Wednesday, September 7, 2011

News 9.7.2011

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

News Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Czech hockey stars Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek and Jan Marek and 42
others are reported dead after a plane crash in Russia.

* The CIA used Czech airports to carry out 'extraordinary renditions'
on at least two occasions in 2004.

* The national intelligence agency has strongly criticised the Czech
judiciary for corruption and malpractice.

* NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in the Czech Republic
for talks regarding the organisation's transformation and role in
global security.

* The Chamber of Deputies has pushed through a health care services
reform bill arranging the rights and obligations of providers and
patients.

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Hockey players Rachunek, Vasicek, Marek reported dead in Russian plane
crash
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An aircraft carrying the Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
has crashed, killing at least 36 people, among them three star Czech
hockey players: Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek a Jan Marek. The Yak-42
passenger plane went down near the city of Yaroslavl in north-eastern
Russia on its way to a match in Belarus, the first of the season. One
person on board is reported to have survived. The Russian news agency
Interfax has cited officials as saying that the plane was having
difficulty gaining altitude and hit a runway antenna, after which it
crashed and caught fire. Other victims apparently include Slovak legend
Pavol Demitra and Swedish goalkeeper Liv Stefan. IIHF President Rene
Fasel called the day the blackest in the history of the sport.


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CIA used Czech airports for extraordinary renditions
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The American Central Intelligence Agency used Czech airports to carry
out extraordinary renditions on at least two occasions in 2004.
According to US court documents acquired by Czech Radio, two small jets
with diplomatic status landed in Prague in the autumn of that year
ferrying terrorism suspects between the United States and sites in the
Middle East. The CIA used two external companies to intermediate the
transfers. The same planes were also used to transfer prisoners to the
Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Czech politicians have consistently
denied any participation on the part of the Czech Republic in the CIA's
clandestine rendition programmes. The US embassy in Prague has thus far
refused to comment.


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BIS issues strong criticism of Czech judiciary
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The national intelligence agency, BIS, has issued damning criticism of
the Czech judiciary in its annual report for 2010. The report claims
that the system is burdened by corruption, leaking of sensitive
information, shady contacts with the criminal underworld and sluggish
officials. These offenses, it says, go unpunished thanks to the legally
defined position of judges and public prosecutors. As an example of
corruption and 'clientelism', the report cites the ties between the
police and state administration and the law college at the University
of West Bohemia, where some students received academic qualifications
without having done the necessary work. BIS reports that such
situations have repeatedly been uncovered at other law colleges in the
country.


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NATO Secretary General arrives in Prague for talks
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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in the Czech Republic
for talks regarding the organisation's transformation and role in
global security. The top NATO official will also be discussing military
operations in Afghanistan, missile defence and relations with Russia
with Prime Minister Petr Necas, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
and Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra. The talks are further expected to
cover the participation the Czech Republic in allied operations and
missions, the alliance summit in 2012 as well as possible developments
in Libya. Regarding the latter, Mr Rasmussen said Wednesday that he has
no information regarding the whereabouts of Muammar Gaddafi, and added
that he was not a target of NATO's operations.


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Opposition stalls vote on reforms after procedural infraction
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An afternoon session of Parliament was suspended on Wednesday after a
Public Affairs MP was found to have tampered with the voting cards of
two of her absent colleagues. Jana Drastichova removed the cards of her
party colleagues during a procedural vote on extending the session
until the evening, thereby decreasing the quorum needed for the vote.
She has apologised and admitted having misunderstood the proper
procedure. The opposition accused her of a serious infraction. The
action could not, however, have affected the outcome of the vote. MPs
were to vote on a number of government reforms on Wednesday afternoon;
that session has now been moved to Friday.


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Deputies approve health care services reform bill
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The Chamber of Deputies did however manage to push through a health
care services reform bill arranging the rights and obligations of
providers and patients. The main points of the government-sponsored
bill cover the right of patients to decide what kind of health care
they receive, and patients should have the right to all information on
their medical condition and the services they are to be provided. Home
or community treatment of psychological problems should be given
preference. The amendment will be valid for five years if passed by the
Senate. Opposition critics said that the bill hinders, rather than
expands, patients' rights.


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Towns will soon be able to impose emissions limits in city centres
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The lower house of parliament has overturned President Klaus' veto and
given final approval to a bill which will provide local administrations
with the means to fight air pollution more effectively. During smog
alerts, for example, mayors will now be able to order major polluters
to scale down production, ban high-emissions cars from city centres and
scrap tolls on ring roads in order to reduce the amount of traffic.


