Wednesday, December 3, 2008

News 12.3.2008

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

News Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

By: Ian Willoughby

* The leader of the Social Democrats says the government cannot expect
support during the EU presidency unless the process of ratifying the
Lisbon treaty begins before the end of the year.

* The Chamber of Deputies has sent the proposed 2009 budget to a final
reading.

* The Czech police have launched an internet map highlighting the
country's worst accident black spots.

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Social Democrats pressure government over Lisbon ratification
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The leader of the opposition Social Democrats says the government
cannot rely on their support during the Czech Republic's EU presidency
unless the process of ratifying the European Union's Lisbon treaty
begins before the end of the year. Jiri Paroubek issued the warning
just two days before a much-anticipated conference of the governing
Civic Democrats, where Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will defend his
post as party chairman. Mr Topolanek, who is a supporter of Lisbon,
said earlier this week that there would be no attempt to make Civic
Democrat lawmakers pledge to back the treaty at the conference, which
begins in Prague on Friday.

Mr Paroubek's Social Democrats have called a special session of the
Chamber of Deputies to debate ratification of the EU's reform document
next Tuesday. The prime minister says, however, he will not be pushed
into voting on that date. He had previously said a vote could be held
in the first three months of 2009: that is, after the Czech Republic's
first six-month presidency of the EU has begun.

Mirek Topolanek's challenger for the leadership of the Civic Democrats,
Pavel Bem, is opposed to Lisbon. He is expected to bring up a previous
party resolution pledging not to hand any powers over to Brussels
during this weekend's congress. Mr Bem is close to Czech President
Vaclav Klaus, one of Europe's most vocal opponents of the Treaty of
Lisbon. Even if the Czech Parliament approves it, Mr Klaus has
indicated he will not sign the document until it has been ratified by
Ireland, where voters rejected the document in a referendum in June.

Ahead of this weekend's vote for the post of chairman of the Civic
Democrats, Prime Minister Topolanek is some way ahead of Pavel Bem in
terms of pledged support from regional branches. Mr Bem, who is the
mayor of Prague, currently occupies the post of first deputy chairman
of the party. He launched a challenge against Mr Topolanek in the wake
of a drubbing for the party in Senate and regional elections in October.

Meanwhile, Pavel Bem has released a humorous video ahead of the
leadership vote. It is based on a popular TV advertisement starring the
comedian Petr Ctvrtnicek, who himself appears in and directed Mr Bem's
video.


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2009 budget sent to final reading
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The Chamber of Deputies has sent the proposed 2009 budget to a final
reading. During Wednesday's lower house session, the minister of
labour, Petr Necas, announced a government plan to increase funding for
public sector pay by CZK 2.7 billion. He said most of that money would
go towards bonuses. Meanwhile, several MPs tabled proposals to earmark
funding for institutions and projects in their constituencies.

The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, has proposed a budget
deficit of CZK 38 billion. The left wing opposition parties have said
they will vote against, while some rebel deputies from the governing
Civic Democrats have also expressed reservations.


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New police map highlights accident black spots
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The Czech police have launched an internet map highlighting the
country's worst accident black spots. As well as drawing motorists'
attention to black spots, it is intended to help police and local
authorities take measures to deal with dangerous stretches of road. The
map will not offer up-to-date information on the condition of the
country's roads, but contains statistical data which will be updated
every three months.


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Gang accused of large-scale production of methamphetamine
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A gang accused of large-scale production of the illegal drug
methamphetamine have been arrested in Ostrava, north Moravia. The six
men apprehended at the end of November are accused of producing up to
20,000 doses of methamphetamine a month; police said in the week they
had monitored the group they had produced CZK 2 million worth of the
drug. A police spokesperson said they had received reports it had
become very hard to find methamphetamine in Ostrava and the nearby city
of Opava since the arrests were made.


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Three Prague supermarkets hit by fire in one night
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Three supermarkets in different parts of Prague went on fire on Monday
night, a spokesperson for the city's fire department said on Wednesday.
There were blazes at two branches of Billa and one Albert. Arson has
not been ruled out.


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Rare radios on show in Prague
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An exhibition of historical radios, record players and telephones has
begun at the Atrium shopping centre on Prague's Karlovo namesti. It
includes Czechoslovak and American radios from the turn of the 19th and
20th centuries, including valuable pre-war models. Most are being
displayed in this country for the first time. The exhibition also
features an original Edison phonograph.


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Weather
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There should be sunny spells with rain or even snow at times over the
next few days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 7 degrees
Celsius.


