Monday, October 31, 2011

News 10.31.2011

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

News Monday, October 31st, 2011

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Czech Republic has criticized Monday's vote which granted the
Palestinians full membership in the United Nations' cultural agency
UNESCO.

* The Czech Finance Ministry has revised downward its growth forecast
for 2012.

* The army chief of staff has grounded the military's CASA planes after
one of the new transport aircraft suffered engine failure.

* The Czech Finance Ministry has rejected a massive 500-million-dollar
claim for unpaid bonds issued in 1924.

* Skoda Auto has nearly doubled its net profit from sales from January
to September.

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Prague critical of Palestinian membership in UNESCO
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The Czech Republic has criticized Monday's vote which granted the
Palestinians full membership in the United Nations' cultural agency
UNESCO. Palestine was admitted as a UNESCO member by the votes of 107
member countries, while 14 countries, including the Czech Republic,
voted against the step and 52 abstained from the vote. Prague, which
lobbied in vain to try to get the EU to abstain from the vote, said the
move was ill-timed and would bring nothing positive for the Middle East
peace process. The vote is definitive and will take effect as soon as
Palestinian representatives sign the UNESCO Charter.


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Ministry revised downward growth forecast
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The Czech Finance Ministry has revised downward its growth forecast for
2012, predicting a growth of 1 percent at best, down from a July
estimate of 2.5. This year's growth has been revised to 2.1 percent.
The Finance Ministry said the country's pro-export economy would be
affected by slower economic growth in Europe, especially its main
business partner Germany. A slowdown to 1.0 percent growth in 2012
would reduce state budget revenues by about 1.5 percent. The ministry
has said next year's budget will inevitably have to be revised and is
preparing several crisis scenarios including one for recession.


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CASA planes grounded after engine failure
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The army's Chief of Staff Vlastimil Picek has grounded the military's
CASA planes after one of the new transport aircraft suffered engine
failure. The four planes will remain out of operation until the matter
has been investigated. The CASA planes which the army bought without a
public tender in 2009 have been dogged by problems. The 3.5 billion
crown deal was criticized as non-transparent and overpriced. The planes
have moreover failed to meet required norms and have not passed all
army tests.


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Finance Ministry rejects claim for unpaid Karlovy Vary bonds
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The Czech Finance Ministry has rejected a massive 500-million-dollar
claim for unpaid bonds that the town of Karlovy Vary issued back in
1924. The bonds were sold in the United States and the claim was made
collectively by US lawyer Ed Fagan. Individual claimants have not been
identified. The spa town itself has rejected all responsibility saying
it was a different legal entity at the time, and the Czech Finance
Ministry which had been studying the case said the claims had been
statute barred for years. The bonds matured in 1954 but were never
paid. According to available information the Czechoslovak authorities
negotiated with the bond holders in 1984 and the two sides signed a
memorandum the contents of which have not been disclosed.


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Witnesses admit construction problems may have caused Studenka accident
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A court in Ostrava on Monday heard the testimony of another witness in
the case of the tragic 2008 rail accident near Studenka when a
collapsing overpass then under construction hit a crowded international
express train killing eight people and injuring close to a hundred
others. The train travelling from the Polish city of Krakow to Prague
was carrying four hundred passengers. Several witnesses, including a
construction manager who took the stand on Monday, admitted that
construction problems and inadequate safety measures may have been
responsible for the accident.


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Skoda Auto doubles net profit on higher sales
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Skoda Auto, the Czech unit of car maker Volkswagen AG, nearly doubled
its net profit in the January through September period to 471 million
euro from 237 million a year earlier on soaring global sales, a Skoda
spokesman said Monday. Skoda Auto's revenue rose 21% from the same
period a year earlier to 7.63 billion euro. The company's sales,
boosted by steadily growing demand for its cars in China, India and
Russia, rose 17% from the preceding year to 664,773 cars. The company
plans to continue adding two new vehicle models every year as it seeks
to double global sales to at least 1.5 million units by 2018.


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Anonymous HIV tests free of charge
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The Czech asylum centre for AIDS patients Dum Svetla has announced it
is conducting anonymous HIV tests free of charge this week. The offer
which is made at least once a year is an effort to get more people in
high risk groups to undergo testing. The head of the Czech Society for
AIDS patients Miroslav Hlavaty has warned that Czechs generally
underestimate the risk of HIV infection and make very little effort to
protect themselves. Doctors have registered 114 new cases of HIV
infection this year bringing the overall number of cases registered
since testing began in 1986 to 1636. 335 people have since developed
full-blown AIDS, 176 have died.


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Military police investigating death of solider
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The military police is investigating the death of a Czech soldier who
appears to have committed suicide. The 31-year-old was found dead on
the grounds of the military base where he served, shortly after
reporting for duty. He had been shot in the head from close range.


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Hradcanska metro station closed after hoax call
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Prague's Hradcanska metro station was evacuated and closed to the
public an hour early on Sunday night after the police received an
anonymous warning about a planted explosive. A search revealed that the
phone call had been a hoax and the station opened to the public as
usual on Monday morning. Police are investigating the incident.


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Road death toll decreasing
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Police statistics for October indicate that the death toll on Czech
roads has dropped to its lowest level in 20 years. Fifty-three people
died on the road this month, as compared to 85 in the same time-period
last year. Police attribute this to intensified road safety operations
throughout the year and a heightened police presence on the roads ahead
of All Souls Day when traffic tends to be particularly heavy.


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Weather:
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The coming days should be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and
day temperatures around 12 Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Sports News 31.10.2011
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In Sports News: Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova caps best season with
WTA Championship triumph; in football, Liberec & Viktoria Plzen notch
up victories while league leader Sparta slip; in the NHL, Montreal
Canadiens Plekanec helps sink Bruins in their home-and-home series,
while in the Extraliga Budejovice down Slavia.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/sport/sports-news-2011-10-31


President awards highest state honours
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As is customary on the Day of Czechoslovak Independence, the Czech
president awarded the highest honours of the land last week to doctors
and scientists, soldiers and artists, political prisoners and everyday
heroes. Many received the orders of the Czech Republic after tremendous
travails, one after giving his own life.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/president-awards-highest-state-honours


Paul Day - owner of Prague's newly opened and much praised Asian fusion
restaurant Sansho
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Paul Day was born and raised in Stafford, in the UK's West Midlands,
where he started working as a butcher, his first food industry job.
After working in two Michelin-starred restaurants in London, the chef
came to Prague and has recently opened a restaurant of his own, Sansho.
In its first weeks of being open, the Asian fusion restaurant quickly
became the one place everyone was talking about - and now, Sansho is
fully booked most days - even at lunch. I met the chef at the
restaurant, where he told me about the flavors that fascinate him, how
Prague's dining scene differs from London's, and what first sparked his
interest in food and cooking.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/paul-day-owner-of-pragues-newly-opened-and-much-praised-asian-fusion-restaurant-sansho-1


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