Monday, September 12, 2011

News 9.12.2011

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

News Monday, September 12th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has expressed support for
the idea that Eurozone members should have the chance to leave the
monetary union.

* Five people have been charged in connection with the anti-Romany
protests in Varnsdorf over the weekend.

* Czechs will be asked to pay extra for above-standard health care as
of 2013, a year later than originally planned.

* Half of the country's inhabitants breathe polluted air.

* Police have closed the case on email monitoring at the Education

Minister Schwarzenberg: eurozone members should be able to leave
monetary union

During talks in Brussels on Monday, Czech Foreign Minister Karel
Schwarzenberg expressed support for the idea that Eurozone members
should have the chance to leave the monetary union at their own
volition. He added however that he did not think the present economic
crisis could be resolved by re-opening the Lisbon Treaty. In recent
weeks there have been calls from some EU members for a change of the
ground rules which would allow member states to leave the eurozone or
even be expelled if they do not meet the universally adopted criteria.
At the meeting the Czech Republic expressed support for the EU's
long-term budgetary plans, describing them as reasonable. Minister
Schwarzenberg said that while he could understand calls for more
drastic cuts he did not think such a concept was realistic.

Five people charged in Varnsdorf protests

Five people have been charged in connection with street violence in
Varnsdorf over the weekend where locals joined an extremist march
against the Romany minority. Three people were charged with assaulting
a police officer, two for wearing Nazi symbols. Ethnic tension has
escalated in the region following a number of racially motivated
crimes, with demands from the majority population that Romanies be
evicted from the area. Extremist groupings are using the opportunity to
organize anti-Roma marches and gatherings. The government has sent
police reinforcements to the region to maintain law and order and the
government's human rights commissioner is trying to diffuse the crisis.

Tyden: many Czech towns sponge on EU subsidies intended for Romany

Some Czech towns reportedly sponge on EU subsidies intended to improve
the quality of life and assist the integration of the Romany minority.
According to Tyden magazine cities such as Kladno and Ostrava, but also
many others, have used such EU subsidies to upgrade town centers,
create pedestrian zones, build car parks and finance other projects not
directly linked to the Romany minority. The weekly notes that many
local administrations are adept at finding a project that appears to
meet the criteria, making sure that Romany interests are partially or
marginally involved.

Payments for above-standard health care as of 2013

Czechs will be asked to pay extra for above-standard health care as of
2013, a year later that the government originally planned. According to
the business daily Hospodarske noviny the commission of experts which
is to specify what will constitute standard and above standard care
will need more time to draw the line. According to inside sources the
list should be ready by mid-2012 and should come into effect the
following year. Health insurers are also preparing to offer insurance
for above-standard care as of January 2013. The lower house
definitively approved the introduction of above-standard care into the
Czech health system last week, overriding a veto by the Senate.

Air pollution a serious problem across the country

Forty eight percent of the Czech Republic's inhabitants, or about five
million people, breathe polluted air, according to data released by the
Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute. The amount of dust particles and
other dangerous substances exceed permissible levels for long intervals
at a time in Prague, central Bohemia, Usti nad Labem and almost the
entire Moravia and Silesia, according to the report. The degree of
pollution has significantly worsened in the smaller towns as well which
is being attributed to the fact that due to the higher cost of living
many people have gone back to using brown coal as a form of heating.
The sale of brown coal went up by 15 percent in 2010. In the worst
affected areas doctors say there is a confirmed link between
air-pollution and the low birth weight of children as well as a higher
incidence of asthma and allergies. The lower house is now to debate a
legislation which should give both municipalities and the government
greater powers in fighting air pollution.

Police close email monitoring case at Education Ministry

Police have closed the case on email monitoring at the Education
Ministry. Investigators said the monitoring of employees emails did not
constitute a crime since employees were warned about the practice in
their work contracts. A leak of information regarding bonuses at the
ministry alerted the authorities to the fact that the privacy of emails
was not respected. Education Minister Josef Dobes distanced himself
from the practice and filed a criminal complaint against an unknown
culprit. The minister said on Monday that the decision to close the
case was a disappointment to him.

Senator says intelligence service out to destroy him

Senator Jaromir Stetina claims he is receiving threats from members of
the country's intelligence service BIS over secret documents in his
ownership which allegedly prove illegal undercover deals between agents
and state attorneys. In a statement for the CTK news agency the senator
says he has received a number of threatening messages and that the
driver of a black Octavia recently tried to force him off the road. The
senator had previously accused the country's intelligence services of
seeking to destroy his good reputation by claiming that he cooperated
with the communist secret service. The intelligence service has sharply
rejected the accusations.

President on four-day tour of Karlovy Vary region

Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Monday set off on a four-day tour of
the Karlovy Vary region in the western part of the country. The
president is set to visit town halls and meet with local politicians
and entrepreneurs. He will also attend the European Volleyball
Championship, this year jointly held by the Czech Republic and Austria.
He is accompanied by his wife Livia, who will be visiting a children's
home in the town of Ostrov.

Bomb scare in Znojmo turns out to be false alarm

A bomb scare that resulted in the evacuation of an entire street in the
town of Znojmo on Monday morning turned out to be a false alarm. A
salesman reported a strange looking object in his post-pox and on
finding a suspicious device the police evacuated the area and calling
in explosives experts. They confirmed that the home-made contraption
was not dangerous and had clearly been intended as a hoax. Police are
searching for the culprit.

Notorious robber to spend 10 years behind bars

A court has sent a man who robbed at least 46 banks and post offices to
ten years in jail. The 36-year old man went undetected for years as he
radically changed his appearance, his speech and even the hand in which
he held his weapon. Between 2007 and 2011 he committed robberies to the
tune of 7 million crowns. The robberies were committed in broad
daylight when all the outlets were open to the public. In one case the
robber jumped over a two-and-a-half meter high glass counter to get the
money and was gone before the police arrived. He admitted to all 46
robberies but was confused when questioned about individual cases.


The coming days should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures
between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Police intervene in attack of far-right extremists and locals against
Romany housing unit in Varnsdorf

An anti-Romany march organized by a far-right party escalated when
radicals were joined by locals in an attempted attack on a Romany
housing unit in a small town in North Bohemia on Saturday. The event
was only the latest in a series of racially-motivated incidents that
have occurred in the region in recent weeks, where racial tensions
between the Czech and Romany communities have been acerbated by high
unemployment and a rise in crime.

Sports News 12.9.2011

In Sports News this Monday: Czechs mourn three hockey players killed in
the Yaroslavl plane crash; in football, Vitkoria Plzen prepare for
their first Champions League game; tennis player Jiri Vesely loses in
the US Open boys' singles final; the Czech men's volleyball team
secures a spot in the European championships' play-offs; and Czech
canoeist Katerina Hoskova claims the gold medal at the slalom world

Eva Eislerova - Czech designer who reached top of jewellery world in NYC

The Czech artist and designer Eva Eislerova originally wanted to be an
architect. Instead, she became one of the most highly regarded makers
of art jewellery in the world, after emigrating to New York in the
1980s with her half-Czech, half-English husband, John Eisler. Today Eva
Eisler, as she is known to her collectors, spends most of her time back
home in Prague, where she teaches at the metals department at the
Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design.

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