atheism. Ties improved after Cuba guaranteed religious freedom in 1992. Pope John Paul II visited six years later.

IRAQ

The fortified Green Zone in Baghdad was attacked by rocket fire on Saturday. Two foreigners were killed and 15 injured when a rocket landed near the United Nations compound. The victims worked for a catering company contracted by the U.N. mission. The U.N. largely reduced its presence in Iraq after its headquarters was bombed in 2003.

COLOMBIA

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Colombia's main cities to demand the release of hostages held by FARC rebels. The demonstrations coincided with similar protests held in other cities around the world. Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician who was freed from captivity earlier this year, arrived back in Colombia from France on Saturday for the first time since her release. She will stay in Colombia for a short time before embarking on a tour of Latin America. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels continue to hold some 700 hostages.

ISRAEL

Palestinian militants in Gaza shelled a military base in southern Israel on Saturday, wounding six soldiers, one of them critically. A small group called the Popular Resistance Committee claimed responsibility. The attack was in revenge for the death of some of its members. The group is an ally of the Islamic Hamas movement that rules the Gaza strip. Clashes have threatened to shatter a truce between Israel and Hamas.


BOBSLED

Canadians Helen Upperton and Jenny Ciochetti won the gold medal in the women's pairs race in the World Cup season opener in Winterberg, Germany, on Saturday. Two-time Olympic medallist Sandra Kiriasis of Germany finished second while Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer in the Germany 2 sled were third. Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Shelley-Ann Brown finished sixth in the Canada 2 sled. In the men's pairs race, Canadians Pierre Lueders and David Bissett were fifth. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter of Switzerland won the gold.

SKIING

Italian Peter Fill won the opening World Cup downhill race of the season on Saturday at Lake Louise, Alberta. Second was Switzerland's Carlo Janka. Austria's George Streitberger was third. Canadian Erik Guay was tenth.

HOCKEY

The Edmonton Oilers beat the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, 4-2. The Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, on Friday. Brian Burke took over as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. He has a six-year deal worth a reported CDN$3 million annually.

BASKETBALL

The Toronto Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, 93-88. Toronto's Chris Bosh scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.


Weather

Here is Canada's weather on Sunday. British Columbia will have light rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be 11 degrees Celsius. The Yukon: sunny periods. Whitehorse, minus six. Northwest Territories: overcast. Yellowknife, minus six. Nunavut: light snow. Iqaluit, minus five. Alberta: mainly cloudy. Edmonton, six. Saskatchewan: overcast. Regina, minus one. Manitoba: mainly cloudy. Winnipeg, minus 11. Ontario: increasing cloudiness. Toronto, four. Ottawa, two. Quebec: increasing cloudiness. Montreal, four. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, one. Nova Scotia: sunny. Halifax, three. Prince Edward Island: sunny. Charlottetown, one. Newfoundland: sunny. St. John's, five.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News 11.29.2008

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

News Saturday, November 29th, 2008

By: Dominik Jun

* The now almost-certain departure of President Vaclav Klaus from the
Civic Democrats has led to both speculation and recriminations about
the future of the party.

* The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama has arrived in Prague
for the first time since 2006.

* A top-secret new anti-terrorist centre in Prague is reportedly close
to completion.

========================================================================
Expected Klaus departure from Civic Democrats opens wounds in party
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The now almost-certain departure of President Vaclav Klaus from the
Civic Democrats has led to both speculation and recriminations about
the future of the party. The news comes just one week before the party
is set to hold its annual congress; Prague Mayor Pavel Bem is hoping to
topple and replace PM Mirek Topolanek as party leader. Reacting to the
news of Mr Klaus's expected departure as the honorary head of the
party, Mr Topolanek stated that he was unsurprised by the president's
apparent decision, but also warned that his party needed "crisis
management" or it risked losing the trust of the electorate. Meanwhile,
Mr Klaus accused the Prime Minister of being friendlier with the EU
than with his own citizens. The Czech president is now viewed as
unlikely to attend the party's congress, which some interpret as a blow
to the chances of the pro-Klaus mayor Pavel Bem, who recent polls
suggest is struggling to rally enough support to topple party leader
Mirek Topolanek during an impending leadership challenge.


