Thursday, September 8, 2011

News 9.8.2011

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

News Thursday, September 8th, 2011

By: Sarah Borufka

* Mourners are holding an informal memorial gathering at Prague's Old
Town Square to mark the death of three Czech star ice hockey players
and other victims of a tragic plane crash.

* The Czech Foreign Minister says the EU is prepared to assist Egypt in
its transition to democracy.

* The Czech government has passed its new security strategy, which
stresses issues in the area of energy security.

* Hundreds of police officers will be working to maintain law and order
at a Saturday gathering of far-right extremists in Northern Bohemia.

* A statue of the late American president Woodrow Wilson was
re-installed at Prague's main train station on Thursday.

Czechs mourn lost hockey stars at impromptu gatherings

A memorial to mark the tragic death of three Czech ice hockey stars
kicked off in Prague on Thursday. In the afternoon, hundreds of people
gathered at the square, where a makeshift shrine of flags, Jerseys and
tricolor flags had been assembled during an impromptu gathering on
Wednesday night. Czech ice hockey player Patrik Elias was among those
who lit a candle in memory of the victims of Wednesday's plane crash,
in which 43 people were killed, among them the Czech players Karel
Rachunek, Josef Vasicek and Jan Marek.

A Yak-42 plane came down shortly after take off from the Russian city
of Yaroslavl on Wednesday and burst into flames. The players were
taking off for Minsk for the first match of the season. Among the 43
victims were Russian and European hockey players. Only two passengers
survived and are in critical condition with severe burns.

Czech victims of plane crash preliminarily identified

In related news, the Czech embassy in Moscow received preliminary
confirmation from Russian authorities that the bodies of Czech ice
hockey stars Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek had been identified on
Thursday. The two, along with the Czech hockey star Josef Vasicek, were
among the victims of Wednesday's crash of a Yak-42 plane in which 43
people were killed. The Czech embassy is working to ensure that the
bodies of the Czech crash victims be returned to the country as quickly
as possible. According to Russian media, emergency response teams have
been working at the site of the crash to identify the victims' bodies;
in roughly half of the cases, victims' identities were confirmed.

Foreign Minister: EU prepared to offer Egypt assistance in transition
to democracy

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Thursday that the
European Union was prepared to assist Egypt with the organization of
democratic elections in the country, should Egypt explicitly ask for
help. The statement followed a meeting between Mr. Schwarzenberg and
his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr, who is currently on an
official visit in Prague. Mr. Amr added that Egypt had prepared a
detailed plan for its transition to democracy, with elections scheduled
for November. He is set to be received by President Vaclav Klaus on
Thursday, who has stressed that on account of historical reasons, the
Czech Republic should focus on aid to Egypt's transition to democracy
following the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Government passes new security strategy

The Czech government on Thursday passed its new security strategy,
which emphasizes security issues especially in the area of energy
infrastructure. Prime Minister Petr Necas said that this was an aspect
that had previously not been a priority, but was becoming increasingly
significant. Along with the diversification of energy sources, the
security of oil and gas pipelines in the country, as well as nuclear
and other plants, are of utmost importance, the prime minister said.
According to the country's updated security strategy, the political and
economical security of the EU is a key factor for maintaining national

Hundreds of police officers to be deployed to North Bohemia for
gathering of far-right extremists

Hundreds of police officers will be deployed to the towns of Varnsdorf,
Rumburk and Sluknov in North Bohemia on Saturday, when members of the
far-right Workers Party for Social Justice are planning to hold a
gathering as well as a march. According to a police spokeswoman,
clashes between police and extremists at such gatherings in the region
have taken place in the past and have to be prepared for. Czech police
will be working together with their German colleagues, since the region
is located near the Czech-German border and some German citizens may
attend the event. Some 200 to 300 people are expected to participate in
the march and party gathering. In recent weeks, ethnic tension between
Romanies and the majority population in North Bohemia has been building
up. In late August, an improvised rally against Romanies took place in
Rumburk, when around 1,500 people gathered in the town's square to
protest what they called "rising crime levels" but what was in reality
a protest against a series of attacks by Romanies on ethnic Czechs.

Woodrow Wilson statue re-installed at Prague's main train station

A statue honoring the late American president Woodrow Wilson was
re-installed at Prague's main train station on Thursday. The original
monument, built in 1928, was torn down by the Nazis in 1941. Prague
Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, as well as the mayor of Prague 1, Oldrich
Lomecky, attended the re-installation of the statue and placed a bronze
tube containing historic documents inside the body of the statue. The
project, which was initiated by the American Friends of the Czech
Republic, took several years to complete. The official unveiling of the
statue is scheduled to take place October 5, with President Vaclav
Klaus and foreign guests such as Madeleine Albright set to attend.

Aggressive driver brutally beats up 63-year-old bus driver

Police are investigating a shocking incident of road rage. According to
the daily Pravo, a 36-year-old driver collided with a public
transportation bus in the Domazlice region after attempting a risky
overtaking maneuver. Following the accident, the aggressive driver
turned up at the depot and beat the 63-year-old driver of the bus
brutally. The man, who suffered serious head injuries, is currently
being treated in hospital. Within hours of the accident, his condition
worsened seriously and he was transported from the local hospital to

The aggressive driver drove off from the site of the incident. When
police arrested him later, he first denied any violence on his part and
claimed that the conflict was merely verbal. Since then, according to
the daily Pravo, he has admitted to violence and said that he regrets
what happened. He was released and is being prosecuted for inflicting
grievous bodily harm.

Four killed in collision between car and truck

Four were killed in a collision of a passenger car with a truck on a
highway in the Hradec Kralove region on Thursday morning. The
28-year-old driver of the passenger car was taken to hospital with
serious injuries. The two vehicles collided at a stretch were the road
takes a slight bend, then slid off the highway and crashed into a
ditch. Police are investigating the case.

Baby girl placed in baby box in Ostrava on Wednesday

A recently born baby girl was placed into a baby box in the Moravian
city of Ostrava on Wednesday. Doctors examined the abandoned child and
found that she is in good health. She has been named Milena. She is the
56th child in the Czech Republic to be placed in a baby box since they
were introduced in the Czech Republic in 2005. Currently, there are 44
such boxes across the country.

Rare okapi giraffe born in Czech zoo

A baby giraffe of the rare Okapi breed was born in the Dvur Kralove nad
Labem zoo in the Hradec Kralove region late on Wednesday night. The
animal is the second okapi to be born in the zoo, which is the only one
in the Czech Republic that breeds these rare animals. The first
specimen had been born in September 2008. The zoo is broadcasting live
footage of the okapi baby on the web pages of Czech Radio.


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

Articles posted on today

New York Czech centre head Pavla Niklova: Czech films are the biggest

The heads of Czech cultural centres from around the world gathered in
Prague last week to share ideas and make plans for the future. I met up
with Pavla Niklova - head of the Czech centre in New York to talk about
the kind of events that are organized and how popular they are with the

Czech nation mourns loss of its hockey stars in Yaroslavl tragedy

The Czech Republic is mourning the loss of its three ice hockey stars
in a plane crash that will be remembered as one of the worst sporting
tragedies in history. Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasicek were
among the 43 victims of Wednesday's tragic plane crash in Russia which
wiped out the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team.

BIS slams justice officials for corruption and criminality

The civilian intelligence agency, BIS, has issued a scathing report on
malpractice and criminal activity within the Czech justice system. The
agency's annual report accuses judges and state prosecutors of a litany
of shortcomings from sluggishness to connections to organised crime. On
Thursday the Czech judges' association went on the offence, comparing
the allegations to a baseless tabloid report.

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