Tuesday, March 22, 2011

News 3.22.2011

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

News Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Czech Republic will not for the present time take an active part
in a NATO military operation to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya.

* Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has told Austrian officials the
neighbour states should respect each other's decisions on nuclear power.

* Over three thousand senior citizens and people with disabilities
gathered in Prague and Brno on Tuesday to protest against the
government's social welfare reform plans.

* Former Czech president Vaclav Havel's film debut "Leaving" premiered
in Prague on Tuesday.

* Boxing legend Mike Tyson is expected to arrive in Prague on Wednesday
for a three day charity event.

Czechs not to take part in NATO naval operation

The Czech Republic will not for the present time take an active part in
a NATO military operation to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya,
although it welcomes NATO involvement, Czech Defence Minister Alexander
Vondra said following a NATO ambassadors meeting in Brussels on
Tuesday. The North Atlantic Council, NATO's decision-making body,
agreed on implementing the arms embargo from the sea but stopped short
of a bigger commitment. Ambassadors of the 28-nation military
organisation met in Brussels to seek a compromise over a role for NATO
in the international campaign amid divisions between member states.

Opposition initiates Parliament debate on Czech participation in NATO

The opposition Social Democrats have initiated a debate in the lower
house of Parliament on possible Czech participation in a military
operation against the Gaddafi regime, should NATO decide to take a more
active role in the coming days. Social Democrat MP and lower house
deputy chair Lubomir Zaoralek said the Czech Republic could offer its
anti-chemical warfare specialists.

PM tells Austria the two neighbours should respect their decisions on
nuclear power

On a working visit to neighbouring Austria, Czech Prime Minister Petr
Necas has told officials the two countries should respect each other's
decisions on nuclear power. The Austrian visit was overshadowed by
heightened concerns over nuclear safety in the wake of radiation leaks
in Japan following a massive earthquake and tsunami. Responding to
calls for the closure of Europe's oldest plants, Mr. Necas called for a
rational debate saying the Czech Republic was ready to learn from the
Japanese disaster, but was against making hasty decisions. He stressed
that nuclear safety had always been and would remain a top priority and
pointed out that both Czech nuclear power plants fully adhered to
Europe's strict safety norms. Nuclear-free Austria has long pushed for
the closure of the Czech power plants, particularly Temelin located
close to its borders.

Disabled people protest social welfare reform plans

Over three thousand senior citizens and people with disabilities
gathered in Prague and Brno on Tuesday to protest against the
government's social welfare reform plans. The demonstration was called
by the National Council for People with Disabilities which claims that
the proposed measures will lower the living standard of those who most
need support and will reverse much of what has been done to help
disabled citizens lead an active and fulfilling life. One of the most
controversial measures is a new set of criteria according to which
benefits would be allotted. The government says it will make the system
simpler and more effective, those concerned say it will rob them of the
benefits they have, leaving them isolated and home-bound.

Defence minister grilled over raid at Czech Television

Defence Minister Alexander Vonda went before Parliament's defence and
security committee on Tuesday to explain the recent raid at Czech
television by a military police commando. The special unit had a court
order and was reportedly searching for a classified military
intelligence file that one of the editors had previously acquired. The
incident evoked widespread condemnation from politicians across the
political spectrum and resulted in the head of the military police and
two commanders being suspended from office. Although the defence
minister has criticized the demonstration of force as plain stupid he
maintains that the leak of classified information from the Czech
Defence Ministry must be investigated. Czech Television has filed
criminal charges against the military police over the incident.

Vaclav Havel's film debut

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel made his debut as a filmmaker as
his movie "Leaving", based on his own play, premiered in Prague on
Tuesday. The screening took place at the Lucerna cinema in Prague's
historic centre, built by Havel's grandfather, an architect and
entrepreneur. The film, due to hit cinemas across the Czech Republic on
Thursday, is based on a play written by Havel after he ended his career
as president. It tells the story of a leading politician who, as he
prepares to leave power, sees his world collapse amid treachery and a
merciless confrontation with an unscrupulous successor.

Murder suspect in serious condition after suicide attempt

The 41-year-old suspect in the rape and murder of nine-year-old Anicka
in Prague last October remains in serious condition after attempted to
hang himself in a Pankrac prison holding cell. He was transported to
Prague's Military Hospital where doctors are keeping him in an
artificial sleep. They say that he has a swelling of the brain which
could leave him permanently damaged and possibly bring on amnesia. The
man was last week charged with the murder and rape of the child after
police discovered her body buried in the district of Troja, near where
she was last seen alive. Her disappearance, which shocked the country
last autumn, led to extensive searches over the last five months by the

Tomas Martinec heads anti-corruption police

Tomas Martinec is the new head of the anti-corruption police, the CTK
news agency reported on Tuesday. He replaces Libor Vrba who stepped
down in February. No official selection process was held, on the
argument that Martinec had the same professional rank and has extensive
managerial experience.

Tyson expected in Prague on Wednesday

Boxing legend Mike Tyson is expected to arrive in Prague on Wednesday
for a three day visit that will include an appearance at the gala event
Heroes' Gate 3 and a visit to a Prague hospital to help raise money for
sick children. It will also be possible to pay to take part in two
one-and-a half hours of training with the former champ. Tyson's planned
visit to Prague last autumn failed to take place due to financial and
technical problems.

Elephant calf making fast recovery

An elephant calf born in Ostrava Zoo ten days ago is making a fast
recovery after the mother started nursing her young. Zoo keepers feared
for its life after the mother not only refused to nurse her firstborn
but was openly aggressive in its presence. It is the first elephant
calf born in captivity in the Czech Republic.


The coming days should be warm and sunny with day temperatures between
12 and 16 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Historian Katya Kocourek pens biography of general and writer Rudolf
Medek, hero of Czechoslovak independence

Many Czechs today consider the First Czechoslovak Republic a golden age
in the turbulent 20th century. The country, which existed between the
two world wars, is seen as the first free state of Czechs and Slovaks
after centuries of Austrian rule, and one of Europe's few democratic
states of the time. But its reality, its values and conflicts often
escape the popular understanding of the era. One of the First
Republic's outstanding personalities was the army general and writer
Rudolf Medek who embodied some of the values of the time. In this
edition of Czech History, we look at Rudolf Medek's new biography
penned by the British historian Katya Kocourek.


Havel's film debut premieres amid grudgingly negative reviews

The film version of Vaclav Havel's play Leaving hits the silver screen
tonight, with premieres at Lucerna Palace (which his grandfather
designed, incidentally) and Slovansky Dum. The former president and
playwright has said that directing a film was a dream of his and
'Leaving' is the first fruit of his cinematic labour. But pre-release
reviews have thrown cold water on the big expectations around the film.
Earlier today we spoke with Theo Schwinke, the Eastern European
correspondent for the multimedia magazine Screen International who was
among the first to see the film, and asked him to tell us more.


Giant leap for mole-kind as Czech cartoon character joins space shuttle

A legendary Czech is going into space on a forthcoming shuttle flight.
Although a veteran of such cosmic adventures, as well as many others,
this crew member might raise some eyebrows ��� he's the world recognised
cartoon character, the mole, sometimes known as the little Mole or
Krtecek. We look at a giant step for mole-kind.


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