Wednesday, December 14, 2011

News 12.14.2011

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

News Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

By: Pavla Horakova

* The lower house of parliament has approved a constitutional amendment
introducing direct presidential elections.

* The lower house has also approved the Czech Republic's state budget
for 2012.

* Despite earlier reports, President Vaclav Klaus is not going to
attend a meeting of the government on Wednesday to discuss arguments
for and against aiding the eurozone.

* The US lawyer Ed Fagan has filed a lawsuit against the Czech Republic
in Florida regarding unpaid bonds issued by the town of Karlovy Vary in
1924.

* An analysis carried out by the Ceska sporitelna bank predicts the
Czech economy will decline by 0.4 percent next year.

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Lower house approves direct presidential elections
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The lower house of parliament has approved a constitutional amendment
introducing direct presidential elections. The bill was approved by MPs
across the political spectrum with the exception of the Communists who
abstained from the vote. The legislation has yet to be approved by the
Senate, dominated by the opposition Social Democrats. If the
legislation comes into effect, the successor to President Vaclav Klaus
will be elected in a popular vote in 2013.


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Lower house approves state budget for 2012
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The lower house has also approved the Czech Republic's state budget for
2012 envisaging a deficit of 105 billion crowns. The government says,
however, it will submit an amended version to the chamber in case of
negative economic development. The state budget legislation has yet to
be signed by the president.


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President not to take part in government meeting on eurozone aid
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Despite earlier reports, President Vaclav Klaus is not going to attend
a meeting of the government on Wednesday to discuss arguments for and
against aiding the eurozone, the president's spokesman said, adding
President Klaus and Prime Minister Petr Necas had lunch together on
Wednesday and had time to discuss the matter before the cabinet's
meeting. Both officials have expressed their opposition to the current
proposal, which entails a 90 billion crown loan to the struggling
monetary union via the IMF. The junior coalition party Public Affairs
has also voiced their opposition to signing the agreement before its
details have been hammered out. The TOP 09 coalition party though is in
favour of the loan, saying the Czech Republic should not alienate
itself from the EU.


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US lawyer files lawsuit against Czech Republic regarding unpaid bonds
from 1924
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The US lawyer Ed Fagan has filed a lawsuit against the Czech Republic
in Florida regarding unpaid bonds issued by the town of Karlovy Vary in
1924 and alleged discrimination against their holders. Besides the
Czech state, the sued parties include the Czech National Bank, the town
of Karlovy Vary and its mayor Petr Kulhanek. Mr Fagan told reporters on
Wednesday he estimated the length of the trial at around 18 months,
adding it could be halted if the sued parties agreed on a settlement.
Mr Fagan brought a copy of the lawsuit, filed on Monday, to Karlovy
Vary to officially hand it over to the municipal authority. The Czech
Finance Ministry has rejected Mr Fagan's 500-million-dollar claim for
the bonds.


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Czech banks' and institutions' economic predictions for 2012
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An analysis carried out by the Ceska sporitelna bank predicts the Czech
economy will decline by 0.4 percent next year, the bank said on
Wednesday. After Raiffeisenbank, Ceska sporitelna is the second bank to
expect recession in the country in 2012. Raiffeisenbank predicts a 1.2
percent decrease of the Czech GDP. A regular survey of prognoses by
different institutions compiled by the Finance Ministry predicts a
growth of 0.8 percent on average while the ministry itself expects a
growth of one percent. The Czech National Bank puts the growth figure
at 1.2 percent, but it forecasts a 0.4-percent decrease in an
alternative scenario taking into account problems in the eurozone.


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Senate: sending military doctors to Slovakia in breach of constitution
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The Senate has passed a resolution stating the government broke the
Czech constitution by sending Czech military doctors to Slovakia
earlier this month. The vote was pushed through by the Social Democrats
who have a majority in the upper house. Speaking on behalf of the
cabinet, Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra denied the act was in breach
of the constitution and called the Senate's ruling "a political
declaration". Twenty-nine Czech military doctors were sent as
reinforcements to hospitals in neighbouring Slovakia on December 2nd at
the request of the Slovak government due to a protest of some 1,200
Slovak doctors who had walked out over low salaries. The Czech
specialists were deployed in hospitals in Bratislava, Nitra, Zilina and
Ruzomberok and returned only five days later.


