Saturday, October 31, 2009

News 10.31.2009

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Copyright (c) 2009 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, October 31st, 2009

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech press has reported that Prime Minister Jan Fischer may
nominate former industry and trade minister Vladimir Dlouhy for the
post of European commissioner.

* The White House has published a statement by US President Barack
Obama, made earlier this week in connection with the 91st anniversary
of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

* A new internet poll has suggested that a majority of Czechs are not
satisfied with the work of their police.

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Daily: Fischer considering Dlouhy for European commissioner
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday's edition of the Czech daily Lidove noviny has reported that
Prime Minister Jan Fischer is considering nominating the former
minister for industry and trade Vladimir Dlouhy for the post of Czech
EU commissioner. Mr Dlouhy, who currently works for Goldman Sachs
Europe, and was a central figure in 1990s Czech politics, featured most
recently in the government's now defunct economic advisory committee
NERV. Lidove noviny writes that as a nominee Mr Dlouhy would likely get
backing from several of the country's parliamentary parties, including
the Civic Democrats, Top 09, and the Communists.

The paper adds that the Social Democrats were not necessarily against-
although that party would like to see current commissioner Vladimir
Spidla continue in a new term. The Christian Democrats and the Greens,
meanwhile, are reportedly not in favour. Prime Minister Jan Fischer,
heading a caretaker government, had pressed the two largest parties,
the Civic and Social Democrats, to agree on a joint-candidate, which
they have failed to do; he said on Friday that the nomination of a
candidate could be no longer be put off.


========================================================================
US president congratulates Czechs on 91st anniversary
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The White House on Friday published a statement issued earlier in the
week by US President Barack Obama, congratulating the Czechs on 91
years of statehood. October 28 is a national holiday in the Czech
Republic, commemorating the founding of Czechoslovakia in 1918. The
Czechs and Slovaks then split in 1993. In the brief statement issued on
Wednesday, a traditional diplomatic gesture, the US president called
the Czech Republic "a close ally and vital partner", sharing "a history
in the struggle for freedom and democracy". Mr Obama has spoken on
other occasions about Czech-US ties, including in a key address in the
Czech capital earlier this year, where he outlined the need for a world
free of nuclear weapons.


========================================================================
Internet poll suggests majority of Czechs dissatisfied with police
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A new poll conducted by the SANEP internet polling agency has suggested
that more than 50 percent of Czechs are dissatisfied with the work of
the country's police. Citing the report, the Czech news agency said
that 52 percent of respondents replied in the negative when asked if
the country's police fulfilled the obligation to serve and protect. 59
percent said they had not been helped by officers in cases, while 36
percent said the opposite. More than 10,000 people between the ages of
18 and 69 took part in the internet poll, which was conducted over nine
days.


========================================================================
The Guardian: top EU leaders incensed over Tory leader's letter to
Czech president
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The British newspaper The Guardian has reported that European leaders
including Germany's Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy
were "incensed" over a letter the head of the British Conservative
Party David Cameron sent to Czech President Vaclav Klaus. The move,
taken in September, was seen as a clear attempt to delay and help
scupper the EU's Lisbon treaty. The criticism by the EU leaders, the
daily reported, came to a head at the EU summit in Brussels.

The Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he would raise no
further conditions for the treaty's ratification, after the EU granted
the Czech Republic an opt-out on the treaty's Charter of Fundamental
Rights. The move means Mr Klaus could sign after the Czech
Constitutional Court issues a ruling on a final complaint next week.
The British Conservative Party itself is now moving away from earlier
plans to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, The Guardian reported.
The Czech Republic is the only country remaining to ratify the
document, which reforms the running of the 27-member bloc.


========================================================================
Social Democrats to push for more "narrow" opt-out if the party wins
the next election
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In related news, the Social Democrats have said they will push for a
"narrowing" of the Czech Republic's opt-out to the Charter of
Fundamental Rights if they win the general election next year. On
Friday, party leader Jiri Paroubek slammed the government for agreeing
to the opt-out, saying the agreement should have applied only to the
country's Benes decrees. The historic decrees sanctioned the expulsion
of ethnic Germans from Czech soil after World War II, and allowed for
the confiscation of property. The government said on Friday that the
opt-out, pursued by the country's president to block property rights
claims by Sudeten Germans, would not put Czechs at a disadvantage. The
government also stressed that anything other than a general wording in
the concession to the Czech Republic would have buried the Lisbon
treaty.


