Tuesday, November 29, 2011

News 11.29.2011

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

News Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* The Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering cancelling a
long-running health subsidy for miners, the daily Pravo reports.

* Police in Prague city centre have discovered two small children whose
parents had never taken them outdoors, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has met with his Moldavian counterpart and
confirmed Czech developmental aid for the country next year.

* The Prague City Council has scrapped a controversial, ten-year tender
for waste management.

* A court has granted an early release to Barbora Skrlova, who was
sentenced to five years for her part in the "Kurim" child abuse case.

Industry Ministry considering cancelling health subsidy for miners

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering cancelling a
long-running health subsidy for miners, the daily Pravo reports. The
subsidy entails 1,500 to 1,900 crowns in compensation per month paid by
the employer to miners who leave their jobs for health reasons and has
been in place since 1993. The cancellation of the subsidy would change
nothing in the state's budget but would mean savings of up to 50
million crowns for large coal mining companies. According to documents
that the paper says it possesses, the ministry believes the subsidy
reflects a time when miners faced worse conditions in their work
environments and a greater risk of illness. The miners' union, which is
protesting the move, says that hardly anything has changed in that time
and that the idea is needless provocation.

Children who never left their home found in central Prague

Police in Prague city centre have discovered two small children whose
parents had never taken them outdoors, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes
reports. The children - a boy aged three and an 18-month-old girl -
were apparently born at home, had never been taken to a doctor and were
in good physical but poor psychological condition. The paper says that
the parents were trying to protect the children from an "evil world"
and had lost interest in them after they were touched by another
person. They are now in the care of their grandparents after being
taken to a children's centre. Police will not say whether the parents
will be prosecuted.

Necas meets with Moldavian PM, confirms developmental aid for 2012

Prime Minister Petr Necas says that Moldavia will be one of five
priority countries for Czech developmental aid next year. Speaking to
the press after a meeting with his Moldavian counterpart, Vlad Filat,
Mr Necas said that the small East European country was a priority for
the Visegrad Group as a whole, on account of its reform efforts and
pro-European stance. He also noted that Moldavia offers opportunities
for Czech investment, particularly in the areas of energy and
transportation infrastructure. The Czech Press Agency says that
Moldavia is to receive 66.5 million crowns in developmental aid from
the Czech Republic next year. Prior to the press conference, Czech and
Moldavian officials signed bilateral agreements on the return of
illegal aliens, cooperation in health care and social security.

New Prague coalition meeting cancels waste tender, agrees 2012 budget

The Prague City Council has scrapped a controversial, ten-year tender
for waste management. Critics said the order was overpriced. Its value
was estimated at 13.2 billion crowns, but the lowest bid was more than
three billion higher. The planned tender was sharply criticised by TOP
09, then in opposition in City Hall. The Czech capital will have a
budget of 44 billion crowns and will have an additional eight billion
for investment. Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has said that the city plans to
cut all current expenditures by five percent. As of last Thursday, six
members from the TOP 09 party have joined the council, replacing the
Social Democrat representation from the grand coalition that was
dissolved last week.

Barbora Skrlova granted early release from prison

A district court has freed Barbora Skrlova, who was sentenced to five
years for her part in the "Kurim" child abuse case. The 36-year-old
woman was released two and a half years early after a fierce debate in
court between the state prosecutor and her lawyer, who says her
psychological condition has not improved in prison. The prosecution
maintained that Ms Skrlova behaves like a sullen child but is actually
a skilled manipulator. Her case began in 2007, when six individuals
linked to a small religious sect were charged with violently abusing
two children. Skrlova pretended to be one of the children and was taken
into childcare from which she escaped. She was later found in Norway
after her true identity was revealed. She will remain on probation for
five years.

