Saturday, September 24, 2011

News 9.24.2011

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

News Saturday, September 24th, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* The head of TOP 09's deputies club has expressed support for Karel
Schwarzenberg as a potential candidate for president.

* The police are investigating the death of a witness in a suspected
corruption case.

* Thousands of motorists have headed for NATO Days in Ostrava, leading
to heavy traffic congestion and hours of delays.

* The town of Varnsdorf, North Bohemia, on Saturday saw some 200 people
take part in a demonstration against the local leadership.

* Eight Polish nationals were transferred to hospital on late Friday
after their mini-van crashed en route to Ostrava.

Gazdik says TOP 09 backs Schwarzenberg for president

The head of the deputies club for the coalition party TOP 09, Petr
Gazdik, has told the daily Pravo that the party is backing Karel
Schwarzenberg as an obvious candidate to run for president if direct
elections are introduced in the Czech Republic. This week the Chamber
of Deputies passed a proposal for the president to be elected by direct
vote in the future in a first reading; under the current system the
Czech head-of-state is elected in a joint-session of the Senate and the
lower house. Mr Gazdik stressed in his interview with Pravo that his
party would back changes to the election system regardless of whether
presidential powers will be changed or left the same. Mr Schwarzenberg,
TOP 09's leader as well as foreign minister, has not yet confirmed he
will run, although in past interviews he has expressed an interest.

Sobotka declares intention to run for president

In related news, others who have been mentioned in connection with
presidential bids include former prime minister Jan Fischer and
Czech-American economist Jan Svejnar. Civic Democrat Premysl Sobotka -
on Friday - announced his intention to run. The next election will be
in 2013 when President Klaus ends his second and final term in office.
But some critics charge that despite this week's developments, the
issue of changing the election system is a non-starter: there is
speculation that the coalition and opposition parties will ultimately
not be able to agree on changes to the Constitution to pave the way for
direct elections.

Police investigate death of witness in corruption case as suicide

Police in Usti nad labem, North Bohemia, are investigating the death of
45-year-old businessman Jiri Canik, a witness in a case of suspected
corruption who was found dead in his home in July, as suicide, Mf Dnes
has reported. According to the police, Mr Canik shot himself in the
head; the firearm was his own and was legally-held. A paper trail for
millions of crowns, which had been intended for the repair of military
barracks, pointed to the late businessman after the company in the
original tender declared bankruptcy and some 53 million in state funds
went missing. Mr Canik's partner has told the local media that they had
no money before his death, saying that she had had to borrow from

Thousands head for NATO Days in Ostrava

Thousands of motorists have reportedly been heading for NATO Days in
Mosnov, near Ostrava in the east of the country, an annual event
showcasing NATO and Czech military technology. Traffic jams five
kilometres in length or greater have formed as a result, leading to
several hour delays. Last year, almost 200,000 people visited the
airport in Mosnov for the respected military event and air show. The
weekend programme will see some 72 presentations: on Saturday morning
visitors were able to see both fighter planes as well as rescue
helicopters in action.

Two hundred protest against town leadership

The town of Varnsdorf, North Bohemia, on Saturday saw the latest in a
series of demonstrations, this time not aimed against the local Romany
population but the leadership of the town itself. Around two hundred
people gathered on the town's Edvard Benes Square between 1 and 3 pm.
Unlike several other protests held in the town, the latest was not
organised by outside groups - namely right-wing extremists aiming to
capitalise on growing social unrest in the area. Mf Dnes reported that
on Saturday someone even had a beer stand open at the demonstration -
offering 'reasonable prices'. Police monitored the event; there were no
unexpected incidents.

Eight injured in mini-van crash

Eight Polish nationals were injured on Friday night when their driver
lost control of their mini-van on a highway between Olomouc and Ostrava
and went off a 15 metre cliff. Emergency crew members worked to free
one of the men from the vehicle, which had overturned on its roof; the
others were able to get out by themselves. All eight were transferred
to hospital and treated for injuries - some of them serious.
Concussions are suspected and one person who had suffered extensive
facial injuries underwent surgery. Traffic on the section of highway
where the accident took place was temporarily affected.

Jagr plays first game since returning to NHL

Czech hockey legend Jaromir Jagr has played his first match since
returning to the NHL. Playing for his new team the Philadelphia Flyers
in the pre-season, he earned an assist and scored the game-winning goal
against the Detroit Red Wings. The Flyers were the visiting team.
Jagr's performance was highly praised by team coach Peter Laviolette.
The Czech forward was more critical, telling reporters jovially
afterwards that the game was "fast", adding that he needed to improve.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be partly cloudy.
Daytime temperatures should reach highs between 16 and 20o Celsius.

Articles posted on today

A Prague poet "infinitely better known than Shakespeare"

In Czech Books this week we find out about the life and times of an
English-born Renaissance poet who spent nearly all her life in Prague
and in her time was more celebrated than Shakespeare. David Vaughan has
been exploring the life and work of "Westonia".

The Fort above the Black Forests - Kostelec nad Cernymi Lesy

This week's spotlight focuses on one of the main centres of forestry in
the Czech Republic and an oft overlooked pearl of Bohemian cultural
heritage. Christian Falvey gives us his impressions of the town of
Kostelec nad Cernymi lesy.

After 1945: something like normality

In From the Archives this week we carry on where we left off at the end
of August in our chronological journey through the Czech Radio
archives. We had reached the point just after the end of World War Two;
after the initial euphoria, the hard work of rebuilding the country
began: not least at the Czechoslovak Radio building itself, which had
been shot to pieces in the Prague Uprising and received a direct hit
from a German aerial torpedo.

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