Sunday, January 31, 2010

News 1.31.2010

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Copyright (c) 2010 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Sunday, January 31st, 2010

By: Christian Falvey

* The Czech government is to review a proposal to instate mandatory flu
vaccinations for 200,000 individuals.

* The Czech Republic gave 85 million crowns in international
humanitarian aid in 2009, the Foreign Ministry reports.

* Zdenek Stybar has won the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships.

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Government to weigh mandatory swine flu vaccinations for state workers
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech government on Monday is to review a proposal by the country's
chief hygiene officer to instate mandatory swine flu vaccinations for
200,000 individuals, Health Minister Dana Juraskova told Czech
Television on Sunday. The measure is intended for persons responsible
for the running of the state, namely policemen, firemen and healthcare
workers and was approved by the National Security Council on Friday.
The proposal was immediately criticised by shadow health minister David
Rath of the Social Democratic Party, who said that the H1N1 virus was a
mild ailment for people who are not critically ill. There are currently
1016 cases of swine flu per 100,000 people and there have been 83
deaths connected to the virus since October. Currently one-fourth of
the vaccine stock purchased by the state has been used.


========================================================================
Czech Republic gave 85 million in aid in 2009
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech Republic gave 85 million crowns in international humanitarian
aid to roughly 25 countries in 2009, according to documentation from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry is to present the
government with the data on Monday. The prime recipient of Czech
foreign aid was the Gaza Strip, which received 15 million at the turn
of 2009 for reconstruction efforts. Ten million crowns went to victims
of war in Pakistan and seven to neighbouring Afghanistan for mine
clearing and quick impact projects. The aid was implemented via
international and Czech humanitarian organisations working in the areas
in question. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has 73 million crowns
earmarked for humanitarian aid in 2010, including five million for the
Republic of Haiti.


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Two-thirds of Czechs satisfied with EU membership
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Nearly two-thirds of Czechs are satisfied with membership in the
European Union, according to a poll conducted by the STEM research
agency. 73% of respondents said that they feel solidarity with Europe,
which STEM says is a rise since the Czech EU presidency. Three fifths
of respondents however said that they do not think the Czech Republic
plays an active enough role in EU decision making. Satisfaction with EU
membership has fluctuated considerably since the country's accession in
2004, with slumps to 50% when the European constitution and the Lisbon
treaty were being debated. The results of the survey were closely
linked to political preferences, with more uncertainty over EU
integration shown among left-wing voters.


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Two dead in separate avalanches
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Snow slides have claimed the lives of two people over the weekend. On
Sunday an alpine skier was killed in the Jesenik Mountains when skiing
in a declared avalanche area. On Saturday, a 13-year-old boy was killed
when a cornice collapsed in a quarry where he and a friend were
playing. The latter managed to free himself and lead rescue services to
the location, but they were unable to resuscitate the buried boy. Local
authorities in the boys' village of Medenec say that children often
play in the quarry and that they are considering how to better secure
the area. Avalanche warnings have been issued in the mountainous areas
of the Czech Republic in recent days due to the combination of strong
winds, fresh snow and relatively high daytime temperatures.


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Drivers protest reduced speed limits in Prague
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Around 150 drivers protested the lowering of the speed limit on certain
Prague roads Saturday evening. The protestors were escorted by police
as they formed a slow-moving column of automobiles on Prague's busy
South Junction for roughly an hour. The Prague City Hall reduced the
speed limit on a number of Prague thoroughfares to 50 km/h at the new
year in an attempt to reduce noise levels in the areas. However,
demonstrators say that that lowering the speed limit at busy locations
is not the solution that even residents had envisioned, and will
continue to protest until some other measure is taken, such as the
construction of anti-noise walls.


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Least January road deaths in seven years
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Preliminary statistics from the Czech Police the lowest number of road
deaths for the month of January in the last seven years. The police
believe that the steep decline in fatal accidents was due primarily to
the weather, with fewer drivers out on the roads on account of
above-average snow and ice and increased caution among those who do
venture out. 35 people lost their lives in the first month of this year
as opposed to 79 the year before.


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Army begins international Winter Survival competition
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The Czech Army's international, multi-discipline Winter Survival
championship began on Sunday in the Jesenik Mountains. The events in
the competition involve adrenaline sports and combat activities that
simulate military situations in winter terrains. 59 men and one woman
will compete in regrouping in mountain terrain, climbing, natural
obstacle courses and transporting casualties. The four-day race will
include from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland and Slovakia. It is
organised annually by the General Staff of the Czech Army and the
Defence University in Brno.


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2009 motorway stamps expire, 2010 more expensive
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2009 motorway stamps, required for vehicles utilising Czech, expire on
Sunday and slight changes to the system will be implemented on Monday.
The new stamps will cost 1,200 crowns, a 200-crown increase from last
year. The price of monthly coupons has also increased to 350 crowns,
and seven-day stamps have been replaced with ten-day and will cost 250
crowns. Small lorries will now have to pay tolls, which will be 50%
more expensive on Friday afternoons. The Ministry of Transportation has
said that the increased rates are due to the expansion of the motorway
system and will bring the state 500 million crowns more than last year
amid the same number of sales.


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National Gallery to open doors for 214th anniversary
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The National Gallery has announced it will be opening its doors free of
charge to visitors next weekend to celebrate the 214th anniversary of
its founding. In addition to the permanent exhibits in the main
building, a number of events will be taking place in the gallery's
outlying venues, such as tours of the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia
and Sternberk Palace, where there will be an exhibition of European art
from antiquity to the baroque period and an archaeological exposition.
Details are available on the website of the National Gallery at
ngprague.cz.


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Czech cycle-cross racer wins world championship
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Zdenek Stybar has won the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships, becoming
the first Czech to do so in 12 years. Despite a suffering a breakdown
in the very first round, Stybar came back to take the gold after two
years in second place in the under 23's category. The win completes a
good tournament for the Czech Republic overall, with Tomas Paprstka
winning the juniors category on Saturday, and an excellent week for
Stybar himself, who last Monday became the first Czech to win the
Cyclo-Cross World Cup. The 2010 World Championships are being held in
the South Bohemian town of Tabor.


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

Conditions over the coming days are expected to be party cloudy with a
chance of snow, and highs of -9 to -6 degrees Celsius.

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


Letter from Prague
Going Lokal
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All agree that restaurant culture in Prague has advanced dramatically
over the past ten years or so, with perhaps the exception of some
notorious tourist traps in the areas popular with visitors. Service has
improved and so has the quality of food. And those who have had enough
of international food can now even go for traditional Czech cuisine in
its traditional environment - a successful restaurant group has opened
an eatery called Lokal which promises to take you decades back in time.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124563

Mailbox
Mailbox 1.31.2010
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Today in Mailbox: listeners' response to the fact that Radio Prague is
to stay on shortwave, a new frequency schedule, SoundCzech, Czech men
and doctors. Listeners quoted: Michael Fanderys, Don Hetherington, Uday
Nayak, Michael Matejka, Lynda-Marie Hauptmann.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124479

Czech Books
"We were criminally naive": a former Czech PM looks back to the Velvet
Revolution
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since the fall of communism, Petr Pithart has been a central Czech
political figure. As one of the first people to sign the human rights
manifesto, Charter 77, he spent the last years of the communist regime
as a political dissident. But as the regime collapsed in November 1989,
he shot to prominence - firstly in Civic Forum, which brought together
those fighting for an end to one-party rule, and then as the first
post-communist prime minister of the Czech part of the Czechoslovak
federation. Later he went on to be chairman of the Czech Senate and
today he serves as the Senate's deputy chairman. Senator Pithart has
just published a book with the simple title "1989", in which he
reflects on the events and the legacy of the time. Surprisingly the
book is one of the first studies to be written by a prominent actor in
the Velvet Revolution. The book is striking for the openness with which
it discusses the mistakes that were made, mistakes that in Pithart's
view, hastened the split of Czechoslovakia and sowed the seeds for many
of the political problems in the Czech Republic today. When I went to
see Senator Pithart, he began by telling me that he was drawn into the
fray of politics more or less by chance.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124478


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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) 2010, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 1.31.2010

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Letter from Prague: Going Lokál

All agree that restaurant culture in Prague has advanced dramatically over the past ten years or so, with perhaps the exception of some notorious tourist traps in the areas popular with visitors. Service has improved and so has the quality of food. And those who have had enough of international food can now even go for traditional Czech cuisine in its traditional environment – a successful restaurant group has opened an eatery called Lokál which promises to take you decades back in time.

