Wednesday, January 11, 2012

News 1.11.2012

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Copyright (c) 2012 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech government has approved legislation on the restitution of
church property.

* Czech asylum for Yulia Tymoshenko's husband won't hurt relations with
Ukraine, according to an aide to the Ukrainian president.

* A group of midwives and expectant mothers will sue the Czech Republic
at Strasbourg over home births.

* The state should cover the cost of treatment for drug addicts who
cannot afford it, according to a top Czech court.

* In tennis, Petra Kvitova has reached the semi-finals of the Sydney
International tournament.

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Government approves church property restitution
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The Czech government on Wednesday approved legislation on the
restitution of church property. Under the new bill, 17 Czech churches
and religious societies will get back 56 percent of the property
confiscated by the communist regime in the 1950s. For the rest, the
churches will receive 59 billion crowns, plus inflation, over the
period of 30 years.

The decision comes after a heated dispute within the coalition; the
junior Public Affairs opposed the bill but eventually agreed to support
it after PM Necas promised the respective funds would not be drawn from
the ministries run by Public Affairs politicians.


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Opposition to vote against church property restitution bill
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In related news, the opposition Social Democrats said on Wednesday they
would vote against the bill on the restitution of church property when
it gets to Parliament. The party expressed concern that the bill might
in effect break the Czech property restitution limit of February 1948.
Opposition leaders also said the legislation should be approved in a
referendum as it does not enjoy support of the public.


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Czech asylum for Tymoshenko's husband not to hurt relations with Ukraine
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The political asylum the Czech authorities last week granted to the
husband of the jailed Ukrainian leader Yulia Tymoshenko will not hurt
relations between the two countries, according to an aide to the
Ukrainian president. Hana Hermanova, an advisor to Ukraine's President
Viktor Yanukovych, told a local TV station that the asylum presented no
international problem for Ukraine, and relations between Prague and
Kiev will remain friendly, adding the Ukrainian authorities were
planning no retaliation for the move.


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Midwifes, expectant mothers to sue Czech Republic at Strasbourg over
home births
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A group of expectant mothers and midwives will sue the Czech Republic
at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over home births,
the news website tyden.cz reported on Wednesday. They complain that
home births are not covered by medical insurance and midwives face
administrative obstacles which effectively prevent them from doing
their jobs. A lawyer representing the group said the complaint would be
filed by the end of the month. A spokesman for the Czech health
ministry rejected the claims, and argued that the wellbeing of mothers
and newborns were the primary concern.


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Top court: state should cover treatment for drugs addicts who can't
afford it
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The state should cover the cost of treatment for drug addicts who can't
afford it, the Czech Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Wednesday.
The court was dealing with a case of a woman who joined a therapeutic
community but had no means to sustain herself, and the local
authorities refused to grant her social benefits. The judges said the
woman's financial problems cannot prevent her from completing her
treatment. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry said it would wait
for the verdict to be delivered in writing before instructing labour
offices around the country to implement the ruling in their agenda.


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CEZ internal audit finds no corruption in dealings with major supplier
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An internal audit in the power producer CEZ found no corruption in the
firm's dealings with its major supplier, Skoda Power. The audit
confirmed a marked increase in contracts for the engineering company
worth billions of crowns after 2004 when its former manager, Martin
Roman, became the CEO of CEZ. However, the surge was related to an
overall rise in CEZ investments, according to the probe which reviewed
39 contracts between the firms worth 26.4 billion crowns. Former CEZ
CEO Martin Roman, who stepped down in September, faced allegations of
conflict of interest over his role in CEZ and Skoda Power. However,
critics pointed out the audit would have more weight if it had been
carried out by an independent entity rather than the firm itself.


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First Skoda electric cars hit the road
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The first ten Skoda electric cars hit the road on Wednesday. The
vehicles, based on the Skoda Octavia model, will be tested over the
next 12 months during which they will cover 15,000 kilometres. Skoda
CEO Winfried Wahland said the Octavia Green E Line cars should be
available in 2014.


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Press: two largest Czech e-shops registered record sales in 20011
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The two largest Czech e-shops, alza.cz and mall.cz, registered record
sales worth over 10 billion crowns last year, the daily Hospodarske
noviny reported on Wednesday. Alza.cz, which sells electronics, took in
around 6.7 billion crowns while mall.cz, dealing in general
merchandise, sold goods worth over 6.7 billion crowns.


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Schoolgirl in critical condition after falling out of classroom window
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A 10-year-old girl is in critical condition after she fell out of a
boarding school window in a north Bohemian town on Wednesday. The girl
fell onto a tarmac surface, and was taken by a helicopter to a hospital
in Hradec Kralove. Police refused to provide any details as the case is
being investigated.


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Tennis: Kvitova reaches semis at Sydney International
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Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova beat Slovak Daniela Hantuchova 6:0,
6:4 at the Sydney International on Wednesday, and reached the
tournament seminfinals where she will face Li Na of China. If the
21-year Czech wins the event, she will become world's number one for
the first time in her career, just days before the start of the
Australian Open.


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Weather
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The next few days will be mostly overcast with occasional rain,
particularly in the north of the country. Daytime highs should range
between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Extremist lawyer claims judicial expert biased because of Jewish
background
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Michal Mazel, a highly-respected judicial expert on extremism in the
Czech Republic (whose testimony was crucial in such cases as the Vitkov
arson attack and the dissolution of the rightwing Workers' Party), has
resigned after an objection was filed against his assessment in a
current case. Lawyer Petr Koci filed the objection on behalf of his
client, a member of the extremist Workers' Party for Social Justice,
charged with inciting ethnic hatred, that Mr Mazel is biased because of
his Jewish background. For the judicial expert the objection was the
last straw; the move also shocked others, fuelling calls for the lawyer
to be disbarred.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/extremist-lawyer-claims-judicial-expert-biased-because-of-jewish-background


Czech scientists find hope for improved cancer treatment
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A major advance in cancer treatment may be on the way, thanks in part
to the work of Czech scientists. Researchers from the Czech Academy of
Sciences in collaboration with colleagues in the UK have made
significant progress in developing chemotherapy that is free of side
effects.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/czech-scientists-find-hope-for-improved-cancer-treatment


The Museum of Decorative Arts - a must-see destination for fans of
Czech design
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Lovers of Czech applied arts and design will find a veritable treasure
trove of interesting items, ranging from glass wares to clocks and
metal works, in Prague's Museum of Decorative Arts. Located right
across the street from the well-known Rudolfinum palace, the museum is
housed in a stunning Neo-Renaissance building. It was one of the last
in Prague to be designed in that style. The architect was Josef Schulz,
who also was behind the Czech National Museum.

http://radio.cz/en/section/spotlight/the-museum-of-decorative-arts-a-must-see-destination-for-fans-of-czech-design


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