Thursday, October 13, 2011

News 10.13.2011

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

News Thursday, October 13th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech anti-monopoly watchdog has put on hold the government's
project of welfare cards.

* As of January 2012, patients in Czech hospitals will be able to pay
to be treated by the doctor of their choice, according to the health

* The Czech Senate has postponed the introduction of a compulsory
foreign language test as part of secondary school leaving exams.

* Over 90 percent of Czech government bonds, worth more than 19 billion
crowns, have been paid for.

* The Czech national football team will face Montenegro in the playoffs
for next year's European championships.

Anti-monopoly watchdog puts welfare cards project on hold

The Czech anti-monopoly watchdog on Thursday launched a review of a
tender for new welfare cards, a project initiated by the country's
Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. In an official letter to the
opposition Social Democrat party, which asked for the tender to be
reviewed, the anti-monopoly authority expressed concern that the
ministry might have breached the law in organizing the tender. The
ministry now cannot conclude any contracts related to the project until
it is cleared by the anti-monopoly authority. The government is
planning to issue the new cards to welfare recipients in 2012 as part
of its social reform.

Health minister: Patients to be able to pay to be treated by doctor of
their choice

As of January 2012, patients in Czech hospitals will be able to pay to
be treated by doctors of their choice, Health Minister Leos Heger told
the daily Hospodarske noviny on Thursday. It is not clear however how
much these fees will be as this is likely to be determined by
individual hospitals that will share the money with medics. The
ministry believes the measure will stop the current practice when
patients often pay bribes to be treated by top obstetricians,
orthopaedists and other specialists. The move comes as part of a
broader health care reform pursued the centre-right Czech government.

Senate postpones foreign language test as part of school leaving exams

The Czech Senate on Thursday voted to postpone the introduction of a
compulsory foreign language test as part of the new secondary school
leaving exams. The senators approved an amendment that originated in
the lower house and which determines that school leaving exams will in
2012 be held in the same form as this year; foreign language tests
might therefore be introduced in 2013 at the earliest. Education
Minister Josef Dobes welcomed the vote, saying many vocational schools
were not ready for compulsory foreign language tests.

Over 90 percent of government bonds sold and paid for

Over 90 percent of the pilot emission of Czech government bonds for
individual investors, issued earlier this month, have been paid for,
the Finance Ministry said on Thursday. People have so far paid 19.4
billion crowns, or over 5 billion US dollars, for the bonds; overall,
orders have been placed for bonds worth of 21.2 billion crowns. The
ministry was originally planning to accept orders until November 1;
given the great interest of investors, however, people were only able
to order the bonds between October 3 and 7.

Police search for man who threw acid at pedestrian

The police in the south Bohemian city of Ceske Budejovice are looking
for a man who reportedly threw a caustic substance at a young woman.
The incident occurred at around 4:30 PM on Wednesday when an unknown
perpetrator spilled the substance on a woman on a pedestrian crossing;
she ended up in hospital with burns on her legs. The police said the
woman failed to see the attacker; they have asked any witnesses to
contact them.

Tom Stoppard presented with Gratias Agit award

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Wednesday presented
British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard with the Gratias Agit award for
promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. Sir Tom, one of
the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation, was
born in Czechoslovakia, but left the country in 1939 fleeing imminent
Nazi occupation. He settled with his family in Britain after the war,
but maintained a close interest in his homeland, supporting Czech
dissidents during the communist era and helping authors banned by the

Foreigner gets 27 months in jail for abusing his Czech wife

An appellate court in the eastern city of Zlin on Thursday confirmed a
27-month prison sentence for an Egyptian national who was found guilty
of abusing his Czech wife. The 32-year-old foreigner physically and
psychologically abused his wife for over three years and threatened to
kidnap their child to Egypt. The attacks gradually intensified and in
February, the man assaulted his wife with a knife; she called the
police and had her husband arrested. The judge said the man wanted to
change his wife's personality. While the convicted abuser denied all
accusations, his lawyer said they would consider an appeal to the Czech
Supreme Court.

Bakers mark International Bread Day with record-breaking loaf

Bakers in the town of Pelhrimov on Thursday marked the International
Bread Day by baking the country's largest ever loaf of bread. Made of
wheat and rye flour, the 18-kilo loaf will be inducted into the Czech
Book of Records. The manager of the bakery said it took four hours to
bake the loaf. Production of bread in the Czech Republic decreased last
year by 6 percent; nearly 290,000 tons of bread were produced in the
country in 2010.

Football: Czechs to play Montenegro in EURO 2012 playoffs

The Czech national football team was on Thursday drawn against
Montenegro in the playoffs for next year's European championships. The
first match will take place in the Czech Republic on November 11 or 12
and the second leg will be held a week later in Montenegro. The Czechs
finished second behind Spain in the qualification Group I after they
beat Lithuania 4:1 in Vilnius on Tuesday. The national side manager
Vladimir Smicr said the draw was "neutral" as the team wanted to avoid
Turkey which was also in the draw and which would have been a more
difficult opponent.

Hockey: Jagr gets assist in Flyers' first home game

In the NHL, Czech hockey veteran Jaromir Jagr had an assist in the
Philadelphia Flyers' first home game of the season in which the hosts
beat the Vancouver Canucks 5:4 on Wednesday. Another Czech player on
the Flyers' roster, forward Jakub Voracek, scored a goal in the game,
his second in the season. 39-year-old Jagr, who returned to the NHL
this year after three seasons in the Russian KHL, said he was able to
play in his own style in the game. In the three games of the season,
the veteran forward scored two assists and took seven shots on goal.


The end of the week will be mostly clear, with occasional morning fog.
Daytime highs should range between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Czech volunteers help save stray dogs in Slovakia

A group of Czech volunteers are helping to save stray dogs in
neighbouring Slovakia where there is a widespread practice of
exterminating them. Over two thousand animals a year are legally put
down in this manner, regardless of the fact that many are perfectly
healthy or only puppies. Prior to their extermination, which usually
takes place within a week of their capture, they are placed in
overcrowded, dirty kennels and in most cases left hungry. These dog
shelters are often referred to by the locals as "concentration camps
for canines" and their tragic fate has prompted a network of volunteers
on both sides of the border to develop a fast-alert system which would
get them out in time. Iva Mullerova, who is actively involved in the
project, explains how it works.

Czech tabloids to get their wings clipped

In the past two decades of their existence, Czech tabloids have become
increasingly aggressive, stopping at nothing in their quest to get an
edge over the competition. Reports from the show-biz world and gossip
about well-known personalities, which marked the birth of a tabloid
press after the fall of communism, soon gave way to intrusive pictures
of celebrities on their death-bed, politicians caught in the nude and
reports about spontaneous abortions and fatal diagnoses. A proposed
amendment to the law aims to curb these excesses and make the tabloid
press answerable for the photos and lies that appear in print.

New museum documents history of alchemy in Prague

As of this week, the Czech capital Prague has a brand new attraction
for visitors and its citizens alike. A new museum just a stone's throw
from Prague Castle looks back at an era when outstanding scientists and
alchemists, brought to Prague from across Europe by the Habsburg
Emperor Rudolf II., carried out their experiments in laboratories
around the city.

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