Mailbox: Mailbox 1.31.2010

Today in Mailbox: listeners' response to the fact that Radio Prague is to stay on shortwave, a new frequency schedule, SoundCzech, Czech men and doctors. Listeners quoted: Michael Fanderys, Don Hetherington, Uday Nayak, Michael Matejka, Lynda-Marie Hauptmann.

Czech Books: "We were criminally naïve": a former Czech PM looks back to the Velvet Revolution

Since the fall of communism, Petr Pithart has been a central Czech political figure. As one of the first people to sign the human rights manifesto, Charter 77, he spent the last years of the communist regime as a political dissident. But as the regime collapsed in November 1989, he shot to prominence – firstly in Civic Forum, which brought together those fighting for an end to one-party rule, and then as the first post-communist prime minister of the Czech part of the Czechoslovak federation. Later he went on to be chairman of the Czech Senate and today he serves as the Senate's deputy chairman. Senator Pithart has just published a book with the simple title "1989", in which he reflects on the events and the legacy of the time. Surprisingly the book is one of the first studies to be written by a prominent actor in the Velvet Revolution. The book is striking for the openness with which it discusses the mistakes that were made, mistakes that in Pithart's view, hastened the split of Czechoslovakia and sowed the seeds for many of the political problems in the Czech Republic today. When I went to see Senator Pithart, he began by telling me that he was drawn into the fray of politics more or less by chance.

RCI Cyberjournal

Government sets carbon emissions target.


More adopted Haitian children arrive in Canada.


Funerals held for earthquake victims.

CALGARY: GOVERNMENT SETS CARBON EMISSIONS TARGET

Canada has announced its target for cutting carbon emissions. Environment Minister Jim Prentice said on Saturday that Canada will cut its emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels over the next ten years. The target is part of the Copenhagen Accord on climate change arranged last year. The Canadian targets are similar to those of the United States. The announcement was made one day before a deadline imposed by the United Nations. The accord offers money to developing nations to help them fight global warming. But instead of setting new greenhouse gas reduction targets, the accord lets countries set their own targets. Mr. Prentice said that Canada and the United States are working on harmonizing their approaches on emissions for passenger vehicles, air and marine transport and heavy vehicles.

OTTAWA: MORE ADOPTED HAITIAN CHILDREN ARRIVE IN CANADA

A commercial jetliner transported 57 more Haitian children to Ottawa on Saturday. Two earlier flights brought 80 children. Their adoption papers were being processed before a massive earthquake struck Haiti earlier this month. Canada hastened the adoption process following the disaster. The aircraft that brought the children on Saturday had flown to Port-au-Prince with 35,000 kilograms of humanitarian relief supplies.

MONTREAL: FUNERALS HELD FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

Funerals were held on Saturday for five Canadians who were killed earlier this month in Haiti's earthquake, including a former member of Canada's parliament, Serge Marcil. At least 26 Canadians were confirmed killed, an increase of five since Friday. Another 114 remain missing. Georges and Mireille Anglade were buried after a ceremony at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica. The family also mourns the loss of their cousin and uncle in the disaster. Mr. Marcil was scheduled to be buried in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. His body was recovered last week in the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince. A funeral was also scheduled for a United Nations worker, Alexandra Duguay, in Quebec City and for a humanitarian worker, Camil Perron, in St. Felicien.

VICTORIA: LONG-AWAITED SETTLEMENT ANNOUNCED

A native Canadian group has finally been compensated for the loss of tribal territory and heritage more than four decades ago. The loss involved homes, burial grounds and hunting territories that were flooded when the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the Williston Reservoir were built in the Peace River Valley in British Columbia in 1967. Members of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation launched legal action in 1999 against the province and B.C. Hydro for infringement of aboriginal rights. The new agreement between the two sides will give the native band a one-time payment of CDN$20.9 million and annual payments of CDN$2 million as long as the dam produces electric power. Provincial Aboriginal Relations Minister George Abbott says the agreement marks the closure of a difficult chapter.

OTTAWA: SPEED SKATER TO CARRY CANADIAN FLAG AT GAMES' OPENING

A champion speed skater will carry Canada's flag at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver next month. Clara Hughes is one of only two women who have won medals at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Before undertaking speed skating, she was an Olympic champion cyclist, winning two bronze medals during the 1996 Atlanta Games. Miss Hughes will lead 206 Canadian athletes into the stadium.

VANCOUVER: MOST CANADIANS SUPPORT OLYMPIC EVENT

The Winter Olympic Games have more support among Canadians outside the host province of British Columbia than within. A new opinion poll by Canadian Press Harris-Decima shows only one in two in British Columbia believe that the Games will have more benefits than drawbacks. In other provinces, three in four Canadians give the Games their support.


CHINA

China is reacting harshly to news that the United States is planning a major new arms sales to Taiwan. On Friday, the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama announced a plan to sell almost six-and-a-half billion U.S. dollars worth of helicopters, missiles and other weapons. In reaction, China has suspended military exchanges with the United States. China's government further warned that such an arms sale could severely harm U.S.-Chinese relations and could lead to Chinese sanctions. China has long demanded that the United States stop supporting Taiwan' s defence. Two years ago, China cut military ties with the United States after the former Bush administration announced a multi-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan.

PAKISTAN

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing 16 people including two soldiers. The checkpoint is in a tribal area that borders Afghanistan. Elsewhere, nine militants died in a suspected U.S. missile strike on a compound and a bunker at a tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

UNITED STATES

The Japanese automaker, Toyota, has started shipping gas pedal parts to its dealers to fix faulty pedals that led to the recall of 4.2 million Toyotas around the world, including 270,000 in Canada. Toyota will announce how it intends to solve the problem next week. Meanwhile, another Japanese automaker, Honda, is recalling 646,000 vehicles worldwide due to a window problem.

BURMA

A journalist has been sentenced to prison for illegally working for foreign media groups. Ngwe Soe Lin reported for the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma. He was sentenced this week to 13 years in prison. The Burma Media Association, which operates out of neighbouring Thailand, says 14 reporters were arrested in Burma last year. The group says the arrests are part of a crackdown by Burmese military authorities on those involved in anti-government protests in 2007. Last month, a freelance journalist, Hla Hla Win, was imprisoned for 20 years. A military court found that she had provided video for the Democratic Voice of Burma.

PERU

Peruvian authorities have successfully evacuated the last of the tourists who were stranded for days by mudslides and flooding near Machu Picchu. Torrential rains had drenched the region, washing out roads and
sections of the only railway. Floods and mudslides affected more than 25,000 people. Seven people were killed.

