Friday, June 15, 2012

News 6.15.2012

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

News Friday, June 15th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* Parliament has nominated 27 people for state distinctions.

* The Czech Press Agency reports that police are investigating ten
people in connection with the case of MP Vlasta Parkanova.

* The top 50 Czech exporters saw their exports rise by 8% to 901
billion in 2011, according to the CZECH TOP 100 association.

* A small earthquake with a magnitude of 2.3 hit a part of the Jeseniky
mountains late on Thursday.

* The international opera festival Smetanova Litomysl has begun

Social Democrats says Parkanova should resign as deputy chairwoman of
lower house

The Czech Press Agency has reported that anticorruption police are
investigating nine others in connection with the case of MP Vlasta
Parkanova. According to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, detectives began
investigating the former head of the office for supervising Defence
Ministry acquisitions, Roman Hosta and ten others. On Wednesday police
asked Parliament to give up Ms Parkanova, a former defence minister,
for prosecution over suspicions of improper army purchases. The
opposition Social Democrats have called on her to resign as deputy
chairwoman of the lower house. Parkanova herself insists there was
nothing dubious about the deals, which were approved by the government
at the time as a whole.

Zaoralek accuses Necas of intimidating police

Meanwhile, deputy Social Democrat chairman Lubomir Zaoralek also
accused Prime Minister Necas of intimidating the police and state
attorneys through his comments on the case of Vlasta Parkanova. Mr
Necas said Thursday that a gang of police colonels could not decide on
who would or would not be in the government by asking to release people
for prosecution. The government party's vetoed a motion by Mr Zaoralek
to bring the comment to the house floor. Alluding to imprisoned
opposition MP David Rath, he said he did not want to believe that
giving up an opposition member means fighting corruption, while being
asked for a government politician means a gang of colonels must be
behind it.

Lidove noviny: Omnipol made five billion on CASA deal

The daily Lidove noviny believes the subject that gained from the
overpriced purchase of the CASA transport planes was the armaments
company Omnipol. The paper writes that Omnipol, whose founder Richard
Hava is reportedly a personal friend of Finance Minister Kalousek,
brought in more than five billion crowns in 2010. The year prior to the
company's intermediation of the deal, it had netted less than one
billion. According to Lidove noviny, the Czech Republic paid twice what
Portugal paid for the same planes - some 875 million crowns per plane
compared to 418 paid by Portugal.

Parliament nominates 27 people for state distinctions

Parliament has nominated 27 people for state distinctions. Former
hockey player Jaroslav Holik and guitarist Lubomir Brabec were put
forward for Medals of Merit, as were former head of religious
broadcasts at Radio Free Europe Karel Jaroslav Fort and art historian
Bohumil Samek. Both houses recommended a special posthumous award for
former Supreme Court head and ombudsman Otakar Motejl, whio died two
years ago. The final decision on such awards rests with President
Vaclav Klaus. Last year, only six of Parliament's 31 nominations were

Senate proposes cancelling consent of both parents for medical
treatment of children

The Senate has proposed cancelling mandatory consent of both parents
for the medical treatment of children. The proposal was sent to the
lower house on Friday with a request that it be fast-tracked. Consent
from both parents was introduced in the health services reform package
and has come under criticism for causing problems both in families and
in health care facilities. The Social Democratic Party, which proposed
the amendment, says the practice is impossible to fulfil in many cases
and only leads to signatures being forged.

Finance minister says VAT is here to stay

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek says that the Value Added Tax
increase is definitive. Mr Kalousek told a meeting with managers
organised by the weekly Euro that he did not believe that any future
government would decrease the VAT, even if they promise to do so before
elections. He also rejected criticism that the government has creased
unprecedented tax hikes. Last week Parliament overcame the opposition
to raise VAT rates by one point to 15 and 21%. From 2016 the rates
should be unified at 17.5%.

Top exporters saw foreign sales rise by 8% in 2011

The top 50 Czech exporters saw their exports rise by 8% to 901 billion
in 2011, according to the CZECH TOP 100 association. The association's
data shows that the country's largest exporter was again its largest
Czech car manufacturer, Skoda Auto, which raised exports from 197.6
billion in 2010 to last year��s 230.5 billion. Alpiq Energy SE saw the
largest growth in exports last year, with foreign sales up by 16
billion. The top 50 exporters also recorded a 30% rise in their exports
in 2010, up to 832 billion. Foreign sales of the 10 biggest exporting
companies increased by 41 billion to 657 in 2010.

Rampula leaves High State Prosecutor post

Vlastimil Rampula has resigned as Prague's High State Prosecutor. On
Wednesday, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that Mr Rampula's
dismissal last year by Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil was appropriate,
given that the prosecutor had impeded various high profile trials,
including that of the bankrupt IPB bank and a dubious purchase of
Gripen fighter jets from Sweden. A spokeswoman for the Supreme State
Prosecutor's office has told the press that the position would be
filled by deputy Libor Grygarek.

Small earthquake hits part of Jeseniky Mts.

A small earthquake with a magnitude of 2.3 hit a part of the Jeseniky
mountains late on Thursday. The quake was only registered by a few
people and was short but relatively intense. Earthquakes are not
uncommon in the Jeseniky mountains, but do not cross a magnitude of
three; another minor quake was recorded in the same area on June 2, but
was weaker, with a magnitude of 1.7. Another area with frequent
earthquakes lies further north on the Moravian-Polish border, where
earthquakes range from 2.2 to 3.3 in magnitude.

International opera festival Smetanova Litomysl begins

The Czech Philharmonic orchestra, led by conductor Jakub Hrusa, opened
the 54 year of the international opera festival Smetanova Litomysl. The
orchestra played Bedrich Smetana's symphonic poem Valdstynuv tabor and
three symphonic sketches by Claude Debussy, as well as Tchaikovsky's
Concert no. 1 in B minor with guest pianist Fazil Say. The evening was
commenced by Vaclav Klaus, Organisers expect nearly 30,000 people to
attended the 31 events that will take place until July 8.


Conditions are expected to be warm and sunny throughout the weekend,
with daytime highs rising to 28o Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Business News 15.6.2012

In Business news this week: Czech public debt is the second smallest in
the EU but the gap widens between the country's GDP and EU average;
Skoda Auto seeks factories to produce its new SUV model; government
plans to cap salaries of state-owned firms; Czech Post suspends
deliveries to Syria; and a new study predicts how many medals Czech
athletes will win at London Olympics.
Czech anti-corruption drive finally gaining momentum

The past few months have brought increasing evidence of the fact that
after years of futile efforts the anti-corruption drive in the Czech
Republic is finally producing results. Within a relatively short space
of time the police has sought and gained permission to prosecute four
parliament deputies and is said to be working on several other high
profile cases.
Photographer Saudek wins back rights to work

A high-profile court case between well-known Czech photographer Jan
Saudek (77) and - a company represented by his son Samuel
and former girlfriend Sara Saudkova - wrapped up this week with
Prague's high court ruling in the photographer's favour.

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