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Legendary Semafor theatre celebrates 50th birthday
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The legendary Czech theatre Semafor celebrated its 50th birthday in
style on Friday evening with a gala concert featuring Semafor songs and
hits. On hand were stars associated with the theatre such as Eva
Pilarova, Pavlina Filipovska and Karel Stedry. The two-hour event was
hosted by two of Semafor's most well-known entertainers, Jitka
Molavcova and Jiri Suchy. Over the course of the evening, they and
other Semafor members paid tribute to the famous theatre and remembered
departed members such as Waldemar Matuska, who died earlier this year.


========================================================================
Lily Allen performs in Czech capital
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Young British pop star Lily Allen took to the stage for some 1,500
people at a Prague club on Friday, performing songs from her second
album It's Not Me, It's You, as well as from her debut. The performance
lasted for a little more than an hour, CTK reported, and included the
hits Not Fair and The Fear. Earlier this year, The Fear topped the
charts in the Czech Republic for several weeks.


========================================================================
Motorcyclist transported to hospital after crash on D2 highway
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The D2 highway in the direction from Brno to Bratislava was blocked for
two hours on Saturday following a crash involving a 30-year-old
motorcyclist and an automobile driver. The motorcyclist suffered
serious head injuries in the accident and lost consciousness. He was
transported to hospital, suspected of suffering internal bleeding.


========================================================================
NHL action: Sykora back in line-up for Wild
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Czech hockey forward Petr Sykora has proven his worth back in the
line-up for the Minnesota Wild. Sykora, who sat out the Wild's last
game, scored once on Friday and earned one assist to help his team
defeat the New York Rangers by a score of 3:2.

In other NHL action, Tomas Fleischmann scored two goals for Washington
in a losing effort against the New York Islanders, who won 4:3 in
overtime.

The Florida Panthers' Rostislav Olesz scored the only goal in the
shoot-out on Friday between the Panthers and Dallas, giving Florida a
6:5 win.


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

Mostly cloudy conditions, with a chance of a few sunny periods, are
expected on Sunday. Daytime temperatures should reach highs between 6
and 8 degrees Celsius.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Magazine
Magazine 10.31.2009
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech EU presidency has left a sweet legacy, just married -
newlywed at 99, and -is that you Vaclav? What's going on in
Spooksville? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/121721


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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) 2009, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 10.31.2009

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Magazine: Magazine 10.31.2009

The Czech EU presidency has left a sweet legacy, just married – newlywed at 99, and –is that you Václav? What's going on in Spooksville? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.

RCI Cyberjournal

Canada leads the way on Iran resolution at UN


Flu vaccine deliveries in Canada delayed


Olympic flames reaches Canada

UN: CANADA ORGANIZES IRAN RESOLUTION

Canada and more than 40 other nations were to present a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran to the UN General Assembly on Friday. Canada is the resolution's co-ordinator. Canada's foreign minister, Mr. Cannon, says the international community has an obligation to address the serious human rights violations perpetrated against its own citizens of which the Iranian régime is guilty. The minister says the situation has worsened in the past year, citing violence, intimidation and detention used to stifle dissent after the contested presidential election. Mr. Cannon also mentioned the torture of opposition activists, juvenile executions, violation of minority rights and of the rights of assembly, opinion and due process. The resolution calls on Iran to account for its record and to rectify the situation.

OTTAWA: DELIVERIES OF FLU VACCINE SLOWED

Canada's public health agency is warning Canadians that deliveries to the provinces of the H1N1 virus vaccine will slow down over the next couple of weeks. The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, was asked to make special batches of vaccine for pregnant women and that changeover in production will lower the output from the expected three million doses a week. A massive vaccination program is underway across Canada to prevent people from contracting the virus.
It's the biggest immunization program in Canadian history. The H1N1 virus has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people in Canada.