ETHIOPIA

On the eve of an African Union summit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged warring factions in Sudan to work toward national unity. Mr. Ban said that the coming months will have crucial events for Sudan, including the first multi-party elections since 1986 and a referendum on independence in January, 2011. He said that the United Nations and the African Union have a duty to work for national unity in Sudan. Islamic extremist militants are trying to extend their control of the country from the south, putting the central government under extreme pressure. Mr. Ban also ruled out any deployment of U.N. in Somalia, saying that first there must be an end to the civil war. Heads of state from the African Union's 53 members are expected to pick a new annual chairman when the A.U.'s 14th summit opens in Addis Ababa on Sunday. Canada's foreign minister, Lawrence Cannon, is attending the conference.


FIGURE SKATING

Canadian Kevin Reynolds won a bronze medal at the ISU Four Continents figure skating championships in Jeonju, South Korea on Saturday. American Adam Rippon won the gold, coming from seventh place after the short program. Reynolds was third at the recent Canadian championships.

TENNIS

Americans Mike and Bob Bryan defended their Australian Open doubles title on Saturday, beating Canada's Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic of
Serbia, 6-3 6-7 6-3. The Bryan brothers ended a five-match losing streak against Wimbledon doubles champions Nestor and Zimonjic.

HOCKEY

The Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, 3-2, in overtime. Mike Fisher scored the winner with less than two seconds remaining. The Senators are on a franchise record nine-game winning streak.


Weather

Here is Canada's weather on Sunday. British Columbia will be mainly cloudy. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: cloudy. Whitehorse, minus nine. Northwest Territories: variable cloudiness. Yellowknife, minus 21. Nunavut: snow. Iqaluit, minus six. Alberta: snow flurries. Edmonton, minus 11. Saskatchewan: mainly cloudy. Regina, minus 17. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, minus 20. Ontario: cloudy. Toronto, minus three. Ottawa, minus six. Quebec: snow flurries. Montreal, minus eight. New Brunswick: sunny. Fredericton, minus 11. Nova Scotia: mainly sunny. Halifax, minus six. Prince Edward Island: variable cloudiness. Charlottetown, minus 11. Newfoundland: sunny periods. St. John's, minus three.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

News 1.30.2010

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Copyright (c) 2010 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, January 30th, 2010

By: Christian Falvey

* The European Court of Justice is to review a case involving pensions
paid by the Slovak state to Czechs who worked there when the two
countries were united.

* Hundreds of clients of the travel agency Sunny Days may face problems
with purchased trips as the company is denied insolvency insurance.

* The Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova has won the Australian Open
Juniors Championship, defeating the UK's Laura Robson 6:1, 7:6.

========================================================================
Court of Justice to review Czech-Slovak pensions case
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg will be reviewing a case
involving pensions paid by the Slovak state to Czechs who worked there
when the two countries were united. The court, the highest in the
European Union, has been asked to hear the case by the Supreme
Administrative Court in Prague, which suspended proceedings on the
matter due to legal ambiguities. The outcome of the suit against the
Czech Social Security Administration would affect thousands of Czechs
who worked in Slovakia or for Slovakia-based offices and now receive
pensions for work abroad. The Czech Constitutional Court has already
ruled that such work carried out in the former Czechoslovakia cannot be
considered "work abroad". The pensions currently received by such
workers are several thousands of crowns per month less than they would
receive under the Czech pensions system.


========================================================================
Sunny Days clients will have to seek compensation in court
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hundreds of clients of one of the largest Czech travel agencies, Sunny
Days, may end up grounded without compensation, as the company's
insurer has refused to extend its bankruptcy policy. Spokesman of the
Association of Czech Travel Agencies Tomio Okamura said Saturday that
Sunny Days has transformed its trade status from a licensed to a free
business, to which bankruptcy does not apply. The company will
therefore be unable to sell trips, but may only intermediate them.
According to Mr Okamura, clients who are not reimbursed for purchased
excursions by the company itself will have to have their cases tried in
court. Sunny Days is one of the largest Czech travel agencies, and had
roughly 50,000 clients when it began facing financial troubles
resulting in flight delays in mid-2009. A number of Czech travel
agencies have gone bankrupt over the last year, including the largest,
Tomi Tour.


========================================================================
EU President meets with Czech President and PM
------------------------------------------------------------------------

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy is continuing his first
official visit to Prague after meeting Friday with the Czech prime
minister, Jan Fischer, and President Vaclav Klaus, the latter a well
known opponent of EU integration and the Lisbon Treaty. Notably
neglecting to use the title of EU President, Mr Klaus told journalists
that he was receiving Mr Van Rompuy as he would any other "high-ranking
EU official", and said that the meeting had done nothing to change his
view of the European Union. After talks with Prime Minister Fischer, Mr
Rompuy said they had agreed that the EU must continue with aid to Haiti
even after media attention begins to wane, and that an upcoming
international conference would be key to organising long-term support
for the earthquake-stricken country, which the European Union has
promised 429 million euros in immediate humanitarian aid. Mr. Herman
Van Rompuy took up the post of EU President on January 1 and has since
conducted a tour of EU member states.


========================================================================
PSA Peugeot Citroen recalls tens of thousands of cars made in Kolin
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The automobile manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen is recalling tens of
thousands of Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 vehicles produced in their
plant in Kolin. PSA informed the media on Saturday that the vehicles,
which are only made in Kolin, would be called in for repair due to
suspicions of faulty accelerators. The move follows only a day after
Toyota, which shares the plant with PSA, announced it would be
recalling 1.8 million vehicles, including the Aygo model manufactured
in Kolin, for the same reason. The company said that the recall would
apply to "less than 100,000" vehicles. The accelerator pedal problem
has forced Toyota to recall eight million cars since last year, more
than it sold in 2009.


========================================================================
Government to consider nurseries for two-year-olds to meet EU agreement
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech Republic has agreed with other European states to make it
possible for 33% of children under the age of three to attend nursery.
There is currently only room for 5% of children in that age group in
Czech nurseries, and the state budget does not allow for the
expenditure. Prime Minister Fischer's cabinet has tasked experts from
the relevant ministries to assess the situation. According to the
website Aktualne.cz, the team intends to propose opening nurseries to
all children over two years of age - the current age limit is three -
with smaller classes for the smallest children, and more education
requirements on teachers. Much of the expected three-billion-crown
expense of such an expansion would likely come from EU funds.
Nonetheless, the proposal will not likely have an easy passage through
Parliament as the two strongest parties differ in their support for it.


========================================================================
Forest owners charged steep fine for ignoring bark beetle
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The owners of a small forest near Hradec Kralove have been fined 360
thousand crowns for not completing an order to fell 320 square metres
of trees infected with the bark beetle, which has devastated forests
around the country. The order was issued in the summer of last year,
and much of the forest was felled accordingly, however the beetle still
spread to neighbouring forests. The owners appealed the fine
unsuccessfully to the Ministry of the Environment on the grounds that
they wanted to create a wilderness using the method of non-intervention
employed in the Sumava National Park in Southern Bohemia, a protected
wilderness that has been particularly hard hit by the bug.


========================================================================
Waterfowl census shows more cormorants, less swans and eagles.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A census of waterfowl in the Czech Republic carried out in January has
shown a decrease the number of swans and White-Tailed Eagles, and a
rise in the number of cormorants. Ornithologists say that the changes
are part of a trend of several years, whereby swans have been pushed
out by competing wild geese and, like the White-Tailed Eagle - the
largest bird of prey in the Czech Republic - have taken to wintering
farther south due to colder winters and icier ponds in the country.
Cormorants however have benefited greatly from protected status and
currently number roughly nine thousand. The birds have caused
considerable damage to the Czech fishing industry by consuming an
estimated half-tonne of fish a day.


