Wednesday, June 20, 2012

News 6.20.2012

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

News Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

By: Jan Richter

* Czech police have charged against former managers of the coalmining
company Mostecka uhelna over their role in the firm's privatization.

* The Czech lower house has again postponed a final vote on a church
property restitution bill.

* Over 21 percent of students failed this year's nationwide secondary
school exams.

* Extensive renovation of the Prague-Brno motorway will begin in March

* UEFA has banned Sigma Olomouc from participating in next season's
Europa League over a corruption scandal.

Czech police charge former Mostecka uhelna managers

Czech police have charged six former managers of the coal-mining
company Mostecka uhelna over their role in the firm's privatization
deal, Czech TV reported on Wednesday. The managers allegedly channeled
funds earmarked for the revitalization of mining sites to bank accounts
in Switzerland, and used some of them to buy the firm from the state.
Swiss authorities last year charged seven people in the case which was
also investigated by Czech police but shelved in 2009 due to lack of

MPs postpone vote on church property restitution bill

The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday again postponed a final vote
on a bill that would give Czech churches back their property
confiscated in the 1950s. The opposition, which strongly objects to the
bill, managed to block the vote by protracted debate; the lower house
will return to the issue next Wednesday. Under the draft legislation,
the Czech state would return some 56 percent of the physical property
worth around 75 billion crowns; for the rest, Czech churches and
religious societies would receive some 60 billion crowns in
compensation over the period of 30 years.

Lower house committee reaches no decision on MP Parkanova's prosecution

The mandate and immunity committee of the lower house on Wednesday
reached no decision on whether TOP 09 MP and former defence minister
Vlasta Parkanova should be prosecuted over her role in the 2009
purchase of the CASA transport planes for the Czech military. Members
of the committee asked the police to provide the complete case file
before they will vote to recommend whether the lower house should allow
Ms Parkanova's prosecution. The committee will meet again next

The police last week asked the lower house to allow the prosecution of
the former defence minister who allegedly failed to provide an
independent review of the 3.6-billion-crown contract which the police
say was overpriced by nearly 660 million crowns.

Eurostat: Czechs rank 18th in EU in GDP per capita

The Czech Republic ranked 18th in the European Union in GDP per capita
in 2011, up one place from the previous year, according to figures
released by the bloc's statistical body Eurostat on Wednesday. However,
Czech GDP last year only reached 80 percent of the EU average.
Luxembourg is the EU member state with the highest GDP per capita while
the Czech Republic is the EU's second richest former communist country
after Slovenia.

Over 20 percent of students fail nationwide school-leaving exams

More than 21 percent of secondary school students failed this year's
nationwide school-leaving exams, Education Minister Petr Fiala told
reporters on Wednesday. Only 4 percent of students chose the more
advanced level of the exams; in total, 103,000 students took the exams
this year.

The nation-wide secondary school-leaving exams, held this year for the
second time, were affected by a series of problems including unclear
evaluation criteria of the Czech language essays. Many students also
complained that the tests in maths were too difficult and nearly 7,000
of them appealed the results. Earlier this month, Minister Fiala
dismissed the head of the ministry's department overseeing the state
school-leaving exams.

D1 motorway renovation to start in March 2013

An extensive renovation of the D1 motorway connecting Prague, Brno and
Ostrava should start in March 2013, Transport Minister Pavel Dobes said
on Wednesday. The modernization of the oldest Czech motorway, built in
the 1970s and 80s, should be completed in 2018 at the cost of 150
million crowns per kilometre. The most demanding part of the project
will involve the demolition of two road bridges which will mean that
between 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles will be pushed into a single lane. By
2050, another lane should be added to the D1 motorway in each direction.

Man sentenced to life for murder

A court in Hradec Kralove on Wednesday sentenced a 45-year-old man to
life in prison for murdering an elderly woman in February. The man
killed the woman while on leave from a psychiatric facility where he
was held as part of his previous sentence; in 2003 the man landed a
12-year-sentence for an attempted murder and rape of a minor. He had
also served six years in a German prison for attempted rape of two
women. Both the convict and prosecution have take time to consider
appealing the verdict.

Two men sentenced, one acquitted in multi-million robbery trial

Two men were sentenced to 10 and 12 years in prison on Wednesday for
their involvement in a multi-million crown robbery which took place in
Prague in 2002. Another man, charged in the case, was acquitted over
lack of evidence. The court said the two men, disguised as police
officers, stopped a cash van with 154 million crowns in a Prague
street, forced the driver to open the door and drove away with it. One
of the sentenced men is already serving an 11-year term for other
crimes while the other had fled the country.

Renovated ossuary opens in Brno

An ossuary under St Jacob's church in Brno opened after renovation to
the public on Wednesday. The ossuary, which was established in the late
18th century, contains the skeletal remains of some 50,000 people which
make it the second biggest ossuary in Europe, according to the CTK news
agency. Brno Mayor Roman Onderka said the ossuary should become an
interesting site for tourists as well as a spiritual place.

Football: UEFA bans Olomouc from Europa League over corruption scandal

Europe's football governing body, UEFA on Wednesday banned Czech FA Cup
winners Sigma Olomouc from participating in next season's Europa League
over the club's involvement in a corruption scandal. The Czech football
association fined Olomouc for allegedly bribing players from an
opposing team to ensure a victory in the last round of the 2008-2009
season. The case is now being review by a court. It is not clear
whether Olomouc will be replaced by another Czech team in the upcoming
Europa League season.

EURO 2012: injured Rosicky returns to training

The Czech national side's injured captain Tomas Rosicky returned to
training on Wednesday, a day before the Czechs play Portugal in the
quarterfinals of Euro 2012. The Arsenal midfielder, who suffered an
Achilles tendon injury in the team's game against Greece last week,
underwent medical tests in Prague before rejoining the national team in
Poland but it remains unclear whether he'll be able to appear in
Thursday's match against Portugal; at a news conference in Warsaw n
Wednesday, Rosicky said the final decision would be taken before the


The coming days will mostly be cloudy with some rain and storms
expected. Daytime highs should range between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
New study looks at what Czech multi-millionaires are like

The typical Czech dollar millionaire is a man in his late 40s who runs
his own company, is concerned about corruption and doesn't show off his
wealth. He does not take big risks with his money which he mostly
spends on himself and his family. These are some of the results of the
J&T Bank's Wealth Report for 2012, a new survey of multimillionaires in
the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In this edition of Marketplace, we
talk to one of the authors of the study, Jaroslav Cir from the research
firm Perfect Crowd.
Middleman denies enormous profits on controversial CASA deal

The Omnipol company, which is at the centre of a scandal involving
allegedly overpriced military transport planes, has defended itself,
saying its profits from the deal were normal and amounted to far less
than police and the media have asserted. Meanwhile, a parliament
committee has begun examining the evidence to determine whether to give
up MP and former defence minister Vlasta Parkanova, who the police want
to prosecute over the deal.
"Czechs abroad" project to award prize to greatest Czech living abroad

Who is the greatest Czech living abroad? As part of the "Czechs abroad"
project, the Foreign Ministry, together with Czech Radio and Czech TV,
is finding the answer to that question. The ambitious initiative also
seeks to paint a more vivid picture of those Czechs who do not live in
their native country - through reports, conferences and discussions.
Sarah Borufka has more.

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