Tuesday, July 31, 2012

News 7.31.2012

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

News Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech Republic should increasingly rely on nuclear power,
according to a blueprint for the country's energy strategy.

* Four members of the Prerov town council including the mayor are to be
charged with corruption.

* The USAID agency has ranked the Czech Republic third among
post-communist nations in the sustainability of the civil society

* A Czech NGO is launching a campaign to fight prejudices against

* Canoeist Stanislav Jezek finished fifth at the Olympics' men's single
canoe event.

Czechs to rely on nuclear power: ministry

The Czech Republic should in the future increasingly rely on nuclear
power while phasing out coal power plants, according to an updated
blueprint for the country's energy strategy unveiled on Monday by the
minister of industry and trade. The share of nuclear power should
increase from the current 16 percent to between 30 and 35 percent by
the year 2040. Minister Martin Kuba told reporters that the state
should also halt massive subsidies for renewable sources of energy.

Environmental groups criticized the plan and said the country has a
much greater potential of using renewable energy sources than assumed
by the government. The blueprint will be now reviewed by the various
government branches before it is discussed by the cabinet at the end of

Four Prerov council members to be charged with corruption

The police will charge the mayor of Prerov, Social Democrat Senator
Jiri Lajtoch, along with three council members and two council
employees with corruption, a spokesman for the anti-corruption unit of
the Czech police said on Tuesday. In 2008, the men allegedly overpriced
two public procurