Monday, April 2, 2012

News 4.2.2012

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

News Monday, April 2nd, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The spokesman for the Czech intelligence service BIS has said its
director will explain to the Parliamentary commission overseeing its
activities, conversations between controversial lobbyist Roman Janousek
and intelligence officers.

* Prague's Municipal Court has rejected an appeal by jailed businessman
Bohumir Duricko for his case to be re-opened.

* The doctors' unions asked for a meeting with the prime minister as
soon as possible over salaries.

* Almost 200,000 more viewers than the previous week tuned in on Monday
to see the launch of the new version of Czech TV's evening news.

* The lower part of Prague's Wenceslas Square has become a car-free

Spokesman says head of BIS will explain intelligence service activities

Jan Subert, the spokesman for the Czech intelligence service BIS has
said its director, Jiri Lang, will explain to the Parliamentary
commission overseeing its activities, conversations between
controversial lobbyist Roman Janousek and intelligence officers dating
back to 2007. On Friday, the Czech website suggested that the
lobbyist - who is the centre of a major scandal also involving former
mayor Pavel Bem - had maintained influence not only at Prague City Hall
but even within the security service.

The news site provided transcripts of alleged conversations involving
Mr Janousek, which were also published in hard copy on Monday. BIS
spokesman Jan Subert strongly criticised the article, suggesting that had heavily manipulated the material. He said earlier that the
intelligence service regularly communicated with individuals from
various circles - including lobbyists - to better protect the state's
economic and security interests.

Municipal Court rejects Duricko appeal

Prague's Municipal Court rejected an appeal by jailed businessman
Bohumir Duricko for his case to be reopened. His lawyer was seeking a
lesser sentence for his client based on alleged new expert evidence. Mr
Duricko was found guilty in the fatal shooting of Vaclav Kocka, jr. at
a Prague restaurant in 2008. The shooting happened several hours after
a book-signing was held there by former prime minister Jiri Paroubek.
Bohumir Duricko received 12.5 years in prison for the killing, but
claimed he shot in self-defence; the new evidence was supposed to
corroborate his story. Monday's decision can still be appealed.

Dcotors' unions say meeting with PM urgent

The doctors' unions has asked for a meeting with the prime minister as
soon as possible over salaries, Martin Engel - the chairman of the
umbrella union LOK-SCL - said on Monday. According to the unions'
calculations, the state will not have enough for promised pay rises for
hospital doctors, the chairman said, adding that insurance companies
had been paying out less than needed to meet previously agreed salary
increases of 6.25 percent. The pay rises were agreed in negotiation
between the doctors' unions and the government last year. Mr Engel
indicated - in the unions' view - that the government was not meeting
its commitment, and indicated that there was dissatisfaction with the
way audits were being run at concrete hospitals to check the state of

Almost 200,000 more tune in for revamped evening news

Almost 200,000 more viewers than the previous week tuned in on Monday
to see the launch of the new version of Czech TV's evening news,
Udalosti, Czech news site idnes reports. The revamped programme has
seen changes in some of the main anchors, graphics and overall
presentation. According to idnes, just over 900,000 people watched the
programme on TV, while another 150,000 or so watched over the Internet.
So far the numbers have fallen short of new Czech TV head Petr Dvorak's
goal for the news to garner a third of the ratings: 27.93 % of all
viewers watched, media website Mediar said.

News site: Fischer unofficially launches presidential campaign

According to news site idnes, former prime minister Jan Fischer has
officially launched his campaign for the post of Czech president. The
daily notes that the popular politician - who led a provisional
government following the fall of Mirek Topolanek's cabinet in 2009 -
put up a new video on facebook in which he speaks to viewers about his
hopes for the Czech Republic and about his commitment to the country.
The video shows the presidential hopeful at his cottage, in a casual
light, introducing himself as "Honza" (the informal version of Jan).
idnes notes that in the video he never once mentions the word
'president'. Mr Fischer has not gotten the backing of any party so far,
which means he will need 50,000 signatures to become an official
candidate. A number of opinion polls have suggested he could be a
strong front-runner in the Czech Republic's first direct election.