VICTORIA: OLYMPIC FLAME ARRIVES

The Olympic torch arrived in Canada for the start of a 106-day relay that will end in February with the start of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Twelve-thousand runners will carry the torch through every province and territory as far north as the Arctic community of Alert. The torch was flown from Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, to the city of Victoria, BC. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was there to mark the torch's arrival and he said the event has rekindled the Olympic spirit burning in Canada since the Calgary Olympic Games in 1988. He added that Canada can boast of one of the strongest Olympic teams in the world. Some protesters demonstrated against the Olympic Games, saying that funds would better be used for causes such as aboriginal and animal rights, and a clean environment.

OTTAWA: TORIES CAMPAIGN TO KILL GUN REGISTRY

The Conservative Party federal government is campaigning to kill the national gun registry through a vote in the House of Commons. There will be a vote next week on a Conservative Member of Parliament's bill to achieve that goal. The Conservatives are targeting specific ridings with radio advertising in largely rural areas urging listeners to lobby their MPs to vote with the government. The minority Conservative government would need the votes of only about a dozen opposition MPs for the bill to get rid of the registry to pass. Opponents of the registry claim it unfairly hassles honest hunters and does nothing to stop criminals. Supporters, including police groups, view it as a valuable database for law enforcement.

MANAGUA: CANADA WORRIES ABOUT DEMOCRACY IN NICARAGUA

Canada's minister of state for the Americas, Peter Kent, is concerned about a recent constitutional ruling in Nicaragua that allows President Daniel Ortega to run for another term. The ruling was handed down by the country's Supreme Court. Canada is concerned by allegations that the legal process was manipulated. The court's decision also upset opposition lawmakers, who have presented a bill to the National Assembly seeking to overturn the ruling. The U.S. state department says the move threatened the rule of democracy.

VANCOUVER: FUGITIVE BANKER DEPORTED

A fugitive banker from Thailand has been deported from Canada. Rakesh Saxena lost his long legal battle when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against his appeal of his extradition. He was arrested in the west coast province of British Columbia 13 years ago and accused of embezzling $88 million dollars from a bank in Thailand.

OTTAWA: BIANNUAL TIME CHANGE IN EFFECT

This is the weekend most of Canada switches from daylight saving time to standard time setting. Clocks and watches will be turned back one hour. However, the western province of Saskatchewan stays on standard time all the time. Daylight saving time returns on March 14.


UN

The United Nations General Assembly will debate a UN report accusing Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes in Gaza during a three-week war at the beginning of the year. The UN Human Rights Council endorsed the report earlier this month. The authors of the report recommended that its findings be referred to the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague if Israel and Hamas fail to conduct credible investigations within six months. Israel had previously asked that the report not be discussed by the UN. Its offensive against Gaza resulted in the deaths of some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

RUSSIA

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Europeans may suffer again from gas shortages this winter because of payment disputes between Russia and Ukraine. Mr. Putin says it seems that the payment problem will again arise. He issued the warning after a telephone conversation with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. Mr. Putin says Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is blocking the transfer of payments to pay for Russian gas shipments. He also blames the EU for failing to supply Ukraine with the money to make its payments. Last winter, major EU customers were left without gas for almost two weeks in January. Russia supplies one-quarter of Europe's gas supplies.

CHINA

More people have been sentenced to prison in China's Xinjiang province. Reports indicate that 19 people have been given jail terms of three years to life for state security crimes. Some of the sentences were in connection with ethnic unrest in July in the capital Urumqi that claimed the lives of some 200 people. China's eight million Uighurs have long complained of religious, political and cultural oppression by Chinese authorities. The Uighurs are also upset about the massive influx of Han Chinese settlers, which have reduced them to a minority.

HONDURAS

The political crisis that began four months ago in Honduras could soon be over. The ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, and the country's interim military government have agreed on a plan for a power-sharing government. The plan would allow Mr. Zelaya to be reinstated temporarily until elections can be held on Nov. 29. As a condition, Mr. Zelaya must drop a proposal that he made while in office to extend his presidential term. Mr. Zelaya remains holed-up in Brazil's embassy in Tegucigalpa. He says that the deal would return democracy to Honduras.


