Wednesday, July 11, 2012

News 7.11.2012

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

News Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* Parliament has voted to strip former defence minister and MP Vlasta
Parkanova of immunity, opening the way for prosecution.

* The lower house of Parliament has started a fourth round of debate on
the government's church restitution plan.

* The unemployment rate fell slightly in June to 8.1%.

* Experts are exhuming the remains of 14 Franciscan monks ahead of
their beatification.

* Higher inflation means Czechs can buy increasingly less goods and
services for their wages.

Parliament to vote on giving Parkanova up for prosecution

Deputies in the lower house have votes to strip former defence minister
Vlasta Parkanova of her immunity, opening the way for prosecution. The
motion was supported by 117 of the 176 MPs present with 45 against. Ms
Parkanova is suspected of abuse of public office and breach of trust in
connection with a questionable 3.5 billion crown purchase of CASA
military transport planes while she served as defence minister in 2009.
Independent assessments have spoken for and against the former defence
minister. Ms Parkanova herself has said her conscience is clear. Since
1993, 18 MPs have been stripped of immunity at the request of the
police, with the current parliament having given up a record five.

Lower house opens fourth round of debate on church restitution

The lower house of Parliament has started another round of approval for
the government's church restitution plan. Culture Minister Alena
Hanakova responded to some of the points of criticism from the previous
three rounds of debate, noting among other things that the
Constitutional Court had confirmed the churches' right of ownership to
the properties in question. The last vote on the issue failed due to
procrastination tactics employed by the opposition parties. Under the
draft legislation, the Czech state would return some 56% 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 a period of 30 years.

Inflation rate higher than expected

Czechs can buy increasingly less goods and services for their wages.
The Czech Statistical Office reports that inflation grew by 0.3% to
3.5% in June with a particular rise in the price of foodstuffs and
tobacco. Analysts had expected 3.4%. Prices of vegetables rose by
18.5%, fruit by 10.4%, and eggs by 60.7%. Electricity and water prices
were up by 4.2 and 12.0%, respectively. On the other hand, clothing,
household appliances and home and garden tools all fell by 3.4 to 6.6%.

Unemployment dropped slightly in June

Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell slightly in June, down 0.1 of a
point to 8.1%. Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said Wednesday
that employment offices had registered 7.5 thousand less job seekers
compared to the previous month, but the number of vacancies dropped by
2%. There were nearly 43,000 vacancies, which is more than 4,000
compared to the previous year but 886 less than in the preceding month.
There were an average 11.1 job seekers per vacancy in June. Analysts
had expected the jobless rate to stay unchanged at May��s 8.2 percent.

Bill modifying work of Supreme Court passed

The lower house on Wednesday also supported an amendment to the code of
civil justice that will limit appeals made to the Supreme Court. The
legislation would make appeals possible only in cases of fundamental
legal significance. Justice Minister Pavel Blazek has criticised the
current practice, saying the Supreme Court is overburdened. The
ministry has also proposed giving the Supreme Court the authority to
change the verdicts of appeals and first-instance courts.

Franciscan monks' remains exhumed ahead of beatification

Anthropologists and theologians are exhuming the remains of more than a
dozen Franciscan monks who were killed in the early 17th century. The
international group of monks are to be beatified 401 years after their
deaths for their role in defending Catholicism in Protestant Prague.
Experts will be studying the condition of their remains before removing
specimens to be deposited in reliquaries in St. Vitus Cathedral and the
Church of Our Lady of the Snows. The 14 men were killed by mercenaries
of the Archduke of Austria, Leopold V, in 1611. The beatification
ceremony, which has been in preparation for more than 300 years, should
take place on October 13 in St. Vitus Cathedral.

Education Ministry fined for publication of sensitive data

The Education Ministry has been fined roughly half a million crowns for
its publication of sensitive data on Roma scholarship recipients last
year. The names, dates of birth and addresses of nearly 900 Roma
students went up on the ministry's website in November, alongside 181
schools who received 4.4 million for the students. The Office for the
Protection of Personal Information handed down a 450,000 fine.
Then-minister Josef Dobes fired an official over the incident and filed
a lawsuit.

Police investigating activist Sinagl for denying Nazi war crimes

Police are investigating anti-communist activist Jan Sinagl for denying
Nazi war crimes, a crime that carries a sentence of up to three years
in prison. The charges relate to two articles that Mr Sinagl posted on
his website last year in which he writes, among other things, that the
assassination of leading Nazi Reinhard Heydrich was carried out against
the will of the Czech resistance and that hundreds or even thousands of
people had informed on the assassins. He also wrote that the number of
people who lost their lives under Heydrich's government was only a
fraction of those killed in post-war atrocities and under Communist
rule. The author himself says he only wanted to point out crime
committed by Czechs themselves, which are often overlooked or

Storm damages reaching 500 million crowns

Damages reported to insurance companies from July's storms are
continuing to grow, and are reaching half a billion crowns. Windstorms,
flooding, lightening and hail over the last two weeks have done
particular damage to roofs and automobiles and have caused fires. The
insurance company Ceska pojistovna has registered 4429 claims worth 190
million crowns, Kooperativa 2200 claims worth 115 million.

Bohemia Jazz Fest kicks off at Valdstejn Gardens in Prague

The annual Bohemia Jazz Fest kicked off on Wednesday with a concert of
the Miroslav Hloucal Quartet and the Australian duo The Baker Suite at
Valdstejn Gardens in Prague. Thus began the seventh year of what Down
Beat magazine has called the biggest free jazz party in Europe.
Concerts will also take place on the historic town squares of seven
other Czech cities.


Conditions should be partly cloudy with rain in places and daytime
temperatures between 23 and 26o Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Kidnapped newborn found in Germany

A three-week-old baby girl who was kidnapped by an unidentified man in
the region of Usti nad Labem last week has been found safe and sound.
Following an intense police search in both the Czech Republic and
neighboring Germany, police learned the whereabouts of the child and
four suspects on Monday. Now the newborn will be reunited with her
Fireman's Ball re-release highlights lag in Czech film restoration

Since the advent of the DVD video format in the late 1990s, many
countries around the world have been re-mastering and restoring their
respective movie archives. With the relatively recent advent of high
resolution Blu-ray home movie technology, such restoration efforts have
increased exponentially. But, perhaps surprisingly, the Czech Republic
lags far behind its neighbours in this effort. While the Slovaks have
restored around eighty feature films, animated films and documentaries,
only two Czech films, the aforementioned Fireman's Ball - the restored
version of which was recently screened at the Karlovy Vary film
festival - and the 1967 movie Marketa Lazarova, have undergone such
rejuvenation. Dominik Jun spoke with the director of the Czech National
Film Archive, Michal Bregant, about this discrepancy and began by
asking about the restoration of Milos Forman's iconic and highly
allegorical New Wave film.
Energy firm CEZ gets three bids for Temelin nuclear plant expansion

The biggest public procurement project ever held in the Czech Republic
entered a new stage when earlier this month, the state-owned energy
firm CEZ received three bids to build two new blocks at the Temelin
nuclear plant. The winning bid should be announced next year, while the
project, estimated to cost between 200 and 300 billion crowns, should
be finalized by 2025.

This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2012, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved., E-mail: