Saturday, April 30, 2011

News 4.30.2011

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

News Saturday, April 30th, 2011

By: Sarah Borufka

* Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is set to travel to Tunisia and
Morocco next week.

* The Out Distance parachute memorial drew a record number of over
1,000 visitors.

* The deputy chairwoman of the Czech Constitutional Court harshly
criticizes the finance minister's reaction to the court's recent

* Radio Free Europe is to celebrate its 60-year anniversary on Sunday.

* The Miss Roma 2011 competition takes place on Saturday.

Foreign Minister to travel to Tunisia, Morocco

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is set to visit Tunisia and
Morocco next week. Mr. Schwarzenberg will be traveling to Tunis, the
capital of Tunisia, on Friday. Mr. Schwarzenberg's official visit is
the first by a Czech official since this year's upheavals in Tunisia,
where anti-government protests brought down the country's autocratic
regime in January. On Sunday, the Czech foreign minister will continue
on to Morocco. The country recently saw its deadliest terrorist attack
in eight years, when a suspected suicide bomber detonated a device in a
crowded square, killing fifteen people. The anti-government protests in
Tunisia were followed by a wave of similar protests in Egypt, Sirya and
Lybia, as well as a number of other Middle Eastern and North African

Out Distance parachute memorial draws record number of visitors.

On Saturday, over a thousand people attended the 69th Out Distance
parachute memorial in Orechov near Jihlava, which commemorates a Czech
resistance group that parachuted from a British Halifax plane in 1942
to help prepare the assassination of deputy Reich Protector Reinhard
Heydrich. General Tomas Sedlacek, one of the last surviving
parachutists, was in attendance. Organizers said that this year's
visitor numbers are the highest in the history of the event.

The Out Distance group did not land where they had planned due to a
navigation error. One of its members committed suicide a month after
landing, two others went to Prague and joined the Operation Anthropoid,
which succeeded in assassinating the deputy Reich Protector. One of the
group's members, soldier Karel Curda, however revealed the hiding place
of the assassins to the Gestapo. Rather than be killed by the Germans,
the assassins committed suicide after the Germans circled their hiding
place, a church in Prague.

Deputy chairwoman of constitutional court lashes out against finance

The deputy chairwoman of the Czech Constitutional Court, Eliska
Wagnerova, harshly criticized Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek for
his reaction to a recent verdict issued by the court regarding a change
in law for building savings accounts. The court had ruled that a cut in
contributions by the government was unlawful, since it retroactively
affected agreements signed under different conditions. Mrs. Wagnerova
said in an interview printed in the Saturday edition of the daily
Lidove noviny that the finance minister was well aware of retroactivity
being a problematic factor and had tried to circumvent the law. She
compared his practises to those widely used in Nazi-era Germany. In a
reaction to the ruling, Mr. Kalousek said on Thursday that he is
planning to discontinue state support of buildings savings accounts
entirely starting 2012.

Radio Free Europe to celebrate 60-year anniversary

Sixty years ago on Sunday, Radio Free Europe aired its first broadcast
from Munich, to the then communist state of Czechoslovakia. Today, the
radio station reports the news in 28 languages and 21 countries where a
free press is either banned by the government or not fully established.
Its broadcasts are often regarded as a rare source of objective
information. The radio station was born out of an American government
initiative in 1949; a test version of its program was broadcast from a
van near the Czechoslovak border in 1950. Until 1995, Radio Free Europe
was based in Munich, from where it was moved to Prague to cut expenses.
In 2002, its Czech-language broadcasts ended after over half a century
for the same reason.

Miss Roma 2011 competition underway in the southern Moravian city of

Twelve girls will be competing for the Miss Roma 2011 award on
Saturday. A total of 80 applied to the contest, this year held in the
southern Moravian city of Hodonin. Apart from traditional beauty
pageant elements, such as the swim suit and evening wear competition,
the girls also compete in czardas, a traditional Hungarian folk dance
popularized by Roma music bands. Organizers say that more and more
young Romany women are interested in the competition.