MONTREAL: PAPER FIRM, UNION WANT PENSION PROTECTION

Bankrupt Canadian pulp and paper giant AbitibiBowater and its labour union have suspended contract negotiations pending lobbying with governments to protect its pension funds. The two sides have presented a proposal to the Quebec government to set up a trust that would ensure that current pension benefits continue. AbitibiBowater is under bankruptcy protection. Earlier in the week, the union warned that in the event of a bankruptcy or restructuring, benefit cuts for more than one-quarter of the company's 8,300 current and 17,000 retired workers could result. The firm's collective agreements expired in May.

MARKETS

TMX on Friday: 10,880, down 195. Canadian dollar: US92. Euro: C$1.59. Oil: $77.09, down $2.78.


HOCKEY

Two Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's hockey games have been postponed after two members of the Waterloo Warriors were diagnosed with swine flu. This weekend's games against York and Toronto will be played at a later date. Other members of the Warriors are also experiencing flu-like symptoms.


Weather

British Columbia on Saturday: rain south, mix sun cloud north, high C12 Vancouver. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: snow. Whitehorse -4, Yellowknife -6, Iqaluit -7. Alberta: rain north, sun south. Saskatchewan: rain north, snow south. Manitoba: cloud. Edmonton 10, Regina 4, Winnipeg 3. Ontario, Quebec: rain. Toronto 14, Ottawa 15, Montreal 19. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia: rain. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: cloud. Fredericton Charlottetown 16, Halifax 15, St. John's 6.

Friday, October 30, 2009

News 10.30.2009

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Copyright (c) 2009 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Friday, October 30th, 2009

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Czech government has issued a statement saying that the opt-out
from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights granted to the Czech Republic
will not put Czech citizens at a disadvantage.

* The Czech prime minister has sharply rejected suggestions that the
Czech delegation had failed to defend the country's interests in
Brussels.

* President Klaus has welcomed the opt-out and said he would not
further obstruct the Lisbon treaty's ratification.

========================================================================
Government: opt-out will not put Czechs at disadvantage
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech government has issued a statement saying that the opt-out
from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights granted to the Czech Republic
by EU leaders on Thursday will not put Czech citizens at a disadvantage
or in any way put their rights at risk. The statement comes in response
to suggestions that the opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights
demanded by President Vaclav Klaus would in future prevent Czech
citizens from defending their rights in European courts of law.

The opt-out, similar to those granted to Britain and Poland, was
approved as a last-minute concession to Czech President Vaclav Klaus
who refused to sign the Lisbon treaty without guarantees that it would
not allow ethnic Germans forced out of the former Czechoslovakia after
World War II to reclaim their property. The president says he is
satisfied with the arrangement but there have been mixed reactions from
the country's political parties.


========================================================================
Opt-out evokes mixed reactions
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Social Democrats say that an opt-out from the Charter of
Fundamental Rights will weaken the position of Czech citizens and argue
that the government should have asked for legal guarantees pertaining
to the Benes decrees alone. The Green Party has expressed the view that
the concession won by the government could back-fire. Meanwhile, the
Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions is so concerned by the
possible implications of the exemption it is considering strike action
to try and prevent the opt-out from coming into force.


========================================================================
PM Fischer says he did not fail the country in Brussels
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fisher on Friday sharply rejected
suggestions that the Czech delegation had failed to defend the
country's interests in Brussels. Mr. Fischer said that his team had
done the best possible job under the circumstances, had not overstepped
its mandate and had not in any way put at risk the rights of Czech
citizens. Responding to criticism from the Social Democrats, Mr. Fisher
said that trying to arrange an exemption pertaining to the Benes
decrees alone would have buried the Lisbon treaty. He said the Social
Democrats knew perfectly well what the Czech government delegation
would strive to achieve in Brussels and had not voiced any criticism
ahead of the trip.


