Tuesday, February 14, 2012

News 2.14.2012

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

News Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* President Vaclav Klaus has lent support to Turkey's EU membership bid
on the first of a four-day visit to the country.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas says that anti-corruption measures enacted
by the government have saved the country tens of billions of crowns.

* Over 300 public figures have signed a petition demanding that the
government back the EU fiscal pact.

* A young bus driver has been sentenced to 100 days in prison for
defacing political advertisements.

* Gamekeeping has secured a place on the list of Czech intangible
cultural heritage.

Klaus begins four-day visit to Turkey

President Vaclav Klaus lent support to Turkey's EU membership bid on
the first of a four-day visit to the country. After talks with his
Turkish counterpart Abdullah Guel, the Czech president said that he
believes Europe needs to be woken up, and that the accession of a large
and dynamic country like Turkey could do just that. President Guel
thanked Mr Klaus for his well-known support of Turkey's EU bid and
noted that some his sceptical views towards the EU had proven correct.
President Klaus is travelling in the company of more than 60 Czech
businessmen, which he said was the largest business delegation in Czech
history and evidence of great interest in Turkey. A number of business
contracts are to be signed between the countries. Among others, the
Czech Export Bank is expected to confirm an agreement on financing the
construction of port infrastructure and a trade centre in Istanbul.

Necas: anti-corruption measures have saved tens of billions

Prime Minister Petr Necas says that anti-corruption measures enacted by
the government have saved the country tens of billions of crowns.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Necas and deputy prime minister for
corruption Karolina Peake praised the government's passage of nearly
half of the points of its anti-corruption strategy and said it was
working on others. The prime minister noted that the country annually
awards tenders worth nearly half a trillion crowns. The abandonment of
middlemen in Defence Ministry tenders, he said, or the cancellation of
a controversial eco-waste tender saved billions of crowns. Ms Peake
said the government was still working on other measures such as
transparency in party financing, whistleblower protection and
increasing the independence of state prosecutors.

Celebrities call on government to back EU fiscal pact

Over 300 public figures have signed a petition calling upon the
government to change its stance on the EU fiscal pact. The petition,
which was organised by political scientist Jiri Pehe and priest Tomas
Halik, says that by rejecting the agreement for closer fiscal
integration among EU members, the Czech Republic is needlessly removing
itself from the main stream of European cooperation. The signatories
believe the government's stance will damage the country's credibility
and bring nothing of benefit. Prime Minister Petr Necas has argued he
does not have a mandate to conclude the treaty because of problems
around its ratification, a view not shared by his coalition partners,
TOP 09.

Man to serve 100 days in prison for vandalising political ads

A thirty-year-old bus driver in Olomouc has been sentenced to 100 days
in prison for defacing political advertisements during the 2010
election season. Roman Smetana was originally sentenced to pay 15,000
crowns and serve 100 hours of community service for vandalising some 30
signs with pejorative postscripts and drawing antennae on the
politicians. Only the Civic Democratic Party pressed charges against
him, though he had defaced the signs of various parties. When Mr
Smetana refused to serve his sentence he was given 100 days of house
arrest, which he also refused. The judge in the case is the wife of one
of the local candidates, leading Civic Democrat and former Interior
Minister Ivan Langer.

Hunting secures place on Czech intangible cultural heritage list

Hunting has secured a place on the list of Czech intangible cultural
heritage. It was put on the list by the Czech Culture Ministry which
said hunting involved many customs, rituals and traditions worth
preserving. Jaroslav Kostecka, secretary of the Bohemian and Moravian
Hunters' Association said he hoped this would pave the way for a UNESCO
listing. The Czech list of intangible property of traditional and folk
culture only has five items. Besides hunting, the list also contains
the south-east Moravian folk dance verbunk, falconry, the Vlcnov Ride
of the Kings and Shrovetide masks and traditions from the Hlinsko
vicinity, in east Bohemia. The Bohemian and Moravian Hunters'
Association has 80,000 members, 10 percent of whom are women.

