Friday, September 9, 2011

News 9.9.2011

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

News Friday, September 9th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has called a meeting of municipal leaders
to discuss growing racial tension in Northern Bohemia.

* The prime minister and several cabinet members will be visiting
Israel next week for high-level meetings.

* An official commemorative event marking the tenth anniversary of 9-11
will feature the Plastic People of the Universe.

* A final ceremony for the three Czech victims of this week's tragic
air accident will be held on Sunday afternoon at Old Town Square in

Prime Minister calls meeting ahead of far-right gatherings North Bohemia

Prime Minister Petr Necas has called a meeting with leaders of the
Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic to discuss
growing racial tensions in North Bohemia. The government has so far
responded to the situation by reinforcing the police presence in the
region. Together with Labour Minister Jaromir Drabek, Environment
Minister Tomas Chalupa and Culture Minister Jiri Besser, the prime
minister plans to discuss the financing of affected municipalities on
Friday, ahead of scheduled party gatherings of the far-right Workers
Party for Social Justice in three locations in the region on Saturday.

Hundreds demonstrate again on Varnsdorf square

Around three hundred people met on the town square in the Northern
Bohemian town of Varnsdorf on Friday and planned to march on a Roma
residential building. The organiser of the gathering, Lukas Kohout, was
taken to a police vehicle for questioning; attendees called for his
release and whistled at the officers. Kohout is a fraudster, well-known
for having passed himself off as a government official on numerous
occasions and for provoking police and demonstrators at protests.
Friday was the fourth day that police have maintained a state of
readiness in the area due to angry assemblies and demonstrations
provoked by recent tensions between Czechs and Roma.

Necas to visit Israel next week

Prime Minister Necas and several cabinet members will be visiting
Israel next week for high-level meetings. The government announced the
aim of the two day visit as strengthening partnership and collaboration
between the two countries, particularly with regards to science and
technology, research and development, and innovation. The delegation is
scheduled to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanjahu and members of the
business community. The upcoming UN vote on Palestinian membership in
the organisation will likely also be on the table, with the Czech
Republic having been reported in the Israeli media as being one of five
Western European states that plans to vote against the motion. The
Czech government has thus far refused to state publically its position
on the matter.

9-11 commemoration to feature Plastic People of the Universe

Czech and American officials have organised a commemorative event to
mark the tenth anniversary of 9-11 on Sunday at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (Cerninsky Palac) at 6 p.m. Headlining the programme will be
the classic Czech underground band Plastic People of the Universe. An
exhibition of photographs by Jan Sibik showing the aftermath of the
attacks in New York will be on display, as will a new exhibit on Czech
contributions to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The event is
being organised by the Czech Foreign and Defence Ministries in
cooperation with the American Center and is open to the public.

Final ceremony for deceased hockey players to be held on Sunday

The public will pay their respects to the three Czech victims of this
week's tragic air accident on Sunday afternoon at Old Town Square in
Prague. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. The bodies of hockey stars
Karel Rachunek, Jan Marek and Josef Vasicek were returned to the Czech
Republic by a special government flight from Moscow, where they were
identified. A passenger plane carrying almost all of the Russian hockey
team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl went down near the city's airport on Wednesday
and caught fire. The crash caused 43 deaths; one person is reported to
have survived, though he is in critical condition with severe burns.

Coalition pushes reform bills through lower house

The Chamber of Deputies has passed all three of the government's
pension reform bills, which plan the introduction of a so-called
"second pillar" of the pension system. The first of the bills regards
pension savings and will allow people under the age of 35 to transfer
three percentage points from the pay-as-you-go system to pension funds
on the condition that they add two percentage points from their own
pockets. Some experts have criticised the clarity of the bill and
expressed concern over how many people will participate in it and
whether developments in share markets may not devalue their savings.

Security services inspectorate created

The lower house also passed a bill to create a general inspectorate for
state security services. The inspectorate is to begin work from 2012
and will deal with investigating crimes potentially committed by
members of the police, customs authority, prison service and its own
ranks. The director of the new inspectorate will be named by the prime
minister after consultation with the security committee of the lower

State must pay Mucha's granddaughter 300,000 for blocking inheritance

The Municipal Court in Prague has ruled that the state must pay damages
to the illegitimate granddaughter of artist Alphons Mucha due to the
fact that she was excluded from inheritance proceedings for 12 years
after the death of her father. The court ruled definitively that the
Justice Ministry must pay Jarmila Plockova more than 300,000 crowns in
damages as she was unable to profit from her grandfather's work during
that period. She was seeking 2.4 million in damages and four million in
compensation for property and moral damages. Plockova spent sixteen
years after the 1991 death of her father, Jiri Mucha, trying to get
herself recognised as an heir, in spite of an affidavit he had signed
and notarised. Her claim was only validated by the court in 2002.

Police break up gang trading in stolen luxury cars

Police in the region of Central Bohemia report they have broken up a
gang that traded in stolen luxury automobiles. Six people were charged
and 35 vehicles, mostly BMW X5 and X6s, Mercedes Benzes, Porsches and
Audis were recovered; their total value was put at 40 million crowns.
The suspects, which were active primarily in Central and Western
Bohemia, face up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Czech Centres network set to expand

The general director of the network of Czech Centres, Michael Pospisil,
says the may expand in coming years and fill focus more on presenting
Czech export brands with the aim of earning more money to spend on
promoting the Czech Republic abroad. A new Czech Centre branch may open
in Seoul, South Korea, in the coming years, he said. The network of
Czech Centres currently number 21 and can be found in metropolises on
three continents. The aim of the centres is to promote Czech film,
design, music, art, fashion and literature. Events held by the centres
were visited by 1.7 million people last year.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be partly cloudy to
sunny with a rise in temperatures to 26o Celsius.

Articles posted on today

US Ambassador to Prague Norman Eisen discusses 9/11 & the War on

Ahead of the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, Czech
Radio's Martina Maskova interviewed the US Ambassador to Prague Norman
Eisen. In the interview the ambassador is asked about Czech cooperation
in the War on Terror, CIA renditions at Czech airports, and al Qaeda.
Mr Eisen begins first though by discussing the attacks on that fateful
September day, including where he was when the first plane hit.

Art for Life launches shocking new AIDS campaign

A shocking new AIDS campaign comparing risky behavior to suicide aims
to remind Czechs that the danger of HIV infection has not gone away.
The NGO Art for Life, which is behind the campaign, says that the
public, which has long grown careless of the danger, needs to be jolted
into awareness of what is at stake.

Business News 9.9.2011

In this week's business news: Czech GDP growth slows in the second
quarter of 2011, the Prime Minister admits that raising the lower VAT
rate to 19 percent in 2012 is a possibility, Student Agency's RegioJet
launches its ticket sales for the Prague-Ostrava route, Skoda Auto saw
a sales growth of 18.3 percent in the first eight months of 2011
year-on-year, and the Czech Republic slips two notches in the WEF
Global Competitiveness Report.

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