Friday, December 16, 2011

News 12.16.2011

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

News Friday, December 16th, 2011

By: Jan Velinger

* Hurricane- and gale-force winds are hitting parts of the country.

* The Czech foreign minister has been criticised by a prominent member
of the opposition after sporting a pin mocking Russian leader Vladimir

* A poll released by the daily Lidove noviny has suggested that the
majority of Czech business leaders oppose the Czech Republic
contributing to the euro bailout.

* The country's finance minister Miroslav Kalousek has paid a 1,000
crown fine for a misdemeanour.

* Viktoria will face German side FC Schalke 04 in the next round of the
Europa League.

Hurricane-force winds hit parts of country

Hurricane-force winds have hit areas in the north of the country,
namely in the Krkonose and Jeseniky Mountains. Strong winds have also
hampered conditions in western Bohemia. Elevated areas are the most
affected, also seeing fog, snowfall and ice. Petr Dvorak of the Czech
Hydrometeorological Institute confirmed 122 kilometre per hour winds in
the area of the Jeseniky Mountains. The Sumava area, in the west of the
country, by comparison, has seen gale-force winds of around 70
kilometres per hour. Stormy weather has worsened conditions on roads in
the Karlovy Vary region, Usti nad Labem and elsewhere and motorists are
advised to exercise caution. Friday has seen numerous traffic
complications such as trucks stuck in snow drifts and other accidents.
Some train routes have seen delays.

Schwarzenberg criticised for wearing pin mocking Russian prime minister

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has come under fire from
opposition MP and shadow foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek after Mr
Schwarzenberg wore a pin mocking Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
in the Czech Chamber of Deputies on Thursday. According to press
reports, the badge referred to the Russian leader with dog commands,
such as "Putin heel!". The Czech foreign minister has responded by
saying it was only a joke, stressing that he would be disappointed if
Mr Putin were offended by it. He also said he wasn't sure exactly what
was written on the pin, explaining that he had worn it to please
someone who had given it to him. Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek
called the incident "surprising" and "unfortunate".

Poll: Czech business leaders against euro loan

A poll released by the daily Lidove noviny on Thursday has suggested
that the majority of Czech business leaders oppose the Czech Republic
contributing to saving the euro, the EU's common currency. Almost 4,700
business leaders would are against loaning 90 billion crowns in the
effort to save the euro - charging the country had enough of its own
debt problems already. Those in favour, just 28 percent, argued that a
refusal to help would have negative consequences for the country (the
Czechs are members of the EU since 2004 but are not in eurozone). Some
of those surveyed fear that some labour markets could be closed for
Czechs in response. The Czech centre-right coalition government has not
yet decided whether to contribute the needed funds (which are more than
10 percent of the country's total currency reserves).

Finance Minister receives 1,000 crown fine for slap

The country's finance minister Miroslav Kalousek was handed a 1,000
crown fine by the Prague 1 administrative office in a fast-track
decision on Friday. The fine is in response to the minister having
slapped a young man on September 21 of this year. The fine was paid on
Friday. In September, Mr Kalousek slapped the individual after he
shouted at him on the street, calling Mr Kalousek "a crook" who would
"hang". The minister said, despite having committed a misdemeanour, he
stood by his actions, indicating it was a matter of honour. The
provocateur's actions were also classified as a misdemeanour by the

Civic association honours memory of murdered sex workers

Members of the Czech civic association Bliss Without Risk (Rozkos bez
rizika) gathered on Friday at a Prague park near the city's main train
station to honour the memory of 20 sex workers murdered in the Czech
Republic since the year 2000. Eighteen of those killed were women.
Members taking part in the march in their memory carried red umbrellas
and placards, calling for an end to violence against prostitutes. Hana
Malinova, the head of Bliss Without Risk, spoke on the occasion, saying
that violence against sex workers was by no means going down, saying
the organisation's counselling service registered that each sex worker
experienced one or two cases of brutality per month. The association
has a database of 8,000 names - 80 percent of whom are Czech nationals,
more than half of whom are single mothers. One of those to take part in
Friday's commemoration was documentary filmmaker Helena Trestikova, who
is making a film about the association.