Massive water problems as temperature rise causes pipes to burst

The sudden temperature rise has caused water pipes to burst all around
the country. In Prague broken pipes underground caused problems in
three places, particularly at the busy Namesti OSN intersection in
Vysocany, where roads were closed on Tuesday morning due to flooding.
Serious problems with burst pipes were also reported near the metro
station in Dejvice and in Hrdlorezy. A number of schools were closed in
the southern city of Ceske Budejovice, where seven leaks were reported,
while more than 4,000 homes in Liberec were without water as of Tuesday

Constitutional Court re-approves pension supplements for employees in

The Czech Constitutional Court has ruled that retirees who worked in
Slovakia before 1993 should have the opportunity to have their pensions
supplemented by the Czech Republic. Last year, the Czech Republic was
still supplementing the pensions of those who received less because
they had been employed in Slovakia before the two countries split.
However, this was halted once the European Court of Justice ruled the
practice was discriminatory because it was conditional upon Czech
citizenship and permanent residence in the Czech Republic. The
Constitutional Court has now stood by a previous verdict, saying the EU
court had not considered the specific situation after Czechoslovakia��s
split in 1993 into consideration. As of last year, the average Slovak
pension was roughly 9,095 Czech crowns, compared to 10,552 crowns in
the Czech Republic.

Zeman accepts party's backing for presidency

The Party of Civic Rights - Zemanovci announced Tuesday that former
prime minister Milos Zeman would be their candidate for presidential
elections in 2013. Mr Zeman, the party's namesake and honorary
chairman, had previously said he would run for the office only if
direct elections were introduced. He accepted the candidature in a
letter from hospital, where he is currently undergoing a minor
operation, on the condition that he receives the required 50,000 voter

Klaus issues 14 pardons

President Vaclav Klaus has issued 14 pardons on humanitarian grounds.
Most of the recipients are women caring for children, one is
handicapped and bound to a wheelchair. In another case the president
pardoned the suspended sentence of a woman convicted of improper
property administration, bribery and embezzlement on the grounds that
she was caring for a gravely ill husband. Three foreigners'
deportations were pardoned, one because the crime for which she was
deported occurred 20 years ago, when all deportations were permanent.

Second series of "Borgia" to bring 400 million crowns

The daily E15 reports that the filming of the next series of the French
television series Borgia should bring the country some 400 million
crowns, nearly double the amount spent in the country on the first
series. The paper writes that the historical series will be one of the
largest foreign film investments in the country this year. As in the
first series, 12 episodes are planned on a budget of 25 million euros,
or more than 625 crowns. Part of the series is to be filmed in Italy.
The Czech Ministry of Culture has given 34 million crowns in support of
the project. The filmmakers will reportedly be working in Martinicka
palac in Prague as well as locations in Telc, Jindrichuv Hradec, and


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be cloudy with rain and
snow and daytime temperatures just above the freezing point.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Hugo Haas - more than just a "foreign Ed Wood"

Hugo Haas was one of the stars of Czechoslovak cinema's golden age of
the 1930s. This versatile actor and director was hugely popular in the
First Republic and he appeared in a number of classic films from that
era. Despite his success, however, Haas's life and career - like that
of so many other Czechs who lived during this period - was blighted by
the tide of history that swept through Czechoslovakia in the 20th


Police crack down on women's branch of Czech neo-Nazi movement

The Czech police have cracked down on a group called Resistance Women
Unity, a women��s branch of the Czech neo-Nazi movement National
Resistance. Fifteen women were arrested and charged with promoting and
supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. I
spoke to Miroslav Mares of Masaryk University in Brno, one of the Czech
Republic's leading experts on far-right extremism, to find out more
about the role of women in neo-Nazi groups in the present day Czech


Baroque Bohemian Carnevale recreating centuries-old tradition long lost

The annual Bohemian Carnevale got underway this week, and for the next
seven days carnival-lovers will have a chance to forget the freezing
temperatures in Prague with masked balls, parades and acrobatic
performances. The event is an attempt to revive what was a major social
event in days gone by - one that attracted big-name celebrities such as
Mozart and Casanova.


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