Tuesday, May 24, 2011

News 5.24.2011

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

News Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech Republic will not adopt the euro in the foreseeable future,
according to President Vaclav Klaus.

* An Austrian court has seized three Czech-owned modernist works of art
in a protracted arbitration case.

* Some 23 percent of Czech managers consider bribery an acceptable way
of gaining contracts, a new poll has shown.

* The Brno tractor-maker Zetor has singed an 800-million-crown deal
with an Iraqi state company.

* Google has been allowed to expand its Street View feature in the
Czech Republic after agreeing to the country's privacy watchdog's

President Klaus: Czechs won't adopt euro in foreseeable future

The Czech Republic won't adopt the common European currency in the
foreseeable future, President Vaclav Klaus said on Tuesday. Speaking
during an official visit to Belgium, Mr Klaus added he had for over two
decades been warning against possible risks of introducing a common
European currency in a "very heterogeneous group" of countries. The
Czech Republic has set no definite benchmark for the adoption of the
euro although it is bound to introduce the single European currency by
its EU-accession treaty. This year, popular support for the move among
Czechs sank to 43 percent, the lowest level since 2005.

Austrian court seizes Czech-owned art works in arbitration case

A court in the Austrian capital Vienna seized three Czech-owned
modernist works of art in a protracted arbitration case against the
Czech Republic, the weekly Ekonom reported on Tuesday. The court upheld
a claim made by the Swiss firm Diag Human; the company demands a
compensation of around 9 billion crowns, or over 500 million US
dollars, from the Czech state for allegedly harming its blood plasma
business in the country in the 1990s. In 2008, a court of arbitration
ruled in favour of the firm but Czech authorities say the decision has
not yet come into force. A Diag Human layer said the Czech Republic now
has four weeks to appeal the Viennese court's decision.

The three Czech state-owned artefacts - two paintings by Emil Filla and
Vincenc Benes and a statue by Otto Guttfreund - were featured in an
exhibition at Vienna's Belveder Gallery, on loan from the Moravian
Gallery in Brno.

Poll: Bribery justifiable for 23 percent of Czech managers

Around 23 percent of Czech managers consider bribery a justifiable way
of gaining and keeping contracts, according to a new Europe-wide poll
by the Ernst&Young firm released on Tuesday. More than 50 percent of
those polled also said unethical practices were acceptable to meet the
company's financial goals under difficult economic circumstances. Some
5 percent of managers who took part in the survey said they were
willing to lie about their company's performance in order not to
undermine its growth. The results put Czechs in the middle of 25
European nations where the poll was conducted, along with Spaniards.
The poll suggested that the European average was 18 percent.

Coalition Public Affairs party chair Radek John re-elected

The chairman of the coalition Public Affairs party, Radek John has been
re-elected to his post in an online vote in which some 1,200 party
members - 40 percent of those entitled - took part. The results were
announced on Monday night. The head of the party's parliamentary club,
Karolina Peake, came in a close second with 976 votes; she will be now
appointed deputy chairwoman. However, most commentators point out that
real power within the party rests with its founder and unofficial
leader Vit Barta who did not run for the position.

After the vote, the re-elected leader said his party would no longer
make concessions to its partners in the coalition cabinet. In the wake
of a recent crisis within the Czech centre-right government, two out of
four Public Affairs ministers resigned.

Archbishop Otcenasek dies at 91

Archbishop Karel Otcenasek, a former bishop of Hradec Kralove, died on
Monday at the age of 91. One of the top figures of the Czech Roman
Catholic Church, Otcenasek was named a bishop in secret in 1950 and
spent more than 10 years in communist prisons. After an amnesty in 1962
he was freed and worked in a dairy plant, only returning to
ecclesiastical life in 1965. He became the 23rd bishop of the Hradec
Kralove diocese, in eastern Bohemia, in 1990, a post he held until his
retirement eight years later. On the occasion of his 90th birthday last
year, Czech President Vaclav Klaus called the archbishop "an absolutely
exceptional national figure" and an important moral authority.