========================================================================
Karolina Pliskova wins Australian Open Juniors Championship
------------------------------------------------------------------------

17-year-old Karolina Pliskova has won the girls' singles event at the
Australian Open Juniors Championship in Melbourne, defeating the UK's
Laura Robson. After a pronounced win for the Czech in the first set,
Robson came back in the second but lost a tie breaker to end the match
6:1, 7:6. Pliskova's twin sister, Krystina, was ousted by Robson in the
semi-final. In other tennis action, Czech player Jaroslav Levinsky and
his playing partner, Russian Jekaterina Makarova, have made it to the
final in the mixed-doubles.


========================================================================
Czech takes world juniors' championship in cyclo-cross
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tomas Paprstka has won the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, which
was held at the weekend in the South Bohemian town of Tabor. The Czech
Republic's Matej Lasak also finished fourth place. Paprstka set the
pace for most of the second half of the race, however ended neck and
neck at the finish line with Frenchman Julian Alaphilipp. The last
victory for a Czech in the world juniors' championship was that of
Martin Bina nine years ago, when the event was also held in Tabor.


========================================================================
14th Sedivackuv Long dog sledding race ends
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The 14th annual Sedivackuv Long dog sledding race, considered one of
the most difficult in Europe, has ended in the Orlicke Mountains in the
north of the country. 92 mushers with some 620 dogs competed in the
four-day, 200-km race; only 48 completed the challenge. The race was
intended to run 222 kilometres, however it poor weather conditions on
Friday required that the route be shortened. The Sedivackuv Long is one
of four extreme-sport dog sledding races for the Iron Sled Dog Man
title, the rest of which are held in the Swiss and Austrian Alps.


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

Conditions over the coming days are expected to be party cloudy with a
chance of snow, and highs of -9 to -6 degrees Celsius.

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


Magazine
Magazine
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A cheetah on the loose in Prague's Troya zoo, a driver jumps into the
Vltava river to avoid traffic police and what's in that chocolate? Find
out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124579

SoundCzech
Doodley-squat
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome to this week's edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague's Czech
language series in which you can learn new phrases with the help of
song lyrics. Today's song is by Czech rock musician Vladimir Misik and
is called Velikej Hever. The phrase to look out for is the somewhat
incongruous mit prd, which means to have nothing, or to have little to
show for something (such as one's efforts) or even to have a miserable
sum on your bank account.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124528


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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) 2010, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 1.30.2010

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Magazine: Magazine

A cheetah on the loose in Prague's Troya zoo, a driver jumps into the Vltava river to avoid traffic police and what's in that chocolate? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

SoundCzech: Doodley-squat

Welcome to this week's edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today's song is by Czech rock musician Vladimír Mišík and is called Velikej Hever. The phrase to look out for is the somewhat incongruous mít prd, which means to have nothing, or to have little to show for something (such as one's efforts) or even to have a miserable sum on your bank account.

Friday, January 29, 2010

News 1.29.2010

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2010 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Friday, January 29th, 2010

By: Daniela Lazarova

* European Union President Herman Van Rompuy is on his first official
visit to Prague.

* UNESCO has sent a team of urban experts to the Czech capital to
investigate a number of controversial building projects.

* Fresh snowfall has caused more traffic complications around the
country.

========================================================================
EU President on first official visit to Prague
------------------------------------------------------------------------

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy is on his first official
visit to Prague. On Friday morning the EU president met with the Czech
prime minister, Jan Fischer, for talks that focused on the economy,
climate change and the EU's humanitarian effort in Haiti. In the
afternoon Mr. Rompuy met with President Vaclav Klaus, a well known
opponent of EU integration and the Lisbon Treaty. The two officials
said little about the content of their talks, though President Klaus
told journalists the meeting had done nothing to change his view of the
European Union.

Only last week Mr. Klaus criticized the new working structure of the
European saying that there was no clear delimitation of powers and
responsibilities. Mr. Herman Van Rompuy took up the post of EU
President on January 1 and has since conducted a tour of EU member
states.


========================================================================
UNESCO sends experts to check out controversial building projects
------------------------------------------------------------------------

UNESCO has sent a team of urban experts to the Czech capital to
investigate a number of controversial building projects which could
damage the character of Prague's historic city centre. One of the
projects in the spotlight is the Blanka road tunnel, a vast
construction scheme, which includes several multi-level road junctions
just a few hundred meters from Prague Castle. Another is a highly
controversial plan to tear down eleven buildings just off Wenceslas
Square to make way for a huge shopping centre. The UNESCO team has also
looked into the ongoing reconstruction of Prague's Charles Bridge which
some critics say has damaged the historic value of Prague's most famous
monument beyond repair. The Czech Culture Ministry has tried to dispel
rumors that the insensitive approach to the city's historic centre
might lead to Prague's being struck off UNESCO's list of world heritage
sites.


========================================================================
Heavy snow causes traffic complications around the country
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fresh snowfall overnight has caused more traffic complications around
the country. Czech Railways announced on Friday morning that ten of its
regional tracks were impassable and had to be closed down. A number of
mountain villages have been cut off from the outside world and a number
of buses on inter-city bus routes ended up stuck in snow drifts.
Traffic police report that many of the smaller roads remain impassable,
since maintenance crews have their hands full clearing the country's
main highways. Drivers have been warned to exercise extreme caution and
not set out for the mountains without chains and shovels. Fresh snow is
expected in the coming days.


========================================================================
Thousands of people file snow-related insurance claims
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The heavy snow over the past few weeks is reported to have caused
millions of crowns in damages. The country's leading insurer Ceska
Pojistovna said on Friday its clients had filed over 4,400 claims to
the tune of over 100 million crowns. The vast majority of the claims
concern damage to roofs, which collapsed under the weight of heavy snow
or cars demolished by falling snow and ice when the cold snap was
replaced by a thaw. Other insurance companies around the country also
report a steep rise in claims. The hardest hit regions appear to be
central Bohemia and north Moravia.


========================================================================
National Security Council halves the number of mandatory vaccinations
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The National Security Council has ordered mandatory swine flu
vaccination for 8,000 Czech soldiers. The issue was discussed at the
highest level after President Vaclav Klaus, who is commander in chief
of the armed forces, intervened to prevent mandatory vaccination for
16,000 soldiers, many of whom did not want the shot. Mr. Klaus said it
was unacceptable to enforce this decision unless there was a serious
threat of an epidemic. He asked the country's hygiene officer to
clarify the position at a meeting of the National Security Council.
After hearing the report the council halved the proposed number of
mandatory vaccinations.


========================================================================
Thirteen percent of Czechs still pay exclusively in cash
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thirteen percent of Czechs do not own a credit or payment card and make
their payments exclusively in cash, according to the results of a
survey commissioned by GE Money Bank. The reasons cited included fear
of credit card fraud, the fact that they spend less when handing over
cash, have a better idea of the state of their finances and the fact
that there are still shops where paying with a card is not possible.
Twenty one percent of respondents said they own more than one card, and
81 percent of respondents said they prefer to use a card over carrying
cash. GE Money Bank says this is a big improvement on the situation
three years ago when a third of the population said they did not own
any kind of bank card.


========================================================================
Number of foreigners growing, but country still below European average
------------------------------------------------------------------------

According to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office the
number of foreigners in the Czech Republic has been steadily growing.
In 1997 they made up just over two percent of the population; in 2009
they accounted for 4 percent of the country's 10.5 million inhabitants.
The highest number of foreigners come from Ukraine, followed by Slovak,
Vietnamese, Russian and Polish nationals. Despite the steady rise, the
Czech Republic is still below the European average which is currently
at 6 percent. Luxemburg is at the opposite end of the scale with
foreigners making up 40 percent of the population.


