Saturday, July 9, 2011

News 7.9.2011

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

News Saturday, July 9th, 2011

By: Sarah Borufka

* Police chief Petr Lessy has announced that he will put a cap on
'artificially inflated police salaries'.

* The Czech army paid for times as much for its Pandur armored
personnel carriers as the Portuguese army, the daily Mlada front dnes
writes on Saturday.

* According to some experts, President Vaclav Klaus is not fully
respecting the constitutional duties of his office, the daily Lidove
noviny writes on Saturday.

* The astronaut who made headlines when he brought along a stuffed
animal version of a popular Czech cartoon character with him on a NASA
mission is to visit the Czech Republic.

* The 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival closes Saturday

Police chief announces stricter policy on bonuses for police officers

Police chief Petr Lessy has announced that he wants to put an end to
what he calls the 'artificial inflation' of police salaries, the daily
Pravo writes on Saturday. He said that this year, he introduced a new
policy under which the total amount of bonuses and other payments
beyond the regular monthly wage a member of the police can receive in a
year may not exceed 100,000 Czech crowns. Previously, such payments
could reach up to several hundred, in some cases even a million crowns.
Some high-ranking officers received inflated pensions as a consequence,
since they continued to hold and be paid for administrative posts after
they retired from active police duty. In some cases, pensions of
several tens of thousands of crowns per month were paid out. This sum
that widely exceeds the average pension of around 10,000 crowns.

Czech army purchased Pandur vehicles at inflated cost, daily writes

The Czech army paid four times as much for its armored Pandur vehicles
as the Portuguese army, the daily Mlada front dnes writes on Saturday.
Quoting a contract between the Portuguese army and the Austrian firm
Steyr, which provided the vehicles to both countries' armed forces, the
daily writes that the armored personnel carriers purchased by the
Portuguese army were extremely similar in their equipment to the 199
carriers that the Czech army bought in 2009. The price of 135 million
Czech crowns per vehicle, which has been quoted by Czech politicians,
is inflated, since the Portuguese only paid 35 million for each of the
Pandur vehicles it purchased, the daily writes. A Czech-Austrian police
team launched an investigation into possible corruption in the Pandur
public tender awarded by the Czech Defense Ministry a year ago.

In February, the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes suggested that members
of the Ministry of Defense, which in 2009 had signed a 14.4 billion
crown contract with the Austrian company Steyr to buy armored personnel
carriers, had earmarked two to three percent of the tender as kickbacks
for the two strongest political parties. The report caused a scandal
and some politicians called for far-reaching reforms that would create
greater transparency of public tenders.

Experts: President not abiding by constitution

According to some experts, President Vaclav Klaus is not fully abiding
by the constitution, the daily Lidove noviny writes on Saturday. This
week, Mr. Klaus decided not to endorse two bills: the government's
'minor pension reform bill' and another piece of legislation concerning
biofuels. Constitutional law expert Jan Kysely says that the president
is legally bound to sign off on bills that have passed through the
legislative process. He adds that both Mr. Klaus and former president
Vaclav Havel have often expressed their opinions regarding certain
bills rather than merely fulfilling the formal act of signing of on
them. This, he says, is unconstituional and inappropriate, since it
demonstrates the president's disregard of the country's constitution.

American astronaut fond of Czech cartoon mole to visit Czech Republic

The American astronaut Andrew Feustel, who took a stuffed animal
version of the famous Czech cartoon mole Krtecek with him when he left
on NASA's space shuttle Endeavour mission in April, will be visiting
the Czech Republic on July 29. Pavel Suchan of the Academy of Sciences,
which invited the astronaut to the Czech Republic, said that a visit
with the creator of the famous cartoon mole, Zdenek Miller, was also on
Mr. Feustel's agenda. Mr. Feustel chose the little mole as a mascot on
his mission because of his indirect Czech roots. His wife's mother
comes from the south Moravian town of Znojmo and his wife owned many
books featuring the mole when she was a child.

46th edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival draws to close
Saturday night

The 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will come to an end
on Saturday night, when the winner of this year's main competition is
announced at the closing ceremony. In addition, the American actor John
Turturro will be given the President's Award. This year's closing
movies is Woody Allen's comedy Midnight in Paris. In the festival's
non-official categories, the winners were already announced Saturday
afternoon. The Slovak film Cigan, by director Martin Sulik, won the
festival's Best European film award, as well as the international film
federation's Don Quijote award.

Driver killed in car crash in Prague on Saturday

A man was killed in a car crash in Prague on Saturday. The accident
occurred when two cars collided head-on in the early hours of Saturday
morning, a police spokeswoman said. Paramedics attempted to rescue one
of the drivers, who had been trapped inside his car, but the man had
been killed by the impact of the accident. Another two persons were
injured in the accident and are being treated at hospital.

Boarding house in Olomouc region burned down Saturday

A boarding-house in the village of Oskava, in the Moravian Olomouc
region, burned down early on Saturday morning. The wooden construction
was empty when the fire started spreading, and no one was injured.
However, the fire caused damages of over 10 million Czech crowns.
Fire-fighters who arrived at the scene were not able to extinguish the
fire that had spread quickly and destroyed the building. The
family-owned boarding house was built 3 years ago and cost 14 million
crowns to construct. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.


Strong storms are expected to hit the Czech Republic over the weekend.
Rains and even hail are expected in some places; with southern Bohemia
and Moravia the two most affected regions. Daytime temperatures between
24 and 28 degrees are expected on Saturday.

Articles posted on today

"If I had been a boy, I would have been shot..." Part 4

We continue with the fourth episode of "If I had been a boy, I would
have been shot..." by Jaroslava Sklenickova, in which she tells the
extraordinary story of her life following the destruction of her home
village of Lidice at the height of the Nazi occupation in June 1942.
David Vaughan gives us the story so far.

The royal town of Pisek

A well-known 19th century student song sings about Putimska brana - one
of the three historic gates in the town walls around Pisek. Only a
remnant of the gate is preserved to this day and the town has long
expanded beyond its medieval defensive walls.

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