Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News 11.22.2011

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

News Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Social Democrats at Prague City Hall have offered the mayoral seat to
TOP 09 should they form a coalition together.

* President Vaclav Klaus has ratified a part of the government's health
and welfare reform bills.

* The prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Estonia say their
countries' business relations are good and could be even deeper.

* The Czech road authority and the construction company Eurovia are
hotly debating responsibility for the defective surface of the Ostrava
highway D47.

* The region of Moravia-Silesia has seen a major decrease in its
population over the last twenty years.

Prague Social Democrats woo TOP 09 with offer of mayoral post

Social Democrats at Prague City Hall have offered the mayoral seat to
TOP 09 should they form a coalition together. Deputy Mayor and Social
Democrat Karel Brezina told reporters on Tuesday that his party's aim
would be preventing a right-wing coalition in City Hall, following the
unexpected breakup of the city's grand coalition on Monday evening. The
Civic Democratic Party initiated the breakup, saying the current
coalition's policies would result in enormous debts for the capital.
Social Democrats say the decision was the result of disputes within the
Civic Democratic Party. TOP 09 was the overall winner of the last local
elections, but was sidestepped by the other two parties which formed a
coalition without them. TOP 09 says it will negotiate with both parties
and demands the removal of certain, unnamed individuals from the
economic and personnel sections.

President ratifies health and welfare reforms

President Vaclav Klaus has ratified part of the government's health and
welfare reform bills. The legislation had been rejected by the
left-controlled Senate and was passed again in the lower house only
after several days of filibustering by opposition parties. The health
reforms cover a number of areas, for example allowing patients access
to all of their medical records, regulating artificial insemination and
banning human cloning and allowing paramedics to enter buildings
without permission and demand the assistance of bystanders. The social
welfare reforms include dole payments being made only by the Labour
Office, and unemployment support will depend on the fulfilment of 20
hours' a week community service for those unemployed for more than two

Czech and Estonian PMs say business relations good and could be better

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Estonia say their
countries' business relations are good and could be even deeper. The
Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, said after a meeting between the two
that Estonia is an interesting country for Czech exporters particularly
in the areas of energy, environmental protection and transport
engineering. Estonian PM Andrus Ansip said he appreciated the work of
the Czech jet pilots who protected Baltic airspace during 2009 and
should do so again next year, though Mr Necas reminded that there
should be a certain degree of cost sharing on that NATO mission.

Road authority and construction company spar over damage to D47

The Czech road authority and the construction company Eurovia are hotly
debating responsibility for the defective surface of the Ostrava
highway D47. According to the road authority, Eurovia used
inappropriate base materials for the road, including pieces of wood,
brick and PVC which caused the surface to bulge when it became damp.
Eurovia claimed on Tuesday that the material was used based on the
ordering information given by the roads authority and has threatened to
sue the Transportation Ministry for damaging its name. It is not yet
known when the damage to the road will be corrected.

Experts criticize education minister's diploma thesis as "poor"

Tuesday's Mlada fronta Dnes daily quotes a number of experts who
criticize the master's thesis in psychology submitted and defended by
Education Minister Josef Dobes in 1994 at Masaryk University in Brno.
The experts approached by the newspaper agreed that the thesis was
"poor, shallow and should not have been accepted for defence". Mr
Dobes's thesis supervisor was Professor Vladimir Smekal, his current
advisor at the ministry. Mr Dobes has dismissed the criticism. In an
interview for the same daily last week the Education Minister said that
higher standards should be set for admission of students to

Moravia-Silesia experienced large population decrease since 1991

The region of Moravia-Silesia has seen a marked decrease in its
population over the last twenty years, the Czech Statistical Office has
pointed out. Since 1991 some 40,000 inhabitants have moved out of the
country's easternmost region, primarily in search of jobs, bringing the
population there down to 1.24 million. Nearly a third of those who
left, moved out of the country altogether. Moreover, the trend seems to
be increasing with a dramatic increase in emigration from the region
since 2009. Formerly the most populous region in the Czech Republic,
Moravia-Silesia now has the lowest population in its recorded history.

Sobotka steps down as head of Soc Dem parliamentary club

Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka has announced he will step
down as head of the party's parliamentary club and put forwards deputy
chairman Jeronym Tejc for the position. Mr Sobotka told Tuesday's
meeting of the club of MPs that he no longer wanted to hold both
functions next year, as he will be concentrating on supporting Social
Democrat candidates in regional elections.

Ex-wife of Kocourek authorises lawyers to recover "diverted" money

The ex-wife of recently-resigned trade minister Martin Kocourek has
authorised her lawyers to recover any money that may have been denied
her in the couple's divorce settlement. Neither she nor Mr Kocourek
commented further on the matter. Kocourek resigned two weeks ago after
failing to provide a legitimate explanation to why 16 million crowns
had appeared on an account belonging to his mother. The trade
minister's defence was that the money was his and that he had
"diverted" it to his mother in 2008 to protect it from his divorce

Havlickuv Brod begins demolishing first panelak on aesthetic grounds

The town of Havlickuv Brod has begun the first demolition of a panelak,
or prefab residential building, for purely urbanistic reasons. The
18-apartment building will be removed from a central town square at a
cost of 2.8 million crowns. The town council had been debating whether
to remove the unpopular, 1982 structure for several years, because it
obstructs passage into a historic alleyway that joins two squares. The
communist-built panelak buildings are often deplored as ugly and
shoddy, but nonetheless provide the country with more than 1.25 million
residential spaces. Only about one third have been reconstructed to
meet more modern standards.

Prague Zoo cannot use well-known horse logo

The Supreme Court has definitively ruled that the Prague Zoo cannot use
the well-known logo created for it by artist Michal Cihlar. The case
has been in the courts since 2006, when Mr Cihlar sued the zoo for
breach of contract on the grounds that he was not paid for the
distribution of the logo as per the copyright law of the time. The
easily-recognisable logo with its portrait of a Przewalski Horse was
used by the zoo from 1998 until 2006 then the entire institution was
rebranded. Przewalski Horses have appeared in its logo since the 1950s
to highlight the zoo's attempts to protect that breed. The decision
cannot be appealed further.


The coming days should be mostly sunny with daytime temperatures just
above freezing point.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

The Czech invasion of 'Wilson City'

Welcome to Wilsonstadt, an independent Central European city of 400,000
Germans and Hungarians, and a few Slovaks thrown in for good measure.
Named after US President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, after successfully
avoiding annexation by Czechoslovakia - and an impossible number of
other would-be conquests - it's a prosperous, provincial town on the
Danube, though plagued by poor relations with its neighbors.


Speculation surrounds fall of Prague's grand coalition

The grand coalition of Civic and Social Democrats at Prague City Hall
is about to end, a year after it assumed power. In a surprise move, the
Civic Democrats in the capital on Tuesday announced they were leaving
the ruling bloc, justifying the step by budget and personal issues.
However, the unconvincing explanation has given rise to wide-ranging
speculation about the real reason behind the reshuffle.


Eyesore of an apartment bloc in Havlickuv Brod to be torn down

Pre-fabricated apartment blocs known in the Czech Republic as panelaky
(panel buildings) were once the Soviet ideal and countless thousands
were built in Czechoslovakia from the 1950s until 1989. Now, for the
first time, one such bloc of homes will be demolished strictly for
aesthetic reasons. The Southeast Bohemian town of Havlickuv Brod has
confirmed that a low-rise smack in the town centre - considered an
eyesore for years - will soon be a thing of the past.


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