Wednesday, August 17, 2011

News 8.17.2011

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

News Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* TOP 09 ministers have threatened to leave the government unless the
Education Ministry sacks and rebukes advisor Ladislav Batora for
insulting chairman Karel Schwarzenberg.

* Education Minister Josef Dobes says he will apologize on Mr Batora's
behalf, but does not intend to sack him.

* Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra will attend the funeral of Ctirad
Masin next week and present him with a military honour in memoriam.

* President Klaus has ratified an act honouring members of the
anti-communist resistance.

* Czech footballer Jan Koller has announced his retirement.

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TOP 09: Either Batora goes, or we do
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Cabinet members of the TOP 09 party have threatened to leave the
government unless the Education Ministry sacks and rebukes
ultra-conservative advisor and HR chief Ladislav Batora. All five
ministers for TOP 09 walked out of Wednesday's government meeting to
protest insults that the controversial official hurled at their
chairman, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, via his Facebook page.
Responding to colloquially-phrased criticism by Mr Schwarzenberg that
he was inappropriate for his position, Mr Batora called the TOP 09
chairman a "poor little old man" who he said "sputters brazenly when he
knows I can't challenge him to a duel for at least three reasons."

A far-right conservative and ally of President Vaclav Klaus, Ladislav
Batora's presence in the Education Ministry has been a major point of
contention since the president suggested him for the post in February.
He was formerly a candidate for the extremist National Party and most
recently sought public attention for his stance against Prague's first
festival of homosexuality.


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Dobes will offer apology, but will not dismiss Batora
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Education Minister Josef Dobes of the Public Affairs party apologised
to Mr Schwarzenberg on Wednesday on behalf of Mr Batora, but says he
does not intend to sack him. Mr Dobes said Wednesday afternoon that his
aide's comments were within the bounds of acceptable behaviour and that
he was entitled to his opinion, even as a state official. Prime
Minister Petr Necas called Batora's comments boorish and unacceptable,
and criticised the education minister for not offering an apology
earlier or distancing himself from the comments. He said he is not
considering dismissing Mr Dobes at present, and would not say how he
would respond if the situation continues. Mr Schwarzenberg, for his
part, said he did not feel personally insulted, but that a public
servant could not speak about a state official in that way.


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Vondra to attend Masin funeral and confer military honour
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Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra will represent the Czech government at
the funeral of Ctirad Masin in the United States next week. Prime
Minister Necas announced on Wednesday that the defence minister and
former ambassador to the US would be conferring the Golden Linden
military distinction upon Mr Masin in memoriam, and upon his brother
Josef. The decoration will likely draw the ire of many, as it is
awarded to those who have protected human rights, the principles of
democracy or otherwise contributed to the defence and security of the
Czech Republic. The Masin brothers killed six police officers, some of
which were unarmed, during their resistance activities and escape from
Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s. Ctirad Masin died of a prolonged
illness on Saturday at the age of 81.


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Klaus ratifies act honouring anti-communist resistance
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President Klaus has ratified an act honouring members of the
anti-communist resistance. The government-proposed law allows the
Defence Ministry to name members of the resistance and award them
100,000 crowns, or half that sum to their family if they are deceased.
Those who have received less than the average pension rates will be
reimbursed. Some will also be able to receive war veteran status which
would give them rights to special health and social benefits. The
president also criticised the law, however, saying he distrusted the
intentions behind the legislation and the attempt to legally rewrite
and resolve history.


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Paroubek to start new party based on Czech National Social Party
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Former Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek will be forming a new
party on the basis of the existing Czech National Social Party.
National Social Party deputy chairman Premysl Votava confirmed on
Wednesday that the former prime minister would be taking over and
reforming the party, potentially under a new name. The party currently
has roughly 600 members. The daily Mlada fronta Dnes expects it will be
more left-wing than the Social Democratic Party and will rely more on
nationalism, ecology and support for private entrepreneurs. The paper
speculates that between five and seven Social Democrat legislators may
defect to the new entity. Mr Paroubek himself has not yet confirmed the
move. Founded in 1898, The Czech National Social Party was popular
during the 1920s and 30s but was sidelined during Communism. Attempts
to revitalise it since 1989 have been unsuccessful.


