Monday, October 17, 2011

News 10.17.2011

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

News Monday, October 17th, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* The police have begun looking into a matter of possible corruption
related to a recent presidential pardon.

* The former CEO of the power giant CEZ, Martin Roman, has admitted
past links to one of the firm's biggest suppliers, Skoda Plzen.

* The prosecution of five people charged in the Prague Opencard case
will continue after a complaint was dismissed.

* A pedestrian was killed in Olomouc on Monday when part of a building

* Tennis player Petra Kvitova has moved up to 4th spot in the WTA
singles rankings.

Police look into presidential pardon over possible corruption

The Czech police have been looking into a matter of possible corruption
in a recent presidential pardon: the spokesman for the police
presidium, Jaroslav Ibehej, confirmed on Monday that investigators from
the anti-corruption unit were currently gathering information but would
assess only later whether to launch criminal proceedings.

The case is related to the pardon of former policewoman, Radka
Kadlecova, who served at the Foreigners Police branch in Karlovy Vary.
A court found her guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced her to
prison. The Czech weekly Respekt reports that after suffering a nervous
breakdown Kadlecova confided in two people - one of them a psychiatrist
- that a pardon had already been arranged with the president. She also
alleged that bribes had been accepted by the president's aides. Respekt
has suggested that an influential relative may also have played a role.
Ms Kadlecova was pardoned in 2009.

Reacting on Monday, the president's spokesman Radim Ochvat
categorically denied the former policewoman's story. He said the system
for assessing pardon requests prevented such abuse.

Former CEZ CEO admits links to supplier Skoda Plzen

Martin Roman, the former CEO of the Czech state-controlled energy
producer CEZ, has admitted past links to one of the firm's major
suppliers, the engineering company Skoda Plzen, the daily Hospodarske
noviny reports. Mr Roman told the paper he had had links to the firm
Appian Machinery, the owner of Skoda Plzen since 2006, through the
companies Artwick Investments and The California Trust. The two are
share-holders in Appian. Roman, who stepped down as CEZ's chief
executive officer last month, is suspected of possible conflict of
interest as Skoda Plzen supplied CEZ with machinery worth billions of
Czech crowns. The connection was first reported last week by the daily
Mlada fronta Dnes and the matter is being looked into by the
anti-corruption police. In his defence, Mr Roman told the daily he left
the companies connected to Appian immediately after he took over as CEZ

Prosecution of City Hall employees to continue

The prosecution of five Prague City Hall employees, suspected of having
broken the law on public tenders in the Opencard case, will continue
after a complaint by the defence was dismissed as insubstantial by the
state prosecutor. Charges against four of the five have since been
broadened. The five suspects were charged by the police in August: they
are suspected of having signed several disadvantageous contracts with
providers and of breaking the law on tenders in the choice of the
company Haguess to produce the city travel and service cards after the
firm failed to meet all necessary requirements.

Prague's Opencard serves as a transit pass and is also used for other
services such as the borrowing of library books. Critics charge that
the project - which cost more than 800 million crowns - was drastically

idnes: Spidla a possible candidate for Social Democrats

The Czech internet daily idnes has suggested that some members of the
Social Democratic Party are weighing former prime minister and EU
commissioner for employment and social affairs Vladimir Spidla as a
potential candidate for president. The daily cited two highly-placed
sources in the party as saying Mr Spidla was a possibility. According
to the website, the Social Democrats are serious in pursuing direct
presidential elections to replace the current system, where the
head-of-state is elected in a joint-session of Parliament. But it is
thought the leftist party will only make a final decision on a
candidate in the first half of next year - roughly twelve months before
Vaclav Klaus completes his final term.

The deputy chairman of the Czech Senate Premysl Sobotka, from political
rivals the Civic Democrats, has already announced his intention to run
and asked for his party's support. It is thought that Foreign Minister
Karel Schwarzenberg, of TOP 09, might also consider a bid.

Elderly woman killed by falling debris

The partial collapse of a building in Olomouc on Monday claimed the
life of a 78-year-old who was struck by falling debris from the facade
as it spilled into the street. Nine people were evacuated from inside
the building but were unhurt. The tragedy unfolded on Monday morning in
the city centre. The falling debris also brought down overhead tram
cables. The accident is being investigated by the police. People in the
building claimed they knew of no problems and the facade was reportedly
redone just a few years ago.

