Saturday, May 21, 2011

News 5.21.2011

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

News Saturday, May 21st, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech Republic has been elected a new member of the UN Human
Rights Council.

* The foreign minister has said the country should use its three-year
membership to help transform words into action.

* An estimated 40,000 people have taken part in a major demonstration
on Prague's Wenceslas square.

* The Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces has told
soldiers that the military's CASA transport planes probably won't be
deployed this year.

* The famous Czech football club Dukla Prague has secured a triumphant
return next season to the country's top domestic league.

Czech Republic voted in as new member to UN Human Rights Council

The Czech Republic will promote values linked to 'modern Europe' as a
member of the UN Human Rights Council to which it was elected, Deputy
Foreign Minister Vladimir Galuska has told the Czech news agency. The
vote took place on Friday, with the Czech Republic being elected in the
first round after gaining support from 148 out of the 191 countries
present. The country will hold membership for three years.

The Czech Republic ran for a seat in the 47-member council in the East
European group of candidates along with Romania and Georgia. An
additional 13 new members of the Human Rights Council were elected. At
least 97 votes were necessary for candidates to succeed. Mr Galuska
said a significant effort on the part of Czech diplomacy, along with
the Czech Republic's strong reputation as a human rights�� advocate,
were behind Friday's success. In 2007, the Czechs sought a seat in the
UN Security Council, but lost to Croatia.

As a brand-new Human Rights Council member, the Czech Republic wants to
help improve the work of the council that has been often criticised for
including states that violate human rights. At present, for example,
one of the Council members is Cuba.

Minister: Czech Republic should use membership to transform debates
into concrete action

In related news, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said
the Czech Republic should use its three-year membership on the Human
Rights Council to redirecting debates from what he called "futile
passionate speeches" to concrete work aimed at improving human rights
in various parts of the world. He made the statement shortly before
departing from Moscow a day after the Czech Republic's successful bid
to join the council.

Mr Schwarzenberg was in Russia for a conference on the 90th anniversary
of the birth of the late nuclear physicist and critic of the former
Soviet regime, Andrei Sakharov. The foreign minister said the Czech
Republic was acknowledged worldwide as a country striving for human
rights, criticising offenders such as Burma or Cuba, but also 'greater
powers'. He conceded, however, that it is a problem to make a regime
like North Korea's respect human rights, saying there were insufficient
levers to get the country to act.

Mr Schwarzenberg added he did not consider the Czech Republic's
election to the council 'satisfaction' for its failure to become an
elected UN Security Council member in 2007, when it lost to Croatia.

Trade unions hold major demonstration on Prague's main square

The trade unions have held a major demonstration on Prague's Wenceslas
square. According to organisers and the police more than 40,000 people
came out to protest government reform plans. The event lasted roughly
an hour and a half. Protestors charged that the government's
wide-ranging reforms in the health care, tax, social security and
pension systems had been poorly and hastily planned, without proper
debate and said they would hurt Czech citizens, employees, and the
disabled. The minister for labour and social affairs, Jaromir Drabek,
told the Czech news agency in response that the demonstration made
little sense, saying he put stock in proper talks over 'shouting' on
the square. He said it was the trade unions themselves who refused to
sit down for negotiations.

Employers' representatives come out against pension reform plan

Employers' representatives on Friday rejected the pension reform draft
proposed by the government at a meeting of the tripartite that includes
the trade unions. The head of the Czech Industry Confederation,
Jaroslav Hanak, confirmed that pension reform was needed but said
members did not trust the proposed role of the commercial sector. The
coalition government has proposed the introduction of private pension
plans: while pension insurance is compulsory, pension savings in
private funds would be voluntary.

The unions said earlier in the week that the draft tax and pension
reforms should be changed and that the government should withdraw the
planned welfare and healthcare reforms. Representatives of the
government on Friday noted that changes may still be made regarding
welfare. The government, employers and unions want to agree on welfare
reform by mid-June so that the bills can be submitted to the Chamber of
Deputies. The government approved the first part, comprising three
bills, this week. But the unions and the Association of Towns and
Municipalities oppose these bills because they say services would be
made less available to citizens and thousands of jobs could be

General: CASA planes will be deployed only when ready

General Vlastimil Picek, the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech
Armed Forces, has told soldiers in a meeting at their base in the
province of Paktika, in Afghanistan, that CASA transport planes
purchased by the military, will probably not be deployed this year. The
military grounded the planes due to a technical defect earlier this
month: three were cleared for use on Thursday.

The CASA planes were purchased by the army primarily for deployment in
Afghanistan where Czech soldiers are taking part in the ISAF
peacekeeping mission. But a number of defects found since the beginning
of the year means that plans of deploying the aircraft in the second of
2011 have ad to be put off. It emerged that the anti-missile protection
system supplied by the Czech firm Omnipol was not functioning properly
and the firm asked for the postponement of the deadline by which it was
to solve the problem by mid-June. General Picek has said the planes
will be deployed, but only when they are well and truly ready.

Man revived for half hour after holding breath underwater at aqua park

Rescue workers on Friday worked intensively to revive a 44-year-old man
who had lost consciousness at an aqua park in Bruntal. The man had
reportedly been testing to see how long he could hold his breath
underwater, before other swimmers noticed he was unconscious. It took
five minutes for an ambulance crew to arrive: medics were only able to
restart his heart after roughly thirty minutes, but his heart stopped
again en route to a nearby hospital and required specialists to use a
defibrillator. They were able to resuscitate him again, but he was
brought to hospital in very serious condition, a spokesperson said.

Football: Dukla secures return to top Czech league

The famous Czech football club Dukla Prague is set to make a triumphant
return to the country's top domestic league next season, after
defeating Kladno in their most recent match in the 2nd league by a
score of 3:1. Dukla has not played in the top flight since 1994, when
it was relegated to the 3rd league over financial difficulties. The
team now leads the 2nd league with 56 points, eight more than
second-place Viktoria Zizkov and 12 more than Jihlava. The team can now
finish no worse than second spot, cementing the club's promotion.


Partly cloudy skies and a chance of thundershowers are expected on
Sunday. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of around 25 degrees

Articles posted on today

Mailbox 21.5.2011

In Mailbox today: Sunday Music Show, Radio Prague's annual competition,
the National Library, what happened to internet "live broadcasts".
Listeners quoted: Stephen Hrebenach, Bob Boundy, Meng Cheng, Julius
Angelo Colaco, Gerwyn Roberts.

Nessie sighted on a Czech breakfast table

Recent editions of this programme have been rather full of doom and
gloom, as we have approached the Second World War in our archives. So
this week we look at something a bit more cheerful. Here is a Scottish
visitor to Prague in 1938. After singing the praises of Czechoslovakia,
he suddenly changes tone - making a rather curious observation.

Group sex getting into full "swing"

Sex has been an emerging market in the Czech Republic for 20 years,
with its every marketable facet constantly developing since 1989. The
first wave was naturally prostitution and pornography, shortly after,
sex shops. At the turn of the new century came the phenomenon of
internet exhibitionism, with some webpages becoming the most popular
erotic sites on the Czech web. And now, in these last years, has come
another lifestyle change that more and more businesses are catering to:
group sex in full swing.

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