Thursday, May 17, 2012

News 5.17.2012

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

News Thursday, May 17th, 2012

By: Sarah Borufka

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a
two-day official visit on Thursday.

* In related news, after meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Prime
Minister Petr Necas said that the Czech Republic shares Israel's
concern over Iran's nuclear program.

* A district court judge has ruled that Social Democrat politician
David Rath - charged with corruption - and seven others arrested along
with him will remain in custody.

* A record auction of a Frantisek Kupka painting has revealed
shortcomings in the country's registration of works that fall under the
national heritage.

* Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova has advanced to the quarterfinals at
the Italian Open.

Israeli prime minister arrives in Prague for official visit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a
two-day official visit on Thursday. On the agenda of the Israeli
leader, who is travelling with a delegation of seven ministers, is a
meeting with his Czech counterpart counterpart Petr Necas as well as
several members of the Czech cabinet. The Israeli delegation is set to
discuss bilateral relations as well as collaboration in the areas of
education and research. Ahead of the visit, some 500 police officers
are working to ensure the security of the Israeli prime minister.
Senior police officials have said that the Israeli leader's visit
carries a higher security risk compared to those of other statesmen.

Czech PM: Czech Republic supports Israel's right to self-defense
against terrorism

In related news, speaking after a meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin
Netanyahu, Prime Minister Petr Necas said that his country supported
Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. He
also expressed concern over Iran's nuclear program. Mr Necas made it
clear that the Czech Republic opposes attacks on the legitimacy of
Israel as a state. The Israeli PM said that he considers the Czech
Republic his country's closest ally within the EU.

High-level politician and seven other suspects 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.
On Thursday, the judge also remanded in custody seven other persons who
were arrested along with governor Rath. 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. Similar reasons were cited for the other suspects remaining
in custody.

On Monday, police arrested the former Central Bohemian governor, as
well as four men and three women, among them Katerina Pancova, the head
of Kladno Hospital, and two entrepreneurs, one of them from the
construction sector. The group is charged with corruption, damaging the
EU's financial interests and manipulation of public tenders. David Rath
was caught on Monday with seven million crowns on his person; if
convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars.

Acting governor of Central Bohemia to dismiss staff closely connected
to arrested former governor David Rath

The acting governor of the Central Bohemian region, Zuzana Moravcikova,
who has taken over the post following David Rath's resignation, will be
making changes in the personnel of the regional administration. Staff
closely connected to the former governor, who is charged with
corruption, will be dismissed. On Thursday, Mrs Moravcikova told the
Czech News Agency CTK that the extent of personnel changes depended on
the results of the ongoing police investigation. She said that while
she did not want to work together with close collaborators of the
former governor, she also wanted to avoid a major shake-up in the
Central Bohemian administration. It was important to put together a
team whom she could trust, the acting governor added.

Social Democrats to expel two persons connected to former governor
David Rath

The party leadership of the Social Democrats is set to expel the
director of the Kladno hospital, Katerina Pancova, and a former MP for
the Civic Democrats, Petr Kott, from the party on Friday. Both are
being prosecuted in connection with the corruption case surrounding
former Central Bohemian governor David Rath. The party's deputy leader
Jiri Dienstbier said on Thursday that he hopes both would leave the
party on their own initiative rather than having to be expelled.
According to police, the eight people involved in the case are
suspected of manipulating a tender for the reconstruction of Bustehrad

Record auction of Frantisek Kupka painting uncovers shortcomings in
national heritage registration

The record auction of Frantisek Kupka's painting The Shape of Blue has
revealed shortcomings in the country's registration of works that fall
under the national heritage, especially in the area of fine arts. To
date, the Czech state has failed to determine whether the painting,
which was sold to a foreign buyer for 55.75 million crowns, falls under
the national heritage or not, the Czech News Agency CTK writes, citing
insider sources. Should this be the case, the buyer would not be able
to take the painting out of the Czech Republic. The National Heritage
Institute claims that Kupka's work does fall under the national
heritage. However, the seller of the painting maintains that it does
not, since the process of proclaiming it a part of the national
heritage had not been completed by the time the painting went on sale.
The buyer is now waiting for a decision by the Ministry of Culture on
the matter.

About 6 percent of Czech secondary school students fail high school
exit exam

A total of 6.2 percent of Czech secondary school students have failed
this year's exit exams, as compared to 5.3 percent the previous year.
Among the areas in which results deteriorated was mathematics; in
Czech, this year's results improved slightly on 2011's. Aside from a
standardized test, Czech students taking the high school exist exam
also have to successfully complete an oral and a written exam.

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.

News website: bettors favoring Sweden

In related news, Czechs laying bets with at least one betting agency
are favoring Sweden over the Czech Republic in Thursday's do-or-die
quarterfinal match at the world championships in ice hockey, news
website reports. According to the site, more than two-thirds
of Czech bettors laying bets with the Fortuna agency favor Sweden, most
often predicting the Swedes will win by a score of 5:3. The Czech team,
when led by team coach Alois Hadamczik, has been unable to beat the
co-hosts of this year's championship and one of the favorites to win
the championship. Players are hoping they will be able to pull off a
surprise result - stressing they will have to keep pressure on and try
and score early.

Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova reaches quarterfinals at Italian Open

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova made it into the quarterfinals at the
Italian Open in Rome. The Wimbledon champion won in straight sets to
reach the third round. Kvitova overcame eight double-faults to beat
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in her opening match.
Kvitova dominated the match with her attacking game.


Over the next few days, the weather should get milder, with cloudy
skies and daytime highs between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
American piano virtuoso Stephen Beus: I do not remember a time when I
did not want to be a pianist.

American pianist Stephen Beus is one of the star performers at the
American spring music festival currently underway in the Czech
Republic. The internationally acclaimed musician, who performs with
renowned orchestras and gives solo recitals the world over, has been
described as a strikingly original, confident and gifted player with a
rock-solid technique. On what is his second recital tour in the Czech
Republic he visited Radio Prague's studio and talked about the joy he
derives from music, the inspiration he draws from it and the secret
behind his ability to captivate an audience.
Constitutional Court upholds solar tax

The Czech Constitutional Court has upheld the government's tax on solar
power, introduced retroactively last year in an effort to cool the
solar boom in the country. Photovoltaic firms complain the tax damages
their business while foreign investors into the business are
threatening to initiate international arbitrations against the country.
But the court said their interests cannot be superimposed over those of
Czech citizens.
Brno centre for childcare launches "rent-a-granny" scheme

This month saw the launching of a new EU-funded child-care project
aimed at helping families with young children juggle work and family.
In view of the lack of day nurseries and kindergartens around the
country the Brno Centre for Family Planning and Child Care has launched
a "rent-a-granny" scheme along the lines of the Oma Dienst project
successfully implemented in neighbouring Austria.

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