Wrong-way driver receives suspended sentence

A Czech court has handed a three-year suspended sentence to a Swiss
national found guilty of high-speed wrong-way driving on the D10
highway between Liberec and the Czech capital. The motorist, who
recklessly caused six accidents in which nine vehicles crashed (no one
was seriously hurt), admitted to having been under the influence of the
illegal drug methamphetamine. He had faced between three to eight years
behind bars. Besides receiving a suspended sentence, the defendant has
been banned from driving for six years.

Archbishop begins duties as Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza has officially taken up his duties as Papal
Nuncio to the Czech Republic. He was appointed last month. At Prague
Castle on Monday, the archbishop was welcomed by Czech President Vaclav
Klaus. The Vatican had been without an ambassador to Prague since May.
Until recently, Giuseppe Leanza was based in Ireland.

Proposed legislation would allow state to take-over property abandoned
by owners

Proposed legislation to be debated in the lower house, could give the
Czech government in the future the right to nationalise abandoned
buildings - currently left to rot or boarded up. Changes in the current
law would mean that abandoned castles but also squats could either be
rebuilt or at least be better secured to prevent potential accidents.
The law would reportedly apply to buildings abandoned by owners for 10
years or more, and owners would be allowed a final chance to assume
responsibility before losing the property for good. idnes reports that
sites that have been left to decay are numerous throughout the country,
including former hotels or chateaux, sometimes in prominent areas. The
threat of losing the property, it is thought, could push some owners to
at last take steps to improve the situation.

Tennis: Kvitova moves up to 4th spot in rankings

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova has moved up to 4th place in the
world in the women's WTA singles rankings, after winning her fifth WTA
title this season at the weekend in Linz. By the end of the week, she
could even move to the No. 3 spot now dominated by Azarenka, CTK
reported and could have a shot at the top spot if the player does well
in remaining competitions. On the men's circuit, Tomas Berdych is the
world No. 7.

Slavia fans protest against Straka

Around 200 fans of football club Slavia Prague gathered carrying
placards outside the club's stadium on Monday to protest against
Frantisek Straka, who in the past headed archrivals Sparta, becoming
head coach. The demonstrators marched from their home stadium to
Viktoria Zizkov, where the team is playing on Monday evening, to make
their dislike known. Straka, who managed the national squad for just
one game in 2009, was a favourite among Sparta fans but Slavia and
Sparta have a rivalry that goes back decades.

As a player back in the 1980s, Straka won 35 caps for Czechoslovakia,
and spent ten years in Germany's Bundesliga. As a manager, however, his
only success came with Teplice and Sparta Prague in the Czech cup.


The current spell of cold and dry weather should continue into the
week, with daytime temperatures reaching highs of around 13 degrees

Articles posted on today

Sports News 17.10.2011

In Sport News this Monday: in football, the Czech national team beats
Lithuania to earn a Euro 2012 playoff place while Sparta Prague suffer
first league defeat of the season; in tennis, Wimbledon Champion Petra
Kvitova takes her fifth WTA title while the Czech women's team prepares
for Fed Cup final; and in cyclocross, world champion finishes third in
the World Cup opener.

Rachel Kanarowski - at just 30, editor of a major glossy magazine

Rachel Kanarowski has the kind of job that must make her the absolute
envy of her peers. At only 30, she is the editor-in-chief of the Czech
version of InStyle, a major international women's magazine. At the
magazine's offices, we discussed shopping in Prague and the Czech take
on style. But first Kanarowski described the unlikely sounding way in
which the opportunity to enter the business arose, and how she made the
most of that chance.

Foreign Ministry honours promoters of good name of Czech Republic

Since 1997, the Czech Foreign Ministry has been honouring those who
promote the good name of the Czech Republic abroad with the annual
Gratias Agit awards. Last Friday, October 14, Foreign Minister Karel
Schwarzenberg handed out the awards to thirteen personalities from
around the globe to thank them for their outstanding work.

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