Friday, May 4, 2012

News 5.4.2012

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

News Friday, May 4th, 2012

By: Sarah Borufka

* Friends of the late former Czech president Vaclav Havel have founded
the US-based Vaclav Havel Library Foundation.

* Union leaders met in Prague to discuss the details of a nation-wide

* Defense ministers of all Vysegrad 4 countries on Friday signed an
agreement over cooperation in their military defense.

* In an interview with CNN, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said that
Euro-zone member states must be allowed to leave the currency.

* The National Heritage Institute has said that a Frantisek Kupka
painting that sold for a record price at auction cannot be taken out of
the country.

Vaclav Havel Library Foundation formed in the United States

Friends of the late former Czech president Vaclav Havel have founded
the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation in the United States. Its mission
is to promote the late leader's ideas and his work, as well as the
organization of events centered around his literary and political
heritage. Among its supporters are the former secretary of state
Madeleine Albright as well as former US ambassador to the Czech
Republic Craig Stapleton. The first event organized by the new
foundation is set to take place in New York City's Lincoln Center on
Monday. The US-based foundation is also planning to collaborate with
the Prague Vaclav Havel Library.

Union leaders meet to discuss nation-wide strike

Representatives from the country's umbrella trade union organization
CMKOS met in Prague on Friday to discuss a nation-wide strike set to
take place on May 23rd. Union leaders have said that they may organize
an additional union protest event a day prior to the strike. The unions
have slammed the government of Prime Minister Petr Necas for its reform
package and far-reaching austerity measures. Last week, union leaders
announced that they would no longer be attending tripartite meetings
with the current government.

Vysegrad 4 countries sign agreement over military cooperation

The defense ministers of the Vysegrad 4 group's countries on Friday met
in the Czech city of Litomerice, where they signed an agreement over
the cooperation in matters of military defense within the framework of
the European Union. The four countries are planning to form a defense
unit with some 3000 members by 2016. Under the new cooperation,
soldiers from the group's countries would be training together and the
four nations would combine funds to buy military equipment. Czech
Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra said that this step was an important
signal that Central European nations are capable of addressing military
tasks together. The Vysegrad 4 group is an alliance of four Central
European states - Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

Czech president: Euro-zone members must be allowed to leave currency

In an interview with the London bureau of the news channel CNN, Czech
President Vaclav Klaus said that Euro-zone member states must be
allowed to leave the currency. He compared the current situation in
Europe to that of Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s, when the communist
regime started collapsing. He added that Europe is at a point where it
needs radical change instead of partial reforms. Mr Klaus is a known
euro-skeptic. He was in London on Thursday to give a lecture.

Police arrest three suspects in highly publicized murder-for-hire case

Police have arrested three suspects in connection with a highly
publicized murder-for-hire case in which the former elite police
officer Michal Tofl was shot in Brno in June 2010. If found guilty, the
three men could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. The policeman
became the victim of a drive-by shooting; police have not released
details of the motive for the murder. However, the director of the
police's organized crime unit, Robert Slachta, has said that money may
have played a role. Allegedly, after leaving the police force, Mr Tofl
and some of his former colleagues had formed a gang that blackmailed
entrepreneurs in Southern Moravia. The scandal around the former police
officer was the subject of intense media attention last year, when
allegations of corruption within the Brno economic crimes unit became

Public Affairs calls on MPs who split with the party to resign

The leadership of the former junior coalition partner Public Affairs
has called on MPs who have joined the new faction around the party's
former deputy leader, current Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake, to
resign. Public Affairs has pointed out that in its ethical codex, under
which its MPs got elected to the lower house of Parliament, the party
clearly stated that MPs were not allowed to change their affiliation
during their time in office. On Thursday, the new faction around Peake
announced its name, LIDEM. Its members will begin collecting the
signatures necessary to form a party on Monday.

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.

National Heritage Institute: Frantisek Kupka's painting sold for record
price at auction cannot leave country

The buyer of Frantisek Kupka's painting The Shape of Blue, which in
April was sold at auction for a record 55.75 million Czech crowns, may
not be able to take the piece out of the country. According to the
National Heritage Institute, the painting is part of the national
heritage and as such cannot be taken out of the Czech Republic.
However, the owner of the gallery where the auction took place says he
has a document from the same institution which confirms that the Kupka
painting is not actually in the national heritage registry. The buyer
of the artwork, which was created in 1013, does not reside in the Czech

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 leader will be travelling with a delegation of
several ministers. He is set to meet with Czech Prime Minister Petr
Necas as well as other members of the Czech 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 in the military and economic sectors.

Director of European Organization for Nuclear Research on visit in

The director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN,
Rolf-Dieter Heuer, is in Prague on Friday. He is visiting the Czech
Republic on occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the country's
membership in the organization. Mr Heuer will be meeting with ministry
officials and holding a scientific lecture in the Karolinum for
students and researchers. CERN is the largest laboratory worldwide
devoted to elementary particle research. The organization was founded
in 1954.

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 a
fine, he was sent to prison.

Poll: Opposition parties would receive majority of lower house mandates

According to a fresh poll by the Factum Invenio agency, the current
opposition party, the Social Democrats, would receive some 72 mandates
in the lower house if elections were held today. The senior coalition
party, the Civic Democrats, would secure some 41 seats; the Communists
42. The Green Party and the Christian Democrats would be able to again
gain seats in the lower house if an election took place today. They
would receive 7 and 14 seats, respectively. The poll also suggests that
over 60 percent of Czechs would cast their ballot, a slightly lower
percentage than 2010's voter turnout.

Defense player Zbynek Michalek not to join Czech representation at Ice
Hockey World Championship

Defense player Zbynek Michalek will not be joining the Czech team at
the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship which takes place in
Finland and Sweden. Michalek, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins,
has to undergo a hip surgery and therefore cannot support the Czech
national representation. Coach Alois Hadamczik told press on Friday
that Michalek was very disappointed and hopes to join the national team
in the future.


The coming days will bring warm and humid conditions with a chance of
rain showers in places, overcast skies and daytime highs of around 21
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Director Adolf Toman on four decades of Toronto's New Czech Theatre

The Nove divadlo (New Czech Theatre) was established in the Canadian
city of Toronto in 1970. Since then it has enjoyed several high points:
the great actor Jiri Voskovec appeared in one production, Josef
Skvorecky wrote a play for the amateur group and it staged the world
premiere of the Czech language version of Vaclav Havel's Temptation.
Recently the New Czech Theatre received an award from the Czech Foreign
Ministry for its work in promoting the good name of its founders'
native country. After the ceremony, I spoke about its beginnings with
one of those founders, director Adolf Toman.
Business News 4.5.2012

The procurement market sank by 100 billion in 2011; the production of
passenger cars hits a record; farmers prepare for blockades; the
Finance Ministry forecasts nearly three percent growth for 2015; the
Central bank keeps interest rate at record low.
Czech parties struggle with premiere presidential primaries

Less than a year before Czechs take to the polls to directly elect
their president for the first time in history, some of the major
political parties have begun choosing their candidates. However, both
the ruling Civic Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats seem to
struggle with the process: the former party's most hopeful candidate
quit the race before it even began, while one of the latter party's
picks is hesitant to run for them. Commentator Erik Best says this
reflects the parties' mixed feelings about direct presidential
elections in the first place.

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: