Wednesday, June 27, 2012

News 6.27.2012

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

News Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* Coalition and opposition parties have reacted with surprise to the
sudden dismissal.

* TOP 09 will call on the prime minister to appoint Lenka Bradacova to
lead the Prague State Prosecutor's office.

* Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil of the Civic Democratic Party has been

* Education Minister Petr Fiala has extended the accreditation of Plzen
law college for one year.

Justice minister sacked

Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil of the Civic Democratic Party has been
sacked. Prime Minister Petr Necas told a press conference on Wednesday
that the unexpected decision was the result of his having lost
confidence in Pospisil's ability to manage the ministry and its
finances. The prime minister harshly criticised the justice minister
for having requested a budget increase of a billion crowns, which he
said had a demoralising effect on the other cabinet members at a time
when every ministry had to suffer cuts. Pospisil has on numerous
occasions warned that without a budget increase the prison system would
not be able to properly care for prisoners. Mr Pospisil himself said he
respected the decision but was surprised by it, having only learned of
his dismissal an hour before it was publically announced.

Parties react to dismissal with shock

Coalition and opposition parties reacted with surprise to the sudden
dismissal of Justice Minister Pospisil, who is often rated one of the
most popular politicians in the country. Leading members of the
coalition TOP 09 party said they had been taken aback by the decision,
with some praising his successful work in the Justice Ministry, but
concurring that the dismissal of a minister is wholly the decision of
the prime minister. The opposition Social Democrats demanded to know
the 'real' reasons for the minister's dismissal, with some speculating
that it was based on Mr Pospisil's own sacking of the Prague State
Prosecutor and the present need to fill that position. TOP 09 leader
Karel Schwarzenberg called the sacking unjust and said that Pospisil
had apparently been eliminated because he was a danger to someone.

TOP 09 to call on Necas to appoint Bradacova to lead Prague State
Prosecutor's office

The heads of the coalition TOP 09 party will call on Prime Minister
Necas and the next justice minister to appoint Lenka Bradacova to lead
the Prague State Prosecutor's office, according to deputy chairman
Miroslav Kalousek. A great deal of speculation on Wednesday focused on
Bradacova, a respected prosecutor, as the real reason behind the
sacking of Justice Minister Pospisil. Pospisil intended to appoint her
to the key position to replace Vlastimil Rampula, who many have accused
of political bias. Kalousek said Wednesday that the prime minister
should appoint Bradacova if indeed she was not the reason for his

Protests to support Pospisil in the works

Protests are already being planned in support of Jiri Pospisil.
Students of the Law College of Charles University are organising a
demonstration on Wednesday evening at Prague's Palacke namesti to
"express support for minister Pospisil and thank him for his work".
Green Party chairman Ondrej Liska meanwhile is calling for a
demonstration on Wenceslas Square at 7 p.m. on Thursday. A number of
Facebook pages have also been opened in defence of Mr Pospisil. Most
complaints about the dismissal include disbelief of the prime
minister's rationale for it - for example, 94% of 1,100 people in one
online poll said the reason for his sacking was his unwillingness to
sweep sensitive cases under the rug. Prime Minister Necas on Wednesday
afternoon denied accusations that the dismissal had anything to do with
the appointment of a state prosecutor in Prague, which he said he knew
nothing about.

Date set for regional and Senate elections

President Vaclav Klaus has announced that regional and Senate elections
will be held on Friday October 12 and Saturday 13. Parties will have
until August 7 to submit their lists of candidates. The Social
Democratic Party, which has governed all of the country's 14 regions
except Prague since 2008, will be fighting to retain control of them
and also the Senate, where the party has a majority. Only six of the
socialist party's 27 seats are up for grabs, however. The Civic
Democratic Party will be looking to maintain 14 of 25 mandates. The
Czech Senate comprises 81 seats, with senators serving six-year terms
of office.

