Friday, February 17, 2012

News 2.17.2012

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

News Friday, February 17th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* President Vaclav Klaus has signed into law a bill on direct
presidential elections.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has said a reform of the education system
was essential and would be implemented despite opposition from the
academic community.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas is to meet with German Chancellor Angela
Merkel in Berlin next Thursday to discuss the Czech stand to the EU's
fiscal treaty.

* President Klaus has come under fire for granting a poorly-justified
pardon.

* The mountain rescue service in the Krkonose and Jesniky mountains has
called a high-degree avalanche alert.

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President Klaus signs bill on direct presidential elections
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President Klaus on Friday signed into law a bill on direct presidential
elections. The president, who technically does not have the right to
veto the constitutional bill, signed it despite his negative stand to
the proposed change. Mr. Klaus recently said a popular vote would turn
the presidential election into an expensive superstar contest.
Parliament still needs to pass a law clarifying the details of the new
electoral procedure. Once this is done Czechs would be able to elect
the next head of state in a direct vote. The next election is due in
March of 2013 when President Klaus' second term in office expires.


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PM: reform of education system essential
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Prime Minister Petr Necas said on Friday a reform of the education
system was essential for the country to remain competitive and would be
implemented, despite protests from the academic community. Addressing a
conference of rectors the prime minister said that one could not
forever revise planned reforms and that action was long overdue. He
stressed that the reforms made would not infringe on academic freedoms
or threaten the autonomy of universities. In reference to the most
controversial part of the planned reform -the introduction of tuition
fees - Education Minister Josef Dobes said he would once again consult
the matter with the finance minister.


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Czech PM to meet with Chancellor Merkel over EU treaty next week
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Prime Minister Petr Necas is to meet with German Chancellor Angela
Merkel in Berlin next Thursday to discuss the Czech stand to the EU's
fiscal treaty. Mr. Necas who joined British Prime Minister David
Cameron in refusing to sign up to the compact, will also be meeting for
consultations with his British counterpart ahead the fiscal union
treaty summit on March 1st. Despite criticism from coalition partner
TOP 09 and the opposition Social Democrats the Czech prime minister
insists that the Czech Republic has nothing to lose since it can join
the treaty anytime in the future and argues that in any case such a
move should be preceded by a referendum since the treaty transfers
certain national powers to the European level.


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Opposition party urged PM to review stand on fiscal treaty
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The Czech government should not join Britain in its negative stand on
the EU fiscal treaty, according to opposition Social Democrat deputy
head Lubomir Zaoralek. Mr. Zaoralek said Britain's arguments against
the treaty ensue from the country's specific position in the EU, while
the Czech negative position is unjustified and unclear and the country
is therefore perceived as an unreadable and unreliable member of the
alliance.


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Presidential candidate Fischer says EU pact is not ideal, but acceptable
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The presidential candidate who currently tops the polls with a 24
percent rating, former prime minister Jan Fischer, has told the
internet news site lidovky.cz that if he were in office he would sign
the EU's fiscal pact. Asked to state his position on the matter, Mr.
Fischer said that while he did not find the treaty in its present form
ideal, it was certainly acceptable. The current president Vaclav Klaus
is a fierce critic of further EU integration and has made it clear that
he will not under any circumstances ratify the treaty.


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President under fire for recent pardon
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There has been fresh criticism of a pardon granted by President Vaclav
Klaus. It concerns Anna Benesova, former director of the private
Metropolitan University in Prague, who was given a suspended sentence
for bribery and fraud. The daily Lidove noviny noted on Friday that the
woman pardoned had ties with the president's wife Livia, and pointed
out that the reason cited for her pardon, which was to enable her to
care for her seriously ill husband, was nonsensical since a suspended
sentence did not prevent her from doing so. The paper noted that the
president's pardon had given Benesova a clean criminal record.


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Poor road conditions persist due to fresh snow
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Poor conditions continue on Czech roads, which have been plagued by
heavy snow and ice since Wednesday. Traffic police reported problems on
all main motorways on Friday and many roads in the higher altitudes are
completely impassable. Rail and bus passengers are advised to check
their itineraries as a number of routes are blocked by accidents or
snow. With temperatures rising above zero during the day people in
cities have been warned about falling snow and icicles from rooftops.


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Rescuers call high avalanche alert
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The mountain rescue service in the Krkonose and Jeseniky mountains on
Friday called a high degree avalanche alert. Rescuers say that in the
wake of the thaw the danger of avalanches has become acute. Fresh snow
and high winds are further complicating the situation. Skiers and
snowboarders have been warned not to stray from marked trails and to
always alert someone about their planned movements.


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Train goes out of control due to break failure
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A train running from the ski resort of Harrachov to Tanvald is reported
to have gone out of control due to break failure on Thursday. The train
reportedly went through four stations at high speed and finally stopped
at the bottom of a steep incline of the track. The matter is being
investigated. A similar incident occurred in January. The Harrachov
-Tanvalt track is the steepest rail route in the country.


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Court sends man to 12 years in jail for attempting to kill two homeless
men
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A court has sentenced a twenty-six year old man to 12.5 years in prison
for attempted murder on two counts and illegal possession of a firearm.
The young man turned the gun against two homeless men who approached
him to beg for money in June of last year. He shot both of them in the
stomach. Were it not for passersby who called an ambulance the men
would have died where he left them. Both underwent immediate surgery.


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Weather:
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The coming weekend is expected to bring more rain and snow showers and
day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius. Night time lows are
expected to reach minus 4 degrees Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Business News 17.2.2012
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In this week's Business News, the Czech Republic sees a fall in truck
production; household spending stagnates; January sees inflation up
again; social security finds itself in the red for three years in a row
and supermarkets are caught re-labelling out-of-date food.

http://radio.cz/en/section/economic/business-news-2012-02-17


Director Milos Forman turns 80
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Director Milos Forman celebrates his 80th birthday on Saturday, and
newspapers in his native country are full of tributes. In the small
category of Czech artists who have conquered the world, Forman has a
seat among the likes of Antonin Dvorak and Milan Kundera and Czechs are
dulely proud of him for his success. But his approach to filmmaking and
style of direction also permanently altered the course of
cinematography in the Czech Republic and elsewhere, a fact we discussed
earlier with Karel Och, the artistic director of the Karlovy Vary
International Film Festival.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/director-milos-forman-turns-80


A very private universe - Helena Trestikova's latest documentary
"Soukromy vesmir"
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Helena Trestikova, the country's leading documentary maker, has
released her latest project - a feature-length film titled "Soukromy
vesmir", which chronicles the life of one Czech family over a
remarkable time span of 37 years. By adding archive TV footage and
putting the family's story into a wider context, the director was able
to paint not just a family portrait, but also the portrait of a country.

http://radio.cz/en/section/arts/a-very-private-universe-helena-trestikovas-latest-documentary-soukromy-vesmir


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