Saturday, March 26, 2011

News 3.26.2011

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

News Saturday, March 26th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* Opposition Social Democrats have regained a majority in the Czech
Senate after Jiri Dienstbier Jr. won a Senate seat vacated by his late

* The 2011 population and housing census has officially begun.

* An accident outside Brno disrupted traffic on a major railway line,
causing up to 90-minute delays on some international trains.

* Around 1,000 anti-abortion activists have marched through the centre
of the capital.

* The Czech Republic switches to daylight saving time on Sunday morning.

Social Democrats regain Senate majority

The opposition Social Democrats have regained a majority in the upper
house of Parliament after Jiri Dienstbier Jr. won a seat vacated by his
late father. Mr Dienstbier Jr. defeated on Saturday Civic Democrat Dan
Jiranek in the second round of voting for a Senate seat representing
the Kladno district, central Bohemia, winning over 65 percent of the
vote. The turnout at the polls was less than 18 percent. Mr Dienstbier
succeeds in the post the late Senator Jiri Dienstbier, the country's
first post-communist foreign minister, who passed away in January, aged

Jiri Dienstbier Jr.'s victory means the Social Democrats now have 41
seats in the 81-seat Senate. However, any veto from the
opposition-controlled Senate can be overturned by the lower house
whether the ruling right-of-centre coalition has a comfortable majority
of 118 MPs.

Population and housing census begins

The 2011 housing and population census officially began at Friday
midnight which is the point of reference on which responses are to be
based. On-line census forms were made available; more than 280, 000
Czechs have since filled them in, and the authorities expect around
three million people will do so in the coming days. The distribution of
paper forms began three weeks ago; people have until April, 14 to hand
them in. The census' results should be announced in September.

Accident disrupt traffic on international railway line

A 50-year-old man died after he was hit by a cargo train near Adamov,
some 15 km north of Brno, in southern Moravia, on Saturday morning. The
accident has disrupted traffic on a major Czech railway line, causing
up to 90-minute delays on some Budapest-, Vienna- and Berlin-bound
international trains. A Czech Railways spokesman said all traffic
should be restored to normal by Saturday afternoon.

Pro-life activists march through Prague

Some 1,000 anti-abortion activists marched through the centre of Prague
on Saturday. The march, organized by a pro-life Czech association, was
preceded by a Roman Catholic mass one of the city's churches,
celebrated by the Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka. Organizers said
25,000 abortions were carried out in the Czech Republic last year,
while more 3.3 than million children were not born since 1957 when
abortions were legalized in the country.

Daylight-saving time starts on Sunday

The Czech Republic, along with the rest of the European Union, will
switch to summertime or daylight-saving time on Sunday, March 27 when
clocks will go forward by one hour at 2:00 Central European Time. Czech
Railways have warned passengers that the scheduled arrival and
departure of 15 long-distance trains will be "delayed" by an hour by
the time shift. Summer time ends on Sunday, October 30 when the clocks
fall an hour back.

Prague ZOO opens 80th season

Prague's ZOO opened its 80th season on Saturday, with a special
programme to celebrate the occasion. The guests, including Prague's
Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, the writer Frantisek Janouch, and other will
name a couple of blue iguanas. The ZOO's director, Miroslav Bobek said
visitors would also have a chance to see a set of renovated wooden huts
designed in the 1920's by the architect Josef Gocar. The ZOO has
organized a series of lectures and other events to mark the
anniversary. The ZOO first opened in the Troja district of the capital
on September 28, 1931; the first animal to arrive was a she-wolf named
Lotta that was captured in the eastern-most part of then Czechoslovakia.

Part of Hradec Kralove's city walls collapses

A section of the 16th century city walls in Hradec Kralove, in eastern
Bohemia, collapsed on Saturday. Firefighters pulled several vehicles
out of the rubble; no one was hurt in the accident. The collapsed
section of the historic city walls is located on the western edge of
the city centre; there were no prior signs of structural damage, Hradec
Kralove mayor said. However, the city last year started a major
reconstruction of the walls due to their poor state.

Man suffers serious burns in house fire

A man was taken to a Brno hospital on Saturday with serious burns after
his house caught fire in the community of Kvasice, in eastern Moravia.
A spokesman for the fire brigade said the home owner's negligence was
the most likely cause of the fire that destroyed part of the living
area. The man's condition was reported as stable. It took fire fighters
about an hour to extinguish the flames.

Czechs lose 2:1 to Spain in EURO 2012 qualifier

The Czech national football team lost to Spain in a EURO 2012
qualifying game in Granada on Friday. Sensationally, the Czechs went
ahead in the 29th minute after Jaroslav Plasil's amazing long-range
shot. But the hosts immediately put the Czech team under great pressure
and although goalie Petr Cech showed some exceptional saves, David
Villa equalized in the 69th minute. Four minutes later, Czech
Republic's Jan Rezek fell Andres Iniesta in the box, and David Villa
netted the penalty to set the score at 2:1. The Czech Republic now
ranks second in the I qualifying group, six points behind Spain and two
points ahead of Scotland. The Czechs will next play Liechtenstein on


The weekend will be overcast, with rain or sleet in places. Daytime
highs should range between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Human rights documentaries a hit with Czech teenagers: Roughly half of
the country's schools participate in the One World project

Every year, the colorful One World film festival - which just took
place in Prague - turns the spotlight on human rights, screening scores
of often fascinating documentaries from all corners of the globe. It
also directly addresses young people, lending eye-opening DVDs to
around half the schools in the Czech Republic, and holding special
screenings for pupils.

Rising tensions in the Sudetenland

"Hello, hello! Prague, Czechoslovakia calling. Good evening ladies and
gentlemen": Radio Prague welcomes listeners to its English programmes
back in 1937. The tone may be a little more formal, but it is not so
different from today. Yet much has changed since the troubled times of
the later 1930s. Nazi Germany was breathing down Czechoslovakia's neck
and tensions in the mainly German-speaking Sudetenland were rising
rapidly. The young British historian Hugh Seton Watson was in
Czechoslovakia in September that year, attending an international
summer school for students from across Central Europe. Talking to Radio
Prague, he was far from optimistic about the country's future.

Science Journal 26.3.2011

Lots of us might be sick of the cold, literally and figuratively, but
as the skiers begin hanging up their hats as the birds and the bugs
come back, so ends the happy time of the year for at least one man in
the Czech Scientific community, Radek Mikulas. Dr. Mikulas is not your
everyday geologist. For 20 years he has been venturing out onto the
winter rivers, ponds and reservoirs of the Czech Republic on skates to
study a very special type of rock - ice. The fruit of his labour, a
book called Ledove Cechy, or "Icy Bohemia", won a prize from publishers
Academia recently for its beautiful production, and it's not without
some fascinating insights. Earlier this week I went to visit Dr Mikulas
in his tiny office at the Institute of Geology.

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