Poll: elections now would see return of Christian Democrats but not
Public Affairs

A new poll released by the STEM agency has suggested that if a national
election were held today it would be won by the opposition Social
Democrats, while the Christian Democratic Party would gain enough votes
to pass the five-percent threshold to the lower house, which it failed
to do in 2010. According to the survey, the Social Democrats would pick
up 80 seats in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies, while their
right-of-centre rivals the Civic Democrats would get just 44. The
Communist Party would pick up 37 seats, while the other right-of-centre
party in government, TOP 09, would get 32. The Christian Democrats
would clinch seven, the survey suggests. Public Affairs, the protest
party of choice for some voters in the last election, would not make it
into the lower house at all, a result suggested by numerous agencies in
recent months. According to STEM, its candidates would get only 2
percent of the vote, a drop in 0.2 percent since November.

Court orders region to pay three million crowns in damages for tragedy

A Brno court has ordered the region of Zlin to pay three million crowns
in damages to parents who lost their child in the year 2000, after the
driver of a gritting vehicle equipped with a snow-plow failed to give
right-of-way, crashing with the family's automobile. The family's
eight-year-old daughter died in the crash and the mother, although she
survived, suffered permanent disability - psychological problems that
she is reportedly not able to overcome. The couple's marriage fell
apart afterwards. The former husband and wife are to receive 1.5
million each. The couple's legal representation had been asking for 10
million in damages but the court did not recognise all charges. The
decision can still be appealed.

Woman dies after jumping from Charles Bridge

A 25-year-old woman died in the early hours of Friday after jumping
from Prague's Charles Bridge. Witnesses reported the woman jumped
shortly before 1:30 am, hitting the icy water and swimming several
metres before disappearing below the surface. Police retrieved the
woman from the water and emergency crew members worked to revive her.
But she died later in hospital. A day earlier, another woman, 23
years-of-age attempted to take her life jumping off of another bridge
in Prague but survived. The patient is recovering in hospital.

St Vitus treasure goes on permanent display at Prague Castle

President Vaclav Klaus and Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka on Friday
opened a new permanent exhibition highlighting the St Vitus Treasure at
Prague Castle. Items included - on display for the first time in 20
years - make up one of Europe's largest church treasures; the
collection consists mainly of reliquaries containing the relicts of St
Vitus and other Catholic saints that have been collected since the 10th
century. The items are displayed at the Holy Cross Chapel at Prague

Europa League: Plzen will face German side FC Schalke

Czech football club Viktoria Plzen will face German side FC Schalke 04
when play resumes in the Europa League. The draw for the round of 32
took place on Friday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon. The winner of the
round will go on to face either Steaua Bukurest or Twente Enschede. The
match-up is being seen as a positive one for Plzen - which should see
good play from both squads. It was expected the club would face either
Brugges, Sporting Lisabon, Besiktas, Lutych, PAOK Solun, Eindhoven or


More overcast conditions and possible snowfall are expected into the
weekend, as well as gale and even hurricane-force winds in places on
both Friday and Saturday. Daytime highs in Prague should range between
0 and 3 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Jazz legend Emil Viklicky

It has been a good year for Czech jazz legend Emil Viklicky, beginning
with a Presidential Medal of Merit and ending with the release of two
new albums, one in Germany called "Spring Awakening" and another in
Japan, where he plays regularly, called Kafka on the Shore, a Tribute
to Haruki Murakami. In the first part of a wide-ranging interview with
the pianist we began by talking about his English, which he told me he
originally picked up from his black fellow musicians in the 1970...

Business News 16.12.2011

In Business News this week: a poll suggests that a majority of Czech
business leaders oppose contributing to the EU's efforts to save the
euro; Central Bank governor says that the loan to the IMF will have to
be very seriously considered; The government's economic advisory
council NERV acquaints PM with detailed crisis scenario.

Religion, ethnicity ignored by many Czechs in latest population census

Over the past decade, Czech society has seen a number of interesting
changes and trends, as shown by preliminary results of the 2011
population census which were released on Thursday. The figures show the
country's population grew a little, mainly due to migration. Czechs are
also more educated than they used to be, and many more of them live
alone. If people's answers in the census are to be trusted, more people
declared themselves to be Jedi knights than Romanies.

This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2011, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved., E-mail: