Friday, April 20, 2012

News 4.20.2012

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

News Friday, April 20th, 2012

By: Sarah Borufka

* Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas
have said relations between both countries are excellent on occasion of
the Slovak leader's visit to Prague on Friday.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has commented on planned protests to take
place on Saturday.

* An influential entrepreneur has called on the prime minister to
refrain from making allegations regarding his person in the absence of

* Czech rower Vaclav Chalupa has withdrawn his candidature on the
Public Affairs ballot in the Senate elections.

* The victim of a highly-publicized hit-and-run accident involving
controversial lobbyist Roman Janousek has been released from hospital.

Slovak PM visits Prague

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico visited Prague on Friday, on his
first foreign trip since his re-election last month. Mr Fico met with
his Czech counterpart Petr Necas. The two leaders agreed that relations
between both countries were excellent and pledged to further expand
cooperation between both nations. Both leaders said that while their
governments differed on some key issues such as EU policies, this did
not affect the quality of Czech-Slovak relations. Mr Fico added that it
was not his place to comment on the decision of the Czech government to
not join the EU's fiscal compact. The Slovak leader is met with
President Vaclav Klaus and the head of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav

Prime Minister comments on planned protest

Commenting on a protest to take place in Prague Saturday, with an
expected turnout of about 100,000 citizens, Prime Minister Petr Necas
said that while people have the right to freely express their opinions,
this needs to happen within the limits of what is legal. He added that
similar protests were taking place across Europe and that it was
everyone's right to take their discontent to the streets. Organizers of
the protest are demonstrating against Mr Necas's government and its
austerity measures.

Influential Czech entrepreneur calls on prime minister to refrain from

Influential Czech entrepreneur Zdenek Bakala has written an open letter
to Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas. In the letter, he calls on the
prime minister to refrain from making accusations lacking evidence
directed against his person in interviews. He further writes that his
lawyer has taken the matter to the state prosecutor's office and has
asked it to intervene in the case of further public allegations. In
recent months, Mr Necas had mentioned Mr Bakala's name in connection
with a police investigation into the privatization of OKD, a major
mining company, in interviews with a number of dailies and weeklies. Mr
Bakala has made it clear that he was not involved in the privatization
process and that it was completed when his financial group NWR took
over the joint stock company.

Czech rower withdraws candidature for Senate elections on Public
Affairs' ballot

Czech rower Vaclav Chalupa, who won silver at the Olympics in 1992, has
withdrawn his candidature for Public Affairs in the Senate elections
scheduled to be held in the fall. He said that his decision was
connected to the current political situation as well as personal
reasons. On Monday, the party has announced that the athlete was
running on its ballot. A day later, deputy prime minister Karolina
Peske announced her split with Public Affairs and said she would form a
new government faction.

Czech Dental Chamber slams planned health reform

The Czech Dental Chamber has slammed a planned health care reform which
it claims will increase administrative tasks for dentists while at the
same time creating disadvantages for patients. The chamber has demanded
a speedy re-negotiation of problematic points from the government.
Among the changes the dental chamber criticizes is the introduction of
a new regulation that requires both parents to give approval to their
child being treated by a dentist. While dentists believe that such
approval should be necessary only for serious procedures, the health
ministry would like to see mandatory approval from both parents
introduced for all types of dental treatment of minors.

Victim of highly-publicized hit-and-run accident released from hospital

The woman who became the victim of hit-and-run driver and influential
lobbyist Roman Janousek was released from hospital on Friday. The
51-year-old Vietnamese woman was treated at a Prague hospital for four
weeks following the accident. According to hospital staff, the woman's
state of health is stable, but she will not yet be able to return to
work. Her sister-in-law, who was in the car at the time of the
accident, already testified in the case. Mr Janousek was drunk-driving
when he ran over the woman. He left the site of the accident without
helping his victim. The accident received a lot of media attention. It
happened days after allegations of corruption involving the influential
entrepreneur and former Prague mayor Pavel Bem became public.

Police arrest Polish citizen trafficking humans across Czech Republic

Czech police have arrested a Polish citizen near the Czech-Polish
border who attempted to smuggle three Georgian citizens across the
country to France. The Georgians, a man and two women, aged 20, 22 and
53, were not allowed to leave Poland, where they were staying in an
asylum. Each paid the trafficker about 30,000 Czech crowns to bring
them to France. The 53-year-old Pole faces a prison sentence of up to
five years if found guilty.

Police arrest alleged accomplice of "robber of the century"

Police have arrested the alleged partner-in-crime of "robber of the
century" Frantisek Prochazka. His accomplice, Milan Cermak, was
sentenced to nine years in prison and is set to appeal the decision
next week. Police arrested the accomplice near his house in the Mlada
Boleslav; the court had ordered the arrest a week before his case goes
into appeal on the grounds that he might try to escape the country,
officials said Friday. Cermak and Prochazka were sentence in January of
this year. Prochazka, who was sentenced for stealing over half a
billion crowns from his employer, a security agency, disappeared in

German court sentences Czech citizens to long prison sentences for
brutal attack

A German court in the town of Gorlitz in Saxony has sentenced two Czech
citizens in connection with a brutal attack, handing them prison
sentences of ten and six years, respectively. The two men, aged 28 and
25, last year stole a car in Saxony. They brutally attacked the owner
of the car, a senior citizen, and have been charged with attempted
murder. The verdict can be appealed.

Breclav city hall gives green light to right-wing extremist march

The city hall of Breclav has given a march organized by the far-right
Workers' Youth the green light. The march is set to take place Sunday
and organizers say it is a gesture of support for the 15-year-old
victim of a brutal attack in the city. Three Roma men are suspected of
having beaten up the teenage boy after he refused to give them
cigarettes. City hall officials said that a planned and organized march
was easier to keep under control than spontaneous gatherings of
right-wing extremists. Tensions between Roma and ethnic Czechs in the
town have been building for a long time. The city's mayor has said that
he is working together closely with the government's social inclusion
agency to help relieve tensions and bring the two groups together.


The weekend brings overcast weather with some showers and daytime highs
of around 16 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Business News 20.4.2012

The government approves the final draft of the state financial
statement; problems with EU funding could increase the state budget by
nearly 33 billion; the Finance Ministry is set to issue household bonds
pegged to the inflation rate; Czech arms manufacturers can now compete
for US tenders; Czechs are drinking less beer than ever before.
Czech government's future remains uncertain after party split

The fate of the centre-right Czech government hangs in the balance
after the junior coalition party Public Affairs split up, robbing the
government of its comfortable majority in the lower house. The newly
emerging pro-government faction around defector Karolina Peake is now
trying to rally enough deputies to secure a viable majority in the
lower house, but the key players on the Czech political scene are
already preparing for early elections.
Soprano Melanie Gall on opera, performance and the American Spring

In this week's Arts my guest is Canadian opera singer Melanie Gall - a
soprano who has performed around the world including in Israel, Italy,
France and the Czech Republic. This week she dropped by Radio Prague's
studio to discuss upcoming performances at this year's American Spring
Festival. She's is a charming guest with a great sense of humour and
Melanie talks not only about what she'll be performing while in Prague
but also about opera in general.

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