Thursday, May 3, 2012

News 5.3.2012

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

News Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

By: Sarah Borufka

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel to the
Czech Republic on an official visit in May.

* Czech farmers are planning blockades to protest the discontinuation
of a diesel tax rebate program.

* The new faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has
announced its name.

* Health Minister Leos Heger has caved into pressure from doctors and
patients regarding a new piece of legislation concerning the medical
treatment of children.

* The justice minister has filed a complaint in favor of a man charged
with defacing political campaigning posters.

Israeli Prime Minister to visit Czech Republic

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in the Czech Republic
on an official visit in May. According to a source of the Czech News
Agency CTK, Israel's prime minister will be travelling with a
delegation of several ministers. He is set to meet with Czech Prime
Minister Petr Necas as well as members of his cabinet. In April, on
occasion of a previous visit of the Israeli prime minister to the Czech
Republic, the two leaders had discussed expanding the cooperation
between both countries in the areas of research and development as well
as the military and economic sectors.

Czech farmers plan blockades to protest discontinuation of diesel tax

Czech farmers are planning a series of road blockades in protest of the
planned discontinuation of tax rebates on diesel fuel for workers in
the agricultural sector and the announced introduction of a new tax on
wine. The first blockade is set to take place on May 23rd. According to
the head of the Agricultural Chamber, Jan Veleba, farmers are hoping to
put the government under pressure to reverse its decision. In
mid-April, the chamber had called on Prime Minister Petr Necas to
conserve the diesel tax rebates in the agricultural sector. The
discontinuation of the rebate program comes as part of a reform package
aimed at keeping the state budget deficit below 3 percent GDP in 2013
and 2014. Currently, farmers are able to claim 60 percent of the
consumption tax they pay on diesel gas back from the state.

New faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake announces name:

The new faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake, formerly
of Public Affairs, has announced its official name: LIDEM, Czech for
"For the People" as well as a nod to the group's orientation, liberal
democratic. The political platform announced its name at a news
conference on Thursday afternoon, where it also advertised a
competition it is holding for its new logo. On Monday, its members will
begin collecting the signatures necessary for the formation of a new

Peake had left Public Affairs in mid-April, stating that she disliked
the style in which the former junior coalition partner presented
itself. Her split with the party and the subsequent walk-out of some of
its other members cast serious doubt over the future of the government
coalition; however, it survived a vote of confidence last week.

Former senator goes on hunger strike in support of jailed former
Ukranian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko

Former senator Vlastimil Sehnal on Sunday went on a hunger strike in
support of the jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
He says that he wants to raise awareness of the case in the Czech
Republic and inspire other politicians to intervene in the matter. Mr
Sehnal told the Czech News Agency CTK that Czech President Vaclav Klaus
should travel to Ukraine to discuss the case of the jailed leader with
current President Viktor Yanukovych. Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a
seven-year sentence for signing contracts for the delivery of Russian
gas that were allegedly not in the public interest, has been on a
hunger strike since April 20. Her imprisonment has been criticized by
EU and international leaders. Earlier this week, President Vaclav Klaus
cancelled a visit to Ukraine in protest over her imprisonment. The
Austrian, Slovenian and German heads of state have also refused to
participate in an upcoming summit of central European presidents.

Health Minister caves into pressure from doctors, patients on child
medical treatment legislation

Health Minister Leos Heger has caved into pressure from doctors and
patients regarding a new piece of legislation that would require both
parents to give their approval prior to any medical treatment of their
child. On Thursday, a ministry official announced that under the new
law, the approval of only one parent will suffice for a child's medical
treatment. Further changes are also underway in the treatment of
teenage patients aged 15 to 18. The legislative changes could go into
effect as early as this fall.

Justice Minister files complaint in favor of man charged with defacing
political campaigning posters

A former public transport worker from Olomouc, Roman Smetana, may soon
be released from prison, where he is serving a 100-day sentence for the
destruction of public property. Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil has
filed a complaint in the man's favor and has appealed to the court to
cancel its verdict. He said that it is up to the court to decide
whether the defacing of political campaign posters, of which Mr Smetana
was found guilty, was a criminal offense or merely a misdemeanor. Mr
Smetana was charged with defacing public property for adding feelers to
politicians' photographs on campaign posters. After he refused to pay
the fine, he was sent to prison.

