Wednesday, October 26, 2011

News 10.26.2011

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

News Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* A tender on the expansion of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear
power plant will be a major issue discussed in Washington on Thursday
between Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and US President Barack Obama.

* President Vaclav Klaus has said that differing views on nuclear
energy no longer dominate Czech-Austrian talks.

* The Communist Party has failed to push through a proposal in the
lower house which would have capped party spending in pre-election

* The culture minister has assured a fellow member of government that a
restitution bill on church property will not breach a cut-off date of
February 25, 1948.

* Tennis player Petra Kvitova has defeated Vera Zvonareva in their
group match in the WTA Championships.

Press: Temelin nuclear power plant expansion to top issues discussed in
Necas-Obama meeting

The tender on the expansion of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear
power plant will be the main topic discussed in a meeting between Czech
Prime Minister Petr Necas and US President Barack Obama in Washington
on Thursday. According to the Czech news agency, CTK, America is hoping
to reemphasise a strong interest in the contract, worth hundreds of
billions of crowns. The US-based firm Westinghouse is competing against
two other bidders in the tender. The visit by Mr Necas to the White
House on Thursday could also show new progress in Czech-American ties
following the US abandonment of an advance warning radar in the Czech
Republic, pursued by the previous administration. Meetings with past
Czech prime ministers Mirek Topolanek and Vladimir Spidla were
dominated by security issues, CTK noted, while now economic matters
have come to the fore.

Klaus: division over nuclear power no longer dominates Czech-Austrian

In related news, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that differing
views on nuclear energy between the Czech Republic and Upper Austria no
longer dominate Czech-Austrian talks. Mr Klaus made the statement
during a visit to Linz on Tuesday, after meeting with representatives
from the public and business spheres as well as members of the
academia. According to the head-of-state questions of improving road
infrastructure dominated. A group of about ten Austrian opponents of
nuclear energy staged a protest against Temelin outside the Czech
honorary consulate in Linz, but Mr Klaus said he did not believe that
the protest expressed the majority view of the region's inhabitants.
Nuclear-free Austria has long been opposed to the operation of nuclear
power plants in the Czech Republic.

Coalition MPs reject Communist proposal capping campaign spending

The Communist Party has failed to push through a proposal in the lower
house which would have capped pre-election campaign spending by
political parties. The bill was rejected by coalition MPs who are
reportedly preparing legislation of their own aiming to make campaign
financing more transparent. The Communists had been seeking to limit
pre-election spending in senatorial and national campaigns to 50
million crowns and regional election campaigns to 20 million, while
introducing penalties for transgression. Civic Democrat Marek Benda
criticised the Communist Party proposal as "unbaked". The head of the
Communist Party, Vojtech Filip, said it shared a common aim with
government plans.

Culture minister reassures Bendl 1948 date will not be breached in
church restitution bill

Culture Minister Jiri Besser has assured the Agriculture Minister Petr
Bendl that a church property restitution bill being prepared by the
centre-right government will not breach the date of February 25, 1948.
That is a cut-off date for the restitution of property in the Czech
Republic - historically related to the putsch that saw the Communist
Party assume power in Czechoslovakia. The agriculture minister
expressed concern about a section in the prepared legislation which
theoretically could pave the way for the return of 20,000 hectares of
forestland to a former Christian order known as the Order of German
Knights. The prepared legislation, based on parameters set in talks
between the Church and the state, is to be presented to the government
by the end of October.

Wenceslas Square to repeat car-free days

Wenceslas Square in the Czech capital will hold car-free days again
next year after holding a trial run last month on September 18. The
event was held during the middle of European Mobility Week and car
traffic on Prague's most famous square was stopped for several hours.
The mayor of Prague 1, Oldrich Lomecky, told journalists on Wednesday
that officials at Prague's 1's town hall, business owners and others
had registered the event as a success and that next year such days
could be held once per month from April - October. Mr Lomecky said on
Wednesday that in recent years Wenceslas Square lacked 'purpose',
suggesting that events like the Christmas market helped revitalise the
space. During the Christmas period stalls are set up at the bottom of
the square, already set aside for pedestrians.

