Friday, January 27, 2012

News 1.27.2012

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

News Friday, January 27th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Czech Republic will try to secure its participation in future
euro zone summits.

* An agreement was signed in Prague on Friday sealing the transfer of
the Galileo Supervisory Authority to the Czech capital.

* The Czech Foreign Ministry has dismissed criticism from the EC that
it is making excessive demands on foreign applicants requesting a
residence permit in the country.

* Hackers attacked the website of the Czech government as well as that
of a Czech copyrights holders association on Thursday night.

* A court in Ostrava has sentenced a former Social Democrat deputy to
five years in prison for fraud.

Czech Republic will seek to participate in euro zone summits

The Czech Republic will try to secure its participation in future euro
zone summits. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Friday
it would be good for the country to be involved and for its voice to be
heard even if it was not yet a euro zone member. The centre-right Czech
government on Wednesday approved a 1.5 billion euro loan to the IMF to
help contain the debt crisis in the euro zone and gave conditional
approval for the Czech Republic to join the emerging fiscal compact, a
process that would either have to be ratified by Parliament or in a
national referendum.

Agreement on Prague hosting GSA signed in Prague

GSA head Carlos des Dorides and Czech Transport Minister Pavel Dobes on
Friday signed an agreement on moving the headquarters of the Galileo
Supervisory Authority to Prague. The European Union's planned Galileo
satellite navigation system is meant to give the EU its own worldwide
navigation system, similar to the US GPS and Russia's GLONASS. Galileo
is due to begin basic operations in 2014, and ultimately to offer 32
satellites covering the globe.

The Czechs lobbied hard for the opportunity to host the headquarters of
the new navigation system, and Czech firms are expected to benefit for
instance by taking part in the development of signal receivers or
applications for Galileo. The transfer of GSA staff to Prague is
expected to begin in May.

Foreign Ministry: country not violating EU directive

The Czech Foreign Ministry has dismissed criticism from the EC that the
country's approach to foreign applicants requesting a residence permit
violates the EU's directive regarding the free movement of people.
Among others, the EC has expressed objections to the policy of asking
residence permit applicants to prove that they have secured
accommodation in the country.

The EC says this is not in harmony with the free movement directive
that all EU states were supposed to transpose in their legislation by
April 2006 and has threatened to file action against the Czech Republic
over its alleged failure to observe the said directive. The Czech
Republic has two months to react to the criticism. If Brussels finds
Prague's response insufficient, it may hand the issue over to the
European Court of Justice, which may impose sanctions on the country.

Hackers attack Czech government and copyrights holders association

Hackers attacked the website of the Czech government as well as the
online presence of OSA, a Czech copyrights holders association, on
Thursday night. Both websites were up and running again by Friday
morning. Behind the attack are hackers associated with the activist
group Anonymous, which has been targeting websites of such
organizations as the FBI, the White House and various record labels and
copyrights holders in a reaction to a recent blocking of the online
content sharing service The loosely organized group
Anonymous has been linked to attacks around the world aimed at
punishing governments for policies they disagree with. The attacks on
Czech websites are believed to be connected to the Czech Republic
signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Tokio on Thursday.
The agreement aims to establish international standards on intellectual
property rights enforcements.

Brno students to protest against planned reforms

University students from Brno's six leading universities have called a
street march for February 1 st to protest against planned reforms to
the university education system. The planned changes which have come
under fire from the academic community include the introduction of
tuition fees and state-guaranteed loans and far-reaching changes to how
Czech universities are run. Critics say that the reform will choke
academic freedom in favour of business and politics. Similar protests
have taken place in Prague.

EC suspends EU subsidies to Czech Education Ministry

The European Commission has suspended the payment of EU subsidies worth
an equivalent of 1.2 billion crowns to the Czech Education Ministry,
according to the news site Ceska pozice. A recent EC audit revealed
mistakes in the placing of public orders in the Education for
Competitiveness Operational Programme with a budget of 53 billion
crowns. However Czech Radio said on Friday that the recipients of the
subsidies would not lose the money since they had already got it from
the state budget. Education Minister Josef Dobes claims that the
problems revealed by the audit are purely technical and would be
resolved within three months.

Former MP gets five year sentence for fraud

A court in Ostrava has sentenced a former Social Democrat deputy to
five years in prison for fraud. The court found that while serving as
an MP Petr Wolf embezzled 11 million crowns in grant money which he
obtained by providing false information regarding the respective firms
and projects. His wife was served a two-year suspended sentence as an
accomplice. This is the first time in the country's modern history that
someone has been sentenced for engaging in corrupt practices while
serving as a member of Parliament.

Czechs consider local elections of utmost importance

Czechs view local polls, from which town councils and assemblies
emerge, as the most important type of elections, and they consider
elections to the European Parliament the least important of all,
according to the results of a poll conducted by the STEM agency and
released on Friday. Second and third most important are elections to
the chamber of deputies and presidential elections. The perceived
importance of elections to the Senate, the upper house of Czech
parliament, has been rising. STEM says people's views on the importance
of various elections have not markedly changed in the past decade.

Repeat offender given life sentence

The Supreme Court has served a repeat offender found guilty of murder
and attempted murder on two counts a life sentence. A life sentence is
the maximum punishment an offender can get under Czech law. The man,
who has already spent twenty years of his life in jail, has a record of
theft and violent crime. Most recently he was found guilty of murdering
a taxi driver for money and putting fire to his car to cover his
tracks, and attempting to murder two women-in both cases for financial
gain. The verdict cannot be appealed.

Sedivackuv Long dog sled race underway

The 16th annual dog sled race called Sedivackuv Long is underway in the
north- eastern Czech Republic. Almost 100 mushers from eight countries
with some 500 dogs are competing in the race which is considered one of
the toughest on the European continent. They have to overcome 240
kilometres in deep snow and freezing condition in the Orlicke hory
mountains in just four days. Competitors also have to spend one night
sleeping in the snow.


The coming weekend is expected to bring partly cloudy to overcast skies
with more snow and day temperatures dropping to minus 3 degrees. Night
time lows can reach minus 15, though in some places as much as ten
degrees lower. Thursday night's lows in the Sumava mountains -in the
south of the country -reached a record minus 29 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

'Adolf Loos - A Private Portrait' offers readers a rare glimpse into
the life of the modernist architect & marriage to Claire Beck

In today's Arts I talk to artist and editor Carrie Paterson about the
first English-language edition of a rare and fascinating book
originally published in 1936. Written by the third wife of modernist
architect Adolf Loos, Claire Beck Loos (Klara Beckova-Loosova of Plzen)
it was previously available only in German; the new edition, published
by Doppelhouse Press, is called Adolf Loos - A Private Portrait.

Prague court delivers landmark ruling in home births advocates' battle
with the state

A ruling on Thursday by a Prague court might lead to a breakthrough in
the ongoing Czech debate about home births. While state officials and
health care providers have consistently opposed the practice over
safety concerns, the court decided that mothers indeed have the right
to choose the place of their child's delivery, and the state has to
provide all necessary assistance.

Business News 27.1.2012

The Czech Republic got 31 billion more than it gave from the EU in
2011; 15.6 billion may have to be returned to the EU due to errors in
subsidies use; petrol prices continue to reach new records; banks plan
to open dozens of new branches in 2012; Social Democrats propose bills
to decrease household indebtedness.

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