Thursday, July 14, 2011

News 7.14.2011

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

News Thursday, July 14th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Prime Minister Petr Necas says his government has passed its initial
test in the first year in office.

* The Public Affairs party has objected to the finance minister's draft
budget proposal for 2012.

* The daily MF Dnes suggests that a majority of MPs will vote to
withdraw immunity from leading Public Affairs member Vit Barta.

* The Swiss company Diag Human has appealed the verdict of a Viennese
court, which cancelled the seizure of three Czech artworks as
compensation for damages.

* A miner was killed on Thursday morning during a seismic disturbance,
the second such incident this week.

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Necas rates government one year on
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Prime Minister Petr Necas says his government has passed its initial
test in the first year in office. Writing in the daily Lidove noviny a
few days prior to its first anniversary, the prime minister says that
in spite of much squabbling the government has succeeded in pushing all
of its plans through Parliament. The cabinet, he says, has worked hard
and has been able to arrive at reasonable compromises, implementing
responsible budget policies while not fearing temporary drops in
popularity. The Civic Democratic chairman went on to describe free
health care and the vision of a welfare state that looks after everyone
as "crumbling icons" evinced by the economic situation in Greece. The
centre-right, tri-party government came to power after general
elections in May of 2010 and enjoys a comfortable majority of 118
deputies in the 200-member lower house. Its popularity, however, has
fallen to a mere 20% and it has been rocked by a series of scandals and
internal disputes.


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Public Affairs objects to finance minister's draft budget for 2012
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The junior coalition party, Public Affairs, has objected to next year's
draft budget, submitted by Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. The
party's economic expert, Michal Babak, told the Czech Press Agency that
the party was surprised that the information submitted at a meeting of
economic ministers last night had "changed everything" in the
government's coalition agreement. Public Affairs chairman Radek John
said that the budget versions he saw were disastrous, and that he
rejects VAT being raised to more than the coalition had agreed upon.
Public Affairs tabled its budget demands during coalition negotiations
on the future of the government, however the other parties rejected the
inclusion of the budget in the new coalition agreement.


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MF Dnes: 116 MPs will vote to strip Barta of immunity
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A survey of MPs conducted by the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reports that
116 will vote to withdraw immunity from Public Affairs MP Vit Barta.
Police have requested that the de facto leader of the junior coalition
party be given up for investigation on suspicion of corruption; the
report suggests that the lower house will apparently grant that
request. TOP 09 party members agreed earlier to vote in unison against
Mr Barta, and a large majority of left-wing MPs followed suit. Mr Barta
was forced to leave his cabinet post as transport minister earlier this
year when he was accused by two former party colleagues of paying them
large sums of money for their loyalty and silence on party finance
issues.


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Diag Human appeals verdict on art seizures
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The Swiss company Diag Human has appealed the verdict of a Viennese
court, which cancelled the seizure of three Czech artworks as
compensation for damages. The appeal makes it unlikely the artworks
will be returned to the Czech Republic in the near future. Two weeks
ago, the court found that the two paintings and one sculpture were
exempt from seizure as cultural property. The court had previously
recognised the firm's compensation claim worth an estimated 10 billion
crowns owed by the Czech state for thwarting its planned trade. The
works of art had been on loan for an exhibition in Vienna when they
were seized.


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Miner dies in accident, second this week.
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Another miner was killed on Thursday morning during a seismic
disturbance one kilometre underground; another man was injured. The
42-year-old man was the second miner to lose his life this week and the
fourth this year. A similar such disturbance in the same mine in
north-eastern Moravia took the life of a 45-year-old mine worker on
Tuesday. The causes of the unusual series of accidents are under
investigation by a special commission of mining authorities working in
cooperation with the police. Experts say that seismic disturbances are
often impossible to protect against, in spite of modern warning
technology.


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Namibian Foreign Minister meets with Czech Industry Minister
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Czech Industry Minister Martin Kocourek met with Namibian Foreign
Minister Utoni Nujoma on Thursday to discuss possibilities for
improving trade between their countries, which currently show little
profit. Mr Nujoma suggested that Czech firms become more involved in
the modernisation of basic infrastructure in Namibia and in supplying
technology for mining and energy production. Deputy minister Milan
Hovorka pointed out that the long-term economic results of trade
between the countries did not correspond to their potential..


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Doctor sentenced to 18 years for murder of former patient
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The District Court in Ostrava has handed down a sentence of 18 years in
prison to a doctor convicted of murdering his former patient. According
to the state prosecutor, the doctor visited the 74-year-old woman's
flat, beat and strangled her and stole several thousand crowns worth of
items, allegedly to get money for alcohol. The man had apparently been
committing petty thefts for several months and had stolen from family
members to pay for an alcohol habit he said was caused by depression.


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Public pays final respects to violinist Josef Suk
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The public has paid final respects to violinist Josef Suk, who died on
July 7 at the age of 81. The ceremony in Prague's Rudolfinum palace was
organised by the Prague Spring music festival and the Czech
Philharmonic, with which Mr Suk played for decades. The great-grandson
of Antonin Dvorak and grandson of composer Josef Suk will be buried on
Friday in his family tomb at the Vysehrad cemetery, where many
well-known Czech figures are laid to rest. A mass will be served by
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk and attended by President Vaclav Klaus.


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Perfume project in Prague buses cancelled
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A project to scent buses in Prague with perfume has been cancelled due
to a lack of funds. The Prague transit authority, DPP, tested the idea
in February and March of this year to reportedly unanimous acclaim.
However, it has since decided that the 31 million crowns that the
project would require annually are beyond its budget capabilities. DPP
and the company Skoda Transportation are also currently testing free
internet connections in Prague trams.


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Bohemia hit by powerful lightning storm
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A powerful thunderstorm hit Bohemia on Wednesday evening. Thousands of
households, primarily in the south, were left without electricity;
around a hundred remained without power as of Thursday evening.
Accompanying high winds fell trees in many areas around Bohemia,
complicating traffic conditions on Thursday morning. The storm also
brought an unusually high number of lightning strikes that caused
several fires and struck, but did not injure, one young man. The
meteorological institute recorded some 60,000 flashes of lightning,
nearly half of the monthly average.


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Weather
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Thursday's weather forecast calls for more heavy storms in Moravia.
Elsewhere conditions are expected to be cloudy to mostly cloudy and
cool, with temperatures of around 20o Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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News from the regions
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In this week's Panorama: a dispute over a Carpathian wooden church ends
in a surprising manner, home-made folk music instruments and an almond
orchard in Moravia.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/panorama/news-from-the-regions


Czech state may have to pay billions of crowns to Slovak pensioners
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As the coalition government moves to push a badly needed overhaul of
the pension system through the lower house, fresh clouds have appeared
on the horizon. It has emerged that the Czech Republic may have to pay
Slovak pensioners who worked in Czech firms during the 73 years of a
common state financial contributions to the tune of billions of crowns.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/czech-state-may-have-to-pay-billions-of-crowns-to-slovak-pensioners


French Bastille Day celebrated with food market on Prague's Kampa island
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For the third year in a row now, the French Bastille Day on July 14th
is celebrated with an open-air food market on Prague's Kampa island.
The stalls offer a wide variety of French wines, cheeses, meats and
other delicacies to an increasingly interested Czech public.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/french-bastille-day-celebrated-with-food-market-on-pragues-kampa-island


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