Thursday, December 1, 2011

News 12.1.2011

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

News Thursday, December 1st, 2011

By: Pavla Horakova

* Czech Airlines has cancelled 25 flights due to a protest by its

* The Czech Republic's corruption ranking has worsened for the third
year in a row.

* The Czech military is able to send a maximum of 30 doctors to
Slovakia to step in temporarily for their colleagues quitting en masse
over low salaries.

* The Czech state budget deficit has increased to 126 billion crowns.

* The Czech ombudsman has said he will examine whether children from
different ethnic groups are receiving equal treatment in primary

Czech Airlines cancels 25 flights due to pilots' protest

Czech Airlines has cancelled 25 flights due to a protest by its pilots.
Up to 40 flights would be cancelled on Thursday, which is around half
of all Czech Airlines flights from and to Prague's Ruzyne airport, a
spokesman for the pilots' labour union said. Around a hundred pilots
have co-ordinately taken sick leaves to protest against a transfer of
aircraft to a charter carrier affiliated with Czech Airlines, a move
they described as the beginning of Czech Airlines' liquidation. A
spokeswoman for Czech Airlines said the firm did not understand the
reasons behind the protest and would punish the pilots participating in
the action.

Czech Republic ranked 57th on anti-corruption table

The Czech Republic's corruption ranking has worsened for the third year
in a row, according to the annual list compiled by the anti-corruption
watchdog Transparency International. The country fell from 53rd to 57th
place in the ranking of 178 countries this year. Its former federal
partner Slovakia ranked 66th. The Czech Republic is among the worst
ranked countries in the EU and Europe in general, even though the
government of Prime Minister Petr Necas has identified the fight
against corruption as one of its priorities. Denmark, New Zealand and
Finland were perceived as the least corrupt countries.

Czech military able to send maximum of 30 doctors to Slovakia

The Czech military is able to send a maximum of 30 doctors to Slovakia,
Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra and Health Minister Leos Heger agreed
on Thursday. The Czech Republic will send military doctors to the
neighbouring country to step in temporarily for their colleagues if the
Slovak government asks for help. Slovak doctors are quitting en masse
in a labour dispute over low salaries; two months ago over a thousand
of them handed in their notices which have just expired.

State budget deficit increases to 126 billion crowns in November

The Finance Ministry has said the Czech state budget deficit increased
to 126 billion crowns in November from 91.5 billion in October. In
November 2010 the state budget deficit stood at almost 141 billion
crowns. The state budget deficit approved for 2011 is 135 billion
crowns. The ministry says an expected 20-billion-crown drop in tax
revenue will be compensated for by savings in government spending.

Ombudsman to examine equal access to primary education

The Czech ombudsman Pavel Varvarovsky has said he will examine whether
children from different ethnic groups are receiving equal treatment in
primary schools. A survey will be carried out in over 50 schools around
the Czech Republic and its results will be published in May. The Czech
Republic has been criticized repeatedly for alleged discrimination
concerning equal access to education. The European Court of Human
Rights stated in 2007 that Czech Roma children were excessively placed
in practical, or special, schools intended primarily for children with
learning difficulties.

PwC: 29 percent of Czech companies fell victim to economic crime

According to a worldwide survey carried out by the consultancy
PricewaterhouseCoopers, 29 percent of Czech companies have fallen
victim to economic crime in the past two years. Among the 3877
companies surveyed 84 were from the Czech Republic. Compared to the
previous poll in 2009, the number has increased by a fifth with
computer crime taking an ever larger share. 75 percent of cases of
economic crime experienced by Czech companies have included
embezzlement, followed by accounting fraud, corruption and bribery.

Lower house constitutional committee refuses to recommend passing of
direct presidential election

The Social Democrat members of the constitutional committee in the
lower house of parliament have prevented the body from recommending
that the house approve a direct presidential election. They voted
against the amendment to the Czech constitution on Thursday. Social
Democrat MP Jeronym Tejc said a number of his party's proposals had not
been approved and therefore Thursday's move was intended to make room
for further negotiations. Observers say that a popular presidential
election will never be approved because of a dispute among lawmakers
over the competences of a future head of state.

Head of the Prague Public Transport Company resigns

The head of the Prague Public Transport Company Martin Dvorak has
resigned from his post, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told reporters on
Thursday. According to Mr Svoboda the company needs a new strategy and
Martin Dvorak felt worn-out after serving five years as its head.
Speculation about Mr Dvorak's leaving first arose after the ruling
coalition of the Civic and Social Democrats at the Prague City Hall
ended earlier this month and was replaced by a centre-right coalition
of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party. Several members of the
public transport company's supervisory board have already been replaced
since the change occurred. The Prague Public Transport Company is the
largest firm run by the capital Prague and receives over 10 billion
crowns a year from the city's budget.

Police labour union, Public Affairs, Social Democrats back Police

A Czech police labour union has called on Police President Petr Lessy
to stay in office in response to Monday's call by Interior Minister Jan
Kubice on Mr Lessy to resign from his post. The coalition party Public
Affairs and the opposition Social Democrats have also backed the Police
President. Mr Lessy said on Thursday he saw no reason for resignation.
Relations have been tense between the Police President and the Interior
Minister lately especially after an Interior Ministry committee
suggested abolishing hundreds of managerial posts in the police force,
a move which according to Mr Lessy would compromise the police force's

Poll: most Czechs prefer lower unemployment benefits

A recent opinion poll carried out by the STEM agency suggests more than
two thirds of Czechs believe that unemployment benefits should be lower
in order to make people seek jobs actively. Around the same share of
those polled said they believed the current level of benefits and
welfare did not motivate jobless people to seek employment. 70 percent
of respondents said they would prefer minimum benefits which according
to them would make people accept less qualified jobs, retrain or
relocate. 37 percent believe the current level of unemployment benefits
is motivating enough.


The coming days are expected to be partly cloudy with daytime
temperatures reaching highs of 4 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Stanley Povoda - the Czech Republic's number one robot-maker

Stanley 'Robotman' Povoda is the father of Czech robotics. After over
half a century of bringing people's old colanders, chandeliers and
vacuum cleaners to life, Stanley has just become the subject of his
first own retrospective in Prague's Trafacka Gallery. Stanley (real
name Marian) Povoda has been back in the Czech Republic for five years
now, after spending most of his life in exile in North America. On a
recent tour of his new show, Stanley told me where his passion for
robots began:

Former defence minister to be charged in corruption case

One of the most blatant corruption cases in recent years will end up in
court. Prosecutors in the north-eastern city of Ostrava have announced
that two people will be charged in the case of the 2006 purchase of
Tatra trucks for the Czech army. Although no details about the charges
and the people involved have been officially disclosed, a number of
Czech media have reported that former defence minister Martin Bartak is
one the two men facing prosecution.

Creator of world-famous Krtek (Little Mole) dies at 90

The Czech illustrator and animator Zdenek Miler has died at the age of
90. The artist was best known for the creation of Krtek (or Little
Mole), a cartoon character loved by generations of Czech children that
first appeared in the 1950s. Earlier in 2011, a plush toy of the
animated character even went to space on one of the last space shuttle

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