Monday, July 16, 2012

News 7.16.2012

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

News Monday, July 16th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* Jordan's prime minister, on an official visit to Prague, has said the
United Nations will have to do more if it is to help end the armed
conflict in Syria.

* The Czech Export Bank provided more than eight billion crowns in
unjustified loans, according to a review by the supreme audit authority.

* Even after a week, problems are continuing to plague the Transport
Ministry's vehicle registration system, website idnes says.

* A young man, thought to be a Czech national, drowned in Mostar on
Sunday after jumping from the town's 16th century bridge.

* Police have shelved a case in Breclav, South Moravia, in which a
local teenager - who suffered serious injury in a fall - claimed he had
been beaten up by Romanies.

Jordanian PM, in Prague, calls for greater UN role to help end violence
in Syria

Jordan's Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh has said that the United
Nations needs to play a far greater role and needs to exert more
pressure on the government of Syria if it is to help end continuing
violence and armed conflict in the Middle Eastern state. Mr
Al-Tarawneh, whose country borders Syria, made the statement on an
official visit to the Czech Republic on Monday, where he met with Czech
counterpart Petr Necas. Violence in Syria has continued since January
2011. Peace envoy Kofi Annan is due to arrive in Russia where he will
appeal to Moscow to put more pressure on Syria's leadership to begin
political transition to end the conflict. Russia has strong ties with
Syria and has, for example, vetoed calls for foreign intervention.

Audit: Czech Export Bank provided billions in unjustified loans

The Czech Export Bank provided 8.2 billion crowns, the equivalent of
nearly 400 million US dollars, in unjustified loans, according to a
review released on Monday by the country's supreme audit authority. The
auditors found that around half of that sum was in fact provided in
breach of Czech law, while more than 13 percent of the 143 billion
crowns the bank gave out between 2005 and 2011 to support Czech
exporters was sent to only two companies. One of the recipients paid
over 40 percent of the sum to an off-shore firm which, the auditors
said, cast serious doubt over whether the move can be considered
support of Czech exports. Some of the loans were also given without
being reviewed by the bank's supervisory board, the report said.

Problems continue to plague registration system

Even after one week, problems are continuing to plague the Transport
Ministry's electronic vehicle registration system, news website idnes
writes. According to the daily, software was updated over the weekend
but not all wrinkles have been ironed out by far. Originally, the
ministry promised the system would resume properly within a matter of
days. Complications have prevented car owners from registering or
deregistering their vehicles. In places on Monday, officials said the
system was running but far from optimal, leading - for example - to
long waiting periods. A crisis team at the ministry is meeting on
Monday to discuss how to proceed next.

Additional tests will apparently be conducted along Evropska Street

Experts are expected to conduct additional tests on Prague's Evropska
Street, a section of which caved in recently creating a roughly
five-metre deep crater. Frantisek Polak, a spokesman for Metrostav (the
firm overseeing tunneling below the avenue to extend the metro line)
said the tests were intended to uncover other potential weak spots.
Until now, some 200 metres of road had already been tested. Evropska
Street had to be closed to traffic for several days after the cave-in,
as workers poured concrete in the collapsed section. In past years,
Metrostav suffered three cave-ins in connection not with the subway but
in the construction of Blanka tunnel, also in the capital.

Young man - believed to be Czech - drowns in Mostar

Police in Mostar in Bosina and Hercegovina have told Croatian daily
Slobodna Dalmacija they believe a young man who drowned after jumping
from Mostar's famous Stari most or Old Bridge was a Czech national from
the city of Brno. The tragedy took place on Sunday; a police search of
the river has not uncovered a body yet. A friend of the victim
reportedly jumped first and emerged from Neretva River unharmed. The
Czech consul to Bosnia and Hercegovina, Jana Stara, said that by all
appearances the drowned man in Mostar was Czech, but said she could not
yet confirm it 100 percent.

At the weekend, another Czech national drowned in Vienna, also
following a jump from a local bridge.

