Friday, October 14, 2011

News 10.14.2011

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

News Friday, October 14th, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has said the Czech government will not set
a target for euro adoption.

* The Visegrad group states have warned the Ukrainian leadership that
its EU hopes could suffer as a result of the imprisonment of former
prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

* Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has presented 13 people
with the Gratias Agit award for promoting the good name of the Czech
Republic abroad.

* Ladislav Batora a high-placed controversial civil servant at the
Education Ministry has announced his resignation.

* Romanies from around the Czech Republic have agreed to establish a
national organization to represent their interests.

Czech PM: no rush to join eurozone

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has said the Czech government will not
set a target for euro adoption. Speaking after Friday's meeting of the
Visegrad group in Prague, Mr. Necas said the latest developments in the
eurozone indicated a shift from a monetary alliance to a debt union,
which did not invite further expansion. The eurozone's debt crisis was
one of the main issues on the agenda of a meeting of heads of
government of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in
Prague. Slovakia alone was represented by its ambassador after the
collapse of the country's government earlier this week over its failure
to approve the expansion of the Eurozone rescue fund.

Visegrad 4 warns Ukraine over Tymoshenko imprisonment

The Visegrad group states also warned the Ukrainian leadership that its
EU hopes could suffer as a result of the imprisonment of former prime
minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Prime Minister Necas said that while the
Visegrad group supported Ukraine's pro-western orientation, it was hard
to imagine the EU ratifying an association agreement with Ukraine while
the country's opposition leader was imprisoned. On Tuesday, Tymoshenko
was sentenced to seven years in prison for having transgressed her
powers as prime minister.

Visegrad 4 states agree to establish Platform of European Memory and

Representatives of European history institutes on Friday signed an
agreement on the establishment of a Platform of European Memory and
Conscience, in the presence of the prime ministers of the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland. The platform should coordinate the study
of totalitarian regimes in Europe and help the respective countries
come to terms with the past. The new platform will have its main seat
in the building of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
in Prague and should also be represented in Brussels.

Foreign minister hands out Gratias Agit awards

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Friday presented 13
people with the Gratias Agit award for promoting the good name of the
Czech Republic abroad. Among this year's laureates were contemporary
British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard who helped Czech dissidents and
writers in the communist era, British composer and pianist Karel
Janovicky, promoter of Czech classical music and Ivor McElveen from
Ireland, the founding director of the Czech-Irish Trade Association.

Ladislav Batora resigns from ministry post

Ladislav Batora a high-placed controversial civil servant at the
Education Ministry has announced his resignation from the post of
deputy chancellor. Mr. Batora who has come under heavy criticism for
his ultra-right, nationalist views said he could no longer respect his
promise not to comment on political affairs and indicated he wanted to
be actively engaged in public life. Mr. Batora who precipitated a
government crisis with some of his remarks earlier this year and was
forced to leave his post as head of the ministry's human resources
department has been accused by the ruling TOP 09 party of "spreading
fascist views". In 2006 he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the
lower house running on the ticket of the extremist National Party.

Politicians welcome Batora's resignation

Politicians have welcomed the news of Mr. Batora's resignation stating
that it was long overdue, although they did not approve of the manner
of his departure. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek from TOP 09 noted
that it was absurd for a civil servant to call a press conference in
order to announce his resignation. The head of the Green Party Ondrej
Liska said that Mr. Batora had abused his position at the ministry for
his own political ends, while Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka
noted that Mr. Batora should have been sacked weeks ago and both the
prime minister and education minister had lost credit for failing to
deal with the situation adequately.

Romany minority to establish national organization

Romany representatives from around the Czech Republic held a national
conference in Brno on Friday. They agreed on the establishment of an
organization which would represent the minority in talks with
government officials, parliament deputies and local authorities. The
grouping is expected to form the basis of a future party. Calls for a
Romany party have strengthened in the wake of growing racial tension in
the north where a high unemployment rate and rising crime have
triggered a wave of anti-Romany sentiment. Some municipalities have
moreover created a system of residential and social policies that
essentially displace Romanies to the community's outskirts. According
to available statistics there are around 400 slums in the Czech
Republic with an estimated 80,000 inhabitants, predominantly from the
Roma minority.

Roma rights activist: much has been neglected

Romany rights activist Stanislav Daniel said at the conference that the
government had neglected the minority's problems for years closing its
eyes to discrimination of Romanies on the job market and in the sphere
of education. He also said it was a mistake to give people welfare
benefits without asking them to devote time to community service in

Prague's top prosecutor dismissed

Czech Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil has formally confirmed his
decision to dismiss Prague High State Attorney Vlastimil Rampula.
Prague's top prosecutor was fired in July of this year for
foot-dragging on key corruption cases and shelving others without good
reason, but appealed the minister's decision in court. The court ruling
went against him and the minister's decision is now final.

Best European textbook prize goes to Czech book for 2nd graders

A Czech science and social studies textbook for second graders has been
selected as Best European Textbook of the Year at the Frankfurt Book
Trade Fair. The international jury also awarded a special prize to an
interactive geography textbook for 9th graders. Twenty international
publishers with 40 textbooks took part in the competition.


The coming days should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures
between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Pinter's "In Other Rooms" at Divadlo Na Zabradli

In this week's Arts, I talk to David Peimer, professor of theatre at
University College in the UK, also involved with the Pinter Centre for
Performance and Creative Writing in London. In our interview Mr Peimer
discusses In Other Rooms - a production in English of lesser-known
short plays by the late Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter. While not
as widely-known as Pinter's most famous work, the short plays are
highly recommended - and Czech audiences will have a chance to see them
this weekend when the production, co-directed by Mr Peimer, comes to
the Theatre on the Ballustrade in Prague.

Business News 14.10.2011

In Business News: A Russian consortium is reportedly the most likely to
win an upcoming tender on the expansion of the Temelin nuclear power
plant; sources report an uptick in Russian FDI; Czech Railways
announces the aim to sell off property worth 90 million crowns; the
first Skoda Citigo - a new small vehicle intended for zipping
in-and-out of city traffic -rolls off the assembly line; and, the
transport minister proposes a new fee for vanity licence plates.

Conservative figure Batora quits Education Ministry post

Controversial activist Ladislav Batora has announced he is leaving his
post at the Education Ministry. Earlier this year, his stint at the
ministry became a source of upheaval on the Czech political scene but
Mr Batora was allowed to remain at the ministry in return for a promise
he would stay away from politics. But on Friday, Ladislav Batora said
he was no longer willing to keep that promise and wanted to be actively
engaged in public life. Commentator Jiri Pehe thinks he is leaving
after his goal - getting public attention - was fulfilled.

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