========================================================================
Czech truckers refueling abroad
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Higher oil prices are leading Czech transport companies to refuel
outside the country's borders, according to DKV, a company issuing
payment cars for motorists. Czech truck drivers are said to be topping
up their tanks most frequently in Luxembourg and Spain where prices of
diesel oil are currently the most advantageous, while those heading
east prefer to refuel in Slovakia or Poland. At an average price of
29,39 crowns per liter in the Czech Republic, diesel oil is 12 percent
cheaper in Poland and 8 percent cheaper in Austria. The increase in oil
prices on the Czech market is due to a higher consumer and VAT that
went into effect as of January 1.


========================================================================
Pliskova makes it to Australian Open juniors final
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova has made it to the final of the
Australian Open Junior's Championship in Melbourne. The 17-year-old
Pliskova could have faced her twin sister, Krystina, who was ousted in
the other semi by the UK's Laura Robson. In other tennis action, Czech
player Jaroslav Levinsky and his playing partner, Russian Jekaterina
Makarova, have made it to the final in the mixed-doubles.


========================================================================
Avalanche alert
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Krkonose or Giant Mountains rescue service has called a
third-degree avalanche alert on a five point scale, warning skiers not
to stray from marked ski-trails. The service said a combination of
strong wind, eighty centimeters of fresh snow on the ground and
relatively high daytime temperatures increased the risk of an avalanche
several-fold. The Jeseniky Mountain rescue service has issued a similar
warning. Hikers leaving on a day's outing have been cautioned to follow
weather reports and inform their friends or hotel management of their
plans.


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

Fresh snow is expected over the weekend, with a strong wind which has
led meteorologists to issue a warning about snowdrifts on the road. Day
temperatures between 0 and minus 7 degrees, night time lows at around
minus 14 to minus 18 degrees Celsius.

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


Current Affairs
All kinds of historical monuments under threat in Czech Republic, says
conservationist
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Many historical monuments in the Czech are under threat and action
needs to be taken to save them. So says the state-funded National
Monuments Institute, which has just launched a campaign to draw
attention to the subject. But what kind of sites are actually in
danger? That's a question I put to the Institute's Vera Kucova.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124545

Current Affairs
First-ever smog alert called by Czech Hydrometeorological Institute
------------------------------------------------------------------------

This week saw the country's first-ever smog alert issued by the Czech
Hydrometeorological Institute, calling on plants in northern Moravia to
cut production volume until atmospheric conditions improve. The
institute has had the competency since last November under the Air
Protection act and did not hesitate to act as the situation in Moravia
worsened.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124544

Current Affairs
EU President Van Rompuy discusses economy and more with Czech PM in
Prague
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The recently appointed first president of the European Union, Herman
Van Rompuy, visited Prague on Friday. His first stop was the Office of
the Government, where he held talks with the Czech prime minister, Jan
Fischer. The meeting was dominated by economic issues, though the two
men also discussed climate change and the situation in Haiti.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124537

Arts
New electronic music/dance album by Jitka Charvatova (aka. Ji) earns
rave reviews
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyone familiar with the Czech electronic and dance music scene will
have come across the work of Jitka Charvatova, also known as Ji, the
charismatic and talented former singer for cutting edge groups like
Skyline and the late Milan Hlavsa's 1990s band Fiction. Now Jitka has
reset her career with a recently released but already highly-lauded new
solo album called Feed My Lion, featuring 8-bit, electro pop and
elements of hip hop.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124532

Business News
Business News 1.29.2010
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In this week's Business News: steady recovery predicted for the
economy; citizen's bond issue looks unlikely; cinemas boost income in
spite of audience fall; small shareholders taste victory at steelworks;
and Skoda Auto targets dozy drivers.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124530


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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all rights reserved. http://www.radio.cz, E-mail: cr@radio.cz

Radio Prague Today 1.29.2010

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Current Affairs: All kinds of historical monuments under threat in Czech Republic, says conservationist

Many historical monuments in the Czech are under threat and action needs to be taken to save them. So says the state-funded National Monuments Institute, which has just launched a campaign to draw attention to the subject. But what kind of sites are actually in danger? That's a question I put to the Institute's Věra Kučová.

Current Affairs: First-ever smog alert called by Czech Hydrometeorological Institute

This week saw the country's first-ever smog alert issued by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, calling on plants in northern Moravia to cut production volume until atmospheric conditions improve. The institute has had the competency since last November under the Air Protection act and did not hesitate to act as the situation in Moravia worsened.

Current Affairs: EU President Van Rompuy discusses economy and more with Czech PM in Prague

The recently appointed first president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, visited Prague on Friday. His first stop was the Office of the Government, where he held talks with the Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer. The meeting was dominated by economic issues, though the two men also discussed climate change and the situation in Haiti.

Arts: New electronic music/dance album by Jitka Charvátová (aka. Ji) earns rave reviews

Anyone familiar with the Czech electronic and dance music scene will have come across the work of Jitka Charvátová, also known as Ji, the charismatic and talented former singer for cutting edge groups like Skyline and the late Milan Hlavsa's 1990s band Fiction. Now Jitka has reset her career with a recently released but already highly-lauded new solo album called Feed My Lion, featuring 8-bit, electro pop and elements of hip hop.

Business News: Business News 1.29.2010

In this week's Business News: steady recovery predicted for the economy; citizen's bond issue looks unlikely; cinemas boost income in spite of audience fall; small shareholders taste victory at steelworks; and Škoda Auto targets dozy drivers.

NEWS /www.nrcu.gov.ua/

Dear subscriber!

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

Sincerely yours, administrator.
webadm@nrcu.gov.ua
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
2010-01-29 15:59:00
Inkerman winery increased output by 66% in 2009.
Inkerman Fine Vintage Wine, part of the First National Winemaking Holding,
increased wine production by 66.3% in 2009 year-over-year, to 1.003 million
decaliters.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110210

2010-01-29 15:29:00
Naftogaz cuts gas sales.
National joint stock company Naftogaz of Ukraine reduced the volumes of natural
gas sale in 2009 by 9.5% compared to 2008, down to 38.249 billion cubic meters,
the press service of the Fuel and Energy Ministry of Ukrainereported.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110206

2010-01-29 15:09:00
McDonald's Ukraine expanding slower.
In 2010, the McDonald`s biggest global network of fast-food catering will open
in Ukraine only 2 new restaurants, when 3 were opened in 2009 and 5 - in 2008,
the company reported.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110201

2010-01-29 14:42:00
Ukrainian enterprises exported agricultural equipment in 2009.
Despite customs restrictions applied in a majority of countries [the traditional
importers of Ukraine's equipment] for the protection of domestic goods,
Ukrainian enterprises have managed to export the machinery at UAH 1, 056.7
billion in 2009 (USD 1 - UAH 8.0), 41.5% of sales that indicates high
competitiveness level of Ukraine's agricultural equipment, according to Mykhaylo
Pavlovsky, an official from the Agrarian PolicyMinistry.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110209

2010-01-29 14:23:00
British JKX Oil&Gas to invest in Ukraine.
Great Britain's company JKX Oil&Gas plc, mining oil and gas in Ukraine, is
planning to invest $230 million in the development of its Ukrainian and Russian
assets in 2010, the company reported.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110204

2010-01-29 13:56:00
President Yushchenko declares OUN-UPA soldiers as fighters for Ukraine's
independence.
President Viktor Yushchenko has participated in the solemnities to commemorate
the heroes of the Battle of Kruty in Chernihiv region.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110182

2010-01-29 13:44:00
Ukrainian Natalia Zhukova enjoys second win at 8th Gibtelecom Chess Festival.
Ukraine's Natalia Zhukova has won the third victory in round 3 at the 8th
Gibtelecom Chess Festival 2010 (Gibraltar).
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110192

2010-01-29 13:37:00
EBRD's assistance favoring modernization of Ukrainian economy.
The assistance being provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) to Ukraine bolsters the economic growth, reform and
modernization of the country's most important economic branches - energy and
energy saving, transport and communications, and municipalinfrastructure.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110207

2010-01-29 12:52:00
Average currency rates.
The average purchase rate of the cash dollar in Ukrainian banks fell by 4.08
kopecks on Friday, to UAH 8.0331 /USD 1, while the sale rate dropped by 2.41
kopecks to UAH 8.1129 /USD 1, according to LigaBusinessInform.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110194

2010-01-29 12:37:00
Ukraine paying tribute to Battle of Kruty heroes.
President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have laid
flowers to the Kruty Heroes Memorial in Kyiv. The event participants held a
moment of silence for the victims of the battle.
http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=110188


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

RCI Cyberjournal

Prime Minister promotes Canadian model at Davos Forum.


