Friday, April 27, 2012

News 4.27.2012

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

News Friday, April 27th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Necas faces a
confidence vote in the lower house on Friday.

* Czech Radio will launch a new station later in 2012.

* The head of Sumava National Park, Jan Strasky, has "won" this year's
Ropak anti-award.

* The country's health ministry has warned that unseasonably warm
weather over the next few days will see a heightened risk from ticks.

* Legendary jockey Josef Vana, who underwent an operation on Thursday,
says he wants to be back in the saddle within a month.

Centre-right government faces confidence vote

The centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Necas faces a
confidence vote in the lower house on Friday. The vote was called by
the prime minister to test support for his government after the
splintering of the smallest coalition partner, Public Affairs, over a
corruption scandal. The future of the government now depends on support
from a newly emerged faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina
Peake who defected from Public Affairs and a number of independent
deputies. Observers say the government is likely to pass Friday's
confidence vote but predict it will prove harder to find support for
its reforms.

The cabinet has come under fire from the opposition and trade unions
for austerity cuts it says are necessary to help bring the budget
deficit to below 3 percent of GDP. Around 100,000 people took to the
streets of the Czech capital last weekend to protest the austerity
measures in one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the
fall of communism.

Union representatives, activists agree next steps

Trade union representatives and activists from the Stop vlade (Stop the
government) movement agreed on Friday on additional protests against
the country's centre-right government, which would build up to a strike
at the end of June. Jaroslav Zavadil, the head of the trades unions'
umbrella organisation CMKOS, revealed the news but declined to provide
additional details concerning different protest events. He did say that
members of both camps would prepare a new coordination centre to
prepare activities. Earlier this week, union representatives warned the
government that the next protests would "hurt".

Czech Radio to launch new station, layoffs planned

Czech Radio will launch a new largely spoken-word station later in 2012
- merging three stations - Leonardo, Radio Cesko and Czech Radio 6 - in
one. The move is in part reaction to a drop in listenership and will be
accompanied by restructuring at Czech Radio that will also lead to
layoffs. A projected 15 - 20 percent of employees (one fifth) will be
let go over the next two years, the head of Czech Radio Peter Duhan
confirmed. The new station, operatively being called Czech Radio 4,
will be launched either on the first of November or December of this
year. Along with the changes, on Thursday the Czech Radio Council also
approved a 340,000 crown bonus for the head of Czech Radio in the 2Q,
minus a reported 60,000 as Czech Radio has failed to corner 21 percent
of the market. Czech Radio will also launch a tender for a new logo.

National park head "wins" anti-award

Ecological activists from Friends of the Earth have awarded Jan
Strasky, the head of Sumava National Park, this year's Ropak (Oil
Guzzler) anti-award for most damaging environmental policies. The
organisation said that they had chosen from among 24 candidates that
also included Prague's chief hygiene officer, the environment minister
and the country's president; but Mr Strasky's name came up the most.

The activists slammed him for allegedly damaging the good name of the
national park, and for taking questionable steps in care which - they
argued - had hurt the local ecosystem. They also criticised his calling
in the police during past activist protests; the national park head
countered by saying that the charges contained many inaccuracies -
stressing that if he had upset the group he had probably done something
right. The Ropak anti-award takes its name from a fictional creature
that survives on industrial waste; the animal was invented by Czech
filmmaker Jan Sverak.

National Reference Laboratory registers 44 new HIV cases in 1Q

The National Reference Laboratory for HIV/AIDS has revealed that the
first three months of 2012 doctors registered 44 new cases of HIV
infection, mostly among men. During that period, experts tested around
316,900 people, according to numbers released by the public health
laboratory on Friday. This year's increase in the first quarter
represents a two-year high: in 2011 there were 35 new cases and a year
before that, 42. The number of HIV cases in the Czech Republic has
increased yearly over the last decade.

Experts issue tick warning ahead of weekend

The country's health ministry has warned that over the next few days
there will be a heightened risk of contracting ticks as warm weather
sets in. According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the
threat merits an "8" on a 9-point scale on Saturday and will rise to
the top of the scale on Monday. The weekend is expected to see very
warm temperatures, ideal for the external parasite which is capable of
transmitting Lyme borreliosis and encephalitis. This year 378 cases of
borreliosis have been registered so far - up by 69 from the same period
last year. Two cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been registered -
down from five over the same period last year. Anyone spending time in
parks or the countryside at the weekend has been urged to use proper
repellents to cut-down the risk.