Czech doctors have diagnosed 35 cases of HIV in first quarter of 2011

In the fist quarter of 2011, Czech doctors diagnosed a total of
thirty-five new cases of patients infected with the HIV-virus. One case
of AIDS ended fatally in the same period. The information was released
Friday by the Czech Aids Help Society. To date, a total of 1557 cases
of infection with the HIV-virus have been detected in the Czech
Republic since 1986. Compared to other industrialized nations, the rate
of infection in the Czech Republic is relatively low, however the Czech
Aids Help Society warns that awareness of the risks of unprotected sex
is still as important as ever, despite the fact that thanks to a number
of new medications, HIV is no longer the death sentence that it once

Parliament to pass change in highway traffic law

Parliament is in the process of passing a change in highway traffic law
under which drivers charged with more than one traffic offense will
only be held accountable for the gravest one. To be dealt with in this
way, multiple traffic offenses must have taken place in the same
three-month period. The goal of the law is to create milder
circumstances for drivers who have accumulated a lot of offenses within
a one-year period; the most aggressive of drivers may benefit from this
change in law.

Police criminality decreases only slightly

The result of an inspection into criminal behavior among police on the
job finds that it is declining, but only slowly. According to fresh
statistics, inspectors in 2010 counted a total of 242 cases of unlawful
behavior from officers on the job, a drop of about 8.4 percent as
compared to the previous year. The chief inspectors said they were
nonetheless pleased with the result, adding that the inspection is
meant to prevent police officers from committing unlawful or
irresponsible acts at work.

Japanese community in Prague raises money for native country's recovery

Japanese citizens living in Prague have raised a total of 40,000 Czech
crowns, which will go to the Japanese Red Cross to help disabled people
affected by the recent earthquake, which killed over 14,000 and left
the country in a devastated state. The Czech capital's Japanese
community donated money for the recovery effort, as well as organizing
a sale of used goods at a city flea market to help raise funds. In
addition, a concert organized by Japanese music students living in
Prague also generated a sum of several ten thousand crowns to help with
the recovery effort.

Famous Venus of Petrkovice to return home for a day

The Venus of Petrkovice, a statuette from the Upper Palaeolithic period
believed to be 23 thousand years old and valued at 50 million euros,
will be exhibited at the site where it was first discovered in
Ostrava-Petrkovice. The event will take place on Sunday, May 1 and last
only throughout the day. The figurine, a headless female torso just 4.6
centimetres tall, was found by archaeologist Bohuslav Klima in July,
1953. The statuette is carved from hematite.


Over the weekend, cloudy skies and daytime temperatures between 14 and
18 degrees Celsius are expected, with a change of isolated

Articles posted on today

Charles Ota Heller: a soldier at the age of nine

In the last days of World War II, nine-year-old Ota Heller picked up a
revolver and fired it at a German soldier. He did not wait to see if
the man was still alive. For decades afterwards he talked to no one
about the experience, and only recently has Ota Heller - or Charles Ota
Heller, as he is now called - felt able to return to his memories of
the war, collecting them in his book "Out of Prague". In this week's
Czech Books he talks to David Vaughan.

Tyrsuv dum - Home of the Sokol movement

In today's Spotlight Radio Prague visits an early Baroque palace known
as Michnuv palac in the historic quarter of Mala strana. Built in the
16th century, it first belonged to the Micha family before it became
munitions factory in the mid-1700s. In the early 20th century, after
the founding of Czechoslovakia, it was sold to the patriotic Sokol
sport and gymnastics organisation, which renovated it and named it
Tyrsuv dum (or Tyrs' House) after its main founder.

After Munich: Czechoslovakia left to her fate

In recent weeks, I've tried to capture something of the tense
atmosphere of the time leading up to the Munich Agreement of September
30 1938, when the British and French Prime Ministers Chamberlain and
Daladier allowed Hitler to carve up Czechoslovakia and march unopposed
into the Sudetenland. The agreement left the country as a fragment of
its former self; not only Germany, but also Hungary and Poland, claimed
large chunks of Czechoslovakia's borderlands. Here is how Radio Prague
reported on the final border agreement, reached some weeks after Munich
was signed. The scale of the loss is huge.

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