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Dalai Lama arrives in Prague
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The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama has arrived in Prague for
the first time since 2006. The brief visit includes meetings with
Tibetan representatives as well as a lecture on issues relating to the
theme of understanding, which is being held at the Prague Congress
Centre on Sunday. The Dalai Lama has been a frequent visitor to Prague
over the years as well as a regular guest of former president Vaclav
Havel's annual Forum 2000 conference. However, ill-health forced the
Buddhist leader to miss this year's meeting. After visiting Prague, the
Dalai Lama is expected to visit the European parliament as well as meet
with the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The Czech Republic remains a
steadfast supporter of the "Tibetan cause," which has often caused
tensions with China.


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Czech anti-terror centre nears completion
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A top-secret new anti-terrorist centre in Prague is close to
completion, according to a report from the Czech daily Pravo. The
centre, which is due to begin functioning next year, is reportedly
housed within the Czech police's anti-organised crime unit building in
southern Prague, while details surrounding much of its operations are
being kept secret. The creation of such a centre was a key stipulation
by the United States, in negotiations for eliminating Visa requirements
for Czech citizens entering the US. According to a police spokesperson,
the centre will focus on collecting, collating and analysing
intelligence relating to suspected terrorist activities. The Czech
Interior Ministry has added that the new centre will be fully under
Czech civilian jurisdiction and will closely co-operate with the
existing Czech security apparatus.


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Roma groups seeks ousting of Minister for Minorities and Human Rights
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A number of Roma representatives from around the country have agreed to
call for the ousting of Dzamila Stehlikova, the Czech Republic's
Minister for Minorities and Human Rights. The Roma representatives
included the noted deputy chairman of the government's Council for
Romany Issues Ivan Vesely. The reasons behind the call are said to be
Ms Stehlikova's alleged poor handling of an ongoing situation in the
town of Litvinov, north-west of Prague, where far-right groups have
marched on Roma housing estates, purportedly calling for a restoration
of law and order, but according to Roma, simply terrorising the
residents. During the latest event organised by the far-right Workers'
Party in Litvinov, about 1000 riot policemen clashed with some 500
far-right radicals, in an incident that was described as some the worst
of its kind seen in the Czech Republic for many years. Ms Stehlikova
has dismissed the calls, stating that in her view, the time is not
right to be apportioning blame.


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Czech petrol falls to 2005 prices
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Czech petrol has fallen to its lowest price in three and a half years,
according to a new survey. The average price of a litre of Czech petrol
is now 24.9 crowns, and has fallen in price by almost one crown in just
the last week. According to analysts, the low prices could last for a
number of months, while opinions differ on whether prices could still
continue to drop further. The cause for the fall in Czech petrol prices
is attributed to the world-wide fall in prices spurred by the global
economic slowdown.


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Steel company announces layoffs
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The largest Czech steelmaker ArcelorMittal Ostrava has announced that
due to reduced demand, the company is preparing to initiate a series of
layoffs. The company did not reveal any figures. ArcelorMittal Ostrava
employs around 10,300 people across the Czech Republic, with more than
7000 employed in the city of Ostrava. The company has blamed the global
economic downturn for the layoffs.


========================================================================
Ski season begins in Czech Republic
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Large numbers of skiers are expected to head for the Czech mountains
during the weekend, as the country begins its skiing season. Snow has
reached many of the key resorts in the country including the Spindleruv
Mlyn resort in the Krkonose Mountains. Friday saw many resorts open
their skiing facilities for the first time this season, and many are
expecting visitors not just from the Czech Republic, but from
neighbouring Poland and Germany as well.


========================================================================
Christmas markets open in Prague
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Traditional Christmas-time market stalls have opened up for the first
time this season. The most prominent stalls in Prague's Old Town Square
have become a permanent seasonal fixture, selling anything from mulled
wine, to honey liquor as well as numerous nick-nacks for tourists.


========================================================================
Weather:
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thick cloud cover exists across most of the Czech Republic, with biting
cold temperatures of around 3 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are
expected to fall to sub-zero in the ensuing days.