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Necas: Setting a date for the euro would not be good for the country
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Prime Minister Necas says that it would not be good for the country at
present to set a date for accepting the euro. Speaking after
Wednesday's cabinet meeting, the prime minister said that the current
debt crisis in the Euro Zone is turning the euro into something it was
not at the time the Czech Republic acceded to the European Union. In
May, Mr Necas said that the Czech Republic would take up the European
currency once the costs for maintaining the crown exceeded those for
introducing the euro.


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Charles University one of the best in the world according to "Shanghai
ranking"
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Charles University is one of the best universities in the world
according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, or "Shanghai
ranking". The list, compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University, puts
the premiere Czech institution in the top 1.5% out of 17,000 world
universities, and gives it second place in Central and Eastern Europe
after Moscow State University. The ranking is compiled annually based
on results in science and research. The United States had the highest
number of high ranking schools, with Harvard University topping the
list.


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Police appropriated nearly two billion from criminals during 2011
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Police have appropriated nearly two billion crowns from criminals in
the last half year, the Interior Ministry reports. The sum arises from
money and property from criminal activities and amounts to three times
the amount appropriated during the same period last year. Some 374
million of that had to be returned as no direct connection to a
specific crime could be established. Roughly one billion of the total
amount was appropriated by the corruption and financial crime
department of the police..


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Football: Plzen stuns FC Copenhagen in Champions League play-offs
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Czech football champions Viktoria Plzen sensationally beat FC
Copenhagen 3:1 in Denmark on Tuesday night, in the first leg of the
Champions League's play-offs. The Czechs weathered the home side's
initial push, and their moments of glory came in the second half. In
the 52nd minute, Czech international Pavel Horvath put a long pass in
front of the box to Daniel Kolar but Copenhagen's defenseman Solvi
Ottesen sent the ball into the net, scoring an own goal. Seven minutes
later, Plzen scored again when Vaclav Pilar amazingly hit the net from
just outside the penalty area. The Danes then narrowed the score with a
header by Ottesen in the 69th minute. But the most beautiful goal came
ten minutes later when Horvath again passed a long ball to substitute
Martin Fillo on the right side of the pitch who, alone against five
defenders, turned and scored into the goal's upper right corner,
stunning the hosts. The Czechs have a great chance of making it to the
Champions' League group stag; the second leg is scheduled in Prague
next Tuesday.


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Star football striker Jan Koller announces retirement
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One of the best strikers in the history of the Czech national football
team, Jan Koller, has decided to end his professional career. The
38-year-old player for Cannes told the Czech Press Agency on Wednesday
that growing health problems involving his leg muscles and heart were a
warning sign that it was time to quit. Koller has played for Cannes in
the third French league for the past year and a half and he had a
contract for another season. He says he plans to attend a one-year
course of French and then decide what to do next. Jan Koller played 91
matches on the national team in which he scored 55 times. He won the
bronze medal at Euro 2004 in Portugal and has champion titles from the
Czech, Belgian and German leagues.


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Weather
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Conditions over the coming days are expected to be mostly sunny, with
daytime highs of around 25o Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Prague's Hanau Pavilion - pricey restaurant with interesting history
and great city views
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On the edge of Prague's Letna plain, overlooking the Vltava and the Old
Town, stand several remarkable buildings from the Belle Epoque when
Prague was hoping to become the Paris of the East. One of these
structures is the Hanau Pavilion, a church-like edifice of cast iron
and bricks built to demonstrate the dynamic development of Bohemian
industry. Today as in the past, its restaurant offers amazing views of
the capital.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/spotlight/pragues-hanau-pavilion-pricey-restaurant-with-interesting-history-and-great-city-views


Family, friends and fans pay last respects to murdered best-selling
author Simona Monyova
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Family, friends and dozens of fans gathered in Brno on Tuesday for the
funeral of Simona Monyova, the Czech Republic's best-selling author of
women's literature. The prolific writer, who published close to 30
books during her 14-year career, died tragically at the age of 44. She
was murdered in her home in early August, with her husband the main
suspect.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/family-friends-and-fans-pay-last-respects-to-murdered-best-selling-author-simona-monyova


Czech mountain bike racer in top form with European Championship, World
Cup series wins
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Czech cross-country mountain bike racer Jaroslav Kulhavy has had a
sensational season: earlier this month he defended his title as
European Champion and at the weekend he clinched the World Cup cross
country series with a win in Nove Mesto na Morave in his native Czech
Republic. Not only did he lock out his nearest competitors on points on
the circuit, he's looking very good for the Summer Olympics next year.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/czech-mountain-bike-racer-in-top-form-with-european-championship-world-cup-series-wins


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