Canada increases fight against Afghan drug trade.


Opposition party leads in poll.

DAVOS: PRIME MINISTER PROMOTES CANADIAN MODEL AT DAVOS FORUM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper invoked Canada as an example of good financial governance on Thursday in a speech to delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said that higher regulatory standards among Canadian banks largely prevented the need for the kind of government bailout that occurred last year in other countries, notably the United States. But he warned against excessive regulation, saying that his government will not permit what he called excessive, arbitrary or punitive
regulation of its financial sector. He urged other countries to fix their own banking systems and then submit to international scrutiny. Mr. Harper also for the first time outlined an agenda for the G20 and G8 summits that will be held in Canada in June. The top priorities at the G20 summit of developed and emerging countries will be financial sector reform, government stimulus programs and global trade and growth strategies. On the question of global trade at a time of economic difficult, Mr. Harper urged countries to avoid protectionist measures, again invoking Canada as an example. He noted that Canada had signed free-trade agreements with eight countries in the past three years, and is negotiating six more, including one with the European Union. In an indirect criticism of China's reluctance to raise the value of its currency, Mr. Harper said that countries should allow currencies to trade at market rates rather than keep them artificially undervalued.

OTTAWA: CANADA INCREASES FIGHT AGAINST AFGHAN DRUG TRADE

Canada is increasing its aid in the fight against Afghanistan's illegal drug trade. At an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said that Canada will add CDN$25 million to its initial contribution of CDN$30 million. Afghanistan's poppy crop is the world's major source of heroin. At the same conference, delegates discussed ways to end the Afghan government's conflict with Taliban militants. International allies are considering whether to pledge at least US$500 million for a fund that would pay militants to lay down their arms and reintegrate in society. Mr. Cannon said that Canada will wait and see before it considers contributing funds. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that society must reach out to its countrymen.

OTTAWA: OPPOSITION PARTY LEADS IN POLL

A new opinion poll shows that for the first time in seven months, Canada's opposition Liberal Party is slightly ahead of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party. The Ekos poll puts the Liberal Party's support at 31.6 per cent and the Conservative Party's at 31.1 per cent. The poll's margin of error means that the two political parties are in a virtual tie. Many Canadians were dismayed a few weeks ago when Mr. Harper's unilaterally decided to suspend Parliament's opening from January until March.

OTTAWA: MORE HAITIAN CHILDREN ARRIVE IN CANADA

More Haitian children have arrived in Canada to their adoptive parents. Fifty-two children were flown to the capital, Ottawa, on Wednesday. The first group of 24 children arrived on Sunday. More than 200 Haitian children will be brought to Canada over the next two weeks. Their adoption applications were processed more quickly after Haiti suffered a huge earthquake earlier this month.

MONTREAL: APPEAL MADE TO STOP CANADIAN ASBESTOS EXPORTS

An international appeal is asking the province of Quebec to stop exporting asbestos. About 100 scientists from 28 countries have signed a letter reminding Premier Jean Charest asbestos is a health hazard. The province's powerful asbestos industry insists that the substance is safe if proper precautions are taken. Canada's asbestos comes from a single mine in Thetford Mines, Quebec, which produces annual exports of CDN$100 million.

REGINA: NATIVE UNIVERSITY RISKS FUNDING CUT

The First Nations University of Canada in Regina is at risk of having its government funding cut. The province of Saskatchewan says the school is late with a report on how to correct problems with its management. There have been concerns about financial irregularities. The Saskatchewan government might withhold CDN$675 thousand until the university resolves the problems.

ZAGREB: CANADIANS JAILED FOR DRUG SMUGGLING

Two Canadians have been jailed in Croatia for planning to smuggle nearly 400 kilograms of cocaine to Canada. Ivan Rukavina, who holds dual Croatian/Canadian citizenship, was sentenced on Thursday to 11 years in prison. The other Canadian, Ivan Knezovic, was tried in absentia and sentenced to nine years.


BRITAIN

High-ranking Chinese and American delegates held a private meeting at an international conference in London on Thursday to discuss China's dispute with the American Internet search engine, Google. Google has threatened to withdraw from China if Chinese authorities continue to interfere in its operations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described her talk with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi as very open and candid. Mrs. Clinton stressed that the United States strives to ensure that the Internet operates without censorship or fear of repression. Mr. Yang's reaction was not reported, but a foreign ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said that China is willing to cooperate with the United States in a wide range of bilateral areas. Mr. Ma's tone was more encouraging than last week, when he said that Mrs. Clinton's comments on Internet freedom could harm China-U.S. relations. Today in Washginton, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said that Google's problems could deter other American companies from investing in China.

UNITED STATES

The American automaker Ford is suspending production of a commercial vehicle sold in China as a precaution. Ford says that the Transit Classic might have the same problem as some models that the Japanese automaker, Toyota, recently recalled. Toyota recalled more than two million vehicles in Canada and the United States because of a mysterious problem with the accelerator pedal. Today, Toyota expanded its recall to Europe and China. The accelerator for the Ford model is built by the same American company that makes Toyota's accelerator. Toyota will recall 75,500 RAV4 sport utility vehicles that were manufactured in China in the last ten months. Ford's Chinese partner, Jiangling Motors Company, says that Ford's decision affects light busses built in Nanchang. Only about 1,600 vehicles have been made since production began last month. The busses are sold only in China.

UNITED STATES

The American writer, J. D. Salinger, died at his home in New Hampshire on Wednesday at the age of 91. His most famous novel, The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, introduced the anti-hero, Holden Caulfield, who became a cult figure for adolescents of succeeding generations. Other collections of short stories or novellas followed such as Franny and Zooey. But he published nothing after 1965, becoming a recluse who shunned the public and rarely gave interviews.

ETHIOPIA

The United Nations is forecasting an economic upturn for Africa this year. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa says the continent's economic growth rate will surge back to 4.3 percent in 2010, after the global economic slowdown caused a severe slump last year. The Commission releases its forecast at a summit of foreign ministers from the African Union in Addis Ababa.

PERU

Heavy rains continued on Thursday to slow helicopters trying to rescue more than 1,500 tourists left stranded by mudslides at Macchu Picchu, Peru's most popular tourist site. The site's only railway line will remain inaccessible for three more days. The railway was damaged in mudslides and needs major repairs.

SRI LANKA

An unsuccessful candidate in Sri Lanka's presidential election wants to have the election results annulled. Sarath Fonseka says the election was marred by widespread fraud. He plans to lodge a formal complaint with the Supreme Court. Mr. Fonseka also fears for his safety, saying that the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse is trying to intimidate him into silence. Mr. Fonseka is a retired four-star general. President Rajapakse was re-elected this week with just over six million votes against just over four million for General Fonseka.

