Friday, January 13, 2012

News 1.13.2012

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

News Friday, January 13th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* A regional deputy state prosecutor has said that the fatal shooting
of a 22-year-old Romany man in Tanvald on January 1 was in self-defense.

* Police investigators have said they believe an attack against three
people in Varnsdorf, North Bohemia, was racially-motivated.

* The Justice Ministry has drafted a bill that will require greater
transparency on the part of subcontractors in public tenders.

* Renaming Prague's international airport after the late Vaclav Havel
would cost between 10 and 15 million Czech crowns, the finance minister
has said.

* Hockey forward Milan Michalek will be the lone Czech player to take
part in NHL's upcoming All-Star Game.

Young Romany shot dead in self-defense

A 63-year-old man who shot dead a 22-year-old-Romany and injured his
brother in Tanvald on January 1 acted in self-defense after being
assaulted with a knife, regional deputy state attorney Lenka Bradacova
has said. On Friday, the official confirmed that the investigation had
ruled out murder or a deliberate act with the intent to kill on the
part of the 63-year-old in the shooting incident. But she stressed that
whether the degree of self-defence in the case was justified had not
yet been gauged. Meanwhile, racial-motivation and robbery in the case
have also been ruled out. The results of expert assessments should be
available within two to three months.

Police investigators say Varnsdorf attack was racially-motivated

Police investigators have said they believe an attack on a man and his
parents on New Year's Eve in Varnsdorf, North Bohemia, was
racially-motivated. Police charged one of two men on Thursday with
disorderly conduct and bodily harm. On New Year's a group of six Roma
allegedly encircled the man and his parents out for a walk and accosted
them: two of the people targeted had to be treated in hospital. Police
are continuing to investigate the incident. Last summer and autumn,
parts of northern Bohemia saw increased ethnic tension as well as
organised protests, including by neo Nazis, in the area over an alleged
increase of violence, unemployment and other issues. The protests most
often were aimed against the local Roma community.

Bill to extend transparency to public tender subcontractors

The Justice Ministry has drafted a bill that will oblige some
subcontractors hired by successful bidders in public tenders to provide
information regarding ownership, the financial daily Hospodarske noviny
reports. According to the paper, senior government officials have not
been overly in favour of extending transparency requirements to the
level of subcontractors, but in some cases the information is likely to
be mandatory. Deputy Justice Minister Filip Melzer was quoted by the
paper as saying that firms with a certain share of given tenders would
be obliged to provide more specific details. The government has not yet
decided on the cut-off or level for eligibility. Firms with anonymous
share-holders, meanwhile, would reportedly have several months for
owners to be registered. The lower house is likely to begin debating
the bill in February.

PM praises troops after return from Afghan ISAF mission

Prime Minister Petr Necas praised members of the military's special
forces on Friday who returned from the NATO-led ISAF mission in
Afghanistan at the end of 2011. During their six-month mission the
troops took part in 150 combat operations in the Afghan Nangarhar
province, the Czech government disclosed on its website. The Czech
government decided to deploy a special forces unit within the ISAF
mission in October 2010. The parliament then agreed to two six-month
rotations of up to 100 soldiers. Apart from combat operations, Czech
troops set up a special unit of the Afghan national police, helped
provide security for locals and create the conditions for handing
responsibility for the security situation over to the Afghan
authorities, the prime minister said. Some 600 Czech soldiers
participate in the ISAF mission. A Provincial Reconstruction Team
operates in the Logar province and Czech troops train Afghan forces in
the Vardak province. Further soldiers are deployed at Kabul airport.

Police: 707 people died on Czech roads in 2011

A total of 707 people died in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic
in 2011, which was the lowest death toll on Czech roads since 1990. The
overall number of road accidents last year - and of people injured in
them - was the second lowest, police representatives said. In 2010, 46
more people were died in traffic accidents. Two-car collisions made up
the majority - 38 percent - of accidents, followed by crashes into
fixed obstacles (24 percent). Collisions between vehicles made up 40
percent of fatalities, while crashes into fixed obstacles resulted in
25 percent of all road deaths. The most tragic day on Czech roads last
year was February 9 when nine people died on them. The highest number
of road accidents (466) occurred on December 21. Overall in 2011 the
police investigated a little over 75,000 traffic accidents in which
3,092 people suffered serious injuries. The total damage in monetary
worth was estimated at over 4.6 billion crowns.

Finance Minister reveals cost of renaming Prague's Ruzyne airport after
late Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel

Renaming Prague's Ruzyne airport after the late ex-president Vaclav
Havel would cost between 10 and 15 million crowns, the Finance Minister
Miroslav Kalousek has said. In an interview for Hospodarske noviny the
finance minister stressed that if the majority of state representatives
as well as the public agreed with the renaming of the airport, he the
government, as the airport's majority stakeholder, would back the move.
Film producer Fero Fenic is the author of the initiative to rename the
capital's international airport after Mr Havel. Some 80,000 people have
signed the petition. The government has postponed a decision on the
matter until spring and has announced that the move is pending consent
by Mr Havel's family.

Crash on D1 followed by long delays, seven-kilometre-long traffic jam

A crash between a bus and five automobiles on the D1 highway near
Prague ground traffic to a halt - leading to a seven kilometre traffic
jam that only began to ease up in the late afternoon. The crash took
place around three-thirty pm and left one person seriously injured and
two with lighter injuries. All were in cars - none of the 61 people on
the bus were hurt. Police are investigating the cause of the accident,
so far attributing it to worsening weather conditions including
snowfall. A replacement bus arrived at the scene to take passengers on
to Prague.

Snow, winds, ice complicate situation on Czech roads, railways

In related news, a new cold front has complicated the situation on
Czech roads and railways, with new snowfall, strong winds and ice in
places. Transport trucks faced difficulties in snowdrifts in the Krusne
Mountains on Friday while the regions of Plzen and Vysocina registered
worsening conditions - namely icy patches - on roads. A small landslide
blocked part of a train route near Turnov and during Thursday evening
lightening reportedly knocked out power on a chairlift at Jested.

NHL action: Michalek lone Czech player to take part in All-Star Game

Hockey forward Milan Michalek will be the lone Czech player to take
part in the NHL's upcoming All-Star Game: he was nominated to the first
six All-Star roster by fans; no other Czechs, not even Jaromir Jagr,
made the cut. Michalek plays for the Ottawa Senators; the prestigious
match-up is to take place in the Canadian capital on January 28.

Czechs ready for Australian Open

Opening matches have been drawn for the first Grand Slam tournament of
the season, the Australian Open. Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova, the
world's no.2 player, will face Vera Dusevinova of Russia in the first
round, while her recent partner at the Hopman Cup, Tomas Berdych, the
world no. 7 in the men's rankings, will face Spaniard Albert Ramos.
Other Czechs playing at the Australian Open include Lucie Safarova, who
will face American Christina McHale and Radek Stepanek who will face
Nicolas Mahut of France.


The next few days will bring a drop in temperatures to between -2 and 2
degrees Celsius with a chance of snow but also drizzle in places.

Articles posted on today

Prosecutors rule out murder in north Bohemian shooting

Prosecutors investigating a New Year's Day shooting in the north
Bohemian town of Tanvald, which left a Romany man dead and injured
another, have ruled out murder or any other premeditated crime. The
investigators on Friday said the 63-year-old shooter was facing an
intense assault by two Romany men in a conflict that had no racial or
material motives.

Josef Skvorecky - Part 1 - The Cowards

In this week's Arts we will be looking back at the remarkable life and
work of renowned writer, essayist and translator Josef Skvorecky who
died earlier this month at the age of 87. The author of novels such as
The Engineer of Human Souls was one of the most important in 20th
century Czech literature, first making his mark in 1958 with The
Cowards. To discuss that book and much, much more in the first of a
two-part programme, I met with respected Czech critic, translator,
specialist in Czech studies and Revolver Revue contributor Petr Onufer.
In Part 1, we look largely Skvorecky's debut, The Cowards.

Business News 13.1.2012

In today's business news: Consumer prices have risen by 4.7 percent
following a VAT hike, the American Anheuser-Bush purchases the
Budejovicky mestansky brewery in hopes of improving its chances in an
ongoing trademark dispute, public health insurer VZP may see a budget
deficit of up to three billion Czech crowns in 2012, regular and diesel
fuel reach record prices, and the forecast for the Czech construction
sector for 2012 is the worst among the Visegrad Four.

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