Thursday, August 4, 2011

News 8.4.2011

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

News Thursday, August 4th, 2011

By: Sarah Borufka

* Czech government is not going to comply with the European
Commission's call to revise its national Romany inclusion strategy.

* Six police officers suspected of corruption and violent crime have
been placed in custody.

* Simona Monyova, a prolific author of women's literature, was murdered
on Thursday.

* The environment minister says up to a quarter of the Sumava National
Park's area could be declared an off-limits zone.

* The Czech Police's Emergency Response Team simulated an
anti-terrorism intervention at Prague's Motol hospital.

Czech government not to comply with call of EC to revise national
Romany inclusion strategy

The Czech government will not comply with the European Commission's
call to revise its national strategy on inclusion of Romany citizens,
the environment minister, who was filling in for Prime Minister Petr
Necas, announced in the Senate on Thursday. The Senate backed the
government's stance that its Concept for Romany Integration for the
years 2010-2013 already included the demands made by the European
Commission, such as improving access to education for Romany children,
increasing the minority's employment opportunities and furnishing
better housing conditions for the community. The Czech Senate does not
consider a joint strategy of all EU member countries an efficient
solution to the current situation of the union's Romany community.
Senator Jaroslav Kubera said that while Romanies had the same
opportunities as everyone else in this country, they did not know how
to take advantage of them, a fact that he says they can only partially
be blamed for.

Group of police officers placed in custody

A group of six police officers has been placed in custody on suspicion
of corruption and violent crime. The six men were arrested by the Czech
police's organized crime squad in southern Moravia on Tuesday. Among
the suspects detained were current and former employees of a police
department dealing with economic crime, as well as a high-ranking
police official from Brno and a former inspection officer of the
Interior Ministry. They face prison sentences between five to 12 years.
According to the news website, the group covered up major
cases of economic crime in return for large sums of money. More arrests
are expected to take place in the next few days. In view of the ongoing
investigation, further details have not been disclosed.

Author of women's literature stabbed to death in her house

Simona Monyova, a prolific author of Czech-language women's literature,
was murdered, the website of the daily Pravo writes on Thursday. The
daily reports that it was most likely her husband who stabbed her in
their house in a suburb of Brno, and he had also been injured himself
in the incident. He is currently being treated in hospital and could
face a prison sentence of up to 18 years. A police spokeswoman
confirmed that the 44-year-old author had succumbed to her injuries.
Police are investigating the case.

Environment minister: Quarter of Sumava National Park area could become
off-limits zone

About a quarter of the Sumava National Park may become off-limits to
any human intervention, Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa said on
Thursday at a Czech Senate debate. He is currently preparing a new
piece of legislation that will introduce a set of national park
regulations. The minister is set to discuss it with environmental
experts and regional authorities' representatives on August 25.
However, environmental experts, who have been protesting a recent
motion of the park management to fell hundreds of bark-beetle infested
trees, say that at least 30 percent of the park should be declared an
off-limits zone. Plzen's regional authorities have suggested that 18
percent of the park be made a no-intervention area. The environment
minister has called on both sides to compromise.

Sumava logging standoff continues

The standoff between loggers and environmentalists trying to prevent
the felling of bark beetle-infested trees in the Sumava National Park
continued on Thursday. Several dozen activists are holding a blockade
and trying to hinder the work of tree loggers. Some 50 tree loggers as
well as police are at the site. The environmental activists have filed
another complaint against the park management, which is planning to
fell hundreds of trees to prevent the spread of the bark beetle. They
believe the trees should be left to decay naturally and have been
trying to prevent logging in the area since July 15. Meanwhile, around
100 locals gathered in the area on Wednesday to protest against the
environmentalists and to show support for the park's management.

Czech Police Emergency Response Team practices anti-terrorism
intervention at Prague hospital

Members of the Czech Police's Emergency Response team on Thursday held
a practice anti-terrorism run at Prague's Motol hospital. Some 40
police officers landed on the roof of the hospital in a helicopter
before dealing with a simulated hostage situation in the children's
ward. Several dozen members of the hospital staff participated in the
dry run, which lasted about 45 minutes. The head of the response team
said that the practice run was a success and that he was grateful his
unit was able to hold it in the hospital, which he said was a very busy
and complicated location for such operations.

Sazavafest kicks off in Benesov

The 11th outdoor music festival Sazavafest kicks off on Thursday
afternoon. Some 120 acts both from the Czech Republic and abroad will
be performing at the four-day festival, including Basta Fidel, Sto
zvirat, the British band Hurts and the German group Alphaville. For the
first time this year, the festival is held in the Central Bohemian town
of Benesov. Organizers said that the previous site of the festival, the
town of Kacov near the river Sazava, was not safe, since two of the
five stages had to be shut down last year after the river flooded.

Poll: Czechs relatively optimistic regarding economic situation in EU

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, Czechs are relatively
optimistic as far as the financial and economic future of the European
Union is concerned. The poll reveals that while 47 percent of
respondents across Europe believe that the worst consequences of the
financial crisis for the labor market are yet to come, 43 percent by
contrast think that the worst has passed. In the Czech Republic, this
figure was even higher - some 52 percent of Czechs polled said they
believe that the worst of the financial crisis has passed. Among those
countries that were similarly or even more optimistic are the
Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden. By contrast, only 15 percent of
Portuguese and 19 percent of Greek respondents believe that the worst
period of the crisis is behind us.

Eighteen-year-old student wins Czech Miss Vietnam 2011 award

An eighteen-year-old student from Prague, Tran Thi Thuy Linh, took home
the Czech Miss Vietnam 2011 award on Wednesday evening. Seven finalists
competed for the prize, which organizers say aims to promote the
culture of the Vietnamese minority and help integrate it. Tran Thi Thuy
Linh is set to travel to Berlin on Saturday, where she will represent
the Czech Republic in the Miss Vietnam in Europe competition.

Man who shot at neighbor arrested

Police have charged a 58-year-old man who shot a gun at his neighbor
with attempted murder. The suspect, who lives in a tower block building
and on Sunday evening shot at a man living in the same house,
disappeared after the incident. Police arrested him on Tuesday and are
investigating the case.


The next few days will be mostly overcast, humid and will bring
occasional rain showers and storms. Daytime highs should range between
24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

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Some people dream of travelling around the world, others want to bring
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we meet three Czechs who have all made their dreams come true.

Czech parties struggle to find roles for former leaders

The former leader of the Czech Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek has
announced plans to leave the party and establish a new political group.
Should his intentions materialize, he would be the second Social
Democrat leader to do so, after Milos Zeman whose own political project
caused significant harm to the Social Democrats in the last general
elections. But in Czech politics, problems with former party leaders
are not unusual.

Czech holidaymakers under scrutiny in Croatia over cannabis use

Sun, sea and pot - that's how many young Czechs envision their summer
break. However the popularity of marihuana among Europe's biggest
consumers is getting many of them into trouble with the Croatian
authorities where all drugs are strictly banned.

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