========================================================================
President Klaus will not obstruct treaty further
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he was pleased with the
wording agreed by European Union leaders on an opt-out clause in the
bloc's reform treaty and would raise no further conditions for
ratification. Under Czech law the president must now wait for a Czech
Constitutional Court ruling on a challenge against the treaty raised by
a group of right-wing senators. The verdict is expected on Tuesday, and
most lawyers expect the court to say the charter does not conflict with
the Czech Constitution. It threw out a similar challenge by the same
group of senators last year.


========================================================================
Health expert: country on the brink of swine flu epidemic
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Czech health expert has warned that the country may be on the brink
of a swine flu epidemic. Vaclav Chmelik, who helped draw-up a pandemic
crisis plan for the Health Ministry said he expected a rapid increase
in swine-flu cases in the coming weeks, predicting that the epidemic
could reach a head within two months. To date health authorities have
registered 351 cases, close to 40 of them in the last week alone.
Sixteen cases were reported at a high school in the south Bohemian town
of Ceske Budejovice, after a group of students and teachers became
infected on a school trip to Bavaria. The disease claimed its first
victim in the Czech Republic earlier this month when a 31 year old
woman from Karlovy Vary died of multiple organ failure shortly after
being diagnosed with swine flu.


========================================================================
Deadline closes for massive CEZ nuclear construction contract
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Czech electricity giant CEZ closed offers at midday on Friday for a
massive contract to build two new nuclear reactors at its existing
Temelin facility in the Czech Republic with the option of building a
further three at other sites in Europe. The company is said to have
received several dozen offers for what has been described by local
media as the energy contract of the century. The offers will now be
examined with those who make the grade to continue in the tender likely
to be declared in January, he added. A contract winner could be
declared in 2011 with construction estimated at around 10 years. CEZ
did not set out concrete specification for the reactors saying that
would tilt the tender in favour of one company or another.


========================================================================
PM Fischer tops popularity ratings
------------------------------------------------------------------------

According to the outcome of an October survey conducted by the STEM
agency, caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fischer is by far and away the
most popular politician in the country, trusted by 79 percent of
Czechs. Mr. Fisher has surged ahead of President Klaus who has topped
the popularity ladder for years and who now has a 61 percent credit
rating. Other Czech politicians have a credit ratings between 20 and 40
percent.


========================================================================
Seven seriously injured in pile-up on R 48 highway
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seven people, among them six Polish nationals, were seriously injured
in a pile up on the R 48 highway near Cesky Tesin on Friday morning.
The crash involved seven vehicles, among them a lorry, a bus and a
Polish minibus. Over a dozen people suffered light injuries. Police are
investigating the cause of the accident.


========================================================================
Football legend Frantisek Vesely dies at 65
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Former Czech legendary football striker Frantisek Vesely died of heart
failure on Friday at the age of 65. The famous right-winger was a
member of the Czechoslovak team that won the European championship in
1976. Vesely played a big part in this success, scoring one goal and
assisting another in the semifinal match against the Netherlands.
Vesely has played as many as 920 matches in his career, including 34
for Czechoslovak national team. He played for Slavia Praha from 1953 to
1980.


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

The coming days are expected to be clear to partly cloudy with day
temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.

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


Current Affairs
Workers find mysterious tomb in village church
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reconstruction of an area rich with monuments near the village of Valec
in West Bohemia yielded a mystery that has archaeologists and
anthropologists scratching their heads. When workers renovating the
Church of the Holy Trinity belonging to the noble Stampach family lost
a hammer through the floor, they discovered a hidden tomb and the oddly
laid remains of an unknown woman. Earlier I spoke with the head of the
archaeological team, Katerina Postranecka, who described the scene:

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/121712

Current Affairs
Opt-out granted, but not all share Klaus fears over Sudeten Germans
------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Vaclav Klaus said he wanted an opt-out from the EU Charter of
Fundamental Rights to shield Czech courts from European law, mentioning
in particular the prospect of property claims from Sudeten Germans -
ethnic Germans who were expelled en masse from what was then
Czechoslovakia after the war. But not everyone in the Czech Republic
shares Mr Klaus's concerns, in fact some organisations highlight the
country's German heritage as a positive thing. Rob Cameron visited the
former Sudeten city of Usti nad Labem, and spoke to Ondrej Matejka from
the NGO Anti-Komplex.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/121711

