Thursday, August 11, 2011

News 8.11.2011

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

News Thursday, August 11th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Church representatives have accepted the government's proposal for
property restitutions.

* Prague's mayor has refused a call from the archbishop to withdraw his
support for Prague Pride, a gay and lesbian festival underway in the

* The controversy over bark beetle in the Sumava National Park has
taken an unexpected turn - the beetle is reported to be dying in the
thousands due to the cold and humid summer.

* Thailand has introduced visa-free travel for Czech citizens.

* The cabinet is to further discuss the possibility of boosting the
Education Ministry's budget for 2012.

Church representatives accept government's restitution proposal

Church representatives on Thursday accepted the government's proposal
for property restitutions. The cabinet has proposed an arrangement
under which churches in the Czech Republic would receive 56 percent of
property confiscated by the communists and compensation to the tune of
59 billion crowns for the rest. The money was to have been paid out
over a period of 30 years, but Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka said
church representatives were pushing for a 20 year period instead.

Prague mayor firm in his support for Prague Pride

Prague's mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has refused a call from Prague
Archbishop Dominik Duka to withdraw his support for Prague Pride, a
five-day gay and lesbian festival now underway in the Czech capital. In
a letter to the mayor the archbishop wrote that Prague Pride was not
about promoting the rights of minorities but rather about propagating a
"loose" lifestyle, which he said was irresponsible and did not merit
support from the authorities. The mayor said he would stand firmly by
his decision and called for greater tolerance.

Bark beetle being killed by adverse weather

The controversy over bark beetle in the Sumava National Park has taken
an unexpected turn - the beetle is reported to be dying in the
thousands due to the cold and humid summer. Entomologists say the
beetle is being eliminated naturally by viruses and fungae. Logging in
most of the infested areas has been stopped and will come to a halt on
Friday in the most controversial part of the park -near Modrava - where
environmental activists have been staging a blockade to try and
physically prevent felling. The park's management said it would assess
the situation to determine a further course of action.

Thailand introduces visa-free travel for tourists

Thailand has introduced visa-free travel for Czech citizens. People
travelling to Thailand as tourists for a period of under 30 days will
no longer require a visa, the Embassy of Thailand announced on its web
page on Thursday. Entry into Thailand from a neighbouring country
without a visa is possible for a period of 15 days. And foreigners
entering Thailand are required to have a passport valid for at least 6
months after the date of entry. Thailand is one of the most popular
tourist destinations for Czechs with on average 30,000 Czech tourists
holiday there every year.

Cabinet to debate possibility of boosting Education Ministry's budget

The cabinet is to further discuss the possibility of boosting the
Education Ministry's budget for 2012. Finance Minister Miroslav
Kalousek who has been under pressure from trade unions to find extra
money for the Education Ministry said following talks with union
representatives on Thursday that he was not against the idea in
principle but the money would have to be taken from another state
institution and approved by the whole cabinet. Mr. Kalousek said he had
no reserves with which to help out the ministry. Education Minister
Josef Dobes said that if his resort did not get an additional 1,5
billion crowns he would be forced to cut the wages of non-teaching
staff by five percent. This would reduce the average wage of
non-teaching staff -such as cooks and caretakers - to 13,000 crowns a
month on average. The average monthly wage in the Czech Republic is
just over 22 thousand crowns a month.

Health Ministry to publish reference prices of medical goods

The Health Ministry has announced its decision to publish the reference
prices of medical goods including medicines, equipment and materials.
Minister Leos Heger said this was being done in order to curb
corruption and overpricing. The minister said the list could save
hospitals up to 5 billion crowns a year. The list will also be
accessible to the public.

Civic Democrats veto bank accounts register

Ministers for the Civic Democratic Party on Thursday blocked a proposal
in cabinet for the creation of a central database of bank accounts. The
national register was to have enabled the police and state attorneys to
gain fast access to the number of accounts a person or company has with
different banks and financial institutions. The proposal was part of a
package of anti-corruption measures and was supported by both TOP 09
and Public Affairs.

Brdy Hills to become protected nature reserve

The Brdy Hills, an area southwest of Prague,that has long served as
military training grounds is to be turned into a protected nature
reserve. Defense Minister Alexander Vondra and Environment Minister
Tomas Chalupa on Thursday met with the mayors of the surrounding towns
and villages to discuss plans for the future in view of the military's
planned withdrawal from the area. The ministry intends to withdraw from
Brdy by 2015 partly due to cost cutting measures. It is also scrapping
or reducing other military training grounds considered unnecessarily
large. The Brdy Nature Reserve is to be larger than the present
training grounds, linking up to adjacent reserves.

Police searching for triple murder suspect

The police is searching for a man suspected of having stabbed to death
three people in the town of Mukarov near Prague. One of the victims -a
48-year-old man was found stabbed on the road, the bodies of a man and
woman were later discovered in a house nearby. The three are believed
to have been relatives but the motive behind the murders is unclear.
Police are questioning the family's relatives and neighbours.

Repeat offender gets lifelong sentence for brutal murder

A Plzen court has served a repeat offender a lifelong sentence for the
brutal murder of a shop owner. The man who has served a number of
sentences amounting to twenty years for robberies and violence, showed
what the judge described as unspeakable brutality against his victim.
He knocked the man down and stomped on his head until the man's skull
cracked open and his brains came out. Psychologists ruled out any
chance of re-socialization, saying the man presented a threat to
society. He may still appeal the verdict.


The weather is expected to gradually improve over the next few days
with afternoon highs at around 25 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Police force to open doors to certain foreign recruits

The ranks of the organised crime department of the Czech police have
hitherto been filled with Czech citizens by law. It is not only Czech
citizens though contributing to organised criminal activity in the
Czech Republic. While the police do not keep, or at least publish,
statistics on crimes committed by non-Czech nationals, a need has
apparently arisen to open their doors to foreign job applicants. On
Wednesday, the government approved that aim, with the passing of the
new conceptual plan for the organised crime unit that will, for the
first time, allow citizens of other countries to work for the police.

New map shows Prague from locals' perspective

Are you planning to visit Prague but would like to avoid all the
tourist traps? Do you want to spend some time off the beaten track and
experience the city the way the locals do? If you consider yourself a
traveller rather than a tourist, a new map called Use It will help you
to do all that, and more.

Pavel Bobek - Part 1

Pavel Bobek is one of the greats of Czech popular music, best known for
his Czech versions of songs by American artists like Kris
Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, and his long-time hero Johnny Cash. A trained
architect, he started out in the Czechoslovak bigbit (rock'n'roll)
scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s, singing with an early version
of the band Olympic before becoming a member of the Semafor theatre,
one of the country's most vibrant cultural institutions in the
Communist era.

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