Thursday, May 5, 2011

News 5.5.2011

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

News Thursday, May 5th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Commemorative events have taken place around the Czech capital
marking the 66th anniversary of the Prague Uprising.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has highlighted RFE's role in toppling

* The Sumava National Park management is reportedly using powerful
insecticides to fight bark-beetle infestation without permission.

* The Czech military has grounded its CASA transport planes due to a
technical defect.

* The Czech team beat Finland 2-1 in the world championships in ice
hockey on Wednesday, finishing first in Group D.

Officials mark 66th anniversary of Prague Uprising

Prime Minister Petr Necas, senior parliament officials and cultural
figures on Thursday attended a commemorative event at Czech Radio
marking the 66th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising.
Officials recalled that turbulent period of Czech history and laid
wreaths in front of the station's main building under a plaque bearing
the names of those who lost their lives defending Czech Radio. On the
morning of May 5, 1945, Czech Radio called on Prague citizens to rise
up against the Nazi occupiers, four days before Soviet troops liberated
the city. During a battle for control of the station around 90 people
were killed. Around the city, some 30,000 people took part in the
uprising, of which over 1,600 died. A number of other commemorative
events are taking place elsewhere in the city.

PM Necas: RFE was beacon of light

Speaking at a conference marking the 60th anniversary of RFE broadcasts
to Czechoslovakia, Prime Minister Petr Necas highlighted the station's
role in toppling communism in central and Eastern Europe. He said that
RFE had torn down the information barrier erected by the communist
regime and served as a beacon of light, raising public awareness of
democratic values and providing truthful information about what was
happening behind the Iron Curtain. The conference opened with RFE's
familiar signature tune and the voice of announcer Ferdinand Peroutka
who was among those who first addressed Czechs and Slovaks over the
airwaves on May1st, 1951.

Czech Radio marks RFE anniversary

Czech Radio is marking the 60th anniversary of the launch of Radio Free
Europe broadcasts with a series of special events held in cooperation
with RFE, Charles University, the Institute for the Study of
Totalitarian Regimes and the Czech Senate. The events, which cover the
stations 60-year-long history, will be attended by former RFE
journalists who were with the station from the outset, broadcasting
from its headquarters in Munich. The public has been invited to attend
workshops and lectures on freedom of speech and the role of Radio Free
Europe in helping to topple the communist regime in central and Eastern
Europe. Other events include an exhibition entitled "Freely" on the
grounds of the Czech Senate and a concert by Czech Radio's Symphonic
Orchestra. On Wednesday a mass was celebrated in St. Ludmila's Church
in Prague in memory of deceased RFE employees.

Sumava Park management using powerful insecticides without permission

The head of the Sumava National Park is reported to have ordered the
use of powerful insecticides to fight bark-beetle infestation without
permission. The Environmental organization Friends of the Earth alerted
the authorities to the problem highlighting the danger to other insects
as well as to frogs and birds which feed on them. The insecticides were
reportedly used in no-intervention zones with which man should not
interfere. The Czech Inspectorate for Environmental Protection says the
claims have been confirmed and the park management may receive a fine
of up to one million crowns. The park's management is pushing for
radical measures in the fight against the bark beetle and was recently
disappointed when the Environment minister refused to authorize massive
logging, allowing only manual felling of trees which must be left to

The Czech military has grounded its CASA transport planes due to a
technical defect.

The Czech military has grounded its CASA transport planes due to a
technical defect that was revealed after one of the planes ran into
trouble on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the military's general staff said
a team of experts were investigating the cause of the defect. The CASA
planes which the army purchased in view of their possible deployment in
Afghanistan where Czech soldiers are taking part in the ISAF
peacekeeping mission have been a disappointment. This is the third
technical problem revealed since the beginning of the year and plans to
deploy the aircraft in Afghanistan had to be put off after it emerged
that the anti-missile protection system supplied by the Czech firm
Omnipol was not functioning properly. Omnipol has asked for the
postponement of the deadline by which it was to solve the problem from
late April to mid-June.