Current Affairs
EU leaders agree on charter exemption for Czech Republic
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Lisbon treaty is a hair's breadth away from ratification after EU
leaders on Thursday agreed on an opt-out for the Czech Republic to the
treaty's charter of fundamental rights. Czech President Vaclav Klaus,
the document's most vocal opponent, had made clear he would only sign
if such a guarantee was provided.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/121710

Business News
Business News 10.30.2009
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In this week's Business News: Growth, albeit anaemic, for next year;
massive rail tunnel project hits finance buffers; energy rivals look to
swapping assets rather than insults; Czech trams ready for Washington
DC, and regional aid offer to stop spilt milk.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/121700


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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) 2009, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 10.30.2009

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Current Affairs: Workers find mysterious tomb in village church

Reconstruction of an area rich with monuments near the village of Valeč in West Bohemia yielded a mystery that has archaeologists and anthropologists scratching their heads. When workers renovating the Church of the Holy Trinity belonging to the noble Štampach family lost a hammer through the floor, they discovered a hidden tomb and the oddly laid remains of an unknown woman. Earlier I spoke with the head of the archaeological team, Kateřina Postránecká, who described the scene:

Current Affairs: Opt-out granted, but not all share Klaus fears over Sudeten Germans

President Václav Klaus said he wanted an opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to shield Czech courts from European law, mentioning in particular the prospect of property claims from Sudeten Germans – ethnic Germans who were expelled en masse from what was then Czechoslovakia after the war. But not everyone in the Czech Republic shares Mr Klaus's concerns, in fact some organisations highlight the country's German heritage as a positive thing. Rob Cameron visited the former Sudeten city of Ústí nad Labem, and spoke to Ondřej Matějka from the NGO Anti-Komplex.

Current Affairs: EU leaders agree on charter exemption for Czech Republic

The Lisbon treaty is a hair's breadth away from ratification after EU leaders on Thursday agreed on an opt-out for the Czech Republic to the treaty's charter of fundamental rights. Czech President Václav Klaus, the document's most vocal opponent, had made clear he would only sign if such a guarantee was provided.

Business News: Business News 10.30.2009

In this week's Business News: Growth, albeit anaemic, for next year; massive rail tunnel project hits finance buffers; energy rivals look to swapping assets rather than insults; Czech trams ready for Washington DC, and regional aid offer to stop spilt milk.

Zelaya to return to power, ending crisis in Honduras; Greenland, Canada to sign polar bear accord

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Zelaya to return to power, ending crisis in Honduras

The de facto government that took power in Honduras after deposing President Manuel Zelaya has agreed to a deal that will return Zelaya to power, seemingly bringing the standing political crisis to an end. The deal will see Zelaya serve out the remaining three months of his tenure before the Nov. 29 election -- in which neither Zelaya nor de facto government leader Roberto Micheletti will serve as candidates. The power-sharing agreement requires the factions led by Zelaya and Micheletti to recognize the results of the election. The New York Times (10/30) , BBC (10/30)



I find it hard to believe that nobody in [the Pakistani] government knows where [al-Qaida militants] are, and couldn't get to them if they really wanted to. Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Read the full story.



UN Dispatch: It would seem that the man for whom we tinted our Twitter feeds green is coming out against the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. How very disappointing.

