Tuesday, December 27, 2011

News 12.27.2011

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

News Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

By: Jan Richter

* President Vaclav Klaus has signed the government's tax reform bills
into law.

* The Czech authorities will appeal a Swiss court's rejection of their
bid to join the ongoing criminal case against former managers of the
Mostecka uhelna firm.

* Police might investigate the Czech communist leader's condolence to
North Korea, a press report says.

* The current Czech ambassador to Thailand has been charged with fraud.

* Over 55,000 Czechs have added their signatures to a call for Prague's
international airport to be renamed after the late Vaclav Havel.

President Klaus signs tax reform into law

President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday signed a series of bills related to
the government's tax reform. The new legislation introduces a joint
collection authority where people will pay their taxes along with
health and social insurance; it replaces the 15-percent income tax
calculated from the so-called super-gross salary with a new 19-percent
tax calculated from base salary; the bills also include an amendment to
the Czech legislation on lotteries which gives local authorities more
power in regulating gambling. The government's tax reform is set to
come into force in 2015; however, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek
would like to amend it so that it comes into effect a year earlier.

Czech authorities to appeal Swiss rejection of their bid to join MUS

The Czech authorities will appeal against a Swiss court's decision to
reject their bid to become a party in the ongoing criminal case against
former managers of the mining firm Mostecka uhelna, the newspaper
Lidove noviny said on Tuesday, quoting a spokesman for the Czech
Finance Ministry. The Swiss federal court in Bellinzone rejected the
Czech bid on December 19, according to a local press report. The Czech
authorities have ten days to appeal.

Six Czechs and one Belgian citizen have been charged with money
laundering and other financial crimes in the case of Mostecka uhelna.
The firm was privatized in 1999 but Swiss prosecutors believe the
managers paid for the firm's shares with money siphoned from the
company, embezzling billions of crowns. The Swiss authorities estimate
the damages to the Czech Republic at 3.4 billion crowns.

Press: Police to investigate Czech communist leader's condolence to
North Korea

The police might look into the Czech communist party chairman's
condolence to North Korean communists on the death of the dictator Kim
Jong-il, the daily Lidove noviny reported on Tuesday. The paper quotes
Czech Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil as saying the authorities should
determine whether Vojtech Filip, the head of the Communist Party of
Bohemia and Moravia, broke the law by expressing sympathies to the late
North Korean leader. In his letter of condolence, Mr Vojtech said Kim
Jong-il sacrificed himself for the well-being of the people of North
Korea, adding he believed the North Korean communist party would
continue leading the heroic struggle for the defence of socialism. If
convicted of breaching the Czech law prohibiting support for
totalitarian movements and regimes, the Czech communist leader would
face up to three years in jail.

Czech ambassador to Thailand charged with fraud

The Czech ambassador to Thailand, and former general secretary of the
country's foreign ministry, Milan Sedlacek, has been charged with fraud
and will be tried in a Czech court, along with two other people, the
news website tyden.cz reported on Tuesday. Mr Sedlacek faces
accusations of embezzling some 1.5 million crowns for seminars that
were supposed to take place in China, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2008;
however, the police suspect the events never took place. The ambassador
has been recalled to the Czech Republic pending trial.

Over 55,000 Czechs back renaming of airport after late ex-president

More than 55,000 Czechs - both at home and living abroad - have added
their signatures to a call for Prague's international airport to be
renamed after the late ex-president Vaclav Havel. According to the news
website idnes.cz, the idea has received backing even from Mr Havel's
family. However, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, whose office
supervises the airport's board of directors, said a thorough debate was
needed before a decision could be reached. Former president Vaclav
Havel died at the age of 75 on December 18 after a protracted illness.
In neighbouring Poland, the northern city of Gdansk named one of its
streets after Mr Havel on December 23, the day of his funeral.

Czech Airlines to add holiday flights to Russia

Czech Airlines will add another 71 return flights to Russia in the
holiday season, a spokeswoman for the carrier told reporters on
Tuesday. The first extraordinary flight will leave Prague on December
28, the last on January 12. 47 of the extra seasonal flights will go to
and from Moscow; other destinations include Moscow, St Petersburg,
Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, and Samara.

Woman gets 25 years for poisoning her daughter with antifreeze

The Czech Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a woman last
year who attempted to kill her five-year-old daughter by poisoning her
with anti-freeze, and confirmed a 25-year sentence handed to the woman
by a lower-instance court. In August 2010, the woman gave her daughter
a mix of tea and anti-freeze after the child returned from a weekend
with her father. The woman tried to fabricate an alibi, and called the
ambulance with delay. The girl suffered serious kidney damage.

Most Czechs don't consider churches useful: new poll

Most Czechs do not consider churches to be useful institutions,
according to a new survey by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. A
great majority of the 40 percent which said the opposite are believers,
the poll suggested. The share of people who think churches are useful
has not changed much in recent years; last year, some 42 percent of
people surveyed said they considered churches to be useful.

Czech citizen arrested in Argentina for smuggling live animals

A 50-year-old Czech citizen was arrested at the airport in Buenos Aires
several weeks ago with nearly 250 live animals he was reportedly trying
to smuggle out of the country, the Czech News Agency reported. Airport
staff found 247 live snakes, snails, lizards, turtles and frogs in his
luggage, some of them protected species. The man, who was later
released on bail, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Basketball: Jan Vesely misses NBA premiere over hip injury

Czech basketball player Jan Vesely has missed the premiere of the
Washington Wizards in the shortened season of the NBA due to a hip
injury. Although the injury is reportedly not serious, the 21-year-old
Czech player missed Monday's game which saw the Wizards lose to the New
Jersey Nets 84:90. Jan Vesely, the Wizards' top pick in the NBA draft,
might appear in Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks.


The next few days will be overcast with frequent fog. Daytime highs
should range between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Prague Archbishop celebrates mass for Vietnamese community

One of the many Christmas masses celebrated over the past weekend was a
mass for the Vietnamese community celebrated by Prague Archbishop
Dominik Duka in Prague's Zizkov district. It was dedicated to the Feast
of the Holy Family and attended by over a thousand Vietnamese who have
embraced the Christian faith.


Fat from Christmas table clogs up sewage systems in cities

It is a well-known fact that the traditional Czech heavy Christmas menu
is a burden on the digestive system. Fewer people know, though, that
fat is not only bad for the gall-bladder and arteries but can also
cause problems to the sewage system. Especially in densely populated
areas the sewer pipes and sewage treatment plants experience something
of a fat overdose at Christmas time. The problem is faced by all cities
and some have already taken measures against it.


The Czechoslovak legions: myth, reality, gold and glory

The Czechoslovak legions occupy an almost legendary place in Czech
history. They comprise the armed forces that fought during and after
World War I on the allied side in pursuit of an independent
Czechoslovakia. The biggest force, and most potent myths, centre on the
Russian force, which became embroiled in the civil war, spending three
years and travelling thousands of miles before returning home. We look
at the myths and facts about their exploits.


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