Tuesday, February 7, 2012

News 2.7.2012

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

News Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection has issued a statement
saying that ACTA was unbalanced regarding existing legal guarantees of
individual rights.

* Debate on a church restitution bill in the lower house appears likely
to continue into the early hours of Wednesday.

* Fresh snowfall has continued to complicate the situation on Czech
roads.

* The newly established Otakar Motejl Fund will back a number of NGOs
this year in the fight against corruption.

* Hidden silver treasure found in Smichov more than three years ago
will be overseen by Prague City Museum.

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Office for Personal Data Protection: ACTA unbalanced regarding
individual rights
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The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection has issued a statement on
its website saying that ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
was unbalanced regarding existing legal guarantees of individual
rights. In the view of the office, the agreement determined new powers,
including repressive tools, in unclear terms, one reason why the bureau
will continue to monitor the issue. On Monday, Prime Minister Petr
Necas said the government will suspend ratification of the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Responding to a wave of protests
in the Czech Republic and elsewhere, the Prime Minister said that the
government would not allow a situation where civic freedoms and free
access to information would be threatened and added that the government
will still analyse the issue and its potential impact on daily life.


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Church restitution debate may continue past midnight
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The Chamber of Deputies resumed debate on planned church restitution on
Tuesday with coalition MPs voting to allow the session to last well
past midnight. The ruling coalition pushed through an extended session
in reaction to a promised series of speeches by the leftist opposition.
The senior opposition Social Democrats announced earlier that they
would not curb contributions to the debate in any way. The Social
Democrats' Deputies' group chairman Jeronym Tejc said the bill on
church property restitution required extraordinary debate during a
period of economic crisis. If the bill is approved, 17 Czech churches
and religious societies will receive 56 percent of the physical
property that was confiscated by the communist regime in the 1950s
worth around 75 billion crowns. For the rest, the churches would
receive 59 billion crowns over a period of 30 years. The leftist
opposition has challenged both the volume of the property to be
returned and the compensation sum.


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Fresh snowfall, icy conditions complicate situation on Czech roads
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Fresh snowfall and freezing temperatures have continued to complicate
conditions on Czech roads. Tuesday morning saw an eight-car pile-up on
the D1 highway between Brno and Ostrava, in which two people suffered
light injuries. Ostrava has seen daytime temperatures of -15 degrees
Celsius. Problems have also been reported on the D1 between Brno and
the Czech capital: five cars, also on Tuesday, were involved in a crash
near Benesov in which two people were also hurt. Motorists have been
advised to exercise caution. Arctic temperatures in the Czech Republic
are expected to last for another two weeks.


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Otakar Motejl Fund to back NGOs in fight against corruption
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The newly established Otakar Motejl Fund, named after the country's
popular first ombudsman who died in 2010, will finance a number of
projects this year in the battle against corruption, the fund's Jiri
Knitl has told reporters. Six-and-a-half million crowns is to be
allocated among different groups; of that 2.6 million are to be divided
among five NGOs, including the Czech branch of Transparency
International. Small associations pushing for local town halls to
provide the public with relevant information may seek contributions
from another 1.3 million crowns. The fund will also reportedly sponsor
the Environmental Law Service, the Revival group, Iuridicum Remedium
and the Human Rights League, he said.


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Daily: EU funds to have been used for promotion by Education Ministry
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The country's Education Ministry wanted to use EU funds for promotional
purposes, Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. Items were
to have been used to promote a project known as 'VIP', developing
consultancy services at Czech schools. According to MF Dnes, the
campaign was to have been split into two parts, with 967,000 crowns
going towards 'publicity' and 1.1 million to have been allotted for
promotional items, which also included items such as cups, keychain
tags and chocolate. The shadow education minister for the opposition
Social Democrats, Marcel Chladek, meanwhile, told the newspaper the
order may have been split in order to circumvent the law: currently
tenders are required in all projects costing more than two million
crowns. In response, the ministry has stressed that plans for the
campaign had been abolished. The new head of the project allegedly did
not know details of the plan and cancelled it immediately once informed.

The European Commission recently criticised the management of Czech
projects and drawing of subsidies from the Education for
Competitiveness Operational Programme. The EC��s auditors found mistakes
in public procurement and the commission has suspended the payment of
1.2 billion crowns in subsidies. The ministry faces the threat of the
whole project - worth 53 billion crowns in funding - being stopped.