Central bank revises growth outlook, holds rates

The Czech National Bank said Thursday it had revised its growth
forecast for 2011-2012 down on austerity measures planned by the
centre-right cabinet, and kept interest rates steady at record-low
levels. The bank now predicts GDP will grow by 1.5 percent this year
against a previously forecast 1.6 percent, and by 2.8 percent in 2012
instead of 3.0 percent. The centre-right government said last month it
would pin its future on badly-needed health and pension reforms
accompanied by spending cuts designed to bring the county's public
finances back on track. The Finance Ministry predicts the Czech economy
to grow by 1.9 percent this year and by 2.3 percent in 2012.

Civic Democrats to elect deputies' group leader

Civic Democrat deputies in the lower house will elect a new deputies'
group leader next Wednesday. The group's long-time leader Petr Tluchor
is unlikely to defend his post after coming under severe criticism for
his role in the recent government crisis. A proposal to replace him
immediately was recently shelved but the party has brought forward the
term of elections to the post, originally planned for June. It is not
yet clear who will challenge him for the post.

Czechs still wary of some foreigners

One in three Czechs say they would not want a Romany as their next door
neighbor, mainly because they regard them as noisy and problematic,
according to the results of an opinion survey conducted by the STEM
polling agency. Respondents also expressed reservations with regard to
Arabs and Chechens, for fear of terrorism, while they are gradually
coming to accept Vietnamese and Chinese nationals as quiet and
problem-free neighbours. STEM, which conducts these polls regularly,
says mistrust of some foreigners remains high though Czechs are
gradually getting used to a multi-cultural society.

Night frosts will lower fruit harvest

A bout of cold weather during which night time temperatures dropped to
minus 13 degrees in places is said to have seriously damaged orchards
around the country. Farmers predict a lower fruit harvest this year
with pear and cherry trees having suffered the most damage.
Meteorologists say that the night frosts are the worst in thirty-six

Ice Hockey: Czech Republic beats Finland in world championship's
preliminary match

The reigning world champions Czech Republic beat Finland 2-1 in their
final preliminary match in Group D on Wednesday evening, at the world
championships in ice hockey in Slovakia. Milan Michalek and Jaromir
Jagr both scored for the Czechs, who had to fight off a number of power
plays by the Finnish squad. Goalie Ondrej Pavalec almost earned his
second consecutive shutout. He allowed a goal only in the final minute,
after the Finns had pulled their goalie to allow an extra man on the
ice. The Czech team finished top in Group D with full points and will
play Slovakia on Friday.


The coming days should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures
at around 16 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Commemorative ceremony at Czech Radio building marks 66th anniversary
of Prague Uprising

A now famous appeal broadcast from the Czech Radio building on May 5,
1945, sparked the Prague Uprising. After hearing it on the air,
thousands of people took to the streets to fight the Nazi oppressors.
On Thursday, several events were held to mark the 66th anniversary of
the start of the Prague Uprising, including a ceremony in front of the
Czech Radio building.

Czechs win third straight, face Slovakia at Ice Hockey World

The reigning ice hockey world champions the Czech Republic beat Finland
2-1 in their final preliminary match on Wednesday evening in Slovakia.
Milan Michalek and Jaromir Jagr scored for the Czechs, while goalie
Ondrej Pavelec only allowed a goal in the dying seconds. The team has
shown its strength, finished first in Group D without losing any points
and needs only one more win to guarantee a spot in the first sudden
death round, the quarterfinals.

Radio Free Europe celebrates 60 years of broadcasting

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the official launch of Radio
Free Europe, the American-funded broadcaster which was established as
an anti-communist source of information during the Cold War and is
widely considered to have played a critical role in the ultimate
collapse of communism. Now based in Prague, Radio Free Europe continues
to provide news and information to countries where independent media
reporting is either banned by government authorities or not fully
developed. In this edition of Panorama, we look back at the history of
Radio Free Europe, which is widely respected in many quarters, although
it also has its detractors.

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