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


SoundCzech
A bear's service
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague's
Czech language course, helping you learn new idioms and key phrases
through song lyrics. Today we're listening to a song by Hana Hegerova -
the Czech queen of chanson sometimes referred to as this country's
answer to Edith Piaf. The tune is called 'Potmesily host' (which you
could translate as 'the wily guest') and the phrase to listen out for
comes nearly halfway through the song. It goes "slouzi sluzbu medvedi":

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110797

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 11.29.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

SoundCzech: A bear's service

Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague's Czech language course, helping you learn new idioms and key phrases through song lyrics. Today we're listening to a song by Hana Hegerová – the Czech queen of chanson sometimes referred to as this country's answer to Edith Piaf. The tune is called 'Potměšilý host' (which you could translate as 'the wily guest') and the phrase to listen out for comes nearly halfway through the song. It goes "slouží službu medvědí":

Friday, November 28, 2008

News 11.28.2008

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

News Friday, November 28th, 2008

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech news site idnes has reported that President Vaclav Klaus
may leave the Civic Democratic Party.

* The foreign minister has apologised for an article published on
Thursday revealing the details of a meeting between French President
Sarkozy and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

* The Communist Party has come forward with a claim that additional
rebel MPs could help push through an agreement on a planned US radar
base in the lower house.

========================================================================
News site: Czech president could leave Civic Democratic Party
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech news website idnes has reported that President Vaclav Klaus
may leave the Civic Democratic Party, which he founded and led in
government in the 1990s. Sources say Mr Klaus, who is the party's
honorary chairman, may consider the move in support of a new right-wing
euro-sceptical party which is reportedly being considered by a number
of Klaus proteges. The president has discounted suggestions of leaving
so far, saying he would remain in the party in the coming days. The
Czech president has long been at odds with current Civic Democrat
leader Mirek Topolanek and is said to support Prague Mayor Pavel Bem,
who will challenge Mr Topolanek for the top job when the Civic
Democrats hold their party congress in December.


========================================================================
Sobotka critical of possible move on part of president
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In related news, highly-placed Civic Democrat Premysl Sobotka, the
Senate chairman, said on Friday that support by the president for
another party would be a "betrayal". He also suggested that such a move
by Mr Klaus would be a repudiation of his past efforts as a politician.
By contrast, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Friday that he
would respect the president's decision if Mr Klaus decided to leave the
Civic Democratic Party. He also said he understood Mr Klaus's words
that he might leave for another party as "confirmation" the president
would not be attending the Civic Democrats' congress.

Also in the news, the Czech media reported on Friday that the
president's son, Vaclav Klaus, jr, has already left Civic Democrat
ranks, apparently disillusioned with a Prague chapter's backing of
current party leader Mirek Topolanek.


========================================================================
Bem in favour of minority Civic Democrat government
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The news websites aktualne and idnes have reported that Pavel Bem is in
favour of a minority Civic Democratic government, backed by the
opposition Social Democrats, if he is elected the head of the Civic
Democratic Party. In an article to be published on Saturday, Mr Bem
reportedly makes clear he no longer has confidence that the current
government is capable of achieving set goals - given the coalition
lacks a majority in the lower house. The government led by Mirek
Topolanek is made up of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats,
and the Greens. Mr Bem will challenge Mr Topolanek for the post of
party leader in roughly one week's time.


========================================================================
Foreign Minister apologises for article on Sarkozy-Topolanek meeting
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has apologised for a Czech
magazine article published Thursday quoting a private meeting last
month between Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy. In a written statement, the minister said that he felt
personally responsible, and said that someone at the foreign ministry
had made a mistake. The Czech ambassador to France, who was at the
meeting, has also suggested the article was misleading - saying he
didn't recognise its contents. The transcript from the meeting,
revealing political horse-trading between the French president and the
Czech prime minister, was published by the Czech weekly Reflex. The
weekly says it received a recording of the talks from a reliable source
and says it is standing by its story.


========================================================================
Communists say additional rebel MPs will help push radar agreement
through
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Communist Party has come forward with a claim that additional rebel
MPs could help push through an agreement on a planned US radar base in
the lower house. The party contended on Friday that such a development
would be the result of behind-the-scenes dealings between the ruling
Civic Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats. The Communist
Party on Friday also reacted with criticism to Thursday's Senate vote
backing the radar deal. 48 out of 81 senators voted in favour. The
Czech government and US officials have signed two treaties on the
stationing of the US base on Czech soil, part of a broader anti-missile
system planned by the US in central and eastern Europe. The vote in the
lower house will take place next year.


