Saturday, April 14, 2012

News 4.14.2012

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

News Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* The Public Affairs party has decided to elect a new chairman after de
facto leader Vit Barta was convicted of corruption on Friday.

* Former education minister and Public Affairs member Josef Dobes says
the party is dead with no hope of recovery.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas will head a business delegation to Albania
and Macedonia at the start of the week.

* Pirate Parties from around the world are meeting in Prague at the
weekend for a two day conference.

* Independent presidential candidate Jan Fischer would receive nearly
one-third of the vote in direct elections, according to a poll.

Public Affairs to elect a new chairman

The Public Affairs party leadership has decided to elect a new chairman
after de facto leader Vit Barta was convicted of corruption of Friday.
Current chairman Radek John said he would call a party conference by
the end of May and would only put himself forward in the absence of a
candidate with a better project. Deputy chair Karolina Peake, who has
assumed a leading role in the party in the wake of numerous scandals
over the last year, has said she would be in the running for the post.
Mr Barta, who is understood to be the primary decision maker in Public
Affairs, suspended his membership on Friday after being sentenced to 18
months of probation for offering MPs personal loans to sway their
opinions. The meeting of the leadership also agreed it would put
forward a candidate for Minister of Education next week.

Josef Dobes: Public Affairs is dead

In an interview for the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, recently-resigned
education minister Josef Dobes said that Public Affairs was a dead
party that could not hope for a recovery. Dobes, who publicly withdrew
his membership from Public Affairs last week, said there was no crisis
to speak of because the party was already finished and could expect
nothing more than local representation in the near future. Its credit
as an anti-corruption party was exhausted, he said, adding that while
the party itself was not corrupt, its image had become comic. He also
said that he felt sorry for Vit Barta, who had lost everything and
without whom it would be impossible to keep the party together.

Necas to head business delegation to Balkans on Monday

Prime Minister Petr Necas will be visiting Albania and Macedonia at the
beginning of the week to meet with his counterparts Sali Berisha of
Albania and Nikola Gruevsky of Macedonia. He be accompanied by a
delegation of businessmen and representatives of Czech companies,
including energy giant CEZ, to discuss economic relations. According to
the Czech Press Agency Albania in particular is interested in Czech
involvement in the hotel, mining and costal restoration industries.

World Pirate Parties holding conference in Prague

Pirate Parties from around the world are meeting in Prague at the
weekend for a two day conference. Speakers will include the founder of
the movement Rick Falkvinge and Swedish Euro MP Amelia Andersdotter.
The themes of the conference include cooperating on preparation for
elections to the European Parliament, which will take place in 2014.
Pirate Parties, of which there are around 60 around the globe, have
recently drawn attention for their opposition to the
anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA. Their primary platform is combating
what they see as unfair copyright regulations.

Fischer would receive one-third of the vote in presidential elections

Independent presidential candidate Jan Fischer would receive nearly
one-third of the vote in direct elections according to a poll conducted
by the Median agency. The survey put the former head of the 2009
caretaker government at 31.5% in the first round, more than 12 points
ahead of his nearest rival, economist Jan Svejcar, who ran
unsuccessfully against President Vaclav Klaus in 2008. The poll also
suggested high voter turnout, with 72% saying they would cast a ballot.
Former prime minister Milos Zeman, previously a Social Democrat and now
honorary chairman of the extra-parliamentary Party of Citizens' Rights
of Milos Zeman (SPOZ), is placed third with support from 10% of the

Deficit of foreign trade in food more than doubled since 2000

The Czech Republic's deficit of foreign trade in food has more than
doubled since the year 2000 to almost 37 billion crowns. The Czech
Statistical Office puts the rise down primarily to sharply growing
imports of meat from the European Union. According to a CSU analysis
published on its website, Czech foreign trade in food posted a
record-high deficit of 40 billion in 2010. The value of food imported
to the Czech Republic amounted to 131.2 billion last year; in contrast
the value of exported food was 94.4 billion. The largest amount of food
was imported from Germany and Poland last year.

Soviet training mines found in creek

Almost two dozen old Soviet mines were found in a creek near the North
Bohemian town of Ceska Lipa. Firemen were notified of 13 mines Friday
evening and minesweepers found another eight. The devices were used for
training and thus lacked triggers; experts say however that even these
are dangerous, as Soviet mines were often improperly marked for
training purposes. The area lies at the edge of the former Ralsko
military base. A similar find of unexploded munitions last year stall
the construction of a local water treatment facility.

Prague Writers' Festival 2012 kicks off Saturday

The Prague Writers' Festival 2012 kicks off in the Czech capital on
Saturday. Among the guests of the 22nd edition of the international
literature festival are the British screenwriter and novelist Hanif
Kureishi, American poet Jerome Rothenberg and Turkish writer and
psychologist Gunduz Vassaf. The festival's opening gala, where the
Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression will be awarded takes
place on Sunday. On the program are film screenings, discussion panels,
literary readings as well as jazz and poetry performances. The festival
runs for five days, through April 18.


Conditions over the weekend are expected to be partly cloudy to cloudy
with scattered showers and daytime highs of around 13o Celsius.

Articles posted on today
1969: Radio Prague goes back to the bad old days

In the course of 1969 and 1970 Czechoslovak Radio was transformed back
into what it had been in the 1950s, a tool of hard line propaganda. In
the process, over 700 radio staff were forced to leave their jobs.
Those who stayed found their freedom of expression severely curtailed.
To give an idea of the extent to which things had changed by August
1969 - the first anniversary of the Soviet led invasion - I will start
with a short extract from Radio Prague's broadcasts back in 1968, as
the tanks rolled into the city. At the time the radio was playing a
crucial role in keeping the world informed of what was really happening
- including reports of violent incidents as the invading troops opened
fire on civilians:
God the linguist teaches us to breathe

"Bixley Remedial School" is one of the most remarkable collections of
Czech poetry from the second half of the twentieth century. At the time
it was first published in the early 1980s, its author Ivan Blatny was a
long-term patient in a psychiatric hospital in England. A new edition
of the collection reminds us that Blatny's poetry is far from being the
mere scribbling of a madman. David Vaughan reports.

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