Wednesday, November 16, 2011

News 11.16.2011

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

News Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* Civic Democrat Martin Kuba has been appointed the new industry and
trade minister.

* A Civic Democrat MP has quit the party over the appointment of the
new minister.

* The government has rejected the Education Ministry's plans to limit
the numbers of students at humanities-focused secondary schools.

* A set of vibrators for women called Whoop De Doo has won the annual
National Student Design Award.

* An open-air exhibition in Prague explores the parallels between
Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the Arab Spring.

Civic Democrat Martin Kuba becomes new industry and trade minister

President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday appointed Civic Democrat Martin
Kuba the new industry and trade minister. Mr Kuba, a medic by
profession, has for the last three years served as deputy governor of
the South Bohemian region, where the Temelin nuclear plant is located,
a factor that reportedly played a crucial role in his appointment.
Prime Minister Petr Necas rejected media allegations that Mr Kuba had
close links to a shady power figure of the party's Civic Democrat
organization in southern Bohemia.

His predecessor at the ministry, Martin Kocourek, was last week forced
to step down after he failed to explain the origin of millions of
crowns that appeared overnight on an account belonging to his mother.

Civic Democrat MP leaves party in protest against new industry and
trade minister

In related news, Civic Democrat MP and the vice-chair of the lower
house's influential budget committee, Michal Doktor, on Wednesday left
his party in protest against the appointment of the new industry and
trade minister. Mr Doktor, who was among the candidates for the post,
told reporters that the new minister, Martin Kuba, was a great
liability to the party due to his ties to unofficial power structures.
However, Mr Doktor said he would continue to support the centre-right
government in the lower house.

President signs Labour Code into law

President Klaus signed a new Labour Code into law on Wednesday. The
most significant changes include new rules for severance packages;
tightens the rules for fixed-term employment contracts and relaxes
those for laying off employees. As of January 2012, employees will
receive a severance package of one monthly salary if they worked in
their company for less than a year; two monthly salaries if they are
laid off after up to two years in their firm, and three salaries if
they worked there for two years or more. Employers will be able to
offer their employees fixed-term employment contracts for a maximum
period of three years.

Government rejects plans for limiting numbers of students at grammar

The Czech government on Wednesday rejected the Education Ministry's
plans to limit the numbers of students at humanities-focused secondary
schools by tests for pupils at elementary schools. Education Minister
Josef Dobes was planning to introduce nation-wide tests for 5th and 9th
grade pupils; only those who pass would be allowed to study at
humanities-focused secondary schools while the rest would become
apprentices. After the government's session on Wednesday, however, Mr
Dobes said these tests would only serve as a tool for comparing
individual elementary schools, and for ensuring each pupil has reached
a standard level of education.

Cold weather claims first victim

The current spell of cold weather has claimed its first victim this
year after a homeless man of around 60 years of age died of exposure in
Prague on Wednesday morning. A spokeswoman for the city emergency
rescue service said the man was found dead in a street in the Repy
district of Prague. The spokeswoman said nine people had been taken to
hospital with hypothermia since mid-October.

Two polar bear cubs in Brno zoo die after birth

Two polar bear cubs that were born in the Brno zoo on Tuesday died soon
after birth, a spokeswoman for the zoo said. According to curators, the
two cubs died on Wednesday morning and their mother Cora ate them.
However, the zoo still hopes the 13-year-old Cora will give birth to
more offspring in the future; in 2007, she gave birth to the twins, Tom
and Bill who became a huge attraction for visitors.

Over million vehicles produced in Czech Republic this year

More than a million vehicles were produced in the Czech Republic
between January and October this year, which is 12 percent more than in
the same period last year, the country's Automotive Industry
Association said on Wednesday. The production was mainly driven by
exports, which rose by 12 percent; sales at home dropped by around 1
percent. While the two major carmakers, Skoda Auto and Hyundai
Nosovice, increased their production of cars by 19 and 21 percent,
respectively, the production of trucks dropped by nearly 10 percent.

Whoop De Doo vibrators win National Student Design Award

The 20th annual National Student Design Award was on Wednesday
presented to Anna Maresova for her set of vibrators for women called
Whoop De Doo. The jury said her work represented a modern functional
design, and appreciated products' practicality as well as the author's
courage and sophistication. Other awards went to students who designed
a lamp in for growing plants, a road bridge, a Braille book and other
things. All nominated objects will go on display in a gallery and a
shopping mall in Prague.

Photo exhibit explores parallels between Arab Spring and Velvet

On the eve of the 22nd anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet
Revolution of 1989 that ended the communist rule in the country, an
open-air photo exhibition in Prague's Namesti Republiky was opened on
Wednesday, exploring links between the fall of communism in Europe and
the events of the Arab Spring. The exhibit, entitled Almost Velvet
Revolutions, present some 40 images from Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the
protests that have shaken the Arab world. The exhibition runs until
November 30.

WSOP runner up Martin Staszko receives medal, flannel shirt in home town

The runner-up in this year's World Series of Poker, Martin Staszko,
arrived in his home town of Trinec, in the north-east of the country,
on Wednesday. The local town hall awarded the poker star a
commemorative medal and a flannel shirt, his signature attire in which
he played at the Las Vegas tournament. Mr Staszko said he would wear
the shirt at all big tournaments in the future. The 35-year-old former
car factory manager, who won some 100 million crowns in prize money,
also told reporters many people were approaching him asking for
financial help.

Football: Czechs beat Montenegro to claim EURO 2012 spot

The Czech national football team beat Montenegro 1:0 in the second leg
of the EURO 2012 playoffs on Tuesday, and advanced to the
championship's final tournament on a 3:0 aggregate. The Czechs were on
the defensive for much of the game but several superb saves by
goalkeeper Petr Cech prevented the home side from scoring. In the 81st
minute, Petr Jiracek netted the killer goal, ensuring the Czech team's
advance to the final tournament held in Poland and Ukraine next year.
In the tournament's draw, the Czech team will be seeded in the weakest
Pot 4.


The current spell of cold and wet weather will continue for days to
come, with overcast skies, fog and daytime highs of around 5 degrees

Articles posted on today

New trade minister appointment stirs controversy

President Klaus has appointed Civic Democrat Martin Kuba to head the
ministry of Trade and Industry, following the resignation of Martin
Kocourek last week. Though Mr Kocourek's tenure ended amid allegations
of corruption, the new minister was clearly not chosen on the basis of
a controversy-free political history, as Christian Falvey reports.

National football squad qualifies for Euro 2012

The Czech Republic's national football team has secured a berth at Euro
2012 defeating Montenegro 1:0 on Tuesday in their second-leg matchup in
Podgorica. It will be the fifth straight appearance by the Czech
Republic in the European Championships.

Prague's Ladronka park offers something for everybody

In today's Spotlight we don't have to travel too far. Just a
forty-five-minute tram ride uphill from the centre of Prague takes us
to one of the largest parks in the city. Not long ago, its greenery was
untended and the historic building in the middle of it was inhabited by
a commune of squatters. But after a recent facelift, Ladronka, as the
park is called, now offers something for everybody.

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