Thursday, April 26, 2012

News 4.26.2012

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

News Thursday, April 26th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Candidates for president will be able to spend a maximum of 50
million crowns on their presidential campaign.

* The Senate has rejected a bill that would have stripped senators,
deputies and constitutional court judges of life-long immunity.

* The Czech Helsinki Committee says that in the past decade anti-Roma
sentiment in the country has risen by 15 percent.

* A 31-year-old environment activist has received a two months
suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer during a protest
action to try to stop logging at the Sumava National Park last summer.



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Campaign finance limit set
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Candidates for president will be able to spend a maximum of 50 million
crowns on their presidential campaign; 40 million in the first round of
elections and ten million more in the second round, according to an
agreement reached between the ruling parties and the opposition Social
Democrats. Information regarding the amount spent and the source of the
money should be available on the internet. A proposal by the Social
Democrats to set a ceiling on donations from sponsors failed to win
approval. Czechs are due to vote in direct presidential elections early
next year. President Klaus' second term in office will expire in March
2013.


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Senate rejects bill that would have stripped lawmakers of life-long
immunity to prosecution
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The Senate has rejected a bill that would have stripped senators,
deputies and constitutional court judges of life-long immunity to
prosecution. Under the proposed legislation their immunity would have
ended together with their term in office. Under the present law the
officials in question can be charged and tried on condition that the
lower or upper chamber votes to strip them of their immunity. The upper
chamber makes the decision regarding constitutional court judges.


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Czech Helsinki Committee says anti-Romany sentiment on the rise
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The Czech Helsinki Committee says that in the past decade anti-Roma
sentiment in the country has risen by 15 percent. Petr Uhl a member of
the committee said that according to various polls and studies
anti-Roma sentiment among Czechs had risen from 60 to 75 percent in the
last decade. He said the negative attitude towards the Roma minority
was a contributing factor to the steady decline in the living standard
of Romanies and was straining relations between the majority population
and the Roma. Mr. Uhl praised the work of individuals and NGOs working
to change this.


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Roma minority asks for Romany rights commissioner
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The head of the Association of Romanies' Vladimir Glabavy has called on
the Czech government to appoint a Romany rights commissioner. Mr.
Glabavy said the commissioner should have a strong mandate and
cooperate with the government agency for social inclusion in helping to
resolve the minority's growing problems.


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Police president under pressure from interior minister
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Police president Petr Lessy is under increasing pressure from Interior
Minister Jan Kubice who is questioning the manner in which the police
president was selected for the post. Lessy was appointed to the post by
a special committee set up by Mr. Kubice's predecessor Radek John of
Public Affairs whose party recently joined the opposition. Since there
is no mechanism under which the police president can be recalled, Mr.
Kubice is casting doubt on the selection process which brought him to
office. The opposition Social Democvrats say this is a dangerous
procedure since it might cast doubt on the validity of the decisions
Mr. Lessy made in office.


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Finance minister defends decision on audit
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The finance minister has defended his decision not to release the
results of an audit at the Constitutional Court. Minister Kalousek came
under fire from the economics daily Hospodarske Noviny on Thursday
which suggested that he had moved to prevent the release of an audit
which uncovered abuse of public funds at the Constitutional Court. The
paper wrote that the audit had uncovered irregularities in accounting
for petrol and other problems. Finance Minister Kalousek said in
response to the article that the chairman of the Constitutional Court
Pavel Rychetsky had questioned the audit in connection with the court's
independence, which was guaranteed by the constitution. Mr. Kalousek
said that he did not want to take issue with this argument and had
decided not to take the matter further.


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Activist in Sumava bark-beetle controversy gets suspended sentence
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A 31-year-old environment activist has received a two months suspended
sentence for assaulting a police officer during a protest action to try
to stop logging at the Sumava National Park last summer. At the time
activists chained themselves to trees and the police used force to
remove them from the area. The woman in question kicked a police
officer in the head as she bent down to forcibly carry her away. The
sentence is at the low end of the scale which allows a maximum four
year sentence for assaulting an officer. The judge said the sentence
was intended as a disciplinary measure rather than punishment.


