Sunday, July 1, 2012

News 7.1.2012

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

News Sunday, July 1st, 2012

By: Christian Falvey

* Prime Minister Petr Necas says a new justice minister will be
appointed by Tuesday at the latest.

* Vlasta Parkavnova should ask Parliament to give her up for
prosecution herself, says Prime Minister Necas.

* Police have cracked down on squatters holding a music event at the
Milada mansion in Prague.

* The City of Prague has decided to shift cultural funding from a
partnership to a grant system.

* Nearly four dozen children escaped a burning bus uninjured on
Saturday evening.

Necas: new justice minister will be appointed by Tuesday

Prime Minister Petr Necas says a new justice minister will be appointed
by Tuesday at the latest, before the president leaves for a week-long
state visit to Indonesia and Malaysia on Wednesday. On a debate
programme on Czech Television the prime minister said that the new
minister would have to make structural changes to key parts of the
justice ministry, which he said the previous minister avoided. The PM
unexpectedly dismissed justice minister Jiri Pospisil this week,
criticising him for poor financial management and procrastinating on
tough decisions. However, many have speculated that the decision was
actually meant to block the imminent appointment of a highly respected
prosecutor and anti-corruption crusader to the post of High State
Prosecutor. Mr Necas has declined to comment on who the new minister
may be.

PM 'can't imagine' Parkanova not being given up

Regarding the on-going scandal around former defence minister Vlasta
Parkanova, the prime minister also told Czech Television that he could
not imagine that Parliament would not allow her to be given up for
prosecution. Mr Necas said the best thing Mrs Parkkanova could do would
be to ask that she be stripped of immunity as a Member of Parliament
herself. The case, he said, involved a number of questions that could
only be cleared up in a court of law - including questions regarding
the police investigation itself. The police accuse Parkanova of
properly handling the 2010purchase of four Spanish CASA transport
planes for the army via an intermediary.

Balanced budget by in 2016 will probably not be reached, says Necas

The Czech Republic will probably not reach the planned balanced public
budget in 2016 as lower economic growth stands in the way of meeting
the government��s consolidation programme, Prime Minister Petr Necas has
said. However, the government still has to get the public finance gap
below 3 percent of GDP next year, he added. In its policy statement,
the government counted on a balanced budget on a 2 percent GDP growth.
The growth was at 1.7 percent last year, this year will be around zero
and next year below 2 percent as well. Under these circumstances he
said he considered it completely legitimate and reasonable to adjust
the consolidation pace to concrete economic conditions.

Police crackdown on squatters in the Milada mansion

Police cracked down on some three dozen squatters holding a music event
at the Milada mansion in Prague 8. A helicopter and one hundred police
officers arrived on the scene after midnight and arrested about 25
people for misdemeanours. A number of squatters climbed on to the roof,
however, and police were still negotiating with them to come down on
Sunday. The squatters were marking three years since police forced
their community out of the mansion, which was abandoned in 1988 and is
in poor condition. For more than 10 years the squatters had inhabited
the building and organised concerts and anti-racism festivals.

City of Prague to shift cultural funding from partnership to grant

The City of Prague has decided to considerably limit its partnership
activities in cultural events, providing support instead through
grants. According to the decision of the city council, as of next year,
90% of cultural funding will be distributed through grants based on
selections procedures assessed by specialists. The system of
partnership has often been criticised because it requires no such
assessment. A total of 100 million crowns will be transferred from
partnership to grant funds.

Dozens of children escape bus fire uninjured

Not a single injury was reported after a bus carrying 45 children to a
summer camp caught fire near the town of Chrudim on Saturday night. The
bus was eventually totally consumed by the fire, however the children,
as well as two monitors and the driver, were able to escape through the
windows unharmed, even saving the luggage. The cause of the fire is
under investigation.

Thousands of Sokol supporters gather in Prague

Thousands of supporters of the Sokol athletic movement set off across
Prague on Sunday for the 15th annual Sokol conference. Organisers
estimated that nearly 15,000 people turned out for the event, which
began at Prague's Wenceslaus Square and included processions with
historic banners, Sokol uniforms and live music. This year also marks
the 150th anniversary of the founding of the movement, which from the
19th century also played an important role in the Czech National
Awakening. Organisers said it was important to show that Sokol is not
just a historical but a living modern movement.


Conditions are expected to remain mostly sunny and hot, with daytime
highs reaching 32 to 36o C.

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