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Aktualne.cz: Transport Minister to postpone major road construction
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Transport Minister Pavel Dobes will be postponing the construction of
several roads due to a lack of finances, the news website Aktualne.cz
has reported. The postponements include a two-year suspension of the
east part of the Prague ring road, as well as the last four kilometres
of the D11 motorway linking Prague and Hradec Kralove. The website
suggests the new plans are a move to convince the government to boost
the ministry's budget by 12 billion next year for construction plans.


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Swiss court dismisses Pitr extradition appeal
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A Swiss court has dismissed fugitive Czech entrepreneur Tomas Pitr's
appeal against extradition to the Czech Republic where he was convicted
for tax evasion, the Justice Ministry has announced. He can still
appeal the ruling through the Swiss Supreme Court. The Swiss police
arrested Mr Pitr in a recreation centre in the Alps in July of last
year. Last December, the Swiss Justice Ministry complied with Prague's
request for Pitr's extradition, but he appealed the decision. In 2006 a
Czech court sentenced Pitr to five years in prison for tax fraud. Pitr,
however, failed to turn up in prison. According to available
information, he was hiding abroad from June 2007. In April 2010, a
Czech court sentenced him to six years in jail in absentia for
suspicious deals in shares of the Setuza and Milo Surovarny.


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Pop songwriter and poet Pavel Vrba dies, aged 73
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Pop songwriter and poet Pavel Vrba died on Wednesday. The 73-year-old
succumbed to the results of a stroke he had suffered last Thursday.
Pavel Vrba wrote more than 2000 songs over the course of his long
career, of more than 40 years. In that time he worked with all of the
stars of popular Czech music, such as Helena Vondrackova and Karel
Gott. He was known for his work in theatre and with musicals in the
Karlin Theatre.


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Weather
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Conditions over the coming days are expected to remain cloudy with
scatter showers and daytime highs of around 19o Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Hockey players Rachunek, Vasicek, Marek reported dead in Russian plane
crash
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An aircraft carrying the Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Jaroslavl
has crashed, killing at least 36 people, among them three star Czech
hockey players: Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek a Jan Marek.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/breaking/hockey-players-rachunek-vasicek-marek-reported-dead-in-russian-plane-crash-2


Hockey players Rachunek, Vasicek, Marek reported dead in Russian plane
crash
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Yak-42 passenger plane went down near the city of Yaroslavl in
north-eastern Russia on its way to a match in Belarus; one person on
board is reported to have survived. The Russian news agency Interfax
has cited officials as saying that the plane was having difficulty
gaining altitude and hit a runway antenna, after which it crashed and
caught fire. Other victims apparently include Slovak legend Pavol
Demitra and Swedish goalkeeper Liv Stefan.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/breaking/hockey-players-rachunek-vasicek-marek-reported-dead-in-russian-plane-crash-1


Towns get new powers in fighting air pollution
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The lower house of parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill
which will provide local administrations with the means to fight air
pollution more effectively. In the event of a smog alert mayors can
order the biggest pollutants to scale down production, ban
high-emissions cars from city centres and scrap toll on ring roads in
order to reduce the amount of traffic. Town mayors and environment
activists had long been pushing for the amendment and Radio Prague
asked Vojtech Kotecky from Friends of the Earth how effective he thinks
it will be in practice.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/towns-get-new-powers-in-fighting-air-pollution


Half of Czech Army overweight
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A new study has raised serious questions about diet and fitness in the
Czech military after revealing that half of the army's 22,000 soldiers
are overweight. The alarming result means the military will introduce a
low-fat diet, likely boost fitness testing and provide troops with
fat-fighting pills. The last measure, though, has come under criticism
- with many experts suggesting that medicine should only be used as a
last resort.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/half-of-czech-army-overweight


Hockey players Rachunek, Vasicek, Marek reported dead in Russian plane
crash
------------------------------------------------------------------------

An aircraft carrying the Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Jaroslavl
has crashed, killing at least 36 people, among them three star Czech
hockey players: Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek a Jan Marek. The Yak-42
passenger plane went down near the city of Yaroslavl in north-eastern
Russia on its way to a match in Belarus; one person on board is
reported to have survived. The Russian news agency Interfax has cited
officials as saying that the plane was having difficulty gaining
altitude and hit a runway antenna, after which it crashed and caught
fire. Other victims apparently include Slovak legend Pavol Demitra and
Swedish goalkeeper Liv Stefan.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/breaking/hockey-players-rachunek-vasicek-marek-reported-dead-in-russian-plane-crash


A slice of country life in the Czech capital- the National Museum of
Agriculture
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Located in the Letna neighborhood of Prague, the National Museum of
Agriculture seeks to bring a slice of country life into the Czech
capital. City children and adults alike can gain insight into how wood
is farmed, see some of the tools and machinery used in agriculture and
even see some real-life farm animals in the museum's peaceful courtyard.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/spotlight/a-slice-of-country-life-in-the-czech-capital-the-national-museum-of-agriculture


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