Monday, October 3, 2011

News 10.3.2011

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

News Monday, October 3rd, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* Hazardous sulphur oxide that leaked from oil lagoons in the east of
the country is threatening the health of local inhabitants both in
Ostrava and nearby Bohumin.

* The number of bankruptcies declared in the Czech Republic will hit
1,870 in 2011, according to an industry survey.

* A police sweep of bars, restaurants and gambling venues in Rumburk,
North Bohemia, has uncovered 14 cases of abuse of social benefits.

* Former prime minister Jiri Paroubek has made clear he is planning on
leaving the Social Democratic Party .

* Czech boxer Lukas Konecny, who was due to face light-middleweight
champion Sergei Dzinziruk for the world title, has expressed the hope
the WBO will strip the fighter of his title belt.

Ostrava choking after weekend leak of sulphur oxide

Hazardous sulphur oxide that leaked from oil lagoons in Ostrava is
threatening the health of local inhabitants both in Ostrava and nearby
Bohumin, the CTK news agency reported. According to the Czech
Hydro-meteorological Institute, the concentration of pollutants
exceeded permitted levels twelve-fold over the weekend. Daniel Gruza,
deputy head of the Czech Environmental Inspection, confirmed the leak
from the oil lagoons saying it had reportedly occurred during a
cleaning process. The polluter faces a fine of up to seven million
crowns. Sulphur oxides, especially SO2 and SO3, are one of the main air
pollutants in municipal areas all over the world. High concentrations
of the substance can damage the respiratory system.

Study: Czech Republic to see rise in bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies declared in the Czech Republic will hit
1,870 in 2011 - an increase of 186 cases compared to the previous year.
The news was revealed by the CTK news agency on Monday, citing a report
by credit insurance firm Euler Hermes. In 2012, the number is expected
to decrease again but problems in some fields are expected: a member of
the executive board stressed uncertainties in the field of construction
as well as in steel manufacturing. Electronic goods producers could
also face difficulties next year due to heavy competition combined with
a drop in consumer demand. According to the study, bankruptcies in the
Czech Republic were far lower in 2008, paradoxically just as the
country experienced the first impact of the global financial crisis.
There were only 1,110 cases that year, the lowest number since 1996.

Czech PMI falls to 21-month low

Czech manufacturing growth showed its weakest result in 21 months in
September, an industry barometer has shown. The HSBC Czech Republic
Manufacturing PMI was 52.3 compared to 53.4 the previous month - the
lowest since the end of 2009. A result over 50 indicates positive
overall growth; in its report the HSBC bank said that the PMI fall was
related to a slowing of new orders.

Police sweep uncovers 14 cases of abuse of social benefits in Rumburk

A police sweep of bars, restaurants and gambling venues in Rumburk,
North Bohemia, at the weekend uncovered 14 cases of abuse of social
benefits by recipients, found consuming alcohol or playing slot
machines. One of the people reportedly included a 23-year-old mother
who had left her four-year-old daughter unattended and asleep at home.
The news was revealed by a spokeswoman for the town hall, who said in
addition to the 14 cases, four underage drinkers were caught, two of
them just 12-years-old.

Those abusing social benefits can't lose them, sources say, but the
authorities can limit funds by issuing smaller amounts on a daily
basis. Forty-two police officers and other officials took part in the
weekend sweep in Rumburk, a town hit by social strife and increased
ethnic tension in recent weeks. Along with drinking establishments,
pawn shops were also checked. In all, more than 150 locals were carded.

Paroubek confirms departure from Social Democrats

Jiri Paroubek, a former prime minister and former chairman of the
Social Democrats, has confirmed that he will leave the party he led up
until the 2010 national election. The Social Democrats came first last
year but with a far slimmer margin than had previously been expected,
leaving them unable to find a partner to form a viable coalition. The
same day, Mr Paroubek stepped down. The former party chairman indicated
at the signing of his new book on Monday that his departure was only a
matter of days. Earlier it was thought Mr Paroubek would join the
extra-parliamentary Czech National Social Party, but there has been
speculation in the Czech media he may found a new party on the Czech
political scene.

