Friday, March 9, 2012

News 3.9.2012

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

News Friday, March 9th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The Education Minister Josef Dobes has extended accreditation at the
Plzen law school until 2016.

* Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has told the Austrian daily Der
Standard he still believes the Czech Republic will eventually sign the
European Union's fiscal treaty.

* More than half of the country's town halls, city halls and regional
bureaux have unfurled Tibetan flags a day ahead of the international
day of solidarity with the people of Tibet.

* A new poll has suggested that if elections were held today only four
parties would make it into the lower house.

* The country's criminal police are searching for a dangerous
recidivist who may have infected several people with Hepatitis C and
other illnesses.

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Education minister extends study at law school
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Education Minister Josef Dobes has reacted to pressure by students at
the Plzen law faculty and extended the undergraduate programme at the
troubled school until 2016. Speaking at a press conference on Friday,
he stressed it would be impossible for all 1,800 undergraduate students
at the institution to complete their studies elsewhere: the school had
been slated to close by October of this year, following a decision by
the Czech Accreditation Commission over staffing problems at the school
and a lack of vision. The faculty has been dogged by problems since
2009 when it was hit by a scandal involving plagiarism and fast-track
degrees. The education minister's decision brought immediate reaction
from Accreditation Commission head Vladimira Dvorakova, who called it
unlawful and confirmed in response the commission will file a legal
complaint. Technically the minister was not in a position to counter
the earlier decision.


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Liska files complaint
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In related news, former education minister and the head of the
extra-parliamentary Green Party, Ondrej Liska, filed a criminal
complaint against Josef Dobes, expressing shock over his successor's
steps. Mr Liska said he was stunned over the unlawful manner in which
the current education minister had extended accreditation at the
faculty to 2016, saying Mr Dobes had no right to go against the earlier
decision by the Accreditation Commission. Minister Dobes, at a press
conference on Friday, said the step was backed-up by legal analysis.


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Schwarzenberg expresses hope Czech Rep will still sign compact
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Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has told the Austrian daily Der
Standard he still believes the Czech Republic will eventually sign the
European Union's new fiscal treaty. In the interview, published on
Friday, the minister, who is also chairman of the TOP 09 party and a
presidential hopeful, reiterated his conviction the country belonged in
the EU core and also expressed support for energy reforms meant to
strengthen Europe's competitiveness. Regarding the Czech Republic, he
rejected the idea of a referendum on the adoption of the single
European currency, saying a promise had been made when joining the EU.
He added, however, that his opinion differed from the prime minister's.
Prime Minister Petr Necas and the foreign minister have clashed on a
number of occasions over the fiscal compact; Mr Necas was the only EU
statesman besides British Prime Minister David Cameron not to sign the
document. There have been some suggestions the Czech signature could be
added later.


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More than half of Czech town halls unfurl Tibetan flags
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More than half of the country's town halls, city halls and regional
bureaux have unfurled and hung the Tibetan flag a day ahead of the
international day of solidarity with the people of Tibet, which was
annexed by China in 1959. Andrea Pavlatova a coordinator from the NGO
Lungta told the Czech news agency that of 728 bureaux or town halls
contacted, 405 had agreed to take part in the Flags for Tibet event
while 307 declined. Taking part in the event has become a tradition in
parts of the Czech Republic since Zizkov's city hall in Prague became
the first Czech institution to join the international event 17 years
ago.


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Interior Minister Kubice says he expects 1.7 billon crown shortfall
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Interior Minister Jan Kubice has said the ministry expects a shortfall
of around 1.7 billion crowns in 2012 as a result of government
austerity measures. At a press conference in Prague, the minister
stressed that although the number was not necessarily definite and
would depend on negotiations between within the ruling coalition in
March, he did not want any additional cuts to affect police officers or
others in the security services. He did suggest that hiring new police
officers as sought by police president Petr Lessy (who said he would
like to see 1,500 personnel recruited) was not in the cards. Currently
there are some 38,900 members of the force in the country but analysis
has suggested 40,309 would be ideal


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Barta trial adjourns
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The first round of the trial of leading Public Affairs member and
former transport minister Vit Barta comes to a close on Friday. Over
the course of the week six past and present government ministers took
the stand to give testimony. Mr Barta is accused of having given bribes
to former members of his party, including Krystina Koci, who was a top
representative. The trial saw a number of revelations this week
regarding secret recordings and some emotional moments including one
where Mr Barta came close to tears. A number of high-profile members of
Public Affairs, including former interior minister Radek John, have
come to Mr Barta's defence, suggesting that funds given were only
loans. Mr Barta's trial will continue in April; if found guilty, he
could face up to six years in prison.


