Wednesday, May 16, 2012

News 5.16.2012

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

News Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* A district court judge has ruled that Social Democrat politician
David Rath - charged with corruption - will remain in custody.

* Police uncovered an additional 30 million crowns hidden in the floor
of Mr Rath's home.

* Deputy governor Robin Povsik has said David Rath has resigned from
the regional assembly and therefore as regional governor.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has expressed shock over the corruption

* The government has approved the continuation of the Czech mission in
Afghanistan through 2014.

High-level politician remanded in custody

A district court judge for Usti nad Labem has ruled that regional
governor David Rath - charged with corruption - will remain in custody.
The governor of Central Bohemia was caught on Monday with seven million
crowns - an apparent bribe - on his person; if convicted and found
guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars. The court on
Wednesday said there was a danger that if released ahead of trial, Mr
Rath could influence witnesses, attempt to escape or continue in
criminal activities. State prosecutor Lenka Bradacova has not yet said
whether she will recommend for others arrested in the case to also be
held. Along with Mr Rath, the police arrested seven others on Monday -
four men and three women -including Katerina Pancova, the head of
Kladno Hospital and a close Rath associate.

Police find 30 million crowns stashed in floor of Rath's home

Police uncovered an additional 30 million crowns hidden in the floor of
the home of Social Democrat and Central Bohemian governor David Rath, a
source close to the investigation has told daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Mr
Rath was caught red-handed carrying an apparent bribe of seven million
crowns. Prominent members of the Social Democratic Party on Tuesday
called on Mr Rath to give up all official posts. In a statement issued
through his spokeswoman, Mr Rath denied any knowledge of the bribe,
claiming he had thought the shoebox he was carrying contained a bottle
of wine.

Deputy confirms Rath's resignation from regional assembly

Deputy governor Robin Povsik has said Mr Rath has resigned from the
regional assembly and therefore as regional governor. Speaking to
journalists, he said Mr Rath had been escorted by the police to his
Prague office on Wednesday, where he followed through with his
decision. Mr Povsik told the Czech news agency earlier that people
closely connected with the former governor could be struck from a list
of Social Democrat candidates ahead of regional elections in the
autumn. These may include Katerina Pancova, his assistant Patrik Tomsu
and Barbora Snopkova Haberova. Some sources have reported that Mr Rath
could be replaced by deputy regional governor Marcel Chladek, the
Social Democrats' shadow education minister.

Close associate's office searched

On Tuesday night, police also searched the office of Mr Rath's close
associate Katerina Pancova. She is the head of Kladno Hospital in
Central Bohemia and one of seven people charged along with the governor
in the corruption case. The charged are suspected of having accepted
bribes, having manipulated public tenders and having harmed EU
interests. Some hospital staff members have expressed concerns over the
developments, worrying about personnel changes. But the hospital's
deputy business and economic manager Jaroslav Pokorny told the CTK news
agency the case would have no impact on the day-to-day operation of the

PM expresses shock over Rath corruption case

Prime Minister Petr Necas has expressed shock over the corruption case
involving David Rath, not least since the Social Democrat politician
was one of his party's most outspoken critics of corrupt practices, the
Czech news agency says. The prime minister told CTK he hoped the case
would be seen through to the end and that it would not throw "dirt" on
the entire political scene. He also indicated he hoped the failing was
only on Mr Rath's part and not his party's.

Similar suggestions were made on a TV debate programme on Tuesday
evening by the finance minister; prominent Social Democrat Lubomir
Zaoralek responded by trying to point to scandals on the centre-right.
The arrest and charging of Central Bohemian Governor David Rath is
nevertheless unprecedented in at least one respect: Rath, who was under
investigation by police for six months, was "caught in the act",
enabling his immediate prosecution.

Government approves Afghan mission through 2014 but personnel will be

The government has approved continuing the Czech Republic's mission in
Afghanistan through 2014, while gradually reducing the number of
personnel. According to the plan, 539 people will serve next year, but
a maximum of 340 a year after that. The gradual drawdown is in keeping
with NATO's plans to reduce alliance forces, and hand Afghans
responsibility for their security in 2014. That year, some 50 Czech
personnel will also serve in Iceland, helping protect Icelandic
airspace. Pilots will have four Jas-39 Gripen fighter jets at their

Poll: Civic Democrats main proponent of reforms

A new poll conducted by the STEM agency has suggested that the majority
of Czechs rate the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party as the main
proponent of government reforms, despite the fact that that not it but
fellow right-wing party TOP 09 holds key ministries, including Finance
and Health. According to the poll, 53 percent of those surveyed named
the Civic Democrats, 41 TOP 09 and just six percent the former
government coalition party Public Affairs, replaced by a political
platform led by Karolina Peake (who is founding a new party to be
called LIDEM or For the People).

Those surveyed were also asked which party in government was the most
thorough in seeing the government's programme fulfilled: there, TOP 09
received 43 percent, the Civic Democrats 42. In general, government has
not done well in numerous recent opinion polls, in which a majority of
potential voters have expressed opposition to wide-reaching reforms.

Students continue with second part of high school-leaving exams

Students on Wednesday began the second part of their high school
leaving exams. Meanwhile, those who recently undertook the advanced
written test in math - that was later deemed too difficult for their
level - were able to learn their results on Wednesday. Although
teachers officially softened marking of the botched exam, the EDUin
organisation says the failure rate in the advanced math test ballooned
by 360 percent compared to the previous year.

Literature Night 2012 to kick off in Prague and Kutna hora

Residents and visitors in Prague and Kutna hora will be able to
experience Literature Night 2012 on Wednesday. Fifteen spots in
Prague's Smichov area will see readings of the latest translation of
European authors by well-known figures such as Matej Hadek, Miroslav
Taborsky and Daniela Kolarova. Dozens of cities and towns across Europe
are taking part in the event.

Hockey: Hadamczik keeps name of starting goalie secret

National hockey coach Alois Hadamczik is keeping quiet about who he
will put in net in the quarterfinal game between the Czech Republic and
Sweden at the World Championship in ice hockey. The Czech squad - under
Hadamczik - has never won against Sweden at either the Olympics or the
Worlds, so players will have their work cut out for them on Thursday.
The coach could go with either goalie Jakub Kovar or Jakub Stepanek.
Who will start is already known to the goalies, but both are keeping
silent ahead of the match. Hadamczik told the media simply that he
wanted to keep his opponents guessing.


The next few days should see mild conditions with some cloudiness and
daytime highs between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
2012 set to be good year for Czech art market

Over the last couple of years, art sales in the Czech Republic have
seen a decline. But this year is different, and it's not just the
record sale of a Frantisek Kupka painting that did the trick. The
market now attracts collectors who are ready to look beyond the
well-established segment of modern art that has topped sales so far.
Defiant David Rath remains in police custody

As Czechs are slowly digesting the shocking case of the Social Democrat
politician David Rath, more details emerge about his arrest and the
crime he allegedly committed. The opposition MP and governor of Central
Bohemia was arrested on Monday with seven million crowns in his
possession. While Mr Rath maintains his innocence, he has been charged
with corruption, and remains in detention.
International meeting of experts on Czech language and literature kicks
off in Prague

An international meeting of Czech language and literature experts,
among them teachers and translators, kicked off at Prager
Literaturhaus, a Czech institute that promotes Prague's German literary
heritage. For the next four days, lovers of the Czech language will be
discussing their field of expertise and exchanging their findings in a
number of seminars, panel discussions and lectures. On the first day of
the international get-together, we speak with Kristin Kilsti, a
Norwegian literary translator who works from Czech into her native

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