Monday, August 29, 2011

News 8.29.2011

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

News Monday, August 29th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* President Klaus has backed Serbia's ambition to join the EU.

* The Czech Republic has formally recognized the Libyan National
Transitional Council as the only legitimate representative of the
Libyan people.

* The prime minister has emphasized the importance of business
diplomacy at a meeting of Czech diplomats in Prague.

* TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg said has said his party would not
give way over the Batora controversy saying fighting fascist tendencies
was a matter of crucial importance.

* A fire that broke out at the five-story Palladium shopping mall in
the centre of Prague around midday on Monday has been extinguished,
with no injuries reported.

President Klaus backs Serbia's ambition to join the EU

President Vaclav Klaus has backed Serbia's ambition to start talks on
joining the EU as soon as possible. Following talks in Prague with
Serbian President Boris Tadic President Klaus said the EU should find
the time for accession talks with Serbia and should approach the Serbs
as neutrally as other candidates. Serbia is hoping to win EU candidacy
after having arrested two remaining war crimes fugitives, Ratko Mladic
and Goran Hadzic, and handed them over to the United Nations war
tribunal. President Tadic said that his country had done everything
possible to meet all EU requirements for accession talks but he
reiterated that Serbia would not recognize Kosovo's independence or
withdraw its representatives from northern Kosovo even if this policy
were to block its chances of becoming an EU candidate state. Serbia's
adamant position has created a problem with EU members who have
recognized Kosovo's independence. President Vaclav Klaus has been one
of Serbia's staunchest supporters, condemning the NATO bombing of
Serbia in 1999 and refusing to appoint a Czech ambassador to Kosovo
after it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Czech Republic recognizes Libyan National Transitional Council

The Czech Republic has formally recognized the Libyan National
Transitional Council as the only legitimate representative of the
Libyan people. A statement issued by the Czech Foreign Ministry on
Monday says the Czech Republic is ready to forge bilateral relations
with the country's new transitional leadership and has offered to
assist the country on the road to democracy. The Foreign Ministry is
considering the possibility of the Czech ambassador's return to
Tripoli. The Libyan National Transitional Council has now been
recognized by over 50 states.

Meeting of Czech diplomats in Prague

The Czech Republic should support Europe's quest for fiscal discipline,
take a prudent stance regarding the adoption of the euro and forge
stronger business links with potential partners outside Europe in view
of the country's export oriented economy, Prime Minister Petr Necas
said at a meeting of Czech ambassadors in Prague on Monday. In view of
the present economic situation the prime minister said business
diplomacy was of strategic importance. The prime minister also stressed
that any declarations made by ambassadors were to be consulted in
advance with the Czech government. The directive came in the wake of
controversy over whether it was acceptable for foreign ambassadors to
publicly support the recent Prague Pride gay parade in the Czech
Republic. The Office of the President was critical of statements in
support of the parade by several foreign ambassadors only to find that
Czech ambassadors abroad had taken a similar line.

Public Affairs requests meeting of coalition leaders

Public Affairs, the junior coalition party, has requested a meeting of
coalition leaders on Tuesday to debate social reform. Party leader
Radek John said there was plenty of fine-tuning left to be done in
proposed legislation concerning the social sphere, including the
recently approved package of tax amendments. Public Affairs, which
describes itself as a centrist party, has been pushing for socially
kinder reforms and is unhappy about a series of amendments including
the removal of tax breaks on some employee benefits such as lunch
vouchers. The proposal comes at a time of heightened tension between
Public Affairs and TOP 09 over the continued presence at the Education
Ministry of Ladislav Batora, the controversial head of human resources
who has come under fire for his past links to an ultra-right party. TOP
09 ministers are refusing to attend cabinet meetings until Mr. Batora
has been dismissed. Public Affairs Education Minister Josef Dobes is
refusing to do so.

TOP 09 says Batora scandal is matter of principle

TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg said on Monday that his party would
not give way over the Batora scandal and rejected the nation that the
controversy was "a storm in a teacup" during the silly season. Mr.
Schwarzenberg said fascist tendencies in society had to be fought and
democratic values defended and said he considered it of vital
importance to take a principled stand on the matter.