KENYA

An eight-year-old boy who came to symbolize innocent victims of brutal conflict in his homeland of Somalia has died. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud had much of his face shattered by bullets five months ago in Mogadishu. An American aid group brought him to Kenya, where he underwent surgery a few days ago. But today he died of intestinal bleeding. The boy came to symbolize thousands of Somali civilians caught in fighting between Islamic extremist militants and government forces.


FINANCIAL MARKETS

On the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, the composite index composite index fell 69.91 points to 11,274. The Canadian dollar closed down 0.13 of a U.S. cent to 93.79 U.S. cents. The euro was worth CDN$1.4896, down 0.33 of a cent. Oil fell three cents to US$73.60 a barrel.

TORONTO: CAR-PART MAKER EXPECTS TO BENEFIT FROM TOYOTA RECALL

The American car-part maker, CTS Corporation, expects to benefit from Toyota's recall of millions of vehicles. The vehicles might have a faulty accelerator pedal made by CTS according to Toyota's design. CTS chairman and CEO Vinod Khilnani says more workers will be hired to man additional production lines that will replace the faulty pedals as quickly as possible. CTS supplies Toyota from three plants, including one in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. It's not clear whether more workers will be hired in Mississauga.


HOCKEY

In the National Hockey League on Wednesday, Vancouver defeated Saint Louis, 3-2, Montreal lost to Tampa Ba, 3-0, and Calgary lost to Dallas, 4-3.

BASKETBALL

In the National Basketball Association, the Toronto Raptors defeated Miami, 111-103.

TENNIS

At the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday, Canada's Daniel Nestor and his partner advanced to the men's doubles final.


Weather

Here is Canada's weather on Friday. British Columbia will have light rain. The high temperature in Vancouver will be eight degrees Celsius. The Yukon: variable cloudiness. Whitehorse, minus ten. Northwest Territories: variable cloudiness. Yellowknife, minus 24. Nunavut: cloudy periods. Iqaluit, minus 25. Alberta: overcast. Edmonton, minus ten. Saskatchewan: sunny. Regina, minus 18. Manitoba: sunny. Winnipeg, minus 16. Ontario: variable cloudiness. Toronto, minus eight. Ottawa, minus 17. Quebec: mainly cloudy. Montreal, minus 15. New Brunswick: snow flurries. Fredericton, minus five. Nova Scotia: snow flurries. Halifax, minus two. Prince Edward Island: heavy snow. Charlottetown, minus two. Newfoundland: cloudy. St. John's, one.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

News 1.28.2010

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2010 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Thursday, January 28th, 2010

By: Jan Velinger

* Prime Minister Jan Fischer has met with the head of the Civic
Democratic Party to discuss the government's plan on cutting the public
finance deficit.

* The city of Prague will donate 32 million crowns to help victims of
the Haiti earthquake.

* An expatriate organisation in Canada has sent an open letter to the
Czech government, protesting the planned shutdown of the Czech
consulate in Montreal.

========================================================================
PM meets with Civic Democrat leader to discuss lowering public finance
deficit
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The government will aim to cut the public finance deficit below three
percent of GDP by 2014 at the latest, interim Prime Minister Jan
Fischer told journalists on Thursday, after meeting with the head of
the Civic Democratic Party Mirek Topolanek. The plan received full
backing from the head of the former centre-right government that was
ousted in a no-confidence vote last year. The three percent margin is
required for euro adoption, which the finance minister has said could
be possible in seven year's time. Earlier this week, the government
interrupted discussion on an updated version of the convergence
programme; the cabinet is expected to return to the issue on February 8.


========================================================================
City of Prague donates 32 million crowns to Haiti
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The city of Prague will send 32 million crowns (the equivalent of
around 1.7 million US dollars) to help victims of the Haiti earthquake,
12 million more than the amount already donated by the Czech
government. City representatives reached the decision on Thursday,
after rejecting an earlier proposal offering a lower sum. City
representatives also allocated funds for three charities that have
raised more than 50 million crowns in aid. Haiti was hit by a
devastating quake on January 12 that claimed the lives of more than
150,000. The charities to receive funding are People in Need, ADRA, and
Charita Czech Republic.


========================================================================
Czech-Slovak organisation protests planned shut-down of Montreal-based
consulate
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A branch of the Czech and Slovak Association of Canada, together with
other expatriate organisations, has sent an open letter and petition to
the Czech government, protesting the planned shutdown of the Czech
consulate in Montreal. The long-serving consulate is due to be closed
on March 31 as a result of budget cuts. The Canadian organisation
argued that the move will hurt the Czech Republic's reputation, dampen
tourism and hurt future business ties. Other Czech diplomatic missions
are set to close in Angola and Brazil but similar moves in Zimbabwe,
Columbia, and Australia, are currently under review.


========================================================================
President calls on chief hygiene officer to clarify situation over
swine flu
------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Vaclav Klaus, in his post as the commander in chief, has
called on the country's Chief Hygiene Officer, Michael Vit, to clarify
whether the country is currently suffering a swine flu pandemic. The
move, which the president outlined on his personal website, is in
response to a mandatory vaccination against the new flu strain for
members of the country's defence ministry. The Czech president on
Wednesday made clear that he considered the requirement regarding Czech
soldiers highly questionable, saying they ought to be able to decide
for themselves whether they wanted the shot. The defence minister has
since reversed a blanket decision that all military personal be
required to get the shot.


========================================================================
Bill raising maternity benefits passes through to second reading
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Members of the lower house have sent two draft amendments by the Social
Democrats through to a second reading, raising maternity benefits to
earlier levels and reintroducing payments for individuals caring for
family members on the first three days of sick leave. The
right-of-centre Civic Democrats attempted to reject both proposals but
were short of votes, backed only by a number of unaffiliated deputies
and several Christian Democrats. The approval of the amendments was
preceded by almost four hours of heated debate. Prior to the vote Prime
Minister Jan Fischer and Finance Minister Eduard Janota warned deputies
not to pass the amendments. Mr Janota said that raising maternity
benefits had been problematic even back in 2006, when the economy was
robust, while the prime minister warned against a further deepening of
the country's debt.


========================================================================
Czechs evacuated at Machu Picchu
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two Czechs who had been stranded at Machu Picchu in Peru along with
around two thousand other tourists due to mudslides since Sunday, have
been evacuated. Sources reported that there were three Czechs in the
area - the two men and one woman - who were among those cut off. All
three are now safe; the two men were evacuated on Wednesday by
helicopter. Around 1,000 people remain at the site, with the Peruvian
authorities saying that the rest of those stranded should be evacuated
soon, although rain has complicated conditions. According to reports,
helicopters have been able to transfer around 120 people per hour.


========================================================================
Prague councillors announce recipients of cultural grants
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prague city councillors made public on Thursday cultural grants
approved by the city for 2010. Among the highest recipients this year
are Prague's Divadlo bez zabradli, the DOX centre for contemporary art
in Prague's Holesovice district, and Strasnicke divadlo, all receiving
between 1.5 and 6.4 million crowns. The One World documentary film
festival will also receive funding worth 1.2 million crowns.

Some at city hall have criticised the grant of 6.4 million awarded to
Divadlo bez zabradli, having earlier recommended roughly half of the
final amount.


========================================================================
Police round up spray painters
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police in Tisnov near Brno, in Moravia, have caught a group of six boys
responsible for an estimated 50,000 crowns worth of damages caused by
spray painting over the last three months. The group painted graffiti
at more than 50 sites. Police spokesman Bohumil Malasek told the CTK
news agency that rounding up the six was a success on the part of
police, who are only ever rarely able to apprehend vandals. The Brno
area has seen a noted rise in vandalism - a development noted by local
town halls. Sites hit by the group included garages, elementary
schools, bus stops and even a local observatory.