Brno transit authority launches awareness campaign

Brno's transit authority has launched a new public campaign to try and
reduce vandalism of glass panes at tram stops. Stickers placed at stops
list the cost of replacing a single pane at 5,000 crowns and ask
readers whether they should replaced or left as they are, inviting
discussion on facebook. The transit authority would like potential
vandals to realise that by damaging public property they were only
'hurting themselves'. The stickers have been put up on glass at stops
that has been scratched, scribbled on in marker or otherwise damaged.

Press: Euro MP even deeper in debt

European Member of Parliament for the Czech Communist Party, Miloslav
Ransorf, in financial difficulties, reportedly owes a total of 17
million crowns - loans with interest the politician has failed to repay
over a number of years. According to commercial broadcaster TV Nova, a
new promissory note originally for 700,000, reportedly now worth 7
million, held by former friend Vratislav Slajer, has emerged. The
original loan dates back to 2003. Mr Ransdorf was to have paid back
money owed almost a year ago, but TV Nova said that never happened.
Both the politician and his lawyer have declined to comment. According
to the news site, the Euro MP used the original 700,000 loan
to renovate his villa.

Czech 1930s film star turns 99

Czech movie star Zita Kabatova, who graced the screen in the 1930s and
'40s with fellow leads like Oldrich Novy, Vladimir Slavinsky and Vlasta
Burian, turned 99 on Friday. Ms. Kabatova began acting in amateur
theatre as a child; her uncle Josef Svab-Malostransky was a
vaudevillian and actor. She made her professional debut on-screen in
1936 in a sentimental film called Svetlo jeho oci (The Colour of his
Eyes). Like many fellow actors and actresses of her generation, Ms.
Kabatova acted in a number of films under the German occupation; in
later years she was banned from the screen for political reasons. Her
husband was Jiri Zavrel - an Olympic rower and political prisoner under
the Communists.

Olympic double-decker tours Plzen region

An authentic British double-decker bus has begun touring the Plzen
region, part of a campaign launched last year by the Czech Olympic
Committee to generate additional interest ahead of the Olympic Games.
The bus has already visited some 50 towns and cities across the
country, spending a day at each stop and inviting passersby to
experience a bit of London.

Heavy traffic clogs D1 out of Prague

Motorists attempting to leave the capital ahead of the weekend on the
D1 highway have run into heavy traffic. A ten-kilometre-long line on
late Friday afternoon - caused by construction and a narrowing of lanes
some 11 kilometres out - formed at Prague's Chodov. Alternative routes
are also heavily in use. Traffic on the D1 in the opposite direction is
said to be moving normally.

Vana: back in saddle in month at latest

Legendary jockey, Josef Vana, is recovering from an operation after
breaking his leg on Thursday in a fall in training. According to
doctors, the racer - who has won the Pardubice steeplechase eight times
- should take at least a half-year break; but on Friday on a Czech
website, the jockey himself said he hoped to be back in the saddle
within a month at the latest. On Thursday, Mr Vana was thrown by a mare
known as Dancing Babe - a more 'problematic' horse in his stable, the
website idnes stated.


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

Articles posted on today
Business News 27.4.2012

The Czech Republic wins arbitration case against British BCD over toxic
cleanup; Tyres producer Mitas opens first plant in the USA; Skoda Auto
raised first quarter profit by 11.8%; Energy Regulatory Office to halt
support for new renewable energy sources; Czech claims on other
countries total 22.35 billion
Pavel Sporcl - Not your everyday violin virtuoso

In the Czech Republic and increasingly even abroad, violinist Pavel
Sporcl enjoys the kind of name recognition that aspiring rock stars
dream of. A natural talent, he became the enfant terrible of the
classical music world when first he arrived on the scene, forgoing a
tuxedo for a bandana and taking an interactive approach to his
concerts. Having toured the world over and recorded roughly a dozen
albums, 39-year-old Pavel Sporcl is not only a dominant but a defining
force in classical music. I met Pavel as he was preparing for a
concert, and asked him to describe what it is that has made him and his
career so distinct.
Political analyst: corruption is like a cancer that destroys the
working of the state

Addressing the lower house ahead of a confidence vote in his centre
right government on Friday Prime Minister Petr Necas asked deputies for
support in the interest of pressing ahead with key reforms which would
lead to stability and prosperity in the future. Professor Vladimira
Dvorakova says that before this objective can be achieved -by this
government or any other - the country will need to deal with its
biggest problem: corruption and a lack of political ethics.

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