CTK: City Hall stalls on renovation of dilapidated historic site

A dilapidated 19th century building named after original owner Vaclav
Slechta and located in Prague's Stromovka Park will not see planned
renovation this year, CTK has reported. The building, which once housed
a restaurant, has been boarded up in a state of disrepair for years -
first gutted by a fire in 1980 and then hit by flooding in 2002. Under
former plans the historic site was to have been saved and completely
renovated by September 2012 at the cost of 180 million crowns.
According to the Czech news agency, it is now apparent that Prague City
Hall has allocated some of the needed budget to a separate project,
meaning the reconstruction of the Stromovka site will be stalled. The
agency also reports that the city has yet to sign an agreement with a

Festival tent catches fire

Fire fighters were called in on Wednesday to put out a fire in a
Jihlava that caught in a tent put up for an accompanying programme to
the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. The fire crew was
able to put out the flames within roughly half-an-hour. Nobody was hurt
in the incident. According to sources, the fire caught from a halogen
lamp used to light the interior. Damage has been estimated at 500,000
crowns or the equivalent of around 28,000 US dollars. The Jihlava
International Documentary Film Festival begins on Thursday.

Author Hodrova receives state prize for literature

Author Daniela Hodrova has been named the laureate for this year's
state prize for literature for her latest novel Vyvolavani and also
previous work. Martin Hilsky received the state for prize for his
translations of works by Shakespeare. The results were announced on
Wednesday. Jury head Vladimir Novotny praised Ms Hodrova work, saying
long intervals between publication (not publishing four books a year)
showed her dedication and 'aesthetic responsibility'.

Former striker Roman Kukleta dies at 46

Former striker Roman Kukleta - who earned four caps with
Czechoslovakia's national football team in 1991 - and played for clubs
like Sparta Prague, Brno and Betis Seville, has died at the age of 46.
News site idnes reported that last weekend the former player was to
have shot a promotional clip for Brno's football team, Boby Brno, but
had to cancel due to illness. He was hospitalised a day later and on
Wednesday died from organ failure. As a player Kukleta scored 58 goals
in the top flight, playing in 153 matches.

Tennis: Kvitova downs Zvonareva

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova got off to a good start in her first
match in the Red Group at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey on
Tuesday, defeating opponent Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. The Czech
player, who triumphed at Wimbledon this year, won 6:2, 6:4. Afterwards,
she admitted she had been nervous ahead of her first-ever match in the
WTA Championships. In her group she also faces Caroline Wozniak, and
Agnieszka Radwanska: the two best players will face the two best from
the White Group in the semifinals.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be mostly overcast with
scattered showers and daytime highs of around 8 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Parties at loggerheads over what should be subject to a national

There is general agreement among the country's parliamentary parties
that the Czech Republic would benefit from a law on national
referendums, however the approval of such a bill is severely hampered
by fierce debates on what issues should be subject to a popular vote.

Is the Czech baby boom over and did it ever happen?

In recent years the media, including Radio Prague, repeatedly reported
about the Czech Republic experiencing a baby boom. It seemed obvious:
statisticians reported increasing birth figures, maternity hospitals
were bursting at the seams and mothers had to register months ahead of
their delivery to secure a place. So is the baby boom now over and in
fact - did it ever happen?

Prague's Mala Strana cemetery: a burial ground that's dying out

Cemeteries across the country will soon fill with flowers and burning
candles when on All Saints Day people visit the graves of their loved
ones. But in Prague, there is one burial ground where few visitors are
expected. The Mala Strana cemetery was only in use for about a century,
and it now stands out as a unique monument in the middle of the
dynamically developing district of Smichov. A group of local
enthusiasts have now got together to save this unique part of the
city's heritage.

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