Wednesday, November 30, 2011

News 11.30.2011

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

News Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* The police are to charge two people in the case of a suspicious
purchase of Tatra trucks for the Czech military.

* The Slovak government has asked Czech doctors to temporarily step in
for their Slovak colleagues who are quitting their jobs en masse over
low salaries.

* The Czech government has tightened rules for calculating the contents
of active ingredients in cannabis.

* Czech Airlines might have to cancel dozens of its flights in coming
days due to a protest by pilots.

* Zdenek Miler, the author of the famous Czech cartoon character
Krtecek, or Little Mole, has died at the age of 90.

Police to charge two people in army's Tatra trucks deal

The police are to charge two people in the case of the 2006 purchase of
Tatra trucks for the Czech army, prosecutors investigating the deal
said on Wednesday. They refused to specify the charges or who will be
charged; according to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, the police are going
to charge former defence minister Martin Bartak and arms dealer Michal

The 2.7-billion-crown deal to buy 555 Tatra trucks for the Czech army
was sealed in December 2006. The police launched investigation into the
purchase last year, after the head of Tatra's board of directors, and
former US ambassador to Prague, William Cabaniss, said he was asked for
a bribe by then deputy defence minister Martin Bartak.

Slovak government asks Czech doctors to replace Slovak medics quitting
over low salaries

The Slovak government has asked Czech doctors to temporarily step in
for their Slovak colleagues who are quitting en masse in a labour
dispute over low salaries, a spokesman for the Czech Health Ministry
said on Wednesday. 2,000 out of 7,000 Slovak doctors handed in their
notices that will expire on December 1. Czech Health Minister Leos
Heger said he would inform Czech hospital doctors of the offer;
however, most experts are sceptical about a potential influx of Czech
doctors to Slovakia. For his part, the head of the Czech doctors'
labour union, Martin Engel, said he would ask medics to ignore the
appeal so as not to break their Slovak colleagues' protest.

Government tightens rules for calculating THC contents in cannabis

The Czech government on Wednesday tightened the rules for calculating
the volume of active ingredients in cannabis; by January 2012, the
volume of active ingredients in cannabis will be calculated from the
flowers of marihuana plants, rather than from entire plants. Justice
Minister Jiri Pospisil said this will lower the threshold for growing
marihuana plants. Under Czech law, people can freely grow marihuana
plants with less than 0.3 percent contents of THC and other active
ingredients. Addressing complaints by Czech cacti growers, the
government also took mescaline off the list of illicit substances.

Goverment approves land swap with Austria

The Czech government approved on Wednesday a constitutional bill
slightly modifying a section of the border with Austria due to
anti-flood and water management measures. The legislation will mean the
exchange of some land near the South Moravian towns of Breclav and
Lanzhot with neighbouring Austria. The Czech Republic and Austria
agreed on the step on November 3 when the relevant treaty was signed.
The government will submit it for ratification to the Czech Parliament.
Under the treaty, the border will be now be delineated on the Dyje
river. The 24-hectare area is administered by Breclav and Lanzhot. The
acreage to be swapped is the same in Austria and the Czech Republic.

Czech airlines to cancel flights over pilots' protest

Czech Airlines might have to cancel dozens of flights in the coming
days due to a protest by its pilots, a spokesman for the pilots'
association said on Wednesday. The pilots will co-ordinately take time
off to protest against a transfer of planes to a charter carrier
affiliated with Czech Airlines, a move they described as the start of
the firm's liquidation. Czech Airlines is yet to determine which
flights are likely to be cancelled.

Over 90,000 Czechs sign anti-government petition

More than 90,000 Czechs have signed a petition initiated by the
opposition Social Democrats in protest against the government's reform
efforts, calling on the centre-right cabinet to step down, the
opposition party leader Bohuslav Sobotka, said on Wednesday. Mr Sobotka
said the petition, which was launched on November 1, was a great
success; however, the Social Democrats will not try to topple the
government in a vote of no-confidence, the opposition leader added.

