Saturday, May 7, 2011

News 5.7.2011

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

News Saturday, May 7th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* The president's deputy chief of staff Petr Hajek disgraced the Czech
Republic with his comments on the death of Osama bin Laden, says
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

* Several thousand people have demonstrated against legal restrictions
on marijuana use in Prague.

* A separate demonstration is taking place in Prague to protest
government reforms.

* The lower house of the Czech Parliament has passed an amendment
relaxing the so-called "muzzle law".

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Schwarzenberg: Hajek's comments on bin Laden a disgrace to the Czech
Republic
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The president's deputy chief of staff Petr Hajek disgraced the Czech
Republic with his comments on the death of Osama bin Laden, says
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Mr Schwarzenberg released a
statement to the press saying that Mr Hajek's comments - that the life
and death of the terrorist leader was a work of media fiction -
insulted an ally and the head of an allied state, brought adverse
attention and disgraced the good name of the Czech Republic. Speaking
to the Czech Press Agency from a trip to Northern Africa, the foreign
minister said he was not responding to diplomatic pressure from the
United States for an apology, but was simply "pissed off". President
Klaus eventually distanced himself from the remarks, saying on
Wednesday that they had not been thought through. Petr Hajek has
frequently suggested that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were
orchestrated by the United States itself.


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Thousands protest marijuana restrictions in Prague
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Several thousand people demonstrated against the restriction of
marijuana use in Prague on Saturday. An estimated 6,000, mostly young
people marched through city centre to a park in Zizkov, dancing and
distributing cannabis seeds, to support the legalisation of cannabis
for medical and recreational use. Organisers asked the government to
respect their rights by decriminalising the drug and its users. The
protest is the fourteenth of its kind this year in Prague. Czech law
currently allows possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana.


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Separate demonstration protesting reforms
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Another demonstration is taking place in Prague on Saturday to protest
government reforms. Several hundred people are expected to gather at
Jan Palach Square to protest the right-wing coalition's health,
welfare, pension and tax reforms. Organisers say the new laws would
worsen the quality of life in the Czech Republic and disrupt social
cohesiveness and solidarity. The gathering is supported, amongst
others, by the confederation of trade unions, which has threatened
strikes, and the national council for disabled persons.


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MPs approve relaxation of "muzzle law"
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The lower house of the Czech Parliament has passed a bill relaxing the
so-called muzzle law, which restricts the publication of information
about individuals involved in criminal investigations. The amendment,
proposed by the government, would allow the media to publish
information from investigations if they believe public interest
outweighs the protection of privacy. According to the Ministry of
Justice, such cases could include recordings of politicians that
suggest they have broken the law. If approved by the Senate and
ratified by the president the new exemptions will take effect this year.


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Chamber of Deputies passes non-property damages for victims of violent
crime
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Another government-sponsored bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies on
Friday enables victims of violent crime to demand compensation for
non-property damages. If signed into law, the amendment would allow
courts to assess such damages based upon the amount demanded by victims
and the evidence they provide. At present, courts may only assess
damages based on material damages that can be expressed monetarily,
otherwise they must sue for personal damages separately, an option not
frequently used.


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Bill allowing EU citizens to buy land passes
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A government bill allowing foreigners to purchase residential real
estate and land in the Czech Republic has been passed by the lower
house of Parliament. The prohibition was an exemption that the country
demanded upon acceding to the EU and expires this May. Foreign
companies based in the Czech Republic and others however have long been
availing themselves of legal loopholes and currently own land in the
tens of thousands of hectares.


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Six arrested for large-scale tax evasion
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Police are investigating six people in Moravia who they believe are
guilty of tax evasion in the amount of 420 million crowns. According to
police, the suspects were intentionally evading payment of value added
tax on deals in mineral oils used to produce gasoline in 2009. They
were arrested after police raids in five cities uncovered large amounts
of evidence. If found guilty they face up to ten years' imprisonment.


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Weather
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The coming days are expected to be clear with daytime temperatures of
around 18 degrees Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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The joys and sorrows of this year's Magnesia Litera awards
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Last month saw the Czech Republic's glitziest annual literary event,
the presentation of the Magnesia Litera awards. The awards covered nine
different categories, including prose, poetry, children's books and
translations, as well as the coveted title of Book of the Year, and the
ceremony was broadcast live on prime-time Czech TV. In Czech Books,
David Vaughan looks at some of the winners and talks to the person who
first thought up the awards.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/books/the-joys-and-sorrows-of-this-years-magnesia-litera-awards


Mailbox 7.5.2011
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Today in Mailbox: Sunday Music Show, Magazine, learning Czech, your
answers to the April mystery Czech quiz question, a brand new question
for May. Listeners quoted: Joe T. Vosoba, Ivan, Sam Beaton, Hans Verner
Lollike, S. J. Agboola, Prithwiraj Purkayastha, Chun-Quan Meng, Kifle,
Henrik Klemetz, Asifa Shaheen, Ian Morrison, Constantin Liviu Viorel,
Mary Lou Krenek, David Eldridge, Colin Law, Annette Harris, Jayanta
Chakrabarty, Charles Konecny.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/mailbox/mailbox-2011-05-07


Edvard Benes: a choice of evils
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In sombre tones the second Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes
announced his resignation on Czechoslovak Radio on October 5 1938.
Since becoming president in 1935, he had been haunted by the spectre of
Nazi Germany, as Hitler had fuelled separatist sentiment among the
country's 3.5 million German speakers. Here is an extract from one of
President Benes' vain appeals for reconciliation, in April 1938.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/archives/edvard-benes-a-choice-of-evils-1


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