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Czechs secure lucrative contracts in Mongolia
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Czech companies have secured contracts in Mongolia to the tune of four
billion crowns, the Czech Trade and Industry Ministry reported at the
end of a four day business mission to the country. The contracts signed
are traditionally in the field of infrastructure as well as
construction of heating plants, sewage and water facilities. Mongolia,
now one of the region's fastest growing economies, is a traditional
Czech business partner with ties dating back to the mid-20th century.


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Budvar posts 9.2 pct increase in profit in 2011
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The state-owned beer producer Budejovicky Budvar on Thursday posted a
gross profit of nearly 240 million crowns in 2011, an increase of 9.2
percent compared to the year before. Budvar's beer sales rose by 5.5
percent and reached 1.32 million hectolitres. The brewery also last
year registered record exports which rose by 7.7 percent annually.


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Vana injured after falling from his horse
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The legend of Czech horse-racing, jockey Josef Vana is reported to have
injured himself in training. According to the internet daily novinky.cz
the 60-year-old Vana reportedly fell from his horse on Thursday morning
and suffered a broken thigh bone. He was taken to the teaching hospital
in Plzen. Vana is eight-times winner of the Velka Pardubice
Steeplechase and in 2009 he received a Medal for Merit.


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Weather
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The upcoming weekend is expected to bring unseasonably hot weather with
clear skies and daytime highs reaching 28 degrees Celsius.




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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/panorama/head-of-stem-polling-agency-czechs-are-ashamed-of-their-politicians.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/lidi/hartl_janp.jpg
Head of STEM polling agency: Czechs are ashamed of their politicians
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Half-way through the government's term in office Czechs are so fed up
with political infighting and corruption scandals that 80 percent of
them now support early elections. For this week's Panorama I spoke to
Jan Hartl head of the STEM polling agency about the mood of the public,
what people think of Czech politicians and whether the developments of
the past few months have robbed them of any illusions they may have had
regarding politics.

http://radio.cz/en/section/panorama/head-of-stem-polling-agency-czechs-are-ashamed-of-their-politicians

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/curraffrs/karolina-peake-says-her-new-political-force-is-here-to-stay.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/ctk1204/peake6p.jpg
Karolina Peake says her new political force is here to stay
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Just two years ago the name Karolina Peake was known to few people
outside of the issue of playgrounds in Prague 1. Today she's the
keystone in the fractured coalition government. Last week, the
36-year-old deputy prime minister caused an upheaval in the government
when she abandoned the junior coalition party Public Affairs, of which
she has been a member since 2007, and took eight of the party's MPs
with her. The result of the split has been the departure of Public
Affairs from government to the opposition, and a wafer-thin majority in
Parliament for the centre-right reform parties. That majority is based
entirely on the newly emerging party around Mrs. Peake, which at
present can only be called the Public Affairs defectors. Is this the
start of a new political organisation with long-term goals, or a quick
fix intended to allow the government to ride out the next two years,
that's the first question we put to Karolina Peake on Thursday.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/karolina-peake-says-her-new-political-force-is-here-to-stay

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/curraffrs/learning-czech-at-uc-berkeley.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/c/skolstvi/univerzita_berkeleyp.jpg
Learning Czech at UC Berkeley
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The University of California, Berkeley is one of 11 American
universities where students can study Czech language, literature and
culture. Small but dedicated groups of students grapple with the
challenges of Czech grammar and pronunciation in up to three classes
per week. Despite budget cuts throughout all departments of public
universities in California, Czech, a niche central European language,
still has its place at the Department of Slavic Languages and maintains
enthusiasm amongst those eager to learn it.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/learning-czech-at-uc-berkeley






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