Czech Position: Lawyer Fagan to file lawsuit against the Czech Republic

The website Czech Position reports that controversial American lawyer
Edward Fagan is filing a lawsuit against the Czech Republic, its
finance minister and several other people regarding unpaid bonds issued
by the town of Karlovy Vary in 1924. Mr Fagan says the suit, which is
to be filed in the US, is based on his having been denied cooperation
in verifying whether the state fulfilled its financial liabilities
arising from the bonds. He is reportedly also threatening to prevent
the state from issuing further bonds. The Finance Ministry rejected Mr
Fagan's 500-million-dollar claim for the bonds, which were sold in the
United States. The Czech Finance Ministry says such claims have been
barred for years and that Czechoslovak authorities negotiated a
memorandum with the bond holders in 1984.

Public Affairs to lodge criminal complaint over IZIP

The junior coalition party, Public Affairs, will lodge a criminal
complaint against General Health Insurance Company (VZP) board members
who promoted a project for electronic health records called IZIP and
were simultaneously its shareholders. The party also asked its
representatives on the board of the state-run VZP, the country��s
biggest health insurer, to propose the dismissal of VZP board chairman
and director Pavel Horak. Party chairman Radek John said he will not
yet specify who the complaint has been lodged against. Controversies
that have accompanied IZIP project for the last decade have intensified
in recent weeks, since VZP procured 51% of the company's shares. The
remaining 49% is in the possession of an unknown Swiss company to which
the project��s founders transferred their shares earlier this year.

Statistical office reports on internet use

Internet access in households has increased by 77% over the last five
years, the Czech Statistical Office reports. The office records 2.5
million connected households in the country (3 out of 5), and 2.7
million households with computers. The large increase may be due to the
popularity of wireless connections. More than a fourth of the
population over the age of 16, or 2.5 million people, use teh internets
for shopping. The most common online activities were reported to be
searching for information on goods and services, reading messages and
internet calling. About a quarter of the adult population said they
actively use social networks.

Agreement reached with land-owner for completion of D11 motorway

Completion of the D11 motorway from Prague to Hradec Kralove looks set
to go ahead, as the farmer whose land obstructed the work has agreed to
sell it to the state for 90 million crowns. She will also be
compensated with other tracts of land. Negotiations for the purchase of
the ten hectares in question have been underway for 17 years.
Archaeological and geological is set to begin next year and the
motorway will be built between 2013 and 2014 at a cost of 1.5 billion

Driest November on record

The current month is set to become the driest November since
meteorological records began in 1775. The amount of precipitation was
virtually unmeasurable, with the last proper rain having fallen on
October 26. The Czech Meteorological Institute says that the average
daily precipitation of half a millimetre was not recorded anywhere in
the country in the last month. The dry spell is reportedly not causing
problems for farming at the moment. Rainfall is expected at the weekend
at the earliest.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be clear, with highs of
around 6o Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Ema Destinnova - the divine Ema

Ema Destinnova - or Emmy Destinn, as she became known abroad - was one
of the greatest dramatic sopranos of the twentieth century and one of
the most sought-after singers before WWI, thanks to her voice of
exceptional richness, power, and control. She sang with the legendary
Enrico Caruso and many other stars in the most prestigious opera houses
in Europe and the United States, such as Bayreuth, Berlin's Hofoper,
London's Covent Garden and New York's Metropolitan.


Prague police chief arrested, contracts frozen in anti-corruption sting

The mayor of Prague has frozen all contracts signed by the City Police
force and ordered a full investigation after the head of the force was
arrested last week on suspicion of accepting a bribe. Vladimir Kotrous,
Prague City Police force president, is now in custody after
anti-organised crime taskforce arrested him with a large amount of cash
on his person.


Despite rising numbers of online homes, Czechs still behind EU average

Over the past five years, the Czech Republic has seen a massive rise in
the numbers of internet users. According to the latest official
figures, the number of Czech homes connected to the worldwide web rose
by 125 percent over that period. But compared to other countries in the
European Union, the Czechs still lag behind.


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