========================================================================
Lesy CR to announce forestry tenders worth roughly 15 billion crowns
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The state-owned Lesy CR, overseeing half of the country's forestland,
is to announce tenders in forestry as well as the sale of wood worth
around 15 billion crowns. The tenders will cover work on some 108 areas
of land, to be undertaken between 2011 and 2020, in total 12 million
hectares, or roughly 90 percent of forest belonging to the firm.
Contracts won will be signed for periods from one to up to ten years.


========================================================================
Fresh snowfalls cause complications on Czech roads
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Several centimetres of snow fell in most parts of the Czech Republic on
Wednesday night as well as part of Thursday, causing complications on
the country's roads. Due to strong winds snowdrifts formed at several
places. However, temperatures rose considerably, after record lows of
around -25 degrees Celsius. Much of the Czech Republic has been under a
blanket of snow for almost two weeks now, with the capital Prague
seeing its highest snowfalls in three decades.


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Additional five people nominated to Olympic team
------------------------------------------------------------------------

An additional five skiers have been nominated to the Czech Olympic team
ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, the head of
the Czech Olympic Committee Milan Jirasek revealed on Thursday. The
number of Czech sportsmen and women taking part will be 93 in total.
The support team will count an additional 95 persons. Among the
additional skiers nominated is 23-year-old freestyle specialist Martina
Konopova, who placed 10th at the World Cup event at Mont Gabriel,
Quebec, in January 2009. She has not competed on snow since last
February, after falling out with her former trainer and temporarily
being taken off the national team. She trained jumps on water until
last November.


========================================================================
16-year-old Czech baseball prodigy signs with Rays
------------------------------------------------------------------------

A 16-year-old pitching prodigy from the Czech Republic, Stepan
Havlicek, has signed a minor-league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays,
the US Major League Baseball club announced on Wednesday. Havlicek
pitched for the Czech junior national team and struck out 13 batters in
11 1/3 scoreless innings during the European Junior Championships last
August in Germany. According to sources, the Rays said Havlicek will
likely attend some portion of spring training, which begins in late
February, and play in Major League Baseball's Australia Academy later
this year. The training will help determine at what level of the
minor-league developmental system Havlicek might start in his pursuit
of one day reach the roster of the Rays, who lost to Philadelphia in
the 2008 World Series.


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

Mostly cloudy conditions with snowfall are expected in parts of the
Czech Republic on Friday. Daytime temperatures should remain just a few
degrees below zero, around -2 degrees Celsius.

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


Panorama
Celebrity chef laments current Czech food culture
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In his weekly TV show "Ano, sefe!" or "Yes, Boss!," Zdenek Pohlreich
sets restaurant owners straight. Some might say he is the closest
equivalent that the Czech Republic has to Gordon Ramsay. And the Czech
celebrity chef has some authority on the topic: he started cooking in
1975, then left the country shortly after the Velvet Revolution and
spent some time working abroad. Since returning home, he has applied
what he calls "the Western standard of cooking and service" to a number
of restaurants around Prague. Zdenek Pohlreich's current operation is
the restaurant in the city's famous Hotel Imperial, where he talked
about why so many restaurants fail at producing decent food.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124498

Current Affairs
Haiti relief effort needs more co-ordination, says Czech Radio man
after stint in Port-au-Prince
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over two weeks after Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, the
situation in the country remains one of the world's biggest news
stories, with aid organisations and soldiers struggling to distribute
food, water and medical care to many hundreds of thousands of people
who have been left homeless. Czech Radio journalist Pavel Polak arrived
in Haiti four days after the earthquake and reported on the situation
there for over a week. After his return to Prague, I spoke to Polak
about his experiences.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124516

Current Affairs
Czech Air Navigation Services purchases new 3D tower simulator
------------------------------------------------------------------------

As of Tuesday, the Czech Republic boasts new air navigation technology
that will give the country's aviation an edge over neighboring Germany
and Poland. The newly acquired 3D tower simulator is capable of
creating various weather conditions, day or night time work situations
as well as simulating the towers of all international airports. This
state-of-the-art technology will now be used to train future
navigators. Miroslav Ehl of the Czech Air Navigation Services explains
what makes this device so unique.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124512

Current Affairs
Court cancels ministry's ban of communist youth union
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Communist Youth Union got a new lease on life this week after a
court cancelled a ban on the organization issued by the Czech Interior
Ministry. Falling in line with a previous ruling of the country's
Supreme Administrative Court on the issue, the judges sent the case
back to the ministry which should again deliberate whether the far-left
group represents a real threat to democracy.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124497

Current Affairs
Klaus steps in to stop mandatory swine flu vaccinations for soldiers
------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Vaclav Klaus has stepped in to stop mandatory vaccination of
Czech soldiers against swine flu, telling Army staff the order to
vaccinate all 16,000 soldiers was "highly controversial, if not
unacceptable." Mr Klaus - formally commander-in-chief of the Czech
Armed Forces - announced in a statement on Wednesday that he'd asked
the Defence Ministry to make vaccination voluntary. The ministry, it
seems, has jumped to attention.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/124494


------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Radio Prague Today 1.28.2010

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Panorama: Celebrity chef laments current Czech food culture

In his weekly TV show "Ano, šéfe!" or "Yes, Boss!," Zdeněk Pohlreich sets restaurant owners straight. Some might say he is the closest equivalent that the Czech Republic has to Gordon Ramsay. And the Czech celebrity chef has some authority on the topic: he started cooking in 1975, then left the country shortly after the Velvet Revolution and spent some time working abroad. Since returning home, he has applied what he calls "the Western standard of cooking and service" to a number of restaurants around Prague. Zdeněk Pohlreich's current operation is the restaurant in the city's famous Hotel Imperial, where he talked about why so many restaurants fail at producing decent food.

Current Affairs: Haiti relief effort needs more co-ordination, says Czech Radio man after stint in Port-au-Prince

Over two weeks after Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, the situation in the country remains one of the world's biggest news stories, with aid organisations and soldiers struggling to distribute food, water and medical care to many hundreds of thousands of people who have been left homeless. Czech Radio journalist Pavel Polák arrived in Haiti four days after the earthquake and reported on the situation there for over a week. After his return to Prague, I spoke to Polák about his experiences.

Current Affairs: Czech Air Navigation Services purchases new 3D tower simulator

As of Tuesday, the Czech Republic boasts new air navigation technology that will give the country's aviation an edge over neighboring Germany and Poland. The newly acquired 3D tower simulator is capable of creating various weather conditions, day or night time work situations as well as simulating the towers of all international airports. This state-of-the-art technology will now be used to train future navigators. Miroslav Ehl of the Czech Air Navigation Services explains what makes this device so unique.

Current Affairs: Court cancels ministry's ban of communist youth union

The Communist Youth Union got a new lease on life this week after a court cancelled a ban on the organization issued by the Czech Interior Ministry. Falling in line with a previous ruling of the country's Supreme Administrative Court on the issue, the judges sent the case back to the ministry which should again deliberate whether the far-left group represents a real threat to democracy.

Current Affairs: Klaus steps in to stop mandatory swine flu vaccinations for soldiers

President Vaclav Klaus has stepped in to stop mandatory vaccination of Czech soldiers against swine flu, telling Army staff the order to vaccinate all 16,000 soldiers was "highly controversial, if not unacceptable." Mr Klaus – formally commander-in-chief of the Czech Armed Forces – announced in a statement on Wednesday that he'd asked the Defence Ministry to make vaccination voluntary. The ministry, it seems, has jumped to attention.