Tuesday, July 10, 2012

News 7.10.2012

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

News Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Police have said there is no indication of foul play in the death of
a regional court judge.

* Parliament's Mandate and Immunity Committee has advised deputies in
the lower house to strip former defense minister Vlasta Parkanova of
her immunity, opening the way for prosecution.

* German police are reported to have found the newborn baby kidnapped
in the north Bohemian town of Trmice last week.

* Czech children returning home from Italy had a miraculous escape when
their bus caught fire just meters from a tunnel.

* A newly introduced vehicle registration system continued to cause
problems on Tuesday after completely collapsing on the previous day.

Police say no indication of foul play in judge's death

Police investigating the death of regional court judge Miloslav
Studnicka say they have no indication of foul play. At a press briefing
on Tuesday investigators said they found no traces of a struggle and
have no reason to believe that judge Studnicka's death was linked to
his professional activities. The judge was found dead in his country
home in the Novy Jicin area on Monday, with a throat wound. The police
are not ruling out suicide or a tragic accident. The situation is
complicated by the fact that the bleeding judge was savaged by his own
dogs before the police found him. The circumstances of his death have
caused widespread speculation since judge Studnicka presided over a
number of high-profile criminal cases in the Czech Republic including
that of arsonists who left a toddler in Vitkov with severe disabilities
in a racially-motivated attack; all four received stiff prison

Parliament's Mandate and Immunity Committee advises giving up Parkanova
for prosecution

Parliament's Mandate and Immunity Committee has advised deputies in the
lower house to strip Vlasta Parkanova from TOP 09 of her immunity,
opening the way for prosecution. Ms. Parkanova is suspected of abuse of
public office and breach of trust in connection with a 3.5 billion
crown purchase of CASA military transport planes while she served as
defense minister in 2009. According to an independent assessment the
planes were overpriced by 658 million crowns. The former defense
minister has come under fire for not commissioning an expert assessment
on the price, though the Institute of State and Law has concluded that
no such assessment was required under Czech law. Ms. Parkanova says her
conscience is clear. The lower house is to take a final vote on whether
to give her up for prosecution later this week.

Head of anti-corruption police says no secret meeting took place

In related news, the head of the anti-corruption police Tomas Martinec
on Tuesday dismissed claims that one of his subordinates had in recent
days met with a person close to the finance ministry in connection with
the investigation of the questionable purchase of Spanish CASA planes.
The weekly Respect alleged that such a meeting had taken place putting
it in the framework of ongoing speculation that Finance Minister
Miroslav Kalousek, who approved the deal as then-finance minister, had
tried to influence the investigation and had even threatened one of the
investigators on the case. Mr Kalousek has admitted to contacting
detectives by phone, but insists he made no threats and has since
requested that the allegations be investigated.

Kidnapped baby girl found in Germany

German police are reported to have found the newborn baby kidnapped in
the north Bohemian town of Trmice last week. The three-week-old baby
girl who was forcibly taken from her mother in the street is reported
to be safe and sound. Four people have been arrested in connection with
the case. The police have not revealed the motive of the crime, but say
that the kidnappers did not know the baby's family. The baby was just
18 days old when she was kidnapped.

Czech tourist bus catches fire in Austria

A Czech tourist bus full of children returning from holiday in Italy
caught fire on the A2 highway in Austria. No one is reported injured,
though the bus was completely destroyed by the blaze. According to the
APA news agency the driver stopped the bus just a few meters from a
tunnel and the children quickly escaped to safety. Preliminary
estimates suggest the fire was most likely caused by a technical defect.

Vehicle registration system still causing problems

A newly introduced vehicle registration system continued to cause
problems on Tuesday after completely collapsing on the previous day.
Offices around the country reported long lines of clients waiting to
register a vehicle and have appealed to car owners to give them time to
get the system up and running again. The system was overhauled as it
was transferred from the interior to the transport ministries.

Narodni trida metro station closes for two years

A group of people staged a mock funeral procession at the Narodni Trida
metro station in Prague on Tuesday to protest the station's closing
down for a two-year period due to construction work in the vicinity.
Critics say that wheelchair-bound metro users will lose one of the few
metro stations with barrier-free access. There are only two other stops
with barrier free access on the Prague B line -Florenc and Smichov -
with lifts in the latter currently being out of operation.

Fischer and Zeman most likely rivals for presidential post

The two most likely contenders in the second round of presidential
elections would be former caretaker prime minister Jan Fischer with 32
percent public support and former prime minister Milos Zeman with 17
percent support, the Median polling agency reported on Tuesday. Mr.
Zeman has already collected the necessary 50,000 signatures for
registration, Jan Fisher started collecting them this week. Mr. Fischer
who has served as EBRD vice-president since September 2010, has taken
unpaid leave for his election campaign and plans to resign from his
post upon registration.

Czech Banking Association revises growth forecast downwards

The latest forecast released by the Czech Banking Association expects
the Czech economy to fall by 0.6 percent this year, while previously it
had reckoned with stagnation. The reason behind the predicted drop is a
slump in household consumption, a drop in incomes and high
unemployment. The CBA also revised down its economic development
outlook for 2013 predicting a 1 percent economic growth compared to the
2 percent increase it forecast in April.

Czech Food Inspection Office launches web reporting on poor quality

The Czech Food Inspection Office has launched a new web reporting on
poor-quality or dangerous food products on Czech supermarket shelves.
The office set it up in reaction to the growing number of products that
inspectors found to be inadequate or even health damaging. Many stores
were found to be selling goods long past their expiry date and the
quality of many products did not correspond to what was on the label.
The new web, at potraviny.cz ,had 350 items on the day it was launched.


It should be partly cloudy with rain in places and day temperatures
between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Parliamentary committee recommends for MP and former defence minister
to be stripped of immunity

Parliament's Mandate and Immunity Committee has advised deputies in the
lower house to strip coalition MP Vlasta Parkanova of immunity. The
former defence minister is suspected of abuse of public office and
breach of trust in connection with a 3.5 billion crown purchase of
military planes during her term in office.


Czech scientists present unique trilobite specimens, attacked by an
unknown predator

Czech scientists have found unique specimens of trilobites that suggest
something thought to be impossible - something was eating them. The
small animals were amongst the most successful in history, crawling
along the seabed for more than 270 million years. But during the
Cambrian era, 500 million years ago, when neither fish nor cephalopods
had developed, there should have been nothing capable of sinking its
teeth into their hard shells. At a recent conference of international
palaeontologists in Prague, Dr Oldrich Fatka of the Institute of
Geology and Palaeontology presented evidence from more than thirty
years of study, showing that even 508 million years ago there seems to
have been a predator on the sea floor.


A visit to Skalka in Prague's Smichov

In this week's Spotlight, Dominik Jun visits Skalka in Prague's Smichov
district, and discovers baroque-era ruins, and forests and meadows


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