Friday, July 22, 2011

News 7.22.2011

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

News Friday, July 22nd, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* High flood alert warnings have been issued for parts of northern
Bohemia and Moravia.

* The finance minister has said he is willing to consider introducing
progressive taxation on condition that the coalition partner Public
Affairs supports a unified VAT rate of 19 percent.

* The head of the High State Attorney's Office, Vlastimil Rampula, has
been sacked.

* The acclaimed Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica will perform in Prague
on Friday with the band The No Smoking Orchestra.

* Boxer Lukas Konecny will face reigning WBO Jr. Middleweight champion
Sergiy Dzinziruk in the Czech Republic.

High flood alert warnings issued for parts of northern Bohemia and

Persistent rain throughout the country has raised the water levels of
rivers in northern Bohemia and Moravia, leading the authorities to
issue high alert warnings in places: the most serious conditions on
Friday were registered in the regions of Liberec, Hradec Kralove and
Sumperk. Meteorologists expect conditions to improve later in the
Jizersky and Krkonose Mountains, but to worsen elsewhere, namely in the
Orlicke, Jesenik and Beskid Mountains in north-eastern Moravia.
Continued rainfall has led to the closure of several roads and bridges
in Moravia; in one case, 45 children were evacuated from a summer camp
but without incident. Water breaking the banks of the Morava River,
meanwhile, has led to minor local flooding. Elsewhere, in western
Bohemia, the danger of floods has gone down since Wednesday.

Finance Minister willing to consider progressive taxation on condition
of unified VAT

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, in an interview for the Friday
edition of the daily Hospodarske noviny, said that he was willing to
discuss introducing progressive taxation for a limited period of time
on condition that junior coalition member Public Affairs support the
introduction of a unified VAT rate of 19 percent. Previously, Public
Affair's leadership had said that unless income was taxed
progressively, they were not willing to support this step, which would
put a significant burden on middle-class taxpayers and low-income
groups. This is the first time that the finance minister has publicly
said he was willing to consider progressive taxation. However, he added
that changing the income tax rate for higher-income groups was out of
the question. Instead, he said, progressive taxation could be
introduced by changing other parameters, such as tax breaks for lower
income taxpayers.

Head of High State Attorney's Office sacked

The justice minister, Jiri Pospisil, has revealed that has he has
honoured a proposal calling for the dismissal of the head of the High
State Attorney's Office Vlastmil Rampula. The minister told reporters
on Friday that he had taken the decision a day earlier, in light of
actions Mr Rampula took while in office: one was issuing an
unsubstantiated order for subordinates not to appeal in an
asset-stripping case involving the defunct IPB bank; other mistakes,
according to the minister, included the mismanagement of staff. The
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman proposed that Rampula be dismissed
back in March citing serious violations of the high state attorney's
duties. The Czech branch of Transparency International, meanwhile, had
called for Mr Rampula's dismissal calling it a necessary step to
restore public trust in the state attorney��s office.

Anti-corruption police step up investigations

The Czech anti-corruption police investigated cases worth 7.7 billion
crowns in damages in the first six months of 2011 alone - a massive
surge compared to 560 million crowns over the same period in 2010,
anti-corruption police spokesman Roman Skrepek said on Friday.
Detectives investigated 31 possible corruption cases, launching
criminal proceedings in 16 of them and bringing charges against 44
people. Last year, the number of charges over the same period was seven

Detectives from the squad also seized property valued at almost one
billion crowns. Compared to last year, the value of property
confiscated had also surged, the unit spokesman said. He added that the
seizure of crime profits was a top priority for the police unit as
perpetrators feel the financial hit more than prison sentences.

Senate rejects road safety amendment

The Czech Senate on Friday rejected an amendment to road safety
legislation which would have ended a loophole in the law that often
allows drivers to shirk the blame for speeding, when caught by a radar
station and camera. Making use of the loophole drivers can refuse to
pay for speeding tickets by saying simply they were not at the wheel of
their vehicle at the time. The amendment proposed holding the owners of
cars responsible, regardless of who was driving. It was rejected
unanimously by 60 senators present (there are 81 in the upper house).
The bill now goes back to the Chamber of Deputies, which can override
the Senate decision.

