Monday, June 4, 2012

News 6.4.2012

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

News Monday, June 4th, 2012

By: Sarah Borufka

* Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that Switzerland's planned
immigration quota should not apply to Czech citizens.

* The government has upheld its diesel fuel tax rebate program for a
year longer than planned.

* Dozens of demonstrators from the Stop the Government platform
gathered for a protest outside the Health Ministry on Monday.

* An EU-funded regional development program for north-western Bohemia
has been frozen.

* Representatives of the Central Bohemian region have elected Zuzana
Moravcikova the new governor.

Czech president: Swiss immigration quota should not apply to Czechs

Speaking after a meeting with Swiss President Evelin Widmer-Schlumpf,
Czech President Vaclav Klaus said that Switzerland's planned
immigration quota should not apply to all newer EU member states. The
Czech head of state said the problems that Switzerland was seeking to
address by restricting migration from certain countries did not apply
to Czech immigrants. Mr Klaus's Swiss counterpart was on an official
visit to the Czech Republic on Monday. She argues that such a quota is
necessary since social tensions have increased in certain regions of
Switzerland due to an influx in immigration. Mrs Widmer-Schlumpf has
stressed that the new regulation is a short-term one and will most
likely only apply for a time span of two years.

Government upholds diesel fuel tax rebate program

The government has decided to uphold its diesel fuel tax rebate program
for Czech farmers until the year 2014, Prime Minister Petr Necas said
on Monday. However, rebate conditions will become less lucrative for
farmers starting next year, when agricultural workers will only be able
to claim 40 percent of their diesel fuel expenses back, as opposed to
the current rate of 60 percent. Originally, the government had planned
to discontinue the program in 2013; farmers protested by slowing down

Protesters gather in front of Health Ministry

About fifty protesters gathered for a happening outside the Health
Ministry on Monday. Union members, patients and disabled demonstrators
who joined the protest, which was organized by the Stop the Government
platform, oppose the government's planned health care reforms. Among
the steps they criticize is a new regulation under which patients can
pay extra for a doctor of their choice. Health Minister Leos Heger
discussed the planned reform with the demonstrators in front of his

The event is part of a series of "blockades" that will take place in
front of five ministries in June, in protest of the government's
reforms and austerity measures. Last week, only about a dozen
protesters gathered in front of the Education and Culture ministries; a
planned blockade failed for lack of participants. Prime Minister Petr
Necas has slammed the protest, saying that to block employees' access
to their place of work is in violation of the law.

Ministries freeze regional development program

The Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of Finance have
frozen an EU-funded regional development program for the north-western
region of Bohemia. Regional Development Minister Kamil Jankovsky said
at a news conference on Monday that while certain irregularities may
have been the fault of individuals, a systemic cause cannot be ruled
out. The minister added that one of the reasons behind the freeze of
the program was the criminal investigation of its former director.
Auditors from Brussels arrived in the Czech Republic on Monday and are
currently looking into possible irregularities in securing EU funds.

Central Bohemia representatives to select replacement governor

Representatives of the region of Central Bohemia on Monday elected
Zuzana Moravcikova the new governor. She replaces former governor David
Rath, who stepped down nearly three weeks ago after he was arrested and
charged with corruption. Following her election, she said that she
would like to involve the opposition in important decisions and grant
them more influence in the decision-making process. However, the
opposition parties did not support Mrs Moravcikova and were pushing for
the resignation of all regional councilors due to their connections
with Mr Rath's administration.

Prague City Court sentences controversial entrepreneur to three years
in prison

Prague City Court on Monday dealt a three-year prison sentence to
controversial entrepreneur Tomas Pitr for embezzlement as well as tax
fraud. Security during the trial was heightened; the defendant wore a
bullet-proof vest for the duration of the trial. Mr Pitr has already
served two years in prison; other cases of tax fraud that he is
suspected of will be the subject of a new trial that is set to open
soon. In 2006, Mr Pitr was sentenced to five years in prison for tax
fraud. He fled the country in 2007 and was extradited back to the Czech
Republic from Switzerland in April.

Upper-circuit court upholds 15-year-sentence for husband of
best-selling author

An upper-circuit court in Olomouc has upheld a 15-year prison sentence
for the husband of writer Simona Monyova. The court ruled on Monday
that Boris Ingr, who was charged with killing his wife, will be sent to
prison for 15 years, a decision which he had appealed. In August of
last year, the 46-year-old Mr Ingr attacked his wife, who was a
best-selling author, with a knife and stabbed her six times. She died
from the injuries.

Survey: Students perceive Romany minority, unemployment and general
political situation as problematic

According to a fresh survey by the Milward Brown agency, students of
Czech secondary schools believe that there are three main problems in
the Czech Republic. The poll found that the majority of the 1100
respondents believe the relationship between mainstream Czechs and
Romanies is especially problematic; unemployment and politics in
general were also cited as factors that make life in this country more
difficult. Commenting on the result, sociologist Ivan Gabal said that
Czech secondary school students are even more rigid and prejudiced
towards the Romany minority than most adults. Frustration with politics
is also on the rise and an increasing number of students would vote for
radical parties. Some 12 percent would give their vote to the far-right
Workers' Party for Social Justice, while 13 percent would cast their
ballot in favor of the Czech Pirate Party, the survey found.

Police bust illegal CD and DVD plant

Police have busted an illegal CD and DVD plant in Prague. Customs
officers on Friday raided the plant, where they confiscated some 8000
bootleg CDs and DVDs. A police spokeswoman said on Monday that two
messengers involved in the illegal operation were arrested in the
Moravian city of Znojmo. Three suspects have been charged in connection
with the case. If found guilty, they could face prison sentences of up
to five years.

Fans cheer on national team during training session ahead of Euro 2012

Some 3000 fans came to watch the Czech national team during their first
training session in the Polish city of Wroclaw ahead of the UEFA Euro
2012 football championship which kicks off on June 8. Fans cheered as
the national team entered the field of the stadium, which has a
capacity of 8000. Among the members on the squad is team captain Tomas
Rosicky, as well as Chelsea's goalie star Petr Cech. The Czech Republic
faces Russia on June 8, Greece on June 12, and Poland on June 16.


Overcast skies with daytime highs of up to 20 degrees and scattered
showers are expected to last until the middle of the week.

Articles posted on today
Sports News 4.6.2012

In Sports News: the Czech national football team arrives in Poland
ahead of Euro 2012; in hockey, the L.A. Kings have won the first two
games of Stanley Cup finals against the New Jersey Devils, lessening
the chance the cup will travel to the Czech Republic this year; in
tennis, world No. 4 Petra Kvitova and fellow Czech player Klara
Zakopalova have both made it to the fourth round at the French Open.
Selecting one's surgeon is now possible for a set price

It's a revolution in Czech health care: as of this month some Czech
hospitals are enabling patients to be treated by the surgeon or
specialist of their choice on condition that they are prepared to pay
extra for his or her services. While the change has only legalized a
practice that's been around for years, critics say it smacks of
Jindrich Sidlo - one of the country's most prominent political
journalists, part II

In last week's One on One, we brought you the first part of this
two-part interview with Jindrich Sidlo, a political analyst and
commentator who currently writes for the daily Hospodarske noviny.
Given that he has been covering Czech politics for some 20 years, we
spoke to him about the latest corruption cases, the future of politics
in this country and if he ever gets tired covering the Czech political

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