Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News 4.5.2011

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

News Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Opposition Social Democrats are seeking to call another special
meeting of Parliament to discuss the ProMoPro affair.

* Interior Minister Radek John says police are investigating a deputy
Public Affairs chairman who told the press the party pays him for his
loyalty and secrecy.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit the Czech
Republic on Thursday this week.

* The financial reports of the country's political parties for 2010
have been published at Parliament.

* Archaeologists in the Prague have found what they believe is the
grave of a Copper Age homosexual.

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Social Democrats seek new special meeting on ProMoPro
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The opposition Social Democratic Party are seeking signatures in order
to call for another special meeting of Parliament to discuss the
ProMoPro case, in which exorbitant sums were allegedly paid to an
audiovisual company from the office of current defence Minister
Alexandr Vondra during the Czech EU presidency in 2009. One such
meeting was recently proposed but was blocked by the coalition parties.
This time, the TOP 09 party, unsatisfied with Mr Vondra's explanations
on that occasion, has said they will not attend the vote on the
proposal, thus allowing the opposition a sufficient majority to table
the programme. Mr Vondra has accepted partial responsibility for the
affair, but his role in it has remained a source of coalition
infighting in recent weeks.


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John: police are investigating Skarka claims of their own accord
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Police have begun investigating the case of a Public Affairs deputy
chairman who told the press the party paid him for his loyalty and
secrecy on party financing. Deputy party chairman Jaroslav Skarka has
denied the report, and said he was purposefully not telling the truth
during the secretly taped interview. Nonetheless, party chairman and
Interior Minister Radek John said Tuesday that the police were
investigating the situation of their own accord. He has also filed a
lawsuit in connection with the case, and the party's group of deputies
is set to discuss the issue at its session on Thursday.


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Israeli PM to arrive in Prague on Thursday
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Benjamin Netanyahu will be the first Israeli prime minister to visit
the Czech Republic when he arrives on Thursday for talks with his
counterpart Petr Necas. In addition to economic and scientific
cooperation between the Czech Republic and Israel, the leaders will be
discussing the situation in North Africa and the Middle East peace
process. On Friday, the two-time Israeli PM and Likud party chairman is
also to meet with the President Vaclav Klaus and other Czech statesmen.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the visit would be a unique
opportunity and a historic visit. Police are preparing top-level
security measures for the two-day visit. One civic association against
Israeli treatment of Palestinians is marking the event with a series of
protests throughout the week.


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Senate committee dismisses unanimous lower house ban on new drugs
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The Senate committee on constitutional and legal matters has refused to
endorse a bill adding 33 new addictive drugs to the list of banned
substances. The bill had already passed through the lower house of
Parliament unanimously. The senators were concerned about the way in
which the law would be enforced and that the bill includes no
transition period before its introduction. The chairman of the
committee, Social Democrat Miroslav Antl, said that the police would
not be able to allow a degree of tolerance but must act on the
prohibition. The Senate as a whole will vote on the bill on Wednesday
once it has been discussed by its health committee. A number of the
substances were recently banned in Poland, leading to a huge increase
in their sale in the Czech Republic where they remained legal.


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Number of students in private colleges skyrocketed in last decade
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The number of students in private colleges has skyrocketed to nearly
thirty times the number ten years ago, the Czech Statistical Office
reports. While the first private colleges began opening in the Czech
Republic in 1989, they were attended by only 2000 students at the turn
of this century. Last year, there were more than 57,000 students in
private schools, or roughly 14% of all college students. Meanwhile
private colleges as of last year outnumbered public colleges nearly two
to one, with 44 and 28, respectively. The Ministry of Education says
the number is too high and that it will no longer support the
establishment of new public colleges.


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Parties' financial reports published
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The financial reports of the country's political parties for 2010 have
been published at Parliament. The largest party, the Civic Democrats,
show overdue debts in the amount of 146 million crowns as of the end of
last year and losses of 222 million. The party says that roughly half
of those debts have been paid and the rest will be paid within the
year. TOP 09 gave 10.3 million to its associated party of Mayors and
Independents. The non-parliamentary party Suverenita - Strana zdraveho
rozumu showed member contributions of only 126 crowns, while former PM
Milos Zeman's Strana prav obcanu showed considerable contributions of
37.7 million. 82 parties and movements have yet to file their report,
which was due last week.