University professors slam Wood Grouse study

A group of Czech university professors has slammed a study claiming
that natural predators pose a greater threat to the endangered wood
grouse at Sumava National Park than woodcutters or tourists. Karel
Kindlmann, of the faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University,
made clear that he and twelve others had serious reservations, sending
a letter to the Czech news agency. According to the professors, the
study used faulty methodology and was missing key data as well as
proper references; the group charges the findings could "not be taken
at all seriously" and that the study "evoked practices common under the
former totalitarian regime".

The group has recommended that in order to properly map the wood grouse
population in the park, standard methodology was needed, for example to
gauge reproduction rates, which the study touted by the Park failed to
do. Around 300 specimens of the bird nest within the vicinity. In
February, the Czech Ornithological Society named the Wood Grouse "Bird
of the Year" to draw attention to controversial plans at Sumava
National Park, including the creation of a new ski hill to attract

Police fleet strengthened by powerful new Passats

Police picked up 20 powerful new automobiles at Mosnov in the area of
Novy Jicin on Monday, designed to pursue aggressive drivers and others
who ignore the rules of the road. Police President Petr Lessy told the
Czech news agency the new vehicles were 300 horsepower Volkswagen
Passats, capable of achieving 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds and maximum
speeds of 250 kilometres per hour. The police bought the new cars for
30 million crowns (25 of which were provided by the Finance Ministry).
Until now, the police had 15 such vehicles, which, over the course of
three years had been used in more than 80,000 misdemeanour cases; fines
handed out in the cases brought in around 90 million crowns, Mr Lessy
said. He added the strengthened fleet of police vehicles would have a
greater presence on the country's highways and major roads.

Part of Wenceslas Square becomes car-free

The lower part of Prague's Wenceslas Square became a pedestrian zone
with restricted car traffic on Monday. The car-free zone starts in the
middle of the square where Jindrisska street leads into it; car traffic
is also restricted on the street itself. Local authorities said the
measure was aimed at lessening traffic in the area ahead of the planned
renovation of the square.

Bartak faces charges

Police have recommended that Jaroslav Bartak, suspected of assaulting
assistants who applied for secretarial positions, face a total of seven
charges in court. The state prosecutor's office has received
notification but a spokeswoman declined to elaborate. According to
sources, such as, it is believed the women were sexually abused
and beaten by the doctor, who headed a polyclinic in Prague's Modrany
and tried to move in higher echelons of society, namely among
entertainers or politicians. He has currently in custody; if found
guilty, Mr Bartak could face up to 12 years in jail.

Young man in serious condition after fall at shopping centre

A young man is in serious condition after falling from a side walkway
at a shopping centre in Ceske Budejovice shortly before 7 am on Monday.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the man had suffered head trauma; he
reportedly is not an employee at the site. The shopping centre has
three floors, including a bus station on the 'roof'. Police are
investigating the cause of the accident.

Recently, a 22-year-old was killed at a major Prague department store
after climbing onto - and falling 10 metres from - the hand-rail of an


The beginning of the week will see partly cloudy conditions with sunny
periods. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of 10 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Sports News 2.4.2012

In Sport News this Monday: the Czech women's national hockey team
reaches the world's top-tier while the league playoffs continue; in
football, Sparta Prague loses grip on lead in the top division; and in
tennis, Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and India's Leander Paes win in
Iva Fruhlingova: the road to success can be bumpy

Peter Smith's guest on One on One this week is Iva Fruhlingova - model,
singer, actress and author. Born in the town of Litvinov, with a French
grandfather Iva dreamed of going places and most of all of seeing Paris
- the city she'd heard so much about as a child. Her dream came true at
the age of 14 when she first travelled to Paris as a budding model.
Today she divides her time between Prague and Paris, engaging in
modeling, singing, writing and most recently acting. Peter began by
asking her which of those "skins" she felt most at home in.
Major health care reforms take effect

Major changes to the health care system in the Czech Republic came
about this week when the government's reform package took effect.
Called the biggest reform in the last 45 years, the aim is a
redefinition of how health care services are provided, and the role of
the state, the facility and the patient therein.

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