Police shelve Breclav case

Czech police have shelved a case in Breclav, South Moravia, in which a
local teenager (who suffered serious injury in a fall) claimed he had
been beaten up by Romanies. The boy, who fell off a landing and lost a
kidney, admitted to police later that he had made up the story for fear
he would be punished at home. The case file will now head to the state
prosecutor's office, where it will be decided whether the minor will
himself face legal action. The boy's original story fuelled marked
anti-Roma sentiment in the town and led to hundreds of locals
demonstrating in the streets. The mother later apologised for her son's
actions; she also returned funds that had been donated to help the
injured boy.

Military plane to transport Przewalski horses to Mongolia

A Czech military plane on Monday will transport four Przewalski mares
to Mongolia for reintroduction into the wild, part of Prague Zoo's
ongoing Return of Wild Horses programme. Last year, three mares and one
stallion were sent. Przewalski's horse, also known as the Dzungarian
horse, is a rare and endangered subspecies native specifically to
Mongolia. According to the Prague Zoo, which played a major role in
saving the horse in the 20th century, there were 1,860 Przewalski
horses around the world at the end of 2005. Of those, fewer than 300
still lived in the wild in Mongolian or Chinese nature reserves.

Czech scientists participate in sequencing banana genome

Czech scientists have participated in the sequencing of the banana
genome in which researchers from seven countries took part and that
will help comprehend the development of the fruit plant and it's
grafting, the press department of the Czech Science Academy reported.
The Czech scientists are Jaroslav Dolezel and Eva Hribova, from the CAV
Experimental Botany Institute and the Hana Regional Centre for
Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, the Czech news agency
reported. The results of the research have been published by the
international scientific journal Nature. Mr Dolezel's lab has -
according to the CAV - become an internationally acknowledged workplace
into grain and banana genome research.

Former senator sentenced to four years in prison

Usti nad Labem's regional court on Monday, in an appeal, sentenced
former Civic Democrat senator Alexandr Novak, convicted earlier of
bribery, to four years in prison. In the original proceedings, the
defendant received only a two-year suspended sentence. The case, in
which Mr Novak accepted a bribe of 40 million crowns, dates back to
1999, when Chomutov town hall sold shares of the Severoceska energetika
and Severoceska plynarenska energy and gas companies to a German firm.
On Monday, the court upheld a five-year ban excluding Mr Novak from
public office and a five-million crown fine.

Regina: City Hall may raise rents in better apartments

Prague's City Hall is planning on raising rents in city-owned
apartments, with prices depending on their current condition (or
technical state), Czech Radio's Regina reports. According to the
station, apartment buildings with elevators, for example, or flats
offering better views from their windows, could soon cost tenants more.


Mostly cloudy conditions are expected to continue throughout the week;
daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs between 18 to 20
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Czech journalist Jana Ciglerova - a media professional with experience
both at home and abroad

Jana Ciglerova studied journalism in Prague and in London, where she
started working as a UK correspondent for the daily Lidove noviny when
she was still a student. She has since then written for an interesting
variety of publications, including The Observer. Upon her return to the
Czech Republic, she became the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, later
launched a women's weekly and currently works for the daily Mlada
fronta Dnes as well as producing a TV show. In this week's One on One,
Jana Ciglerova speaks about UK media, feminism and how she first became
interested in becoming a journalist.
Lower house approves restitution of church property

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has passed a controversial bill
on the restitution of church property. Under the draft legislation, 17
Czech churches and religious groups would get tens of billions of
crowns worth of physical property confiscated by the communist regime,
plus financial compensation. The bill will now be put to vote in the
opposition-controlled Senate which is likely to turn it down, and send
it back to the lower house for final approval.
Sports News 16.7.2012

In this week's Sports News: Dominik Hasek is named the greatest ever
European ice hockey player; Czech Zahlavova-Strycova is beaten in the
Italiacom Open finals; Czech Olympic javelin hopeful performs in
pre-Olympic tournament; police close the case of death of Rally Bohemia
navigator and Czech wins third stage in Tour de Pologne cycle

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