Wednesday, March 30, 2011

News 3.30.2011

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

News Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Up to 25 people are reported injured in a truck-train crash in

* The cabinet has approved an amendment to the law that would enable
the direct purchase of military equipment from abroad.

* The Euobserver warns that euro-pact refuseniks will find themselves
sidelined from important decision making in the future.

* President Klaus has granted a pardon to a man who is serving a
six-year-sentence for attempted murder after shooting at thieves on his

* The Prison Service says it cannot be blamed for the recent suicide
attempt by a man suspected of the rape and murder of a nine-year-old

Truck-train crash injures 25

Up to 25 people are reported to have been injured in a truck-train
crash in Moravia on Wednesday. Twenty people were taken to hospital for
treatment, mostly with lighter injuries, the rest were attended to on
the spot. No one was killed in the accident. The crash happened shortly
after midday when a Polish truck driver went through the crossing
moments before a train was to pass through. The crash derailed the
passenger train which was carrying 120 passengers. The cause of the
accident is being investigated.

Cabinet approves amendment on direct purchase of military equipment

The cabinet has approved an amendment to the law that would enable the
direct purchase of military equipment from abroad. The amendment was
drafted by the Defense Ministry in view of limiting the influence of
third party intermediaries which it is currently bound to use. Defense
Minister Alexander Vondra said a recent fiscal audit had shown that in
the past six years purchases via intermediaries had increased the price
of military orders by a staggering 1.5 billion crowns. Mr. Vondra said
the waste had been the result of a preference for exploiting available
funds rather than fulfilling real needs.

EU observer says Euro Pact refuseniks will be sidelined from important

The Euobserver warns that euro-pact refuseniks will find themselves
sidelined from important decision making in the future. The internet
daily notes that by opting to stay outside the pact the Czech Republic,
Sweden, Hungary and the UK will find themselves excluded from euro-pact
summits and will get relevant information second-hand. The EUobserver
notes that this fact motivated even countries nervous about joining the
single currency to jump on the bandwagon. Analysts cited by the paper
say that despite the strong anti-euro rhetoric from Czech President
Vaclav Klaus the Czech Republic is not likely to remain outside the
Euro Pact for very long. Paradoxically one of the reasons the Czech
representation gave for staying out was that it had been presented with
a take-it-or-leave -it deal tailored by France and Germany.

Man who protected his property with a gun gets presidential pardon

President Klaus has granted a pardon to a man who is serving a six year
sentence for attempted murder after shooting at thieves on his
property. Karel Basta, the owner of a scrap yard near Brno, defended
his property with a gun during a break-in two years ago, opening fire
at an escaping car and seriously injured a group of youths. One of the
passengers - a young woman- was blinded. Basta was charged with
attempted manslaughter and subsequently sentenced to six years in
prison. The charge of manslaughter though was later upgraded to
attempted murder by a higher court. The president's office said the
pardon was granted in view of the man's previously clean criminal
record and good reputation as well as the fact that he had offered the
injured youths financial compensation.

Prison service head says authorities not to blame for child murder
suspect's suicide attempt

The head of the Czech prison service Jiri Tregl said on Wednesday that
the service could not be blamed for the suicide attempt by the man
suspected of the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Prague last
October. Mr. Tregl said that the usual preventative measures had been
taken to protect the suspect inside the prison-house. He said that he
had shared a cell with a foreign national who spoke no Czech and was
unaware of the circumstances of the case. Moreover the child murder
suspect had undergone a session with a psychologist at which he showed
no signs of a mental breakdown which would have merited special
treatment. The suspect attempted to hang himself using a rope made from
his own clothes. He suffered a swelling of the brain and died within 48
hours in hospital.

Drtikol's photo back in its place

Photographer Frantisek Drtikol's most famous photograph The Wave which
was stolen from the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague is back in its
place, the CTK news agency reported on Wednesday. The photograph was
returned by the police and its authenticity has been verified. The
unknown thief reportedly tried to sell the work of art in California
where the owner of a gallery noticed that it was on the international
list of stolen art.

Fifty-crown banknote to go out of circulation

The 50-crown banknote is to be taken out of circulation on Thursday,
March 31st, leaving only the copper-and-zinc coin in this denomination.
The Czech National Bank made the decision last year in view of lowering
direct expenditures associated with issuing money. After that date
people will be able to exchange the bills at all commercial banks for a
period of 12 months or the Czech National Bank for a period of seven

Police discover illegal marihuana plantation

The police have uncovered an illegal marihuana plantation in the town
of Zidovice, north of Prague. During a raid on a former hops storage
facility the police confiscated over 2,000 fully grown marihuana plants
and arrested two Vietnamese nationals residing on the premises. The
suspects have been taken into custody. If charged and found guilty they
could face up to ten years in prison.

Susan Boyle fails to win Czech hearts

British celebrity Susan Boyle whose debut album I dreamed a dream
topped the charts in Britain and America has barely caused a stir in
the Czech Republic. Her album sold less than ten thousand copies and
her autobiography evoked even less interest. Of the 2,500 copies
published in Czech less than 400 have sold to date. Lucie Forstova of
IFP publishing says she is extremely disappointed with the poor
showing, having selected the book as a certain hit.

Czech football team defeats Liechtenstein in Euro qualifier

The Czech national football team defeated Liechtenstein in their 2012
European Championship qualifier on Tuesday. Striker Milan Baros put the
Czechs ahead early in Ceske Budejovice and Milan Kadlec scored in the
second half to secure the team's 2:0 win. Afterwards team coach Michal
Bilek was less than satisfied with the team's performance against
football minnows Liechtenstein. He said that although the Czechs had
started well and had had opportunities throughout the game (two
crossbars in addition to scoring) overall the team had been sluggish
and had allowed too many chances at the back. The Czech Republic is
second in Group I on nine points, followed by Scotland with five, They
will be hoping to qualify from second position or in a preliminary
playoff round as Spain at the top of the group are unbeaten so far.
Euro qualifying for the team resumes in September.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be be warm and sunny,
with daytime temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Top court rejects complaint against gerrymandering in Prague's local

The Czech Constitutional Court dismissed on Tuesday a complaint by
three political parties contesting last October's local elections in
the capital. Public Affairs, the Green and the European Democrat
parties argued the elections were unfair due to gerrymandering,
dividing Prague into seven districts, which diminished their prospects
at the polls. The court said however the parties failed to prove the
division was intended to hurt their chances.

Czech football squad secures obligatory win over Liechtenstein

The Czech national football squad defeated Liechtenstein in their 2012
European Championship qualifier on Tuesday, a win that was seen as
obligatory against the football minnows. Striker Milan Baros and Michal
Kadlec both scored to secure the team's 2:0 win. Despite the success,
the squad's play, especially in the second half, was less than
scintillating and many are critical the Czechs will have to improve
significantly in September if they want to get to the final
competition. Earlier I spoke to sports journalist Karel Haring and
asked him for his impressions from Tuesday's game.

Detective work and restoration work fills gaps in unique Czech
historical archive

Langhans photographic gallery is currently celebrating the 130th
anniversary since the original studio, which became the most famous in
the country, was founded in the centre of Prague in 1880. A fraction of
the million and a half negatives that were built up there over the
following seven decades now forms a valuable pictorial archive which is
still being worked on and conserved for the future by a specially
created foundation. We look at the archive, ongoing restoration and
future plans.

This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2011, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved., E-mail: