Thursday, January 19, 2012

News 1.19.2012

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

News Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says that a referendum on
adopting the euro will call the country's EU pledges into question.

* The Czech Republic has received nearly 2.5 trillion crowns in foreign
investment since 1993.

* Heath insurance companies will begin covering cervical cancer
vaccinations as of April 1.

* The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unethical for financial
institutions to qualify loans with the writing of a last will and
testament.

* Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova has advanced to the third round of
the Australian Open.

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Schwarzenberg: referendum would call Czech EU pledges into question
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Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says that a referendum on
adopting the euro will call the country's EU pledges into question. The
statement was made in response to Wednesday��s decision by the Czech
cabinet that any accession to the EU��s planned fiscal discipline pact
should be decided on through a national referendum on entering the euro
zone. Mr Schwarzenberg said he was categorically opposed to a
referendum, which would challenge what the country promised in its
accession treaty and make the Czech Republic look like it is not a
serious partner. He previously said regarding the fiscal discipline
pact that he would not participate in a government that would lead the
country out of the main stream of European integration.


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Stats office reports foreign investment of 2.5 trillion since 1993
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The Czech Republic has received nearly 2.5 trillion crowns (roughly 125
bilion dollars) in foreign investment since it's foundation in 1993.
The Czech Statistical Office reports that the wave of investment peaked
at around the year 2000. Foreign capital currently has a dominant share
in the financial sector and is mostly concentrated in the automobile
industry and refineries. In 2009, foreign-controlled companies in the
Czech Republic employed 1.069 million people, or 5.7 times more than in
1995. The enterprises of foreign investors increased their share of
production in the Czech economy from 7.3% in 1995 to 42.5% in 2009
though their profits in 2009 amounted to three fifths of all financial
and non-financial companies in the Czech economy.


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Heath insurance companies to begin covering cervical cancer vaccinations
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Heath insurance companies will begin covering cervical cancer
vaccinations as of April 1. The vaccinations for girls aged 13 and 14
are expected to prevent seven to nine out of 10 cases within as many
years. The Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of incidence of
cervical cancer in the European Union, with 1000 cases and 400 deaths a
year. Physicians say that until now most girls who received
vaccinations were from families that were wealthy or understood the
importance of prevention and covered the 10,000 crown cost of the
vaccination.


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Second women��s prison opens
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Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil opened the second women��s prison in the
Czech Republic on Thursday. The 151-inmate prison in Velke Prilepy near
Prague was established in former a barracks and asylum facility at a
cost of 11 million crowns, compared to the 150 million crown price of a
new facility. Velke Prilepy is one of three prisons to open this year
to ease overcrowding. At present there are some 23,300 inmates in the
country, while the currently capacity is only about 20,600. At present
24 women are serving their sentences in the facility. The first prison
in the country exclusively for women is Svetla nad Sazavou in Eastern
Bohemia. It currently holds 800 women and conditions there are
considerably limited.


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Supreme Court: financial institutions cannot demand last will and
testament
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The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unethical for financial
institutions to qualify loans with the writing of a last will and
testament. The court found that it was both immoral and illegal for
creditors to demand that property be left to them in the event of a
debtor's death. The court spokesman said that the cases usually involve
elderly people who need loans for health care, home care or other
reasons and leave their property as collateral. Moreover, the court
determined that banks have other options for ensuring the repayment of
such loans. The Czech Banking Association says it has not noted any
such conditions and notes that the case in question goes back to 1992.


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Charles University opposes Higher Education Act
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Charles University leaders, academics and students met on Thursday to
discuss how the country's leading university should oppose the
introduction of tuition and student aid measures being prepared by the
Ministry of Education. The discussion room was completely packed as
those in attendance decided on a protest resolution. A protest group
later threw a symbolic 90 melons (Czech slang for millions) out of
windows to protest the 90 million crowns the preparation of the Higher
Education Act cost the ministry. Following the meeting a group of
demonstrators marched from the Law College to the seat of the
government.


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Author files criminal complaint against Necas over church restitution
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Czech author Lenka Prochazkova has filed a criminal complaint against
Prime Minister Petr Necas and members of his government over the
proposed restitution of church property. Ms Prochazkova says the
government members committed abuse of public office and breach of trust
in agreeing to give the churches property that does not belong to them.
Last Wednesday the government approved a bill intended to address the
communist-era nationalisation of the property of churches and religious
communities during the 1950s. Prochazkova says there are doubts as to
whether the restitution is legal and objects that the bill does not
contain a list of the properties in question.


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2011 sees rise in violent crime, rape, vice crimes
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Police noted a 15% rise in rapes in 2011 compared to the preceding year
as well as a rise in the creation and possession of child pornography.
Vice crime in general was up by 15% according to police, while clear-up
rates were down by five percent. Violent crimes were also up by seven
percent to nearly 19,500 cases. The number of murders - 173 - was
exactly the same in 2011 as in the year before, though five percent
less were solved. Sixty-five percent of reported crimes last year
involved property crimes.


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Artist Kristof Kinter wins Personality of the Year art award
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Artist Kristof Kinter has won the Personality of the Year art award for
his sculpture of a streetlamp shining upwards at Prague's Nuselsky
Bridge. The sculpture is dedicated to those who committed suicide by
jumping from the bridge. The winner was chosen by a ten-member jury
from some 40 names and receives a black square that has been painted
over from the previous year's winner.


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Tennis: Petra Kvitova advances to third round at Australian Open
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The Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round of the
Australian Open on Thursday, beating Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2,
2-6, 6-4. The match was a close one for the World No. 2 and Wimbledon
champion, who won the first set, but was beat by her Spanish opponent
in the second. Suarez Navarro took a 2-0 lead in the decider but
Kvitova regained control and won a close third game. The Czech tennis
star will face either Russia's Maria Kirilenko or Canada's Aleksandra
Wozniak in the third round.


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Weather
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Conditions over the coming days are expected to be cloudy and wet with
daytime highs of around 2o Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Stinky cheese sweetshop opens in Lostice
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It is the country's most smelly specialty - Olomoucke tvaruzky - dubbed
by foreign visitors as "the stinky cheese of Olomouc" is not something
you can easily overlook. Its pungent odor hits you the minute you open
the fridge and will render you a social outcast several hours after
consuming it. However many consider it to be one of the country's
biggest delicacies and the Czech Republic fought and won a six-year war
with Germany and Austria over a protected geographical status trademark.

http://radio.cz/en/article/144930


Czechs deeply divided on EU's fiscal union
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The question whether or not the country should join the emerging EU
fiscal union has divided Czech politicians and appears to be fraught
with problems. While one governing party is in favour of an emphatic
"yes", and the country's eurosceptic president has already voiced an
emphatic "no", everything points to the fact that Czechs will continue
to sit on the fence for as long as possible.

http://radio.cz/en/article/144926


Police arrest two men in series of appalling tomb robberies
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The Czech police have arrested two men suspected of robbing more than
70 graves in northern Bohemia. The men mainly targeted older, unkempt
tombs in the region in search of gold teeth, medals and other relics.
The investigators were shocked by their callousness; one of them said
he was more interested in the thrill of tomb raiding than the actual
loot.

http://radio.cz/en/article/144927


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