========================================================================
EU External Relations Commissioner meets with Schwarzenberg
------------------------------------------------------------------------

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner met with
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Friday to discuss the
upcoming EU presidency, saying the Czech Republic faced numerous tasks
in international relations over its six-month tenure. The commissioner
outlined the country's importance in partnership with countries
including Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia and others. She also said it would
be up to the Czech presidency to establish contact with the new US
President Barack Obama after he took office. Czech officials had
indicated earlier they would aim for a meeting between Mr Obama and EU
leaders in the Czech capital next spring, but no official word has been
given yet.


========================================================================
Poll: slim majority would prefer Czech soldiers to serve only in Europe
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A new poll conducted by Augur Consulting has suggested that 70 percent
of Czechs are in favour of the Czech Republic's membership in NATO. 53
percent of those polled thought the country's soldiers should serve
only in Europe (as opposed to difficult areas further abroad).
Currently the Czech Republic has soldiers, for example, serving in
reconstruction and military missions in Afghanistan. The survey, which
relied on 980 respondents, also suggests that a higher number of Czechs
favour their military being involved in peacekeeping rather than combat
missions. The poll was commissioned by the Defence Ministry.


========================================================================
Furniture manufacturer TON to lay off 170 workers
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech furniture manufacturer TON, in Bystrice pod Hostynem, is set
to lay-off 170 workers due to a drop in demand on foreign markets (most
markedly in the US and western Europe) linked to the international
financial crisis. TON specialises in traditional wooden furniture and
is one of the biggest employers in Kromeriz region, employing around
1,200 people.


========================================================================
UEFA Cup: Slavia earn first point
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Football club Slavia drew 0:0 with Slovak hosts Zilina in their UEFA
match on Thursday, their first point in two matches in the group stage.
Group F, in which the teams are competing, is considered one of the
toughest. Both sides had a number of chances neither team was able to
seal the deal.


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

The forecast for the weekend has promised mostly cloudy conditions with
a chance of rain and snowfall. Daytime temperatures on Saturday are
expected to hover between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.


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


Current Affairs
Will Vaclav Klaus leave the party he helped to create?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Speculation is mounting that the Czech president and honorary chairman
of the Civic Democrats may be about to turn his back on the party he
once helped to create. The Civic Democrat-led government, under the
leadership of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, is set to ratify the EU's
Lisbon Treaty, a document that consolidates the EU. This, along with
other official government positions, is opposed by the Czech president.
Now, it seems, he may have had enough.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110782

Current Affairs
Broker-free property website scoops top internet award
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The online property website bezrealitky.cz has come top of this year's
Czech internet awards, the Krist��alove Lupy ('Crystal Magnifying
Glasses'). The website, which provides a forum for those buying and
selling flats, cutting out the middle-man, was voted for by thousands
of internet users, as well as a panel of experts. On Friday, I met two
of the minds behind this new venture, Bozena Zbrankova and Jakub
Havrlant. I first asked its creator, Jakub, whether it was a
frustration with the property market in this country that made him set
up the service:

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110783

Current Affairs
Czech foreign minister apologizes for leak of Sarkozy meeting notes
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Czech Foreign Karel Schwarzenberg has apologised for the publication of
a transcript of a meeting last month between French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. While some Czech
officials have denied the authenticity of the record, the magazine
Reflex, which printed the minutes, claims it an interesting insight
into how power deals are struck.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110781

Business News
Business News 11.28.2008
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Business News this week: the IMF says GDP growth in the Czech
Republic is likely to fall below 2 percent next year; the Czech finance
minister says if that happens the government has a plan; wage growth in
the Czech Republic could be at its lowest level ever in 2009, with a
survey suggesting nearly half the country's firms will not increase
wages at all; and real estate sales fall by almost a third.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110779

Arts
Prague show something of homecoming for Tindersticks keyboardist David
Boulter
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The rock band Tindersticks are currently promoting their latest album
The Hungry Saw on a European tour that takes them to Prague's Archa
Theatre next Wednesday. For the group's David Boulter the Prague show
will be something of a homecoming, as the English-born piano-player and
keyboardist has been living here in the Czech capital for the last
decade.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110756

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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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 11.28.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Current Affairs: Will Václav Klaus leave the party he helped to create?