Necas tells Kalousek to tone down Parkanova rhetoric

Prime Minister Necas has asked Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek to
tone down his rhetoric regarding the charges against former defence
minister Vlasta Parkanova. Kalousek has fiercely defended his fellow
party member against police accusations that she improperly handled the
purchase of four Spanish CASA transport planes for the army via an
intermediary. Kalousek in turn has been strongly criticised for
comments made at the weekend that the charges against her amounted to a
police attack on democracy and the decision-making mechanisms of the
state. Mr Necas said he sees no threat of a police state, as minister
Kalousek suggested, and said it was necessary to be more moderate in
handling the issue.

Fiala extends Plzen law accreditation for one year

Education Minister Petr Fiala has extended the accreditation of West
Bohemian University's College of Law. The continuation of the troubled
institution has been up in the air since the beginning of the year,
when the respective committee denied it accreditation due to
insufficient personnel and poor results. Former education minister
Josef Dobes drew severe criticism and even a law suit for attempting to
prolong its accreditation until 2016. Fiala on Wednesday cancelled that
decision and extended only the graduate programme for one year,
allowing students to finish their studies.

Parkanova submits legal support to immunity committee

In related news, former defence minister Parkanova told journalists
after her hearing in the parliamentary Mandate and Immunity Committee
that she did not make any mistakes in the purchase of the CASA planes
for the military. Parkanova said she submitted a number of legal
analyses to the committee, all of which said she had no duty to have an
expert price assessment made before the 3.5 billion crown purchase. The
committee, which is examining a police request to strip Parkanova of
her immunity, suspended its negotiations on Wednesday until July 10,
when it is to make a recommendation on the issue to the lower house.

Women fine one million each for negligence in 1997 post office robbery

A court has ordered two former cashiers to pay more than one million
crowns each to the Czech postal service for their negligence in a 1997
robbery. In the biggest robbery of its kind in the Czech Republic,
three armed and masked perpetrators stole 28 million crowns from a post
office. The two women were accused of facilitating the crime by failing
to follow security procedures, leaving a window open and the safe
unlocked. Three young men were charged with the crime but released for
lack of evidence.

Klaus signs Croatian EU accession treaty

President Vaclav Klaus has signed the treaty for Croatia's accession to
the EU, ending the ratification process in the Czech Republic. The
former Yugoslavian country should become the 28th member of the union
on July 1 of next year. The president originally wanted to tie the
approval of the treaty to a vote on a Czech exemption from part of the
Lisbon treaty, however that demand would have denied Croatia entry as
the Social Democratic Party, which has a majority in the Senate,
rejects the exemption.


Conditions should be mostly sunny with highs of 23 to 25o Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Large Czech milk farms ideally suit our needs, says owner of Gran
Moravia cheese factory

The small Moravian town of Litovel is home to the world's largest hard
cheese factory. Since 1996 when the Italian company Orrero set up its
production there, its Gran Moravia cheese has been conquering markets
in around the world. Today, the Litovel cheese plant produces around
6,000 tonnes of the parmesan-type cheese, a great majority of which is
sold in Italy. In this edition of Marketplace, we talk to the owner of
the Orrero company, Roberto Brazzale who says parmesan is not the right
name for its flagship product.
PM unexpectedly fires popular justice minister

President Vaclav Klaus dismissed Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil on
Wednesday following a surprisingly rapid recommendation by the
country's prime minister, Petr Necas. The sacking of one of the most
popular Czech politicians came a day after the government discussed
budget plans for next year. Mr Necas said that the minister had been
sacked for failing to meet austerity targets. Critics, though, charge
there is another reason the politician was shown the door.
Prague tortoise was thought to be "twin" of Pinta tortoise Lonesome

The death of Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta island giant
tortoise recently saddened legions of nature and reptile lovers around
the world. His unexpected demise in a reservation on the Galapagos
Islands came at the estimated age of 100 years or more. For quite some
time, tortoise experts believed that George might not be as 'lonesome'
as previously assumed: a Prague Zoo tortoise bore such close
resemblance to George that even reptile experts thought he might too be
a member of the Pinta species.

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