Wednesday, June 8, 2011

News 6.8.2011

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

News Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By: Sarah Borufka

* The lower house has approved a new Civil Code.

* The Senate has rejected a change of the retirement age regulation
proposed as part of the pension reform.

* The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has started
inspecting vegetable sprouts, which may be behind a recent outbreak of
bacterial infections in Europe.

* The general director of Czech TV resigns from his post due to health

* The average monthly wage in the Czech Republic has increased by 2.1

Lower house approves new Civil Code

The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a new Civil Code,
bringing about a radical overhaul in the areas of family, ownership and
contract law. Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil said that the country
deserved a new, liberal code of civil law. The opposition Social
Democrats and the Communist Party criticized the law but could not
prevent its passage through the lower house. At the instigation of the
Social Democrats, the lower house's constitutional rights committee
will be investigating whether the new Civil Code is in accordance with
the Czech constitution over the next three months.

Senate rejects changes to retirement age regulation

On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a change in the retirement age
regulation, proposed as part of the pension reform. The opposition,
which has a majority in the Senate, also pushed through changes to the
proposed calculation of pensions that would benefit middle-class
seniors. The proposal will now again be put to the vote in the lower

Under the new pension reform, the retirement age would gradually be
increased, with a planned universal retirement age for both women and
men to be introduced in 2041. According to the head of the Senate,
Social Democrat Milan Stech, it would be more sensible to update the
retirement age every five years based on the average life expectancy.

Food Inspection Authority draws samples from sprouts sold on domestic

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has taken a number
of samples from vegetable sprouts that may be behind an outbreak of a
bacterial infection which first was observed in Germany. The German
government has stated that it may be caused by vegetable sprouts. The
Czech Food Inspection Authority started drawing samples from both
domestic and imported sprouts last week. So far, experts in Germany
have not yet confirmed that sprouts are the actual reason behind the
infection, which is caused by a mutated E. coli bacterium. In Germany,
the bacterial infection has killed 25 people.

General Director of Czech TV resigns

The general director of Czech TV, Jiri Janecek, has announced that he
will be resigning from his post due to health reasons. He said on
Wednesday that he will be leaving the post, which he has held for eight
years, at the end of August. He added that he was making the
announcement in due time so that a new director could be found. He
refused to provide a detailed explanation of his health. However, in
2007, Mr. Janecek suffered from a venous thrombosis.

Majority of Public Affairs voters regret giving the party their vote

The majority of those who voted for the junior coalition party Public
Affairs say they regret giving the party their vote, a fresh survey by
the STEM agency suggests. According to the poll, which was published on
Tuesday, some three quarters of Czechs who cast their ballot in favor
of Public Affairs say they regret the decision. Overall, roughly one in
four Czech voters is unhappy with their last vote. Some 29 percent
responded that they are not sure who they would vote for in the next
general elections.

Average monthly wage increases by 2.1 percent

Data about the salary development in the Czech Republic published on
Wednesday indicates that the average monthly wage has increased by 2.1
percent or 0.4 percent after being adjusted for inflation. The average
monthly salary in the Czech Republic grew by 471 crowns, to 23,144
Czech crowns, or roughly 956 Euro. According to analysts, the result
was more positive than expected and shows that business continue to
employ a conservative salary policy. Experts say that the development
of wages has been healthy and appropriate considering the general
status of the economy.

Unemployment rate shows steady decline

Czech unemployment declined for a fourth consecutive month in May, data
from the Labor Ministry showed Wednesday. The jobless rate fell to 8.2
percent, in line with expectations, from 8.6 percent in the previous
month. A year ago, the rate was 8.7 percent. The unemployment rate for
women was 9.5 percent and that for men came in at 7.2 percent. Analysts
predict a further decline in the coming months, largely due to seasonal

Poll finds Czechs continue placing great trust in their doctors

According to a fresh survey, the traditionally high trust that Czechs
place in their doctors and pharmacists remains unchanged. The poll,
published by the polling agency Factum Invenio, finds that nine out of
ten respondents are convinced that their doctor will prescribe them the
medicine that is best for them. Interestingly, some three quarters said
that they believe that physicians find themselves under pressure from
pharmaceutical companies. According to the director of Factum Invenio,
this is not a paradox in itself. He explains that while patients are
aware of the growing influence of pharmaceutical companies, they
continue to place great trust in their doctors and do not believe that
they would act in a way that would damage patients' health.

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to feature picks from other

The 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature a number
of films that were successful at festivals abroad in its
non-competitive Horizons section. Among the movies selected is the
Iranian film Nader And Simin, A Separation, which won the Golden Bear
at this year's Berlinale, one of the most prestigious film festivals
world-wide. Other picks include the Italian film The Solitude of Prime
Numbers, a nominee for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International
Film Festival. German director Wim Wender's 3D film Pina will also be
shown outside of the competition at this year's festival.

DNA tests may have revealed perpetrator of 1994 murder

DNA tests may have solved a murder case that happened 17 years ago. The
possible perpetrator is a 50-year old prisoner who is serving a
sentence for the murder of his grandmother. His blood was also found on
the t-shirt of the victim of a 1994 murder. The man is currently facing
a trial at a court in the north Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem.
According to a state official, this may one of the first occasions in
the Czech Republic on which DNA testing has lead to the apprehension of
a murderer.


The present heat wave should give way to a bout of cold and rainy
weather on Thursday when day temperatures are expected to drop to
around 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Public Affairs's deputy chair Karolina Peake: we will support reform
bills despite coalition infighting

The lower house of the Czech Parliament is in session debating a series
of reform bills. But the government that has vowed to implement them
has been entangled in a drawn-out political crisis, fuelled by
recurring clashes between the junior Public Affairs party on the one
hand and the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 on the other. On Tuesday,
Public Affairs announced they would give their coalition partners
another three weeks to fulfil their demands, including more ministerial
posts within the centre-right government. Radio Prague spoke to the
Public Affairs deputy chair Karolina Peake and asked her to clarify her
party's future within the coalition.

Thousands sign petition against planned demolition of building on
Wenceslas Square

The planned demolition of an Art Nouveau building on Prague's Wenceslas
Square is drawing increasing opposition in the form of an on-line
petition, while seeing hundreds take part in a protest meeting on
Tuesday on the square itself. The building in question, 1601
Opletalova, is not itself a heritage site but is located within a
protected area. The owners and developers want to tear the structure
down (as well as gut the interiors of two adjacent buildings) to make
room for a new commercial centre. Other than the petition, few
obstacles stand in their way: both City Hall and the culture minister,
Jiri Besser, have already given the green light.

Pivovarsky Dum and Pivovarsky Klub - two top-notch beer destinations in
the heart of Prague

In the Czech capital, Pivovarsky Dum, a brewpub right in the center of
Prague with a microbrewery on its premises, as well as its sister
establishment, Pivovarsky Klub, a restaurant that offers hundreds of
beer varieties, were among the first to promote small, regional beers.
With the current renaissance of microbrews in full swing, Pivovarsky
Klub continues to showcase the best of what the Czech Republic's small
brewers have to offer. Pivovarsky Klub's Ales Dockal talks about how he
got his start in the hospitality business, the beer industry and how
many kinds of beers his restaurant has on offer.

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