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Poll: only four parties would make it into Chamber of Deputies
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A new poll by the STEM agency has suggested that if elections were held
today only four parties would gain enough votes to make it into the
Chamber of Deputies. According to the survey, the opposition Social
Democrats would win 88 seats in the 200-member house - a jump of 11
since January. The Communists would pick up 37, meaning the political
Left would hold a comfortable majority of 125. Of the current parties
in government, the Civic Democrats would pick up 50 mandates and the
newer right-of-centre party TOP 09 just 15. The smallest party, Public
Affairs would not make it into the Chamber at all, finishing with only
2.1 percent of the vote - well below the five percent threshold.
Similarly, the Christian Democrats would also fail to get elected to
the lower house.


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Website: Babis to focus on next general election
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Successful businessman and crown billionaire Andrej Babis will not put
forward a candidate list for this year's regional elections, the
internet daily Insider reports. According to the site, the decision was
taken after a meeting of supporters on Thursday backing the
businessman's plans to build up Ano 2011 on the strength of an
anti-corruption message. Instead of the regional elections, Mr Babis
will reportedly focus on the next general election in 2014. This year,
the website added, he could still support independent candidates for
the Senate. Mr Babis is not the first in recent years to come forward
with an anti-corruption platform: the smallest party in government,
Public Affairs, succeeded in 2010 to get into the lower house of
Parliament on a pledge to fight corruption. Voter preference for Public
Affairs has since plummeted following a scandal last year that almost
brought down the government.


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Police search for dangerous recidivist
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The country's criminal police are searching for a dangerous recidivist,
Milan Ziga, who may have infected several people with Hepatitis C,
gonorrhoea, and syphilis. The man, a drug-user, could face up to three
years in prison for spreading the diseases. The suspect was arrested at
the end of February on the suspicion of having raped another male and
admitted under police questioning that he had had unprotected sex with
at least five other people although he knew he was ill with serious
infectious diseases. The 27-year-old has a long history of crime and
received six jail sentences in the past for crimes including theft and
robbery.


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Bank robber caught in Prague
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A suspect who robbed a bank on Friday afternoon on Prague's Spalena
Street, threatening to set off a bomb, was apprehended by police
shortly after the incident. According to reports the hold-up took place
at around two-thirty pm. Police are analysing security tapes and are
searching the premises for explosives. Nobody was hurt during the
hold-up.


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Weather
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Mostly rainy conditions are expected into the weekend with a chance of
some clearing and sunny periods. Daytime temperatures should range
between -1 and 9 degrees Celsius in places.

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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/economic/business-news-2012-03-09.mp3
Business News 9.3.2012
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In this week's Business News: the Czech Republic finds itself in a
recession; women are earning a quarter less then their Czech
counterparts; bankruptcy declaration reach a four year high; computer
sales are set to soar in 2012 and a new law is giving the government
the muscle to tackle shady employment practices.

http://radio.cz/en/section/economic/business-news-2012-03-09

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/curraffrs/barta-trial-adjourns-after-an-ugly-week.mp3
Barta trial adjourns after an ugly week
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The first round of the trial of leading Public Affairs member and
former transport minister Vit Barta comes to a close on Friday. Over
the course of the week no less than six past and present government
ministers have taken the stand to give testimony in the biggest
corruption case in recent memory, which will be adjourned on Friday
while the court goes over the evidence.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/barta-trial-adjourns-after-an-ugly-week

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/arts/four-suns-opens-in-czech-cinemas.mp3
Bohdan Slama's Four Suns opens in Czech cinemas
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Bohdan Slama, born in 1967, has long been described as one of the most
important up & coming directors in the Czech Republic. The filmmaker
received early recognition and acclaim for work like Wild Bees,
Something Like Happiness and The Country Teacher and has become known
for a naturalistic social dramas with elements of comedy - a trademark
he upholds in his latest movie Ctyri slunce (Four Suns), which had its
US premiere earlier this year at Sundance and its European premiere at
Rotterdam. On Thursday, after much anticipation, Four Suns opened in
Czech cinemas.

http://radio.cz/en/section/arts/bohdan-slamas-four-suns-opens-in-czech-cinemas


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