Friday, February 24, 2012

News 2.24.2012

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

News Friday, February 24th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* The daily Pravo writes that Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil is
receiving heavy criticism from his party's leadership.

* Hackers have attacked the website of the music rights management
company Intergram.

* Several paintings believed to have belonged to Adolf Hitler's art
collection have been identified in a North Bohemian monastery.

* The opposition Social Democrats are proposing a constitutional
amendment requiring that the president obtain a countersignature on

* Viktoria Plzen lost to the German Schalke 04, failing to qualify for
the quarterfinals of the 2012 Europa League.

Pravo: Pospisil under fire from party leadership

The daily Pravo writes that Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil is receiving
heavy criticism from his party's leadership, some of whom have
reportedly demanded his resignation. Citing anonymous participants of a
meeting of the top Civic Democrat leadership on Thursday, the paper
writes that Mr Pospisil was attacked from all sides regarding his
designation of the head of the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office in
Prague. The justice minister dismissed the previous head, Vlastimil
Rampula, last November, and replaced him with Stanislav Mecl. A
criminal complaint was reportedly filed against the justice minister
this week on the grounds that the head of the Supreme State
Prosecutor's Office must be appointed to the post, which Mecl was not.
Mr Rampula has since received a court verdict that he be reinstated.
Prime Minister Petr Necas stated he is seriously dissatisfied with the
crisis at the office. Mr Pospisil maintains that he did not err in the
decision and says there has been no talk of his own dismissal.

Rampula already threatened with dismissal for leaking information

In related news, Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman sharply criticised
a public statement by Mr Rampula that two strangers had entered his
deputy's office, accompanied by Mr Mecl. Zeman said the statement was a
leaking of classified information and that he would consider whether to
take disciplinary measures or dismiss the controversial official. Mr
Rampula told journalists on Friday that two strangers entered the
office of his deputy in the night on February 17, the he was reinstated
at the office, and were ushered in by outgoing interim head Mecl. Mr
Mecl has said the men were police who entered the office to take steps
required by law.

Hackers attack Intergram website

Hackers have attacked the website of the music rights management
company Intergram. The attackers published the company's database
online in response to a call from the international 'hacktivist' group
Anonymous to take over the sites of "corrupt corporations and
government systems". A message left on the Intergram site said that the
group was "eliminating obsolete power structures and business
mechanisms that have proven a hindrance to human development". Similar
attacks have frequently occurred in recent weeks to protest the
international ACTA treaty, which is aimed at combating counterfeiting
and online piracy.

Part of Hitler's art collection rediscovered in monastery

A part of Adolf Hitler's collection of paintings has been rediscovered
by an amateur Czech historian. Jiri Kuchar identified the seven
paintings in a private section of a depository of the Doksany
Monastery. Hitler had originally hid the works of art, which were
either bought or seized, in the South Bohemian town of Vyssi Brod,
apparently in preparation for the opening of a museum. After Germany��s
defeat, the US Army sent the collection to a gathering point for
similar artefacts. How the seven paintings came to be in Doksany is not
known, according to TV Nova, which reported that no one from the
monastery's staff knew of their origin. Mr Kuchar estimated that the
works could fetch up to 50 million crowns at auction.

CSSD wants countersignature on presidential pardons

The opposition Social Democrats are proposing a constitutional
amendment requiring that the president obtain a countersignature on
pardons. The proposal suggests that pardons be checked in this way by
the prime minister or justice minister. The party already made an
unsuccessful push for such countersignatures in the amendment on direct
presidential elections. The party has asked the president's office for
explanations of a number of controversial pardons, particularly
regarding two recent ones that are being investigated by the police.

Confidence in Czech economy up in February

Overall confidence in the Czech economy was up again in February,
according to information from the Czech Statistical Office. Compared to
the preceding month, the confidence indicator was higher by 0.8%,
thanks in particular to a rise in the indicator of entrepreneurial
confidence, namely in industry and select services. Commerce saw a
decline while confidence in construction stayed at January levels. The
overall monthly indicator continues to exceed levels from the recession
year of 2009, though lower in a year-on-year comparison.

