Saturday, March 19, 2011

News 3.19.2011

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Copyright (c) 2011 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, March 19th, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* The new Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka has said he wants
his party to form a consistent opposition to the current government
while offering its own brand of "socially just reforms".

* Former interior minister Martin Pecina, unsatisfied with the results
of the Social Democrat congress, has told a news site he will give up
his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

* Ex-president Vaclav Havel, suffering from a case of acute bronchitis,
remains in hospital.

* Ski cross competitor Tomas Kraus has won bronze in the season's final
World Cup freestyle event.

* Washington Capitals' goalie Michal Neuvirth blanked the New Jersey
Devils on Friday to earn his 4th shutout of the regular season.

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Newly-minted Social Democrat leader promises 'consistent' opposition
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New Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka, elected by delegates at
the party's congress in Brno on Friday, said he wants his party to form
a consistent opposition to the current government while offering its
own brand of "socially just reforms". On Friday the 39-year-old former
finance minister faced a close contest against rival Michal Hasek, the
governor of South Moravia, who had been seen by some delegates as the
more moderate of the two. Despite his defeat, Mr Hasek was elected the
party's principal deputy leader later in the evening. Delegates have
since voted on the final five members of the top party leadership: they
are seasoned Social Democrats Lubomir Zaoralek and Zdenek Skromach,
former supreme state attorney Marie Benesova, Martin Starec, and Jiri
Dienstbier, jr.


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Pecina to give up seat in Chamber of Deputies
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In related news, the former interior minister Martin Pecina,
unsatisfied with the results of the Social Democrat congress, has said
he will give up his seat in the Chamber of Deputies. The MP told
internet news website iDnes that he respected the result but would not
keep his seat as he disagrees with the party's policy towards the
coalition cabinet. He also made clear he had been given little room to
operate within the top party leadership, either as a shadow cabinet
minister or deputy leader. Mr Pecina had supported Michal Hasek for
party chairman. The politician - who rose to prominence as the former
head of the Czech National Library - said that while he would give up
his post, he would not give up his membership in the Social Democratic
Party.


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Social Democrats elect Valtr Komarek honorary chairman
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At the party congress, Social Democrat delegates elected former
post-1989 Czechoslovak deputy prime minister Valtr Komarek as their
honorary chairman, succeeding the late Slavomir Klaban in the post. In
his speech ahead of the vote Mr Komarek, an economist and the sole
candidate for the honorary position, said that the Social Democrats
needed to try and change the political direction of the country,
focussing on the development of the nation, increasing levels of
education and improving the economy. Mr Komarek was an advisor to the
revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara in the 1960s and is the former head
of the prognostics institute where, under communism, he worked with
other notable figures such as Milos Zeman (later prime minister) and
economist Vaclav Klaus, who is the Czech head-of-state.


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Dienstbier, jr to face Kladno mayor in second round of senate race
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Social Democrat Jiri Dienstbier, jr, will face the mayor of Kladno, Dan
Jiranek of the right-wing Civic Democrats, in the second round of the
contest for Kladno's senatorial post. The post was left open following
the death of notable post-1989 politician Jiri Dienstbier, sr, earlier
this year. His son picked up 44 percent of the votes in the first
round, compared to Mr Jiranek's 27 percent - a difference of around
5,000 votes. The race is an important one for the Social Democrats, as
a Dienstbier victory will allow them to retain their majority in
Parliament's upper house.


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Ex-president Havel remains in hospital despite improvement
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Ex-president Vaclav Havel, suffering from a case of acute bronchitis,
remains in hospital although his condition is said to be improving. The
74-year-old former dissident was admitted to hospital on March 8 and
has been receiving antibiotics; he has been prone to this type of
ailment in the past, having had half of a lung together with a
malignant tumour removed in 1996. His health also suffered through his
imprisonment under the Communist regime. Additional details in his
current treatment have not been released. Originally Mr Havel's office
expressed the hope the former head-of-state would be able to attend the
premiere of his first film, Leaving, on March 22.


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Suspect in child murder case to remain in custody
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A 41-year-old suspect charged with the rape and murder of a
nine-year-old girl in Prague's Troja district in October, will remain
in custody as police continue their investigation, a Prague judge ruled
on Friday. The little girl's body was discovered earlier this week, and
the judge issued the ruling as police await the results of tests which
could provide direct evidence against the suspect including
fingerprints or DNA samples, the court's spokesman said. Police have
already established that the suspect was in the area at the time of the
murder and his DNA was found on the girl's schoolbag. The suspect has
until now denied any involvement in the child's killing and has
reportedly refused to cooperate with investigators.


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Filmmaker Chytilova hospitalised
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The Czech film director Vera Chytilova, known worldwide for her work
during the 1960s Czech New Wave, was hospitalised after falling ill on
Saturday morning. The 82-year-old filmmaker reportedly had a private
meeting at the headquarters of public broadcaster Czech TV, when she
fell ill. The spokeswoman for Prague's emergency services said an
ambulance was called to take Mrs Chytilova to hospital. No further
details have been released at the patient's request. Some of Vera
Chytilova's most famous films include Daisies and The Inheritance.


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Ski cross competitor Kraus won bronze in final season event
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Czech ski cross competitor Tomas Kraus won bronze in the season's final
World Cup freestyle event on Saturday in Norway. Canadian competitor
Christopher Delbosco came first, and Switzerland's Netzer second. It is
the second time this season that Kraus - a two-time former world
champion - finished on the podium. Overall on the World Cup circuit he
finished 7th. After the result the Czech said he was happy with his
season, especially over improvements in the second half. During the
season he finished fourth in three races, including the World
Championships.


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NHL action: Caps' Neuwirth earns fourth shutout of season
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In the National Hockey League, Washington Capitals' goalie Michal
Neuvirth blanked the New Jersey Devils on Friday to earn his 4th
shutout of the season. The goaltender stopped 33 shots to backstop the
Capitals to a 3:0 win. The Capitals are in a comfortable second-place
in the Eastern Conference. In other action, Czech forward Radim Vrbata
racked up one goal and one assist for Phoenix in the team's 3:1 win
over Vancouver.


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Weather
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Partly cloudy skies with sunny periods are expected further into the
weekend. Daytime temperatures should reach highs between -2 and 6
degrees Celsius on Sunday.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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The occupation of 1939: could it have been avoided?
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Earlier this week we remembered the 72nd anniversary of the German
occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15 1939. Much has been
written about the years that led up to the occupation: the growing
tensions with Czechoslovakia's German speaking minority, Hitler's rise
to power in Germany and then the Munich Agreement of September 1938
that ceded a quarter of Czechoslovakia's territory to the German Reich.
There is a sense of inevitability about the events, but could things
have been different and could Czechoslovakia's President Edvard Benes
have played his cards differently?

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/136960


The women who stepped out of the shadow of Czechoslovakia's first
president
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At the beginning of this series we heard the voice of the first
Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. The Masaryk family
included several remarkable women, who were also to play their part in
20th century Czech history. Tomas's wife Charlotte was American, born
in New York in 1850. When the couple married in Brooklyn in 1878, he
took on her surname Garrigue as part of his own name, as a gesture of
respect. Charlotte went on to devote her life to all things Czech, and
she was every bit as energetic in her defence of women's rights,
winning her husband over to the cause. She died in 1923 just five years
after the republic was founded. In this archive recording from November
1932 she is remembered by an American friend, the feminist and peace
advocate, Martha Root.

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/136981


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