Court rules reopening of Radovan Krejcir's case

A court in Prague on Wednesday ruled to re-open the case of businessmen
Radovan Krejcir and Miroslav Provod who had been sentenced to five
years in prison for tax evasion. While Miroslav Provod served the
sentence, Radovan Krejcir fled the country and was later detained in
Switzerland where he is now held in custody, pending extradition to the
Czech Republic. The court's ruling has not yet come into effect; if it
does, it will render pointless the Czech authorities' petition for Mr
Krejcir's extradition.

Czechs bought less food, alcohol and cigarettes in 2010

Czechs last year consumed less meat, milk products, fruit and
vegetables as well as alcohol and cigarettes, according to figures
released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. While a surge in
the consumption of potatoes and chicken rose in 2010, the average
consumption of meat dropped by 3.5 percent to less than 76 kilos per
person, while the consumption of fruit and vegetables decreased by 7
and two percent, respectively.

Zdenek Miler, author of Krtecek, dies aged 90

Zdenek Miler, the creator of the famous Czech cartoon character
Krtecek, or Little Mole, died in a sanatorium outside Prague on
Wednesday at the age of 90, the news website reported. Zdenek
Miler authored more than 70 animated short films during his long
career, most of them featuring the popular character of the Little
Mole. A native of Kladno, central Bohemia, Zdenek Miler attended
Prague's Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design before joining the
Bata shoe company in Zlin in 1941. He made his first film in 1948; the
iconic Krtecek first appeared in his 1957 short entitled How the Little
Mole Got His Trousers.

Prague ranks as Europe's ninth most attractive city for tourists

Prague has ranked as Europe's ninth most attractive capital for
tourists, according to a new study by the consultancy firm Roland
Berger released on Wednesday. The top three capitals are Paris,
Amsterdam and Rome. The head of Roland Berger's Czech branch,
Constantin Kinsky, said Prague lacked a clear tourism promotion
strategy, and also needed to improve its infrastructure. Mr Kinsky also
noted that while Prague was rich in historical heritage, it lacked live
culture that makes tourists come back.

Prague's Golden Well wins Grand Restaurant poll

The Golden Well restaurant in Prague's Mala Strana has won the annual
Grand Restaurant poll, compiled by the respected food critic Pavel
Maurer, the daily Lidove noviny reported on Wednesday. Second and third
in the new poll came the Alcron and La Rotonde, respectively, both
parts of the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in Prague. The only Czech
restaurant with a Michelin star, Allegro in Prague's Four Seasons
Hotel, was not included in this year's Grand Restaurant poll as it is
temporarily closed for renovation.


The next few days will be mostly overcast, with fog and occasional
drizzle. Daytime highs will range between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

A tale of two restaurants

Hrabal's book "I served the King of England" makes working in a
restaurant sound very dramatic, and very glamorous. But the novel also
suggests that such drama and glamour belong to a time now long gone. To
find out whether this was true, I visited two of Prague's most famous
restaurants, to talk to their owners about their work from day-to-day.

Asbestos concerns rise as affected schools close

The city hall in Ceske Budejovice closed three primary schools in a
housing estate this week after health workers discovered the presence
of carcinogenic asbestos. While teachers attempt to create alternative
plans for the several hundred students, asbestos concerns have returned
to the public awareness nationwide, and health officials warn that many
more public buildings may carry the same risks.

First gorilla born and raised in Prague zoo relocated to Spain

Just two weeks after a newborn gorilla was transported from Prague to
Stuttgart following repeated failed attempts to reunite it with its
mother, Prague zoo has bid farewell to another gorilla, Moja, the first
low-land gorilla born and raised in captivity in the Czech Republic.
The animal has reached sexual maturity and her minders decided to move
her away to prevent in-breeding in the pack. Her new home is the
Cabarceno National Park in northern Spain where Moja was transported on

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