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Advertising blimp lost in Czech airspace
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A ten-metre advertising blimp is lost in Czech airspace after coming
untied from a building in Stara Boleslav on Monday. The unmanned helium
blimp damaged two roofs and a chimney before disappearing into cloudy
skies. While it poses no danger in falling to the ground, air traffic
control at nearby Prague Airport was forced to adapt flight plans
according to its expected speed and course.


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Supporters of beleaguered Liberec mayor hold demonstration
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Roughly a thousand people attended a demonstration in Liberec on
Tuesday in support of Mayor Jan Korytar and oppose the attempts of his
former coalition partners to remove him from office. Speaking to the
crows, Mr Korytar said his Change for Liberec party remained willing to
negotiate with the former coalition and improve communication with
them. Change for Liberec won last year's municipal elections and formed
a town hall coalition with the Social Democrats and two smaller
parties. Last week the latter three parties withdrew from the
coalition, citing problems with communication, and moved to dismiss the
mayor.


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Archaeologists find grave of Copper Age transsexual
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Archaeologists working in the Prague district of Bubenec have announced
the discovery of a Copper Age man who was buried in the custom of a
woman, leading them to believe he may have been a homosexual or
transsexual. The grave apparently belongs to the Corded Ware culture of
2800 to 2500 BCE, and the man's skeleton was found with its head toward
the east, as was the custom for women. Ovate jugs typical of women's
burials were found, as were other items uncommon to either gender,
however, none of the items ritually buried by the Corded Ware culture
with men were found.


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Hockey: Trinec beats Vitkovice 5:2 in the first game of the play-offs'
finals
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HC Ocelari Trinec beat HC Vitkovice Steel 5:2 on Monday night in the
first game of the Czech hockey league play-off finals to take a lead in
the best-of-seven series. Visitors Vitkovice did well in the game and
withstood the initial pressure by the hosts, but Trinec's power-plays
were highly effective. In the 12th minute, Martin Ruzicka opened the
scoring, breaking a 19-year-old record for the best scoring player in
the playoffs. In the second period, Trinec added two more power-play
goals two minutes apart. Vitkovice then narrowed the gap to 3:1 but did
not find enough strength to turn the game around, allowing Trinec to
score the first ever win the final series. The finals continue on
Tuesday.


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Weather
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Temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-20s Celsius cover the
coming days amid party-cloudy to sunny skies and a chance of occasional
showers.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Uproar over appointment of ultra conservative as ministerial adviser
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Minority and human rights groups in the Czech Republic have sent an
open letter to Education Minister Josef Dobes over his decision to
appoint a controversial ultra-conservative politician as an advisor.
Ladislav Batora once stood as an independent candidate for the
now-defunct far-right National Party, and is now head of the
Eurosceptic movement DOST.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/uproar-over-appointment-of-ultra-conservative-as-ministerial-adviser


Police trades unions push for Interior Minister Radek John to step down
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Police trades unions leaders are set to meet Prime Minister Petr Necas
later on Tuesday to ask him to replace Interior Minister Radek John.
More than a half of Czech police officers, along with thousands of fire
fighters and civilian security forces employees, have signed a petition
demanding Mr John's resignation. They blame the minister for failing to
prevent higher cuts in their salaries than he initially promised.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/police-trades-unions-push-for-interior-minister-radek-john-to-step-down


Karel Kramar: first Czechoslovak PM but flawed popular politician
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Karel Kramar earned his place in history as the first prime minister of
Czechoslovakia. But his political career spanned more than four
turbulent decades. We look at a life than included a death sentence,
assassination attempt and birth of a new state.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/czech-history/karel-kramar-first-czechoslovak-pm-but-flawed-popular-politician


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