UN Dispatch


United Nation
  • UN arms trade talks gain major backers
    Representatives from the world's four largest arms traders -- the U.S., Britain, France and Germany -- have agreed to back United Nations negotiations on a treaty to regulate the $55 billion a year global arms trade. Russia still has declined to back the undertaking, and supporters admit even a robust treaty would be unlikely to wipe out black market arms deals completely. Reuters (10/29) Email this Story
  • Afghan election panel rejects UN advice
    Afghan election officials said they will open more than 6,300 polling stations for the upcoming runoff election, defying the advice of the UN and international election experts. Representing far more stations than can be secured and monitored by officials overseeing the election, the number is approximately 500 more than the UN believes can be staffed and secured. Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission did not indicate how it will staff so many stations, secure them against Taliban attacks or guard against corruption. The Washington Post (10/30) Email this Story
Development Health and Poverty
  • Global health efforts failing on top child killers
    Diarrhea and pneumonia remain the largest killers of young children across the world but fail to get as much attention and funding as HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles. Much more remains to be done to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS, but health and development experts decry the lack of focus on diseases that can be cured quickly and inexpensively. The New York Times (10/29) Email this Story
  • Health ministers meet in Ethiopia to discuss maternal injuries
    A lack of resources and gender inequality contribute to fistula and other preventable maternal injuries in Ethiopia, according to the UN Population Fund. Health ministers assembled in Ethiopia to discuss midwives, prevention efforts and simple surgeries that could decrease incidence of fistula. BBC (10/26) Email this Story
  • Other News
Development Energy and Environment
  • Greenland, Canada to sign polar bear accord
    Greenland, Canada and Nunavut will sign an agreement that will cap polar bear hunting quotas in those nations' Arctic regions -- an agreement that is being greeted as a major boon to polar bear conservation. In recent years, Inuit hunting in those areas have grown to nonsustainable levels, according to biologists. The territorial government of Nunavut might introduce a complete moratorium on hunting polar bears. CBC.ca (Canada) (10/29) Email this Story
  • EU divided over funding for climate change regulations
    European Union leaders have reached an impasse over a commitment to combat global climate change, with poorer nations threatening to block EU action if wealthier nations do not agree to pay more toward developing nations to offset the effects of global warming. Poland and eight other nations say they will block any deal that does not allow them to contribute toward the climate purse according to their abilities. The current EU agreement does not explain in detail how member states' contributions will be calculated. BBC (10/30) Email this Story
  • Other News
Security and Human Rights
  • U.S. might accept spousal abuse asylum claims
    The Barack Obama administration's recommendation to grant asylum to a Guatemalan woman fleeing severe spousal abuse opens the door for other battered and sexually abused women in other countries to seek refuge in the U.S. Rody Alvarado Pena's case had languished in immigration courts for 14 years. Federal officials are looking to create guidelines for asylum claims based on abuse. The New York Times (10/29) Email this Story
  • African Union agrees on Darfur court
    African leaders have agreed to establish a new court comprising Sudanese and African Union-appointed justices to try Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes committed in Darfur. The hybrid court -- a solution welcomed by Human Rights Watch -- is a result of a proposal put forward by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who acknowledged previous attempts to bring justice to Darfur have failed. BBC (10/30) Email this Story
Peace and Security
  • Iran rejects nuclear accord
    Just hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signaled Iran's willingness to cooperate with Western powers over its nuclear powers, Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency it would not approve the draft agreement reached Oct. 21. Though Iranian officials have not elaborated on their reasons for rejecting the agreement, European and U.S. authorities said Iran refuses to agree to the time line and details for transferring its supply of low-enriched uranium abroad. Iran counter-proposed the nation be allowed to sell its uranium in small batches over an undisclosed time period -- which would allow it to keep a stockpile sufficient to build a nuclear bomb. The New York Times (10/29) , Los Angeles Times (10/30) Email this Story
  • Afghan strategy considerations raise ghosts of past
    The notion of defending Afghanistan's cities and leaving its rural areas to be overrun by the Taliban is gaining some traction in Washington as a substitute for a surge of U.S. troops across the country. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected soon to announce a change in strategy. But the defending the city approach is a strategy that echoes the Soviet Union's failed military occupation of the country, and efforts to scale up the Afghan military hold the country's best hopes for long-term security. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (10/28) Email this Story
  • Clinton pushes back at Pakistan during frosty reception
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Pakistani authorities they share some of the blame for the recent spate of al-Qaida attacks by allowing them to operate freely in the mountainous frontier area -- a provocative accusation from a senior U.S. official, especially in light of Pakistan's ongoing military offensive against the Taliban. Clinton's remarks came during a reception with Pakistani journalists and students, who described grievances with previous U.S. leadership. The New York Times (10/29) Email this Story
  • Other News
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