Friday, December 2, 2011

News 12.2.2011

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

News Friday, December 2nd, 2011

By: Christian Falvey

* Boris Stastny has resigned as chairman of the Civic Democratic
Party's Prague branch.

* Culture Minister Jiri Besser has admitted he failed to claim
co-ownership of a US-based company and property in Florida.

* Schools with asbestos risks number at least 293, the Czech School
Inspectorate reports.

* The Czech government has agreed to send 30 military medical
specialists to Slovakia, where doctors are quitting en masse in a
labour dispute over low salaries.

* Teachers' unions have decided to strike on December 7 to protest
planned changes in salary tables.

Stastny resigns as chairman of Prague Civic Democrats

Civic Democrat Boris Stastny resigned from his post as chairman of the
party's Prague branch on Friday evening. The news came after a meeting
of Prague Civic Democrats with the party's national chairman, Prime
Minister Petr Necas. Prague City Hall has undergone sweeping changes
since last week, when Mr Stastny unexpectedly ended the grand coalition
with the Social Democrats, in a move that many have speculated was
aimed at removing fellow Civic Democrat Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. Mr
Svoboda, however, found the backing in his party to form a new
coalition with TOP 09. The head of the Prague chapter of the Social
Democratic Party, Petr Hulinsky, is also expected to leave his position
next week.

Culture minister failed to claim co-ownership in company and property
in Florida

The Minister of Culture, Jiri Besser, failed to claim his co-ownership
in a US-based company and property in Florida worth 230,000 dollars,
the website Insider reports. The minister says that he had informed his
partners in Comoros Group that he would be leaving the company, and had
only recently found that he was still registered as a partner. The news
site also reported on Friday that Mr Besser's partner in
the company, Pavel Hrach, was convicted one month ago of bribing the
manager of a consolidation agency. Mr Besser has said the company never
undertook any business activity and generated no profit, but says he is
prepared to take legal responsibility for his oversights.

Schools with asbestos risks number at least 293

Insulation panels that could release asbestos are in at least 293
schools, the Czech School Inspectorate reports. The city hall in Ceske
Budejovice closed three primary schools in a housing estate this week
after health workers discovered the presence of asbestos. The number
comes from a questionnaire sent to 8,500 schools, asking whether the
panels were used in the their construction and whether recent
renovations have taken place that could have disturbed the panels. The
result is preliminary and an analysis will be carried out next week.

Government agrees to send medical reinforcements for Slovak hospitals

The Czech government has agreed to send 30 military medical specialists
to Slovakia, where doctors are quitting en masse in a labour dispute
over low salaries. The reinforcements will reportedly include 11
surgeons, 10 anaesthesiologists, and a number of traumatologists, X-ray
specialists and others. The Czech Press Agency reports that the costs
of the assistance will be split between Prague and Bratislava. As of
Wednesday, 1,200 of Slovakia's 7,000 doctors had resigned, leaving four
of the country's hospitals in critical condition and another 16 in

Czech Airlines cancels another two flights due to pilots' protest

Czech Airlines cancelled another two flights on Friday morning due to a
continuing protest by its pilots, a spokeswoman said. On Thursday, the
carrier had to cancel 25 flights from and to Prague's Ruzyne airport as
around a hundred pilots co-ordinately took 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. Czech Airlines has described the protest as
illegal and said it would punish the pilots participating in the action.

Teachers' unions to strike on December 7

Teachers' unions have decided to strike for one hour on December 7,
when the government will be discussing changes in teachers' salary
tables. The unions are protesting a proposal to leave teachers'
salaries to the discretion of headmasters rather than their length of
service. The proposal would affect primarily older teachers, who
statistics show make up more than half of the teaching force. The head
of the teachers' unions, Frantisek Dobsik, says many teachers could
theoretically lose 4,600 crowns off their pay. He says they are not yet
planning a demonstration but a suspension of classes until 9 a.m. next
Wednesday, and it is not yet clear how many people will take part.

Jiri Zlatuska: Necas broke the law in naming science council members

Deputy chairman of the council of college institutions, Jiri Zlatuska,
says that Prime Minister Petr Necas broke the law in naming council
members for the Council for Research, Development and Innovation on
Wednesday. Writing in the daily Lidove noviny, the former dean of
Masaryk University points out that the prime minister reappointed three
people to third terms on the council in spite of the fact that the law
only allows for two consecutive terms. He also criticises the
continuation of council members responsible for the current system of
appraising and funding science after an independent international audit
of the Czech system clearly recommended it be abandoned..

Dean of West Bohemian University law school resigns for health reasons

The dean of the West Bohemian University law school, Kvetoslav Ruzicka,
has resigned for health reasons. The schools says he will remain in
office until December 12, when its academic senate will announce the
selection of a new dean. Mr Ruzicka was being sought by police a few
weeks ago after he went missing for several days and was noticed by a
passerby at a roadside in North Bohemia. The Plzen law school's
doctorial programme was recently suspended as a result of continuing
fallout from a plagiarism and corruption scandal. Mr Ruzicka has also
been involved with the ongoing lawsuit between the company Diag Human
and the Cezch state, in which he was an arbitrator.

Police charge two with ethnic defamation against African-American
singer Graves

Police have accused two men with ethnic defamation and disturbing the
peace after an attack on African-American singer Tonya Graves last
Saturday. Ms. Graves, who lives permanently in the Czech Republic, said
that the men shouted racist slogans at her while she was alone in a
restaurant in Vimperk, South Bohemia, and pulled her hair and spat at
her. The 41-year-old front-woman of the band Monkey Business said it
was the first time she had come across such an incident in the Czech
Republic. She said she was well and considered the matter closed.

Social Democratic Party must stop using orange logo

The Social Democratic Party must stop using its current orange logo as
it does not have a copyright for it, the party's chairman Bohuslav
Sobotka has announced. Czech media have found in recent weeks that the
orange version of the logo, which the party has used since the
chairmanship of Jiri Paroubek in 2007, is not registered with the
copyright authorities. The party will for the time being return to a
similar three-colour logo that it does own. It can continue to use the
colour orange and its rose symbol elsewhere.


Conditions at the weekend are expected to be cloudy with scattered
showers and daytime highs of around 6o Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Business News 2.12.2011

In Business News this week: the Czech Finance Minister warns of
disastrous consequences the fall of the euro would have for Czech
economy; Czech banks pass new stress tests but Moody's downgrades their
outlook to 'negative'; Westinghouse signs cooperation deal with
Vitkovice engineering firm; Skoda Auto announces plans to develop a new
SUV model; and Nova Paka in eastern Bohemia is named the Czech town for

Debuting director Miroslav Ondrus on his new psychological thriller

In this week's Arts my guest is a new film director Miroslav Ondrus
whose debut feature film Vendeta is now in Czech cinemas. The film, as
the name suggests, is a psychological thriller with revenge at its dark
heart. It stars an intense Ondrej Vetchy as a father who loses a loved
one and is already being described as one of his finest performances.

New legislation proposes legalization of medical cannabis under strict

A government expert group is adding finishing touches to new draft
legislation proposing the legalization of marijuana for medical
purposes. While still banning patients from growing medical cannabis on
their own, the amended legislation allows importing as well as the
cultivation of medical hemp by local private companies under strict
state supervision. The committee, whose existence was prompted by a
petition initiated earlier this year by doctors, researchers and
patients and is supported by the chairwoman of the lower house of
Parliament, is supposed to submit the final draft proposal to the Prime
Minister in about a week's time.

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