Saturday, July 14, 2012

News 7.14.2012

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

News Saturday, July 14th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The lower house has approved a bill on the restitution of church

* The head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg, has said his party would
quit the government if Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek is sacked.

* The lower house is to take a vote of no-confidence in the
centre-right government next Wednesday, July 18.

* The month-old baby girl who was kidnapped and abducted to Germany is
on her way home.

* A twenty-six-year-old man is reported to have died at the Masters of
Rock festival underway in the town of Vizovice, in eastern Moravia.

Church restitution bill approved by lower house

The lower house has approved a bill on the restitution of church
property. The bill was pushed through by coalition deputies in spite of
heated protests from the opposition parties who have repeatedly
challenged the volume of property being returned and the financial
compensation to be paid out for the rest arguing that the country's
public finances are in no state to carry such a burden.

Under the draft legislation, the Czech state would return some 56
percent 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.

The bill will now go to the opposition-controlled Senate where it faces
almost certain rejection before returning to the lower house for
another vote in the autumn. The opposition claims that with the
majority of Czechs opposing church restitutions it will be harder for
the ruling parties to give it a final seal of approval ahead of the
senate and regional elections in the fall. However Prime Minister Petr
Necas said on Friday night he was confident the coalition would have
the 101 votes needed to overturn the Senate's veto.

TOP 09 leader says party will quit government if Kalousek is sacked

The head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg,has said the party would not
remain in government without its founding father Finance Minister
Miroslav Kalousek. Mr. Schwarzenberg made the statement on Czech
Television in response to calls for Mr. Kalousek's dismissal from
office on the grounds that he had allegedly tried to influence a police
investigation into the purchase of military planes for the Czech army.
Mr. Schwarzenberg, who pointed out that he has yet to see the evidence
behind the accusations, said the finance minister was not only the
founding father of TOP 09 but the "heart and brains" behind the
government's reform programme and he could not imagine carrying on
without him.

No-confidence vote in cabinet due next Wednesday

The lower house is to take a vote of no-confidence in the centre-right
government next Wednesday, July 18. The session was called by lower
house speaker Miroslava Nemcova at the initiative of the opposition
Social Democrats. The house will also debate a proposal to set up a
parliamentary committee to look into alleged political interventions
into the police investigation of the dubious purchase of CASA military
aircraft for the Czech army. The opposition, which has called for the
dismissal of Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, over his alleged role
in the affair, has tabled a vote of no-confidence despite the fact that
to all accounts it does not have the 101 votes needed to bring down the

Kidnapped baby coming home

The month-old baby girl who was kidnapped and abducted to Germany is on
her way home. Baby Michaela who was forcibly taken from her mother in
the street when she was just 18-days old has been identified and handed
over to her mother. The child was found by German police a week after
her abduction thanks to cameras which registered the number of the
kidnappers' rented vehicle. Four people have been arrested in
connection with the case. The motive of the crime is still not clear.

Law to curb insensitive advertising of funeral services

The health ministry has tabled a proposed amendment to the law on
advertising which is to prevent funeral services from insensitive
advertising, the internet daily idnes reported on Saturday. The paper
says that in an effort to sell their services some funeral companies
cross the border of good taste placing ads in the close vicinity of
hospitals and drugstores. In other cases hospital staff distributed
such leaflets to the families of diseased patients. The proposed
amendment which to be put to the cabinet, places clear restrictions on
where funeral services may advertise.

Young man dies at rock festival

A twenty-six-year old man is reported to have died at the Masters of
Rock festival underway in the town of Vizovice, in eastern Moravia. The
man is reported to have gone to sleep very drunk and most likely died
of heart failure in his sleep. An autopsy is being performed to
ascertain the precise cause of death.

Ten injured in serious accident in Breznice

Ten people are reported to have been injured in a serious accident in
Breznice, southern Bohemia. Two cars, each carrying five passengers,
collided head on in the early morning hours of Saturday. All ten
passengers were injured, five of them seriously. One of the cars was
carrying a family with three children aged 2,10 and 16. The ten-year
old boy suffered serious chest and stomach injuries and was airlifted
to hospital as was his mum who suffered a spinal injury. The five young
women from the other vehicle were also rushed to nearby hospitals. The
injuries of the others were light to serious. It is not clear what
caused one of the cars to swerve into the opposite lane.


The weekend is expected to be cloudy to overcast with rain in places
and temperatures under 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
December 1988: Mitterrand meets dissidents in Prague

In the second half of the 1980s the sweeping reforms in the Soviet
Union were being echoed in several of the country's Eastern Bloc
satellites. But in Czechoslovakia there were few signs of change,
despite growing diplomatic pressure from abroad. A key moment came in
December 1988, when President Francois Mitterrand made the first ever
official trip to Czechoslovakia by a French head of state. This was
part of a broader attempt to improve dialogue with communist countries,
but Mitterrand also came with clear human rights agenda. Just before
his trip he was interviewed by Czechoslovak Radio:
National Heritage Institute seeks to attract more visitors to Czech
castles and chateaus

The Czech Republic is sometimes called the land of castles and
chateaus. For historic reasons, many of those monuments, including some
of the most popular ones such as Lednice, Cesky Krumlov and Karlstejn,
are owned by the state and run by the National Heritage Institute. To
attract more visitors to these sits, the institute this week opened an
information office in Prague. Radio Prague spoke to Tomas Brabec from
the National Heritage Institute, and asked him what information
visitors can find in the new facility.
Vlaada Chvatil - Designer of Through the Ages and Mage Knight

When it comes to game designers you would be hard-pressed to find one
more successful in recent years than the Czech Republic's Vlaada
Chvatil. Six years ago, the Brno-based designer made his mark with a
civ-building board game called Through the Ages and since he has
produced a slew of successes including titles like Space Alert (where
players have to cooperate aboard a space vessel in trouble) and his
newest game (released by the US company Wizkids) called Mage Knight.
It's a niche hobby but within it the designer has earned international
recognition and success.

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