EBRD vicepresident Fischer: fighting extremism as important as
implementing reforms

Former Czech caretaker prime minister, now vice-president of the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Jan Fischer said in an
interview for Euro magazine that he was shocked by the intolerant
remarks with regard to gays and lesbians made by some Czech public
officials. He said that in his view tackling extremism was as important
as introducing reforms and fully supported calls for the dismissal of
Ladislav Batora. Mr. Fischer said the ball was in the prime minister's
court and pointed out that if the prime minister was not in a position
to sack Mr. Batora himself he could certainly recall the education
minister for failing to act.

Demonstrations for and against Batora

Two demonstrations -one in support of Ladislav Batora -one against him
- are scheduled to coincide with the start of the new school year on
September 1st. One demanding his immediate dismissal is organized by
the head of the Green party Ondrej Liska, the other, in defence of
Batora's right to freedom of expression, by the civic initiative
D.O.S.T. A poll on the Batora scandal indicates that 57 percent of
Czechs would support his dismissal from office. Forty-four percent of
respondents moreover view him as a racist who should never have been
appointed to the post.

Fire at Palladium shopping mall

A fire that broke out at the five-story Palladium shopping mall in the
centre of Prague around midday on Monday has been extinguished, with no
injuries reported. The police evacuated over five hundred people from
the building as firemen fought to prevent the blaze spreading through
the air conditioning system. Although the fire which started in one of
the boutiques was not extensive two floors quickly filled with smoke
causing panic among shoppers. The cause of the fire is being
investigated. The preliminary damage estimate has been put at between
20,000 and 50,000 crowns.

Man charged with attempted manslaughter after brutal attack on two

A thirty-two-year old man has been charged with attempted manslaughter
after a brutal assault on a 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy. The
man attacked them with a metal rod near a Prague lake where they were
spending the afternoon. The girl was taken to hospital with head
injuries, the boy suffered fractures. The motive behind the attack in
unclear, though the police have ruled out a racial motive. If convicted
the man will face up to 18 years in jail.

Czech wins bronze at World Air Guitar championships

Veronika Mullerova, a Czech chemical engineer, finished third at the
weekend at the 2011 World Air Guitar championships held in Oulu,
Finland. The annual festival, in its 16th year, sees competitors play
invisible guitars on stage; contestants are not judged on whether they
can play a real instrument, but on overall enthusiasm in their
performance. Ms Mullerova, a 28-year-old newcomer to air guitar,
finished in top spot in the Air Guitar Final in the Czech Republic in
June; the competition was held at the United Islands Festival in Prague.


The coming days are expected to be bright and sunny with day
temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Czeslaw Walek - Prague Pride's first director and a lawyer by profession

Czeslaw Walek, who studied law with a focus on human rights, has been
in the media a lot in recent weeks, due to his role as the director of
the Prague Pride festival. Previously, he has held government offices
such as director of the Office of the Council for Roma Affairs. He has
lived in both Krakow and Budapest and is a member of the Czech
Republic's Polish minority. He speaks about his work, human rights and
how he feels the first Prague Pride festival went.

Ethnic tension builds up in northern Bohemia

The Czech Republic is facing heightened ethnic tension between Romanies
and the majority population. In parts of northern Bohemia, animosity
between the two groups culminated on Friday after two public
gatherings, staged allegedly to protest against rising crime levels in
the region, turned into openly racist rallies calling on the Romanies
to leave. The government hopes to calm things down by increasing the
police presence in the region. But experts warn that more comprehensive
action is needed to prevent divisions between the communities from
widening even further.

Sports News 29.8.2011

Decathlete Roman Sebrle finishes in disappointing 13th place in the
World Athletics Championships; pole-vaulters Jirina Ptacnikova and Jan
Kudlicka advance to finals; Judo wrestler Lukas Krpalek wins the bronze
medal at the world championships in Paris; in football Lafata earns
second-straight hat-trick; Man U destroy Arsenal.

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