Tuesday, September 20, 2011

News 9.20.2011

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

News Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* A US Senator has again held up the nomination of the American
ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen.

* Czech MPs are debating a bill introducing a popular vote for the

* The IMF has cut its forecast for next year's growth of the Czech
economy to 1.8 percent.

* Olympic champion in speed skating Martina Sablikova has failed to
qualify for the London Olympics in cycling.

IMF cuts Czech economy growth forecast

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut down its forecast of
next year's growth of the Czech economy from a previously estimated 2.9
percent to 1.8 percent of the gross domestic product. At the same time,
the IMF slightly upped its estimate for this year's growth to 2.0
percent. The renewed estimates are part of a global economy outlook
which is threatened by the EU's debt crisis and the lack of a fiscal
plan in the US. The Czech Finance Ministry in July predicted the
country's growth in 2012 at 2.5 percent.

Several Czech analysts said the IMF's outlook for the Czech economy
reflected worsening global conditions but also warned that the reality
might be much worse should the EU's leading economies slip into

US Senator again holds up nomination of ambassador to Prague Norman

The American Republican Senator Charles Grassley again held up the
nomination of the American ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, the
Czech news agency CTK reported on Tuesday quoting US Senate records.
This means that Mr Eisen, who was appointed to the post at the end of
last year for a period of 12 months, might soon have to leave office.

Senator Grassley, who objects to Mr Eisen's role in the sacking of
another White House official, held up Mr Eisen's nomination in 2009.
But President Barack Obama appointed him temporarily taking advantage
of a loophole allowing the president to push through nominations while
Congress is in recess. The post of the US ambassador to Prague had been
vacant for two years before Norman Eisen took office.

MPs debate popular presidential vote

At a session of the Czech lower house that began on Tuesday, MPs are
debating a constitutional bill that would introduce a popular vote for
the president. The bill however does not enjoy overall support in the
house despite having been put forth by both the coalition and
opposition parties. While the centre-right coalition would like to
increase the powers of a directly-elected president, opposition Social
Democrats and Communists expressed concern that a head of state with
extended powers might become a tool of partial interests. If approved
by both houses of Parliament and signed into law by the president, it
would allow people to choose the successor of Vaclav Klaus in a direct
vote in 2013.

President Klaus warns against global governance

President Vaclav Klaus has warned against what he sees as a growing
tendency to restrict personal freedom and democracy in the interest of
global governance. Speaking at the Washington-based Competitive
Enterprise Institute on Monday the Czech president said he was now
living in a better world than under communism, but he was still
disappointed by the fact that he was not living in a more free and
liberal society. He said there were strong tendencies to "govern
people's lives" not just from the EU but from NGOs and public
intellectuals without any democratic accountability. The Czech
president is a frequent guest speaker at the Competitive Enterprise
Institute which was founded by Fred Smith, a fierce opponent of strong

German "forest boy" might have lived in Czech Republic: press

The German "forest boy", known as Ray, who emerged from a forest near
Berlin earlier this month and whose identity remains a mystery to the
German authorities, might have lived in the Czech Republic and buried
his father there, Germany's Bild and the UK's Daily Mail newspapers
reported on Tuesday. The boy, who is believed to be between 16 and 18
years old, told the authorities he had been living out in the wild with
his father for the last five years. When his father died weeks ago, the
boy buried him and went north, as his father told him. The papers quote
a spokesman for the German police as saying his father could possibly
be buried in the Krusne hory mountains in northern Bohemia. Czech
police have reportedly joined in the investigation.

Czech Republic and Guernsey sign tax info exchange agreement

The governments of the Czech Republic and the British Crown Dependency
of Guernsey, in the English Channel, have signed an agreement on the
exchange of tax information, the Czech Finance Ministry said on
Tuesday. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the agreement was
going to have a positive impact on Czech public finances as it narrows
the space for tax evasions.

Number of people filing for early retirement triples between January
and September

The number of Czechs filing for early retirement in the first eight
months of 2011 tripled compared to the previous year, according to
government figures released on Tuesday. More than 66,000 people filed
for early retirement in that period. The authorities believe the
increase was triggered by a change in the retirement law which will
take effect at the end of the month, and is generally expected to
decrease retirement pensions.

Patient shoots himself dead in hospital bed

A 44-year-old man, who suffered from cancer, shot himself dead in his
hospital bed in the north Moravian town of Havirov, the news agency CTK
reported on Tuesday. The incident took place on Monday evening,
September 5, when he used his legally held handgun to commit suicide.
The terminally ill patient did not injure any members of the staff. The
police are not investigating how the man got the weapon to the hospital.

Football: Sparta Prague reinforces lead in Czech top division

Sparta Prague beat Banik Ostrava 2:0 in the seventh round of the top
Czech football division, reinforcing their position at the top of the
league table. Sparta scored early on, but the home side then put up
fierce resistance that only began to crumble when Banik striker Vaclav
Sverkos was sent off for repeated elbowing. In the 85th minute,
Sparta's Leonard Kweuke set the final score at 2:0. Sparta Prague now
leads the table with full 21 points, followed by Liberec with 14
points; Plzen and Jablonec in the shared third place now have 13 points.

Speed skater champion Sablikova fails to qualify for London Olympics in

Olympic speed skating champion Martina Sablikova on Tuesday failed to
qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in cycling after she
finished 28th in time trial at the world cycling championships in
Copenhagen. To qualify for the London Olympics, the 24-year-old athlete
needed to finish 8th at the worst. The speed skater took cycling as
part of her summer preparation but has since competed in this sport as


The next few days should be mostly overcast with morning fogs and
occasional rain showers. Daytime highs should reach 22 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Caslav takes tough line with Romany newcomers amidst fears of racial

As the authorities struggle to deal with growing racial tension in the
north of the country, the town of Caslav, east of Prague is ringing
alarm bells and taking steps to prevent a similar scenario unfolding on
its own premises. With between 100 and 150 Romanies newly arrived in
town, Caslav is scrambling to prevent the creation of a ghetto and
approving strict measures to ensure law and order.


Czech team of scientists discovers genetic cause of Kufs disease

A team from Prague's Institute of Inherited Metabolic Disorders has
discovered the genetic cause of Kufs disease, a very rare condition
that leads to seizures, impaired muscle function and dementia in adult
life and for which there is no cure. Scientists of the Prague institute
found that the reason behind the disease is a mutation in the gene
DNAJC5. Dr. Stanislav Kmoch, who worked on the project for three years
with his team, speaks about the discovery.


Detective Karel Kalivoda - the Maigret of Prague

In this edition of Czech History, we look at the life of Karel
Kalivoda, one of the most successful and famous Czech police detectives
of the 20th century. A self-made man in principle, Karel Kalivoda
worked his way up from ordinary rank and file to the head of Prague's
criminal police. He made a number of compromises to get there - but he
always retained a degree of integrity unusual for the time and place.


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