Saturday, March 10, 2012

News 3.10.2012

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

News Saturday, March 10th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* There is no threat of the European Commission suspending subsidies
from EU structural funds, according to the deputy regional development

* The National Disability Council has announced a protest against
Health Ministry reforms.

* The opposition Social Democratic Party will seek a vote of no
confidence in the government.

* A large majority of Czechs believe Vit Barta is guilty of bribery.

* Moravsky Krumlov will begin repairing it's chateau in a bid to regain
custody of the Slav Epic.

No threat of the EC suspending subsidies, says ministry

There is no threat of the European Commission suspending subsidies from
EU structural funds, regardless of mistakes in relevant Czech audits,
according to deputy regional development minister Daniel Braun. After
meeting with EC representatives on Friday Mr Braun said that he and his
EU counterparts had agreed on the steps the Czech Republic should take
in order for the EC not to suspend Czech operational programmes. While
he confirmed the EC could stop the subsidies in the event of major
problems with the programmes, he said this was not imminent. The EC��s
criticism regards the Czech system of auditing, inspections and human
resources stability, particularly in the Education Ministry, where the
EC suspended the payment of 1.2 billion crowns.

National Disability Council calls for protests

The National Disability Council and health care unions are organising a
protest against the Health Ministry's proposed waiting period for
operations and distances of medical care. According to the new
proposals, which should take effect in April, patients must be able to
reach a doctor, dentist or pharmacy within 40 minutes, or specialised
care within three hours. Waits for hip joint replacements, for example,
should taker on longer than 78 weeks. The groups plan to demonstrate in
front of the Ministry of Health at noon on March 27. The protest is
also supported by the Czech EURdoctors' chamber.

Soc. Dem. to back reduced hospital catering fee

The leadership of the opposition Social Democratic Party has decided to
allow a fee on hospital catering in it's platform, thus backing off
from its rejection of all heath care fees. The party platform will now
allow for a 60 crown per day fee on hospital catering that patients
would pay for 30 days at most. The current fee is 100 crowns per day
regardless of the length of stay. Party chairman Bohuslav Sobotka says
the fee is in the interest of financially stabilising regional
hospitals so that they can remain in public hands.

Social Democrats to seek no confidence vote

The Social Democrats agreed on Saturday to call for a parliamentary
vote of no confidence in the government within the next two weeks.
Party leader Sobotka is seeking signatures for a special session; even
with the support of the Communist Party however the numbers will be
stacked against them. Mr Sobotka cited the trial of former transport
minister Vit Barta as an additional reason for a vote of no confidence.
Public support in Mr Barta's Public Affairs party has evaporated since
his corruption scandal began early last year, and critics of the
government argue the party no longer has a mandate. The Social
Democratic Party has made two unsuccessful no-confidence votes during
the current election term, which began in mid-2010.

Majority believes Barta guilty of bribery

Meanwhile, 70% of Czechs believe the money that Mr Barta gave to two of
his party's leading members were intended as bribes, according to a
survey carried out by the STEM/MARK agency for Czech Television.
Slightly less men than women believed Mr Barta's defence, that the
money in question was given as personal loans. The corruption trial of
Vit Barta and Jaroslav Skarka adjourned on Friday to study the evidence
and will continue in April.

Moravsky Krumlov repairing chateau in hopes of retrieving Slav Epic

The town of Moravsky Krumlov will begin repairing it's chateau in the
summer in a bid to have Alphons Mucha's Slav Epic returned to his
custody. The 20-canvass masterpiece was removed to Prague after a
long-running dispute over which city should host the Art Nouveau
paintings. The Krumlov town hall is seeking to satisfy the demands of
preservationists, namely to upgrade the air conditioning and stabilise
the humidity in the castle, in the hopes that the paintings will b e
returned after their exhibit in Prague closes in two years. The
painter's family is seeking a permanent home for the works in Prague,
but will support their return to Moravsky Krumlov if no suitable venue
in the capital is created.

Czechs keep more pets than any country in Europe

Czechs keep more household pets than any country in Europe, according
to surveys compiled by the website The site claims that
half of Czech households have one or more pets, with two million dogs
and a million cats in four and a half million households. Conversely, a
poll made for an association of German kennels suggests that only 13%
of households in Germany have dogs, compared to 38% in France.
According to the GfK agency, Czechs spend more than two billion crowns
a year on veterinary services and a similar amount on pet food.


Conditions over the weekend are expected to be mostly cloudy with a
chance of showers and daytime highs of 8 to 10o Celsius.

Articles posted on today
A new "Czech Literature Guide" gives useful insights into the world of
Czech books

If you're looking for an overview of the current Czech literary scene
in English - everything from surrealist poets to second-hand bookshops
- the new "Czech Literature Guide" should be just the book for you. As
it states in its introduction, the book's aim is to present a "panorama
of the contemporary life of Czech literature". David Vaughan reports.
Shock and disillusionment: students respond to the 1968 Soviet invasion

For the younger generation that had grown up after the end of World War
II, the Soviet-led invasion of August 1968 was traumatic. The Prague
Spring had brought an atmosphere of optimism and genuine enthusiasm for
change, and all these hopes were crushed overnight. In this week's From
the Archives, we'll hear what students had to say at the time, as
recorded by Czechoslovak and foreign radio stations as the occupation
Pardubice - the "best place to live in the Czech Republic"

Spotlight this week comes from Pardubice, which lies about an hour away
from Prague in east Bohemia. The pretty Renaissance buildings on
Pernstynovo namesti and the impressive chateau nearby give an
indication of this town's long and rich history, which saw it evolve
from a prosperous hamlet in the Middle Ages to an industrial powerhouse
by the start of the 20th century.

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