Tuesday, April 10, 2012

News 4.10.2012

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

News Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* The leaders of the three ruling parties have reached an agreement for
the continuation of the centre-right government.

* The Ministry of Labour wants to add an additional 140 million crowns
to social services this year.

* Financier Petr Kellner is donating tens of millions to President
Vaclav Klaus' emerging think tank.

* Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra awarded participants in the
anti-communist for the first time under new legislation recognising
their acts.

* Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico will be visiting the Czech Republic
on April 20 on his first trip abroad since taking office.

Coalition agrees on continuation of government

The leaders of the three ruling parties have reached an agreement for
the continuation of the centre-right government. After several hours of
negotiations throughout Tuesday afternoon, the parties agreed on
measures intended to keep the budget deficit below 3% GDP for 2013 and
2014 - a fundamental condition for the senior coalition parties. The
junior coalition Public Affairs party, which ignited the current crisis
last week with far-reaching demands, says they pushed through an
agreement on maintaining maternity subsidies, which the party said was
a priority. Public Affairs chairman Radek John said the goal of
achieving better communication had been reached.

Labour Ministry wants extra 140 million for social services

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wants to add an additional
140 million crowns to social services this year. Speaking after a
meeting with an association of health care providers, Labour Minister
Jaromir Drabek said he believed he would find the money within the
ministry and planned to discuss the matter with the prime minister and
Finance Minister. The association, which cares for the handicapped,
seniors and others in need, says that the current lack of financing
means that a number of services will be cancelled. A demonstration
planned for April 16 was cancelled as per the agreement.

Kellner donates tens of millions to Vaclav Klaus Institute

Financier Petr Kellner is making a major donation to President Vaclav
Klaus' emerging think tank. In a rare interview for the daily Mlada
fronta Dnes the wealthiest Czech said he had decided to give the Vaclav
Klaus Institute a one-time donation of several tens of millions of
crowns for the long-term rental of a venue. Kellner said former
presidents were symbols and as such should receive greater support,
which private businessmen like himself could provide if the state would
not. Vaclav Klaus has said the aim of the institute is to comment on
politics inside and outside the Czech Republic through analyses,
studies and statements.

On a separate note, Mr Kellner also told the paper that he believes
corruption in the Czech Republic has gone "over the edge" and is worse
than in Russia.

Participants in anti-communist resistance awarded

Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra awarded participants in the
anti-communist resistance on Tuesday for the first time since the
ratification of new legislation recognising their acts. A total of 23
people were awarded with certificates and badges, including four who
were honoured in memoriam. Mr Vondra said in introduction that the
country was paying back an enormous debt and told the recipients that
freedom exists today thanks to people like them.

Industry Minister says ACTA should be reviewed by Constitutional Court

Industry Minister Martin Kuba says that the controversial
anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA should be reviewed by the
Constitutional Court before being ratified. ACTA has stirred up a wave
of international opposition in recent months and is currently being
reviewed by the European Court of Justice. Mr Kuba, who also met with
the Czech Pirate Party on Tuesday, said that his ministry would insist
on a review by the court to ensure that it is in harmony with existing
legislation and does not impede personal freedoms but added that the
Industry Ministry had already done an analysis that show that ACTA
changed nothing in the Czech legislation.

Fico to visit Czech Republic on April 20

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico will be visiting the Czech Republic
on April 20 on his first trip abroad since taking office. The chairman
of the Slovak Social Democratic party that he would be meeting, as is
customary, with Prime Minister Necas and President Klaus. Politicians
from both countries have said their relations are exceptionally good.
The centre-left Social Democrats swept early elections in Slovakia last
month, allowing for a one-party government which took office last week.
Robert Fico was also Prime Minister between 2006 and 2009.

Czech Industry Ministry dismisses fears of crude oil crisis

The Czech Trade and Industry Ministry has dismissed fears of a shortage
of crude oil following reports that the Russian state oil pipeline
monopoly Transneft only has sufficient volume in the Druzhba pipeline
to supply the Czech Republic for three more days. According to the
Reuters news agency Russian oil companies failed to submit new requests
for deliveries to Czech customers. A Transneft spokesman said the
company was not limiting supplies to anyone, but that requests for oil
had not been processed. Vaclav Bartuska, a special government envoy for
energy security told Reuters the Czech side had not been informed about
any supply reductions, but noted that the country could replace the
missing volumes through the IKL pipeline bringing oil from the
Mediterranean. Moreover he said the Czech Republic has reserves of oil
and oil products for more than 90 days.

Asteroid named after Havel character

Astronomers from the Klet Observatory in South Bohemia have named an
asteroid they discovered after one of Vaclav Havel's theatrical
characters, Ferdinand Vanek. The roughly two-kilometre long object was
discovered in 2004 in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The
team originally wanted to name it after the former president, however
the International Astronomical Union does not allow bodies to be named
after politicians until 100 years after their death. The popular
character from Havel's play "The Audience" was therefore chosen.
Ferdinand Vanek also made a notable public appearance in the 1980s when
a birthday message was sneaked onto a page of the Communist newspaper
Rude Pravo alongside a picture of dissident Vaclav Havel.

Unemployment down in March slightly thanks to weather

Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell 0.3% to 8.9% in March from the
preceding month. Analysists contacted by the Czech Press Agency put the
drop down to early seasonal work allowed by the good weather, but said
the situation on the labour market overall remains poor and agreed that
no significant improvement on the labour market could be expected at
the time being due to the uncertain outlook for further development.
The number of vacancies reportedly rose to 39,000, which is still
roughly three quarters lower than in March 2008.

Headmaster given probation for sexual relations with student

A school headmaster in Libouchec in Northern Bohemia has been given a
two year suspended sentence for having sex with a 14-year-old former
student. He was also prohibited from working with children for four
years. The headmaster had reportedly known the girl since her early
childhood, when she attended a dance class taught by himself and his
wife, who filed the suit. The teacher testified that the acts were
consensual and that he and the girl were in love.


The coming days should be overcast and rainy with daytime temperatures
between 15 and 18o Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Kozel Chateau

For today's Spotlight we have come to the countryside of west Bohemia
to visit Kozel Chateau. Kozel was originally a hunting lodge, and when
it was built in the late 18th century bore the German name Waldschloss
or Jadgschloss, meaning Forest or Hunting Chateau. Why is it now called
Kozel (Goat in Czech)? Apparently, the ancient Slavs used to sacrifice
a goat on this site at the spring equinox. Their aim: to win the favour
of their pagan gods and, hopefully, a good harvest.


Coalition leaders likely to reach deal on government's future

The fate of the Czech government will be decided later on Tuesday as
coalition leaders are meeting in an attempt to save the cabinet. The
junior coalition Public Affairs party rocked the boat once again last
week when they threatened to pull out of the coalition. But before the
week was over, the party seemed happy to accept an offer by the Prime
Minister to settle their disputes at the negotiating table while latest
reports suggest the coalition leaders are indeed likely to reach


Berdych puts Czechs through to Davis Cup semi-final

The World number 7 in men's tennis, Tomas Berdych, proved key in Davis
Cup action at the weekend, helping the Czech Republic win three points
against Serbia to put the Czechs through to the semi-final. Although
his match against Janko Tipsarevic was a decidedly even affair he held
on and at the weekend didn't lose a single set.


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