Tractor-maker Zetor signs Iraq deal

The Brno-based tractor-maker Zetor signed a 800-million crown deal with
Iraq's State Company for Mechanical Industry, a Zetor manager said on
Tuesday. Under the contract, the Czech firm will supply 1,500
components to Iraq where the tractors will be assembled. The Czech
producer Zetor would like to re-establish itself on the Iraqi market;
the firm estimates that around 60,000 old Zetor tractors are still in
use in the country, and has developed a new model for the region. The
deal was sealed on the second day of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas'
visit to Iraq. The Czech Republic was also hoping to sell up to 24
L-159 jets to the Iraqi air force.

Google allowed to continue Street View

Google has been allowed to expand its Street View feature in the Czech
Republic after agreeing to the country's privacy watchdog's conditions.
A spokeswoman for the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection said
Google agreed to lower the cameras on its cars by at least 30 cm and to
inform local authorities of imaging in their districts, and avoid
school buildings at times when pupils gather in front of them. Google
will also have to review within 48 hours any demands to have certain
images blurred. The Czech privacy watchdog banned Google from expanding
last September; Google Street View is now available for most of Prague
and parts of Brno, Olomouc and Cesky Krumlov.

Thailand extradites Czech criminals

Thailand has extradited two Czech nationals who were on the run to
avoid serving full jail sentences for stealing millions of crowns from
a cash transport in 2008. A spokesman for Czech police said on Monday
that Josef Blazek and Rudolf Tesarek arrived in the Czech Republic on
Monday and were put in custody. Last year, the two men landed ten-year
prison sentences for stealing 74 million crowns, or more than 4.2
million US dollars, from a cash transport van. They served a year of
their sentences when then justice minister Daniela Kovarova ordered
their temporary release amidst concerns of a judicial error. By the
time Kovarova's successor reversed the order, both men had disappeared.
The two men were arrested in Thai city of Pattaya earlier this month on
an Interpol warrant with the help of Austrian police.

Football: Slavia Prague licensed to play top division

The Czech football association on Tuesday granted the debt-stricken
club Slavia Prague a licence to play in the country's top division next
season. Earlier this month, however, it faced relegation when the FA
refused to licence it over Slavia's unclear ownership structure and
financial difficulties. But the football association changed its
decision after a new investor took over, and paid some of the debts.
Slavia Prague, one of the Czech Republic's most traditional clubs,
ranks 10th in this season's league table.

Tennis: Tomas Berdych knocked out of French Open

Czech tennis number one Tomas Berdych was knocked out from the first
round of the French Open on Monday after he lost 3:6, 3:6, 6:2, 6:2,
9:7 to France's qualifier Stephane Robert. Berdych, seeded sixth at
Roland Garros, won the first two sets but then his opponent got into
the game and eventually stunned the erratic Czech. After the game,
25-year-old Berdych, ranked sixth in the ATP tour, said he found no
defence against the Frenchman's serve, and that it was his worst defeat
in the season.


Nice weather with partly cloudy skies is set to continue until the end
of the week, with daytime highs of around 25 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

The story of Prague's most dominant bridge and how it was tested using

For today's episode of Czech History I've come here to Nuselsky most or
Nusle Bridge which joins two parts of the city. Completed in 1973, the
bridge serves as a major artery for six lanes of North-South traffic
and even the city's metro. Every single day countless thousands of
commuters rely on it.


John given weak mandate as continuing chairman of Public Affairs

Public Affairs chairman Radek John has been re-elected to his post
following an online vote by party members. Mr John received almost
1,200 votes via the internet while the head of the party's
parliamentary club, Karolina Peake, came in a close second. In many
ways, the online election has left a lot to be desired as surprisingly
only some 40 percent of eligible supporters took part.


Consequences of German nuclear phase-out for Czech Republic still
unclear, says energy expert

On Monday, the director of the International Energy Agency Nobuo Tanaka
warned that by pressing ahead with its plan to phase out nuclear power,
Germany was threatening European energy security. Meanwhile, the
vice-president of the Czech Energy Regulatory Office, Blahoslav
Nemecka, has predicted an increase of energy prices in the Czech
Republic by 3.6 to 6 percent next year, and cites developments in
Germany as an important factor in determining the future cost of
energy. I spoke about the issue with Vaclav Bartuska, the government's
appointee to keep tabs on the expansion of the Temelin nuclear power
plants in Southern Bohemia and possibility of state power company CEZ
ordering a further three reactors. He speaks on how a nuclear phase-out
in Germany could affect the Czech Republic.


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