Poll suggests meagre rise in confidence in government

A new poll released by the CVVM agency has suggested that public
confidence in the country's centre-right government has increased to 22
percent after falling to just 17 in June. Confidence in the government,
racked this year by a series of potentially crippling scandals that
threatened its stability, dropped in June at a time when the smallest
party in the coalition party, Public Affairs, threatened to walk out
unless an addendum to the coalition contract was agreed. Trust in
Parliament is not much higher: just 17 percent in the Chamber of
Deputies and 23 in the Senate, the poll suggests. President Vaclav
Klaus remains the most highly-rated among Czech leaders, trusted by 54
percent of respondents. According to the poll, only seven percent of
those queried said they were satisfied with the current political

Robbers make off with 32,000 crowns from Varnsdorf bar

Two masked individuals robbed a bar in Varnsdorf in the Decin area on
Sunday night, threatening the personnel with a piece of timber. The
assailants, who could not be identified through their balaclavas, made
off with around 32,000 crowns, around 1,700 US dollars. Along with the
money, the thieves ordered the bar's safe to be opened, but ran away
after the owner of the venue arrived.

Autopsy confirms baby was born healthy

An autopsy has appeared to confirm that a newborn found dead in Tabor
in late September was born healthy. Until now the police were
investigating the possibility the baby was not murdered but was
stillborn. The 29-year-old mother - who had hidden her pregnancy from
others in her surroundings - is the main suspect in the case: it is
thought that she may have thrown the infant out of the window. The
Tabor area has seen six murders so far this year.

Civic associations seeks to build extensive dog-training centre

A civic association has asked the town of Pardubice, east of Prague, to
set aside at least two hectares of grounds which could be used to build
an extensive dog-training complex, unrivalled in the country and
complete with a cat and dog shelter. The association, called Berserk -
K9, is aiming for the centre to be used by both breeders and trainers,
and to have a hall for to be used for internationally-certified
competitions and exhibitions. The grounds would be paid for from both
European and association funds. The civic association has stressed that
the centre would create job opportunities for people with disabilities
and that some 1,000 dog owners could make use of the facility per
month. More than 9,000 dogs are registered in Pardubice alone.

Boxer Konecny expresses hope that WBO will act to vacate world title

Czech boxer Lukas Konecny, who was due to face light-middleweight
champion Sergei Dzinziruk for the world title on September 30th, has
expressed the hope the World Boxing Organisation will vacate the belt
after Dzinziruk pulled out of the match at the last minute. The
Germany-based Ukrainian fighter cited injury as the reason for calling
off the bout. According to some sources if Dzinziruk is stripped of the
title, Konecny - the European title holder - could now fight interim
champion Zaurbek Baysangurov, a match that could take place by the end
of the year.


Uncharacteristically warm weather and sunny conditions are expected to
continue throughout much of the week. Daytime temperatures on Tuesday
should reach highs of 23 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Roma rights advocate Gwendolyn Albert on anti-Romany rallies, poverty
and the government's strategy in combating social exclusion

The Czech Republic recently saw an outbreak of tensions between the
country's Romany minority and parts of the majority population. People
in the isolated northern Bohemian region of Sluknov began holding
anti-Romany rallies to protest a growing crime rate in the region; the
government reacted by sending in the police but also by adopting a plan
to tackle the issue of Romany exclusion and impoverishment. To discuss
these and other issues, Radio Prague spoke to Gwendolyn Albert who for
the past 15 years has been working with the Romany advocacy group,

Expert on extremism: racism in mainstream politics poses bigger threat
than ultra-right groups

The special Czech police squad for fighting organized crime has warned
that ultra-right groupings in the country have been gathering strength
and are now better organized and more active than before the 2010
clamp-down on extremism. The Workers Party, banned by a court ruling in
2010, has successfully regrouped into the Workers Party of Social
Justice and ultra-right activists are making an all out effort to use
the wave of anti-Romany sentiment in the north of the country to their
best advantage. So far the public has shown little sign of supporting
them -but does that mean there is no potential for extremism in the
Czech Republic? A question for Klara Kalibova, a lawyer who specializes
in hate crime.

Czech theatrical legend Jiri Suchy turns 80

The popular Czech actor, singer, songwriter, playwright, painter,
screenwriter and director Jiri Suchy turned 80 on Saturday. In top
form, the living legend of Czech theatre received standing ovations at
a special concert he held to celebrate his birthday at Prague's Semafor

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