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Top journalism prize goes to veteran reporters
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The Ferdinand Peroutka Award for journalism was awarded to three
veteran reporters Monday evening in the pantheon of the National
Museum. Jaroslav Spurny, an investigative reporter for the weekly
Respekt, has dealt extensively with issues of arms dealing, corruption
and clientelism. Radka Kvackova is a journalist of 45 years and writes
primarily on education for the daily Lidove noviny. Jan Bednar worked
in exile for the Czechoslovak service of the BBC and now deals with
foreign politics for Czech Radio 6. The Ferdinand Peroutka Award is
given annually to journalists who exemplify integrity and take personal
responsibility for the social ramifications of their work.


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Social Democrat MP Jalowiczor dies
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Social Democrat MP Petr Jalowiczor, only 38 years old, died following
long illness, the speaker of the lower house Miroslava Nemcova
announced on Tuesday during the session in the Chamber of Deputies. Mr
Jalowiczor represented the region of Moravia-Silesia and was a member
of the agricultural committee. His mandate will likely be taken up by
fellow Social Democrat Bretislav Petr.


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Silver treasure to be part of city museum collection
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Silver treasure, including coins, tableware and other items dating back
to the rule of Vaclav IV and Vladislav II but also to Tsarist Russia
and Czechoslovakia's First Republic will remain property of the capital
and will be overseen by Prague City Museum. The items, hidden either
during World War II or shortly afterward, will be added it to its
collection, city councilors decided on Tuesday. The decision comes
three years after the treasure was found in a building in Smichov
during repairs. Three Ukrainian workers uncovered the items and will
receive a reward of 200,000 crowns each. The city posted a notice for
former owners to come forward but no one did.


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Threatened Wood Grouse named Bird of the Year
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The Czech Society for Ornithology announced the Wood Grouse as the Bird
of the Year for 2012, in the Czech Republic found only in the area of
Sumava, specifically Sumava National Park. The head of the society,
Zdenek Vermouzek, stated that the fate of the threatened bird depended
on lawmakers due to decide on the future of the protected area. Members
voted in favour of the Wood Grouse to bring added attention to
controversial plans which could damage the local environment, including
a planned ski area. Around 300 specimens of the bird nest in the park.


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NHL: Hanzal scores twice for Coyotes in win over Detroit
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Centre-forward Martin Hanzal scored twice and fellow player Radim
Vrbata earned an assist in NHL action on Monday to help the Phoenix
Coyotes defeat the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. The Coyotes are
second-to-last in their division in the National Hockey League and 19th
out of 30 teams; by contrast the Red Wings are at the top of the
standings. Hanzal's first goal came in the 27th minute and his second
late in the game - an empty-netter - as Detroit pulled their goalie for
the extra skater. Phoenix had lost to Detroit in their last seven
outings.


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Weather
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Conditions over the coming days are expected to be clear and sunny with
daytime highs of -10o Celsius.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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PM tells European-bound Czech exporters to look further afield
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The Czech government on Monday unveiled a new export strategy that is
to help Czech exporters find new, fast-developing markets. The move
aims to boost the country's economic stability amidst concerns over the
deepening debt crisis in the euro zone.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/pm-tells-european-bound-czech-exporters-to-look-further-afield


American hockey players discuss tenure with Sparta Prague
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American hockey players Troy Milam and Alex Foster are halfway through
a year-long contract with Sparta Prague, currently the top team in the
Czech Extra League. After an important win over their major rivals HC
Plzen, reporters Lothar Martin and Lena Drummer from Radio Prague's
German section met up with the players and asked what they attributed
Sparta's success to.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/american-hockey-players-discuss-tenure-with-sparta-prague


Petr Novak: The man who wrote the soundtrack for the Prague Spring
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Petr Novak's unmistakeable, delicate tenor voice is synonymous with
Czechoslovak society of the late 1960s. This talented musician shot to
fame in this country at the time of the Prague Spring, when his gentle
love songs influenced by Western pop groups like The Beatles were
hugely popular among young Czechs. His success during this era,
however, proved to be short-lived and his career subsequently stagnated
under the influence of communist repression and his own problems with
alcohol.

http://radio.cz/en/section/czech-history/petr-novak-the-man-who-wrote-the-soundtrack-for-the-prague-spring


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