Friday, April 6, 2012

News 4.6.2012

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

News Friday, April 6th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Prague branch of the junior coalition party Public Affairs has
called on party leader Radek John to resign.

* The state attorney in the highly publicized corruption trial of
Public Affairs deputy Vit Barta has proposed a suspended sentence for
the politician.

* The opposition Social Democrats are against the idea of scrapping the
ministries of culture and environment.

* The former education minister, Josef Dobes, who stayed on at the
ministry in an advisory post has resigned after a spate of criticism.

* A Czech soldier who was injured in Afghanistan this week has been
flown to the Czech Republic for treatment.

Prague branch of Public Affairs calls on John to resign

The Prague branch of the junior coalition party Public Affairs has
called on party leader Radek John to resign. They blame him for the
party's low credibility and argue that the party leadership needs new
blood in order to regain public trust. Mr. John is perceived as a
puppet of Vit Barta, the head of the party's deputies club, who
financed the party's establishment and masterminded its success in the
last general elections. Mr. Barta, who formerly owned the biggest
security agency in the country, has been accused of infiltrating
business into politics. He is now being tried for corruption.

The party's Prague branch also voiced support for the party's three
ministers who defied an order from the broad party leadership to
resign, saying that to do so would have been a big mistake.

State attorney proposes suspended sentence for Vit Barta

The state attorney in the highly publicized trial of Public Affairs
deputy Vit Barta has proposed a suspended sentence for the politician
for trying to buy the loyalty of two former party members with large
sums of money. She also proposed a suspended sentence for Jaroslav
Skarka, who took the money and failed to report the bribe for some
time. Attorney Vrbova said she was proposing suspended sentences in
view of the fact that both politicians previously had a clean criminal
record. The verdicts in the case are expected to be announced next

Social Democrats against scrapping environment, culture ministries

The opposition Social Democrats are against the idea of scrapping the
ministries of culture and environment, now being discussed by the
coalition within broader cost-cutting measures. Party leader Bohuslav
Sobotka said scrapping the environment ministry was particularly
unacceptable in view of the urgent need to address serious air
pollution problems in Moravia and Silesia. The junior coalition party
Public Affairs which has linked its continued support for the
government to a series of far-reaching demands, has proposed reducing
the number of ministries as a partial alternative to cuts in the social
sphere. The Civic Democrats and Public Affairs are now allegedly
considering scrapping the ministries of culture, environment and local
government. A decision is expected on Tuesday.

Culture minister: cultural monuments could be at risk if ministry

Culture Minister Alena Hanakova has also spoken out against the idea of
scrapping ministries, saying that scrapping the ministry of culture
would not save a significant amount of money and could result in the
neglect of many priceless cultural monuments. Minister Hantakova also
pointed out that scrapping the culture ministry could further
complicate the restitution of church property. She said the ministry
would seek ways to further reduce its expenses.

Dobes forced out of education ministry

Former education minister Josef Dobes who resigned from his post late
last month citing "budget cuts" and was promptly employed as an advisor
to his successor has been forced out after a spate of criticism from
the media and opposition parties. Mr. Dobes who came under fire for
mismanagement of EU funds and a botched university reform was
reportedly helping his successor complete some of his projects. The
ministry is now being temporarily run by his former deputy Ladislav
Nemec. Public Affairs, which holds the education portfolio is still
searching for a suitable successor.

Czech soldier flown home for treatment

A Czech soldier who was injured in Afghanistan this week has been flown
to the Czech Republic for treatment. The twenty-eight-year-old soldier
serving in the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Logar province,
sustained light injuries on Wednesday in an anti-tank grenade attack.
He suffered a leg fracture and lighter injuries to his arm. Some 600
Czech troops now serve in Afghanistan as part of NATO's ISAF mission;
five Czech soldiers have been killed since the start of the operation.

Eggs send March inflation up

Inflation reached 3.9 percent in March up from 3.7 in February, the
Czech Statistical Office said on Friday. The rise is fueled primarily
by the soaring price of eggs on the Czech market. Egg prices went up by
67 percent in March. According to analyst Petr Dufek this is the first
time that a single product has directly impacted inflation. Other
contributing factors are the price of petrol and cigarettes.

Survey shows left-wing parties gathering strength

A public opinion survey has indicated growing support for left-wing
parties on the Czech political scene. A poll conducted by Factum
Invenio suggests that if elections were held today the opposition
Social Democrats would win 26.9 percent of the votes, and the
Communists would get 14.9 percent. The centre-right Civic Democrats
would get 17.2 percent and their coalition partner TOP 09 would get
13.1. The only other party which stands a chance of crossing the 5
percent margin needed for seats in the lower house are the Christian
Democrats, now on the margin of Czech politics, who would get 6 percent.

Traffic police out in force for Easter weekend

Traffic police will be out in force for the long Easter weekend which
traditionally increases road mortality figures. A police spokeswoman
said several hundred officers would be put on duty along the country's
main roads and highways with the road safety-operation focusing
primarily on drink-driving and speeding. Eighteen people died on Czech
roads over the Easter weekend last year.

Prague metro restricts service on C-line due to maintenance

The Prague Transport authority has announced that due to maintenance
work a section of the C-line of the Prague metro will be out of
operation between Friday night and Tuesday morning. The metro will not
run between the stations Muzeum and Prazske Povstani. A replacement bus
service will be available for passengers.


The Easter weekend is expected to be overcast and rainy with day
temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius. Night time lows may drop
below zero and snow showers are expected in the mountain regions.

Articles posted on today
Leeda - a unique Czech fashion label going strong for seven years

Not far from the National Theatre, tucked away on Bartolomejska street,
the small flagship store of the label Leeda boasts some of the most
original, colorful and hip clothing in the Czech capital. Run by two
young designers, Lucie Kutalkova and Lucie Trnkova, Leeda has been
putting out its limited edition collections for nearly seven years. The
two designers both studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and
Design in Prague. Lucie Kutalkova explains how the two were given a
unique opportunity to establish their own label and retail space.
Business News 6.4.2012

In Business News this week: Czech industrial production speeds up; most
Czech companies want to hire employees as contractors; Saturday shifts
at Skoda Auto end over labour dispute, the North American brewing giant
Molson Coors buys Staropramen; and Prague's Ruzyne airport marks 75
years since the first landing.
Political pundit: Abolishing three ministries merely attempt at
distracting attention from government's real problems

Talks between the ruling government coalition's Civic Democrats and
junior partner Public Affairs on Thursday failed to produce a solution
to disputes within the coalition. However, the senior Civic Democrats
are considering reducing the number of ministries by three, one of the
conditions posed by Public Affairs, which earlier this week threatened
to quit the coalition should its demands not be met. But is the step to
merge the culture, environment and regional development ministries with
other existing ministries a sensible one? We put the question to
political pundit Jiri Pehe.

This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2012, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved., E-mail: