Friday, September 23, 2011

News 9.23.2011

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

News Friday, September 23rd, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Czech President Vaclav Klaus addressed the UN General Assembly
session on Friday

* The Czech ambassador to Libya may be returning to Tripoli in October,
the Foreign Ministry says.

* An association of 20,000 doctors reports it is planning a protest
aimed at the Health Ministry, which it accuses of reneging on key

* An alliance of ecologists, communities and businessmen are asking the
government to commit funds from emissions vouchers to improving energy

* The animated film "Alois Nebel" has been chosen to vie for an Oscar

Vaclav Klaus addressed the UN General Assembly, rejects Palestine bid

Czech President Vaclav Klaus addressed the UN General Assembly session
on Friday, and rejected unilateral steps in the dispute between Israel
and Palestine. Palestine wants to file a controversial application for
U.N. membership. Mr Klaus said it took two sides and an innovative
approach to overcome old and rigid thinking. A solution, he said, could
not come through unilateral steps, whether imposed by the UN or
otherwise. The president also used the dissolution of Czechoslovakia as
an example, saying that the solution had come from within the region
itself, rather than having been brought about by external mediators.

Ambassador to Libya may return in October

The Czech ambassador to Libya, Josef Koutsky, may be returning to
Tripoli in October, the Foreign Ministry says. One ministry employee is
already in the country assessing the situation and determining security
requirements for the embassy. Mr Koubsky was withdrawn in February when
the insurgency broke out. The Czech Republic recognised the National
Transitional Council as Libya's legitimate representatives in late
August. The rapid response force of the Czech police will be
facilitating the reopening of the embassy and may remain there on a
permanent basis.

Coalition of Private Physicians to protest Health Ministry

The Coalition of Private Physicians reports it is planning a protest
aimed at the Health Ministry, which it accuses of reneging on key
agreements. The association signed a joint agreement with the ministry
in the summer covering cooperation on the preparation of legislation,
the earnings of private physicians and moving care from hospitals to
outpatient departments. Based on the ministry's response to a dispute
with insurance companies, the coalition - which associates 20,000
doctors - fears that the state plans to earmark a critically low amount
of money for private medical facilities in 2012. It also says the
Health Ministry has not been consulting changes and proposals with it.
Current developments, the coalition says, could threaten the very
existence of private medicine in Czech health care.

Ecologists, communities, businessmen unite to push for energy efficiency

An alliance of ecologists, communities, businessmen, and others have
asked the government to commit funds from the sale of emissions
vouchers to improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The group
asks that the funds be put towards insulating houses, changing windows
and modernising heating systems. On Thursday the government approved
free emissions vouchers for energy companies and other polluters that
will save them 138 billion crowns. The companies in question will
receive 39% of vouchers issued between 2013 and 2020 and must invest
the savings in decreasing their ecological footprint. The rest of the
vouchers may be purchased.

"Alois Nebel" chosen to vie for Oscar nomination

The Czech Film and Television Academy has selected the animated feature
film Alois Nebel as the Czech candidate for the foreign film category
of the Academy Awards next year. The black and white film, which uses a
unique animating technology called "rotoscoping", is based on a cult
cartoon novel written by Jaroslav Rudis and Jaromir 99. It is set at an
out-of-the way railway station in the mountains near the Polish border
in the 1980s. The film was successfully presented at the prestigious
International Film Festival in Venice a couple of weeks ago, will have
its Czech premiere on September 29.

Suspended sentences for youths holding "Europe, rise up" banner

The Municipal Court of Brno has ordered suspended sentences for six
youths who held a banner reading "Europe, rise up" at a May Day
demonstration this year. The court based its ruling on the testimony of
an expert in extremism, who asserted that the youths, who are
associated with the banned, right-wing Workers' Party, were referring
to a Nazi slogan. The head of the party's successor organisation says
they will file a protest. Such a protest however would lead to a full
hearing, as the use of a court order allows the court to impose mild
punishments without hearing the litigants.

Necas "fears for physical and psychological health of finance minister"

Prime Minister Petr Necas says he is greatly disturbed by the behaviour
of his finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, in recent weeks and months,
and ascribed it to a poor medical condition. The remarks came after Mr
Kalousek made a harsh attack on the PM in the daily Lidove noviny,
where he said Mr Necas had only the mercy of Civic Democrat
"godfathers" to thank for his post, among other things. The Prime
Minister said he was distressed by the psychological and medical
condition of the finance minister and was worried about him. On
Wednesday Mr Kalousek got out of his car to smack a young man who had
yelled out that he was a crook and would hang. Later he reportedly had
a vulgar outburst when a colleague told him the incident was

Political leaders make light of Kalousek smacking incident

Czech political leaders have continued to respond light-heartedly to an
incident in which the finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, repeatedly
slapped a bystander who had spoken rudely to him. President Klaus said
Friday that slapping someone did not seem appropriate to him, but said
it might have been a mistake that he had never tried it himself. Mr
Kalousek's party leader, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, said his
deputy was justified in striking the 20-year-old - who had called out
to Kalousek that he was a thief and should hang - adding that it was a
shame that duels were a thing of the past. Neither believed there was
any reason for the finance minister's resignation.

Saturday demonstration in Rumburk cancelled

A demonstration against local Roma planned for Saturday in the North
Bohemian town of Rumburk has been cancelled. The organiser of the event
officially withdrew his request for the assembly, saying he had been
pressured specifically to do so. An influential local businessman had
apparently publicly threatened to ban the organiser from various
premises if he went ahead with the protest. The same individual
organised the first large demonstration in the area several weeks ago,
which later turned into an unplanned march through the town. Plans for
a demonstration against the Roma are underway in nearby Varnsdorf. The
area has seen a sharp increase in racial tensions over the past month
that have spilled over into violence on some occasions.

Woman attacked in Varnsdorf for having same surname as fraudster Kohout

A 73-year-old woman in the restive town of Varnsdorf was violently
attacked on Friday, apparently because she bore the same last name as
one of the organisers of recent anti-Roma demonstrations, Lukas Kohout.
She was knocked down by two masked men who injured her face and told
her "that was for your son". Police however said that there was no
apparent racial aspect to the attack, and added that the woman is of no
relation to Kohout. Lukas Kohout is a notorious fraudster, well-known
for having passed himself off as a government official on numerous
occasions and for provoking police and demonstrators at protests.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be partly cloudy with
daytime temperatures of between 16 and 20o Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Home births under fire as court case highlights family tragedy

The issue of giving birth at home once again came to the fore this week
after the country's most senior midwife was found guilty of criminal
negligence after overseeing a botched home birth in Prague. A baby boy
was left severely brain damaged after being deprived of oxygen, and
later died. The midwife denies any wrongdoing, and says the
complications were unforeseen and unavoidable.

Ethnic tensions rack north Bohemian town of Varnsdorf

The Czech Republic is experiencing something unseen in its modern
history. After two decades of neglecting the problems of the country's
Romany minority, ethnic and social tensions erupted last month in a
remote northern Bohemian district of Sluknov where thousands of people
take to the streets every weekend to protest against the Romanies and
their lifestyle.

Business News 23.9.2011

In business news this week: the government approves the 2012 draft
budget amidst concerns over revised economic growth predictions, wages
rose by an average 2.5 percent in the second quarter while the jobless
rate remains essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent.

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