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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Current Affairs
First theatre to stage Vaclav Havel's plays turns 50
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This month marks exactly 50 years since the first performance at
Divadlo Na Zabradli, a theatre which has become famous mainly for
staging former President Vaclav Havel's plays. To mark the anniversary,
the theatre has prepared a number of special events both for its former
employees and its spectators.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110933

Current Affairs
Prague council claims success in drive to shut down city's gambling bars
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Visitors to Prague often take away a couple of words of Czech, and
'herna' is very often one of them. The word, meaning 'gaming bar' is
written all over the city, with nearly 1,500 hernas squeezed into the
capital. In the last year, Prague City Council has pledged to close
down a large number of these hernas - which have long been associated
with money laundering and other forms of crime. City Hall is claiming
that the results of its drive are starting to become apparent:

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110932

Current Affairs
Energy firm offers consumers prize freeze for 2010
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Consumers fearful of rising energy prices have now been offered a
choice by the Czech energy giant CEZ: the possibility of freezing
electricity prices through 2010. Not long ago CEZ came under fire for
an announced 10 percent electricity price hike, and this is its answer
to critics. Anyone wishing to avoid a further rise in two year's time,
can now sign up. The question is, will it be worth it? The
international financial crisis is likely to see energy prices drop
before they go up. As a result, anyone signing up for the freeze now
could end up with the higher bill.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/110931

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Radio Prague Today 12.3.2008

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Current Affairs: First theatre to stage Václav Havel's plays turns 50

This month marks exactly 50 years since the first performance at Divadlo Na Zábradlí, a theatre which has become famous mainly for staging former President Václav Havel's plays. To mark the anniversary, the theatre has prepared a number of special events both for its former employees and its spectators.

Current Affairs: Prague council claims success in drive to shut down city's gambling bars

Visitors to Prague often take away a couple of words of Czech, and 'herna' is very often one of them. The word, meaning 'gaming bar' is written all over the city, with nearly 1,500 hernas squeezed into the capital. In the last year, Prague City Council has pledged to close down a large number of these hernas - which have long been associated with money laundering and other forms of crime. City Hall is claiming that the results of its drive are starting to become apparent:

Current Affairs: Energy firm offers consumers prize freeze for 2010

Consumers fearful of rising energy prices have now been offered a choice by the Czech energy giant ČEZ: the possibility of freezing electricity prices through 2010. Not long ago ČEZ came under fire for an announced 10 percent electricity price hike, and this is its answer to critics. Anyone wishing to avoid a further rise in two year's time, can now sign up. The question is, will it be worth it? The international financial crisis is likely to see energy prices drop before they go up. As a result, anyone signing up for the freeze now could end up with the higher bill.

Asia Compact | 03.12.2008, 18:00 UTC

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Newsletter | 03.12.2008, 18:00 UTC
Asia Compact
Your guide to information and selected links
Overview of Topics
Rice in India to Ease Tension
Thai King Keeps Mum Amid Turmoil
China and India Tackle Climate Change
Asia News 03 December 2008 14.30 UTC
Asia Compact
Rice in India to Ease Tension
As police discovered some explosives at a Mumbai train station believed to be left over from last week's terror attacks, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in New Delhi to ease tensions between India and Pakistan. She urged Pakistan to fully cooperate with India's investigation but refused to blame anybody for the attacks.
[more]
Audio Tobias Grote-Beverborg speaks to DW's Murali Krishnan about Rice's message to India and the world
> India and Pakistan Try to Allay Tensions
^^^
Thai King Keeps Mum Amid Turmoil
As anti-government protesters said they would lift their siege of Bangkok's airports, frustrated tourists boarded charter flights back to their home countries on Wednesday. The acting prime minister said he would appoint a new prime minister soon and the political limbo continued. But what role is the Thai king playing in all this political turmoil? Both the pro and anti-government protesters hope that he will make a statement but so far he has kept mum.
[more]
> Thai PM Forced to Step Down
^^^
China and India Tackle Climate Change
At the UN climate conference in Poland, China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi insisted on Tuesday that the world could find a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol on time and that his country would not "shirk its own responsibilities". Over 10,000 delegates are in the city of Poznan to hammer out a new climate treaty which is acceptable to all of the over 180 countries participating.
[more]
> Climate Change Will Displace Millions
^^^
Asia News 03 December 2008 14.30 UTC
- Rebels kill 5 soldiers in Philippines
- Filipino radio journalist killed
- China & Nepal boost cooperation
- Taiwan says no to Dalai Lama visit
- Bird flu outbreak in Assam

[more]
^^^
Asia Compact
US Secretary of State arrives in India to ease tensions, despite the political turmoil, Thailand's king is keeping his silence and Nepal is to allow international adoptions again.
[more]
Audio Listen to the latest programme.
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