Tuesday, December 20, 2011

News 12.20.2011

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

News Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* Details have been released about Wednesday's funeral procession of
the late ex-president Vaclav Havel.

* French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be among the world leaders
attending Vaclav Havel's funeral on Friday.

* Czech MPs have passed a bill allocating gambling revenues to the
state and municipalities.

* MP Alena Hanakova has been appointed the new minister of culture.

* The Czech opera singer Vaclav Zitek has died at the age of 79.

Details released of Vaclav Havel's funeral procession

The authorities on Tuesday released details about Vaclav Havel's
funeral procession. The casket with the remains of the late Czech
president will leave the Prague Crossroads centre in Prague's Old Town,
where it has lain in state since Monday, at 8 AM on Wednesday. The
casket will be placed on the same gun carriage that was used in the
funeral procession of Czechoslovakia's first president, T. G. Masaryk,
in 1937, and will be drawn by three pairs of horses. The procession
will cross Charles Bridge and move up to the Prague Castle area where
it should arrive by 10 AM. After a brief ceremony at the Castle Guards
barracks, the coffin will be transported to the Vladislav Hall of
Prague Castle where it will remain until Friday's funeral ceremony.
Vaclav Havel's widow, Dagmar Havlova, has invited the public to join
the procession.

French President Sarkozy to attend Vaclav Havel's funeral

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the funeral of Vaclav
Havel in Prague on Friday, his office said on Tuesday. Mr Sarzkozy will
be one of many world leaders attending the funeral of the late Czech
president and playwright, along with US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and the former US president Bill Clinton, as well as the
presidents of Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, and other countries.
The funeral of Vaclav Havel, who died on Sunday aged 75, will be held
in Prague's St Vitus Cathedral on Friday; the ceremony will begin at

Russian embassy says condolence on Vaclav Havel's death was sent to
President Klaus

Amidst media speculation that the Kremlin ignored the death of former
Czech leader Vaclav Havel, the Russian embassy in Prague on Tuesday
said an official condolence was sent to President Vaclav Klaus on
Monday. A spokesman for the embassy said the condolence on behalf of
the Russian Federation's leaders, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin, was sent through diplomatic channels to Prague
Castle. The spokesman also said the embassy had not received an
official invitation for the funeral.

Czech MPs honour Vaclav Havel

The lower house of the Czech Parliament on Tuesday honoured the late
president, playwright and human rights advocate Vaclav Havel. MPs held
a minute of silence and the speaker of the house, Miroslava Nemcova,
read out some of Vaclav Havel's quotes. The lawmakers also listened to
an address by Vaclav Havel to the lower house from 2003. The ceremony
concluded with the Czech national anthem.

MPs pass bill on gambling revenues taxation

The Czech lower house on Tuesday passed a new bill allocating revenues
from gambling to the state and municipalities. If the bill is signed
into law by the president, municipalities will keep 80 percent of
revenues from gambling machines and the rest will go to the state
budget. Local authorities will also keep 70 percent of revenues from
casinos, lotteries and other games. The new legislation should enter
into force in January 2012.

The gambling taxation bill, part of the government's tax reform
package, was originally approved by the lower house in November but
left a loophole for lottery firms to use part of the revenues for
charitable projects of their choice. The bill was amended in the Senate
which removed the loophole before returning it to the lower house for
the final vote.

Alena Hanakova appointed new Minister of Culture

President Vaclav Klaus has appointed MP Alena Hanakova the new culture
minister. Ms Hanakova is a member of the Mayors and Independents Party
which is associated with TOP 09 and was formerly the mayor of the
Moravian town of Vizovice. Her main task in heading the Ministry of
Culture will be completing the restitution of church property. She
replaces fellow party member Jiri Besser, whose departure from the
cabinet last week was compelled by the fact that he had failed to
report property and business interests in the United States in his
property statement.

Writer Hana Andronikova dies of cancer

The Czech writer Hana Andronikova died of cancer on Tuesday, aged 44,
the management of Prague's Archa Theatre said. Ms Andronikova wrote her
first novel, The Sound of the Sun Dial, in 2001, and won several awards
for it, including the Magnesia Litera award for best debut. Her most
acclaimed novel Heaven Has No Floor, which came out in 2011, describes
her struggle with cancer. Hana Andronikova also authored several
theatre plays.

Opera singer Vaclav Zitek dies aged 79

The Czech opera singer Vaclav Zitek died on Tuesday at the age of 79, a
spokesman for the Czech National Theatre said. Vaclav Zitek's refined
vocal performance made him an exceptional singer particularly in pieces
by Bedrich Smetana. The baritone singer spent 25 years as a soloist in
the opera of Prague's National Theatre. In 2007, he received the
prestigious Czech theatrical award, Thalia, for life time achievement.

Czech Coal to open new coal power plant by 2021

The mining companies Czech Coal wants to build a new coal-fired power
plant and connect it to the power grid by 2021. The firm has signed a
contract with the grid's administrator for the capacity of 660 MW. The
new power plant, which should cost around 30 billion crowns, could be
built near the town of Most, in northern Bohemia. The Czech branch of
the environmental organization Greenpeace said the plan to build a new
coal-fired power plant was unacceptable.

Football: Defender Tomas Repka quits Sparta Prague

Czech football defender Tomas Repka quit Sparta Prague on Tuesday,
after he agreed to prematurely terminate his contract in the club. The
37-year-old former Sparta captain will be a free agent since January;
however, it is not clear if and where the defender will play after
that. Tomas Repka played for a number of Czech clubs before spending
three seasons in Italy's Fiorentina and five years in the English club
West Ham United. He returned to Sparta in 2006. Between 1993 and 2003,
Repka played 45 matches for the Czech national team but throughout his
career, he has had disciplinary problems, often lacking self-control.
He received a total of 18 red cards, and on one occasion attacked game
officials and a TV crew.


The next few days will be mostly overcast with rain and snow in places.
Daytime highs should range between 0 and +4 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Tomas Sedlacek: Only now we will slowly realise the gift we had in Havel

Continuing our commemoration of the late president Vaclav Havel we talk
with Tomas Sedlacek, the renowned economist who, in 2001 as a
precocious university graduate, came to work for Mr Havel as an
economic advisor at the age of 23. In a special interview, he began by
describing his first meeting with the iconic figure.


Vaclav Havel to be given state funeral and highest military honors

As thousands of Czechs line up to pay their last respects to Vaclav
Havel, bowing to his casket at the Prague Crossroads spiritual centre
where he is lying in repose, preparations are underway for Wednesday's
funeral procession to Prague Castle, Friday's celebratory mass at St.
Vitus' Cathedral and other commemorative events.


Ryba's Czech Christmas Mass premieres in Chicago

It has taken more than 200 years for Jakub Jan Ryba's Czech Christmas
Mass to come to Chicago, but it seems that good things come to those
who wait. The Ryba Mass was premiered in the Windy City on Saturday and
Rosie Johnston was there.


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