Thursday, September 15, 2011

News 9.15.2011

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

News Thursday, September 15th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech Republic does not support the Palestinian plea for
independence, Prime Minister Petr Necas has said.

* Former number two of the Czech energy giant CEZ, Daniel Benes, has
become the firm's new CEO.

* The Czech Republic's overall debt rose to over 1.4 trillion crowns,
or nearly 42 percent of the country's GDP, in the first six months of
this year.

* A coalition MP who tampered with her colleagues' voting cards during
a vote in the lower house, has been fined.

* The number of suicides in 2010 rose slightly to 1502, according to
the Czech Statistical Office.

PM Necas: Czech Republic does not support Palestinian independence plea

The Czech Republic does not support the Palestinian plea for
independence, Prime Minister Petr Necas said after meeting Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau in Jerusalem on Thursday. At a news
conference, both officials said their countries did not back such
unilateral steps as dialogue was the only way ahead. However, Mr Necas
declined to say whether the Czech Republic will back the Palestinian
plea in an upcoming vote in the UN.

The Czech prime minister is in Israel for a two-day official visit,
accompanied by four of his cabinet ministers as well as by a number of
Czech business people and entrepreneurs.

CEZ number two Daniel Benes becomes new CEO

Former number two of the Czech energy giant CEZ, Daniel Benes, became
on Thursday the firm's new CEO. Mr Benes, who until now served as the
vice chair of CEZ's board of directors and the firm's executive
director was elected the new executive officer following the surprising
resignation of former CEO Martin Roman. Mr Roman said he left the post
at his own request; however, Czech media speculated that a number of
reasons might have triggered the move, including Mr Roman's indirect
involvement in the multi-billion state clean-up tender and CEZ's
opposition to the government's plan to sell emissions permits. Martin
Roman, who became the CEZ chief executive in 2004, is now reportedly
set to become the head of the firm's board of supervisors.

Czech public debt up to 42 percent of GDP

The Czech Republic's public debt rose to over 1.4 trillion crowns, or
nearly 80 billion US dollars, in the first six months of this year,
according to figures released by the Czech Finance Ministry on
Thursday. The debt amounts to just below 42 percent of the country's
gross domestic product. The Czech internal debt rose by 72 billion to
1.1 trillion crowns between January and July while the country's
external debt dropped by 3.2 billion to over 304 billion crowns.

Finance Ministry to release bonds for individuals in November

The Czech Finance Ministry said on Thursday it would issue a pilot
emission of bonds for individuals on November 11. The ministry will
offer three types of bonds with maturity of one and five years. The
yields of the pilot emission bonds will be 2 percent. People will be
able to buy the bonds at branches of the CSOB, Ceska sporitelna and
Komercni banka banks at one crown apiece; the minimum purchase is set
at 1,000 crowns. If successful, the ministry plans to issue standard
series of bonds for individuals in 2012.

Coalition MP fined for tampering with voting cards

A committee of the Czech lower house on Thursday fined junior coalition
Public Affairs MP Jan Drastichova 10,000 crowns, or over 560 US
dollars, for tampering with her colleagues' voting cards. In a vote on
extending last week's session of the lower house, Ms Drastichova
removed the cards of her party colleagues to lower the quorum needed
for approving the motion. The MP apologised and admitted having
misunderstood the proper procedure; the lower house committee said her
action was an offence but did not constitute a criminal act, a claim
put forth by the opposition.

Number of suicides up in 2010

The number of suicides in the Czech Republic in 2010 rose slightly to
1502 cases, the Czech Statistical Office said on Thursday; there were
48 more suicides last year than in 2009. The number of suicides has
risen for the third time in succession after hitting a historic low in
2007. Czech men are much more likely to commit suicide that women; the
highest figures were registered on Mondays. Suicide by hanging is by
the far the most common, followed by shooting and poisoning.

National Tissue Bank opens in Brno

The National Tissue Bank, which will preserve tissue and cell
transplants and supply them to Czech hospitals, opened in the Moravian
city of Brno on Thursday. The construction of the facility cost 420
million crowns, around half of which was covered by EU funds. The new
centre is owned by a private firm where the state has a 24-percent
stake. While Health Minister Leos Heger, who attended the facility's
opening, welcomed its establishment, a number of experts criticized the
fact it is not completely state-owned.

Three Czechs killed in bus crash in northern Greece

Three Czech tourists were killed and a number of others injured in a
bus crash near the town of Grenova in northern Greece late Wednesday.
The mini-bus was carrying 21 Czech tourists on their way to a nearby
holiday resort when it collided with another vehicle, swerved off the
road and caught fire. Two young women were reportedly killed on impact,
a third tourist, a middle-aged man, succumbed to his injuries several
hours later in hospital. A fourth Czech remains in critical condition.
The bus was dispatched by the tourist agency Nikolas Tours.

Dozens pay last respects to lyrics writer Pavel Vrba

Dozens of people, including some of the biggest names in the Czech show
business, came to pay their last respects to the late lyrics writer
Pavel Vrba who died last week at the age of 73. Mr Vrba authored the
lyrics to more than 2000 songs over his long career that began in the
early 1960s. The ceremony was attended by singers Lucie Bila, Helena
Vondrackova, Marta Kubisova and other artists who sang his lyrics.

Football clubs Sparta and Slavia sue FA over chief referee sacking

Prague football clubs Sparta and Slavia filed a lawsuit on Thursday
against the Czech football association over its recent sacking of the
head of the referee committee, Ludek Macela. The clubs managers said Mr
Macela had been fired in breach of the FA's statutes. The lawsuit comes
a day before the Czech football association is set to vote on its new


The next few days will be mostly clear with some cloudy spots and
occasional fog. Daytime highs should range between 16 and 20 degrees

Articles posted on today

Michal Thoma - Traveller, photographer, writer - Part 1

Michal Thoma - like his father Zdenek - is a well-known Czech
photographer, traveller, and author focussing on countries in Asia,
including India and Nepal. Publishing in Czech alternatives to National
Geographic like Lide a Zeme and Koktejl, Michal and his father and mum,
have made travel writing and photography in exotic countries pretty
much a family business and the Thoma name something of a 'trademark'.
In Part I, of this special Panorama Michal talks about how he got into
photography and travel, beginning with his father's career.

CEZ general director suddenly quits

Investors, politicians and the public were taken aback on Wednesday by
the news that Martin Roman, the 42-year-old general manager of power
company CEZ, was stepping down, also leaving the company's board of
directors. Mr Roman leaves his post after seven years reportedly of his
own initiative, and will be taking up a position on the company's
supervisory board. Shares in CEZ teetered slightly on Thursday with the
announcement, and word that the new CEZ chief would be second in
command Daniel Benes. Meanwhile, analysts have gone into high gear
assessing what the change of management might mean for the largest
public utility company in Central Europe. That was the question we put
to financial journalist Chris Johnstone of Czech Position.

Czech-born architect and former New York resident publishes personal
account of his 9/11 experiences

Czech-born architect Jiri Boudnik was working in New York City when it
was hit by the 9/11 attacks. During the next six months, he assisted
with the clean-up operation at Ground Zero. Now, on the ten-year
anniversary of the historic event, Mr. Boudnik, who has since returned
to the Czech Republic, has published a book in which he shares his
personal 9/11 experiences. It is titled Veze, Czech for Towers. We
spoke to him at the book's launch in Prague's American Center on

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