Speculation is mounting that the Czech president and honorary chairman of the Civic Democrats may be about to turn his back on the party he once helped to create. The Civic Democrat-led government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, is set to ratify the EU's Lisbon Treaty, a document that consolidates the EU. This, along with other official government positions, is opposed by the Czech president. Now, it seems, he may have had enough.

Current Affairs: Broker-free property website scoops top internet award

The online property website bezrealitky.cz has come top of this year's Czech internet awards, the Křišt´álové Lupy ('Crystal Magnifying Glasses'). The website, which provides a forum for those buying and selling flats, cutting out the middle-man, was voted for by thousands of internet users, as well as a panel of experts. On Friday, I met two of the minds behind this new venture, Božena Zbranková and Jakub Havrlant. I first asked its creator, Jakub, whether it was a frustration with the property market in this country that made him set up the service:

Current Affairs: Czech foreign minister apologizes for leak of Sarkozy meeting notes

Czech Foreign Karel Schwarzenberg has apologised for the publication of a transcript of a meeting last month between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. While some Czech officials have denied the authenticity of the record, the magazine Reflex, which printed the minutes, claims it an interesting insight into how power deals are struck.

Business News: Business News 11.28.2008

In Business News this week: the IMF says GDP growth in the Czech Republic is likely to fall below 2 percent next year; the Czech finance minister says if that happens the government has a plan; wage growth in the Czech Republic could be at its lowest level ever in 2009, with a survey suggesting nearly half the country's firms will not increase wages at all; and real estate sales fall by almost a third.

Arts: Prague show something of homecoming for Tindersticks keyboardist David Boulter

The rock band Tindersticks are currently promoting their latest album The Hungry Saw on a European tour that takes them to Prague's Archa Theatre next Wednesday. For the group's David Boulter the Prague show will be something of a homecoming, as the English-born piano-player and keyboardist has been living here in the Czech capital for the last decade.

Asia Compact | 28.11.2008, 18:00 UTC

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Newsletter | 28.11.2008, 18:00 UTC
Asia Compact
Your guide to information and selected links
Overview of Topics
Foreign Involvement in Mumbai Attacks?
Thailand Weighs Economic Impact of Protests
Execution Raises Questions about Police Torture in China
Asia News 28 November 2008 17.15 UTC
Asia Compact
Quiz of the Month
Foreign Involvement in Mumbai Attacks?
As Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in unusually strong terms, alleged the Mumbai attackers had "external linkages", Pakistan has denied any involvement. But analysts believe the attacks might pose a serious threat to the Indo-Pak peace process.
[more]
Audio Indian security analyst Anil Bhat believes the Pakistani military is to blame
^^^
Thailand Weighs Economic Impact of Protests
Thailand is weighing the cost of a political crisis that this week led to the occupation of the main domestic and international airports in the capital Bangkok. The opposition is trying to oust the elected government in the latest escalation of a political showdown that has been going on for months.
[more]
> Signs of Growing Violence and Unrest in the Political Stalemate in Thailand
> Thai PM Rejects Calls for Resignation
> Thai Protests Stall Parliament Session
^^^
Execution Raises Questions about Police Torture in China
China has now finally executed Yang Jia, a man who had burst into a Shanghai police station on July 1, stabbing six policemen. He claimed afterwards that he had been ill-treated during an interrogation at this very police station, and this was his revenge. And interestingly, he received considerable support from Chinese internet users.
[more]
Audio Thomas Bärthlein asks Manfred Nowak, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, how widespread torture is in Chinese police stations
> Protests in China Force Police to Reopen Case
^^^
Asia News 28 November 2008 17.15 UTC
- Asian economies stumble
- Foreign convoy kills Afghan civilian
- Taxi drivers go on strike in south China
- China executes scientist charged of spying
- Trains between Koreas stop

[more]
^^^
Asia Compact
Indian security forces explain why the operation against terrorists in Mumbai lasted so long; the Indian government sees "links to Pakistan"; and Thais are worried about the economic damage done by the occupation of Bangkok's airports
[more]
Audio Listen to the latest programme.
^^^
Quiz of the Month
Answer the following question to win a short-wave radio and other Deutsche Welle prizes! In which German city did India's Grand Master Viswanathan Anand defend his title as World Champion of chess in October?
[more]
^^^
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