Court returns alleged terrorism-support case to prosecution

A Prague court has returned a case of alleged support of terrorism to
the prosecution for further investigation over procedural errors, a
spokeswoman for the court said on Wednesday. Four foreigners- three men
from Dagestan and one from Moldova - were arrested last year in the
Czech Republic on charges of support of terrorism. They allegedly
counterfeited identification documents for members of Jamaat Shariat,
an Islamist militant group in Dagestan. If found guilty, the men could
face up to ten years in prison.

Man sentenced for failing to cover hospital fees

A court in Ostrava, in the north-east of the country, on Wednesday
sentenced a 55-year-old man to 18 months in prison for failing to pay
over 200,000 crowns in fees for his hospital stays. According to the
prosecution, the man spent most of the time between late 2007 and last
November in hospitals; he owes money to some 70 Czech hospitals. He
also often ordered above-standard services although he was not be able
to pay for them. The man is believed to suffer from Munchausen
syndrome, a disorder characterized by feigning diseases to attract
attention and sympathy. Both the defendant and the prosecutor said they
consider appealing the verdict.

Helen Mirren to receive award at Karlovy Vary film festival

English actress Helen Mirren is set to receive a lifetime achievement
reward at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the
festival's spokeswoman said on Wednesday. At the festival, Ms Mirren
will present the film The Door by the Hungarian director Istvan Szabo.
During her visit, the actress will be accompanied by her husband, the
director and producer Taylor Hackford who last year chaired the
festival's jury. The 47th Karlovy Vary International Festival will take
place between June 29 and July 7.

Czech national hockey teams leaves for world championships

The Czech national hockey team on Thursday left Prague for the 2012
IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship which takes place in Finland and
Sweden. Coach Alois Hadamczik is waiting to hear from defense player
Zbynek Michalek, who has been having issues with his hip and may not be
able to join the Czech ranks at the championship. The coach has said
that he anticipates the Czech Republic's first match, against Denmark,
will not be an easy one. He added that he and the team were looking
forward to the challenge.

Olomouc take Czech FA cup

Sigma Olomouc beat Sparta Prague 1:0 on Wednesday night to win the
Czech FA cup. The cup final, played in Plzen, saw the only goal two
minutes into the second half when Olomouc defender Michal Veprek threw
the ball in on the left side, got it back and made his way into the box
where he produced a hard shot to the far corner. The win sweetens the
season for Olomouc who had nine points taken away from them over
match-fixing. For their part, Sparta might wrap the season empty handed
as their chances of winning the league are growing thinner.

Heavy storms to hit Czech Republic

Heavy thunderstorms are expected to hit the Czech Republic late on
Thursday afternoon and in the early evening. Small rivers may flood and
some cellars could also be affected by the torrential downpours, the
Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has said. However, the rain will
help reduce the danger of fires that firefighters expected in recent
days due to the hot and dry weather.


The coming days will be cooler, with overcast skies, occasional rain
showers and daytime highs of around 21 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Farmers announce protests over plans to slash diesel tax rebates and
new wine tax

The Czech Republic will see another round of protests against the
government's austerity measures. Agriculture industry leaders on
Wednesday announced they would block roads and slow traffic in protest
of plans to cancel tax rebates on diesel for agricultural firms, and a
planned introduction of a tax on wine.
Czechs top global addictions index, says Bloomberg - nonsense, say
health workers

The news agency Bloomberg has given the Czech Republic the inglorious
distinction of first place on its Global Vice Index - a combined list
of alcohol, drug, cigarette and gambling prevalence in 57 countries.
While Czech primacy in beer consumption may be incontestable, the index
also cited the country as 12th in the world in gambling, 5th in
cigarette smoking and 2nd on the planet in drug use. What's more, the
amalgamated information from the World Health Organisation, the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime and others, gave the Czech Republic a damning
six point lead on the second most depraved country, Slovenia. Humbug,
say public health workers, among them Dr. Tomas Zabransky from the
Centre of Addictology.
Should the famous baroque plague column be returned to Prague's Old
Town Square?

Prague's Old Town Square may be famous for its grandeur and
architectural beauty, but it is, in fact, a shadow of its former self.
A great chunk of the Old Town Hall building was decimated by the Nazis
at the end of the war, and has never been rebuilt. To this day, a
rather bare park stands where most of the building once did. And across
from the famous Jan Hus sculpture used to be a towering Marian column,
built in 1650 and felled in 1918, by Czechs who felt it symbolized the
country's Habsburg past.

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