Court sentences child rapist to 10 years in prison

The regional court in Ostrava has sentenced 32-year-old Slovak national
Stefan Chudy to 10 years in prison for the rape of two children - aged
eight and 10 - last January in the town of Orlove. At knife-point the
suspect forced the children, a boy and a girl, to perform oral sex and
other acts. Neither of the two has recovered from their ordeal,
reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress. The defendant's lawyer
called the trial 'nonsense', saying his client's admission of guilt to
police had been coerced. The defendant has a chance to appeal.

Blesk: Czech Oscar-winning singer/pianist Irglova marries

Czech singer and pianist Marketa Irglova, who won an Oscar together
with Irish musician Glen Hansard in 2008 for the Best Original song
Falling Slowly, featured in the film Once, has married the Czech
tabloid Blesk reports. According to the tabloid, the 23-year-old Czech
celebrity tied the knot with American guitarist Tim Iseler; the daily
cited Ms Irglova��s own statements on Twitter. Irglova, born in Valasske
Mezrici in north Moravia, is the only Czech woman to have won an
Academy Award; at the age of 19 she was also the youngest person to win
an Oscar in a music category.

Kusturica to perform in Prague with band The No Smoking Orchestra

Serbian filmmaker and musician Emir Kusturica will perform in Prague on
Friday with his band The No Smoking Orchestra. The group is headlining
a festival held on the bank of the Vltava River. Other performers will
include Czech singer Dan Barta. Mr Kusturica is a graduate from the
Prague film academy FAMU who studied under the legendary Otakar Vavra.
He is the director of a number of acclaimed films including Underground
and Time of the Gypsies.

Boxing: Konecny will face WBO Jr. Middleweight champion Sergiy
Dzinziruk in title match in September

Czech boxer Lukas Konecny will face reigning WBO Jr. Middleweight
champion Sergiy Dzinziruk of Ukraine in the WBO title fight to be held
in the Czech Republic in September. The date of September 30 was
revealed by the World Boxing Organisation's president, Francisco
Valcarcel, but the location of the match has not yet been disclosed.
Candidate cities reportedly included the capital Prague, Usti nad
Labem, and Karlovy Vary, but the Czech news agency, CTK, says it has
information the three cities are no longer in the running. Konecny has
welcomed the decision regarding the date but will have to shed 12 kilos
ahead of the match, both through training and a special diet. The Czech
fighter has won 47 out of 50 professional matches.


Cloudy conditions with rainfall in places are expected to continue into
the weekend; daytime temperatures should range between 18 and 22

Articles posted on today

'A Hidden Face of Baroque' offers viewers a unique opportunity to
contemplate rare 17th century prints

A new exhibition entitled 'A Hidden Face of Baroque' opened on Thursday
at the National Gallery's Kinsky Palace in Prague. The show allows
visitors a chance to view rare 17th century prints historically tied to
the lands of to Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. Many are faithful
renderings of works by early Baroque painters such as Karel Skreta,
expertly reproduced by engravers both in Bohemia and neighbouring
Germany, especially Augsburg, renowned for printmaking at that time.
The exhibition highlights all of the dramatic grandeur, symbolism and
allegory typical of the Baroque style.

Business News 22.7.2011

Finance Ministry raises growth outlook for this year and the next; ECM
Real Estate declared bankrupt; Central European banking has stabilised;
Forbes magazine is coming to the Czech Republic; Zuno Bank opens its
virtual doors to Czech customers.

Right-wing parties willing to introduce some form of progressive

Although on Wednesday the cabinet approved a draft budget for 2012
envisaging a deficit of 105 billion crowns, the right wing parties have
not given up pushing for an alternative proposal which would enable a
more drastic reduction of the public finance deficit to 95 billion
crowns. In order to give the latter proposal, envisaging a unified 19
percent VAT rate, a new lease on life TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic
Party have said they are willing to consider the junior party Public
Affairs' demand for progressive taxation - albeit indirectly and for a
limited period of time. Radio Prague asked Raiffeisen bank's chief
economist and former finance minister Pavel Mertlik what he thinks is
behind the unexpected U-turn.

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