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Czech Airlines pilots call off strike alert
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Czech Airlines pilots have called off a strike alert announced earlier
this month, the pilots' labour union said on Wednesday. The union
signed a memorandum with the Czech Aeroholding group on Wednesday
approving the transfer of a hundred CSA pilots to the subsidiary
charter firm Holidays Czech Airlines. The union also agreed to accept
the offloading of Czech Airlines aircraft to Holidays Czech Airlines
within the Czech Aeroholding group. The pilots launched their protest
on December 1 and, as a result, Czech Airlines had to cancel 25 flights
and hire crews and aircraft from foreign carriers.


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U.S. Embassy presents Alice Garrigue Masaryk Award to Czeslaw Walek
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U.S. Embassy Prague has presented the 2011 Alice G. Masaryk Human
Rights Award to Czeslaw Walek for his dedication to promoting human
rights in the Czech Republic, the Embassy wrote in a statement on
Wednesday. Mr. Walek's career has included work at the Ministry of
Human Rights and Office of the Governmental Council for Roma Community
Affairs. The award was established in 2004 to recognize persons and
institutions in the Czech Republic who have made exceptional and
continuing contributions to the advancement of human rights. Previous
award winners include Anna Sabatova, David Ondracka, Igor Blazevic,
Lucie Sladkova, Kumar Sri Vishwanathan, Jiri Kopal, and the weekly
Respekt.


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Survey: Czechs reduce beer consumption
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A survey carried out by the CVVM agency for the Czech Beer and Malt
Association suggests that Czechs have reduced their beer consumption in
recent years. The average weekly consumption has decreased from 4.25
litres in 2007 to 3.85 litres this year. On average Czech men drink
beer three times, while women twice a week. The number of daily beer
drinkers has also dropped since 2007 from 26 to 15 percent. Breweries
included in the association produced 15.7 million hectolitres of beer
in 2010, 7.9 percent less than in the year before. The Czech per capita
beer consumption was 134 litres in 2010 which still makes Czechs the
world's biggest beer drinkers.


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Bag with remains believed to be human found in Prague
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A bag containing bodily remains believed to be human was found in the
Prague district of Hostivar on Wednesday morning, police have reported.
An autopsy is to determine the cause of death and whether the remains
really belonged to a human. Police are currently investigating the
area. Last week, two human hands, cut off and taped together, were
found in a stream on the outskirts of Prague.


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Weather
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The coming days should be partly cloudy and rainy with daytime highs
reaching 5 degrees Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Czech MPs approve direct presidential election
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After years of debate, the lower house of the Czech Parliament on
Wednesday voted in favour of direct presidential elections. A
last-minute deal between the coalition and the opposition Social
Democrats ensured sufficient support for the motion; if approved by the
Senate, it will allow Czechs to elect their president directly for the
first time in 2013 when Vaclav Klaus leaves office.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/czech-mps-approve-direct-presidential-election


Survey suggests a fifth of Czech companies will introduce layoffs in
2012
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For many people 2012 promises to be a tough year or at least one of big
changes: a new survey by the Czech Chamber of Commerce has suggested
that every fifth company in the Czech Republic is planning layoffs in
reaction to the slowing economy - some letting go hundreds, while
others will cuts jobs for dozens of employees.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/survey-suggests-a-fifth-of-czech-companies-will-introduce-layoffs-in-2012


Straznice open-air folk museum offers a glimpse of life in past
centuries
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In today's Spotlight we travel to South Moravia, to the town of
Straznice, the heart of the ethnographic region of Slovacko. The town
is a traditional centre of regional ethnographic festivities. Today we
take you to the Straznice open-air folk museum featuring local village
architecture and showing glimpses of life in the past centuries.

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/spotlight/straznice-open-air-folk-museum-offers-a-glimpse-of-life-in-past-centuries


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