Police charge 14 in major tax fraud case

The Czech police have prepared charges against a group of 14 people for
money laundering, corruption, abuse of power, forgery and tax evasion
worth at least 630 million crowns. A police spokesman said it was one
of the most difficult tax cases that the anti-corruption police have
dealt with. The 26,000-page file on the case suggests highly organised
and sophisticated criminal activities that penetrated public
administration. The suspects founded several firms that had high
incomes from advertising services. To pay lower taxes, the firms
registered fictitious invoices. Most of the suspects may be punished
with up to 10 years in prison if the charges are proved.

Gottwald mummification exhibition opens at Vitkov memorial

The National Museum is opening an exhibition highlighting the cult of
personality of the first Czechoslovak communist president, Klement
Gottwald. The exhibition, named Laboratory of Power, is located in the
underground rooms of Prague��s Vitkov Memorial that the communist regime
built to embalm Gottwald in 1953. The memorial was then turned into a
mausoleum. The exhibition includes the machine room and other rooms
with original equipment where the work on Gottwald's preservation took
place. Photographs and slogans of the era underscore the atmosphere of
the 1950s and highlight the causes of the communist coup of February
25, 1948, led by Gottwald as the Communist Party head and then
Czechoslovak prime minister.

Communists mark February Coup at Gottwald's grave

Some three dozen Czech Communists paid respects to former president
Klement Gottwald at the Olsansky cemetery in Prague on Friday to mark
the 64th anniversary of the February Coup. Communist deputy Marta
Semelova gave a speech praising the 40 years of the Communist regime
and denounced the post-communist era. The group laid flowers at the
grave to which Gottwald's remains were transferred after the closing of
the mausoleum at Vitkov Hill. The event was marked by particularly low
attendance compared to previous years, when around 100, mostly elderly,
people would attend.

Viktoria Plzen loose best of 16 to German Schalke 04

Viktoria Plzen lost 3:1 to the German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 after
overtime in the best of 16 in the UEFA Europe League. The Czech team
has failed to advance to the quarterfinals. A late equalizer from
Viktoria Plzen came at the 88th minute, when Czech midfielder Frantisek
Rajtoral exploited a clearance attempt by Schalke to force overtime.
Ahead of the defeat, Viktoria Plzen was the only Czech club in the
European competition. In December, the club lost to AC Milan, dropping
out of the Champions League.


Conditions over the coming days are expected to be mostly cloudy with
scattered showers and highs of around 8o Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Business News 24.2.2012

In Business News: Fuel prices reach new highs at Czech gas pumps; the
Czech crown weakens mid-week; zero-percent growth is projected for the
Czech Republic in 2012; food giant Hame says it will mend its ways.

The favourite sounds of Prague

Prague is the city of hundred spires and countless historic sights, but
what does it look like when you close your eyes? A new project called
Favourite Sounds of Prague attempts to draw attention to the
"soundscape" of the Czech capital, exploring how local people perceive
the sounds that surround them. One of the fruits of the project will be
an archive of sounds, something like an acoustic portrait of the city.
The man behind the idea is British artist Peter Cusack, who has carried
out similar projects in several cities across the world. The Czech
project is supported by a German state fund and is coordinated by Milos

Cakes for freedom - tongue-in-cheek happening to support artist facing
controversial prison sentence kicks off in Prague

Activists are holding a protest happening in front of Prague's Pankrac
prison, where Czech artist Roman Tyc on Friday afternoon is starting a
one-month prison sentence for a 2007 art project that involved defacing
fifty traffic lights in Prague by changing the standard red and green
figures to show them in situations such as drinking, urinating and
hanging themselves. The artist says he chose prison time over paying a
fine because otherwise he would be renouncing the project's message.
Titled "Babovka pro Tyce" or "A cake for Tyc", the happening is as
tongue-in-cheek as the art project itself - as a sign of their
solidarity, participants will bring cakes to the prison, an allusion to
the well-known prison cliche of a cake with a file in it. Ahead of the
start at 2 p.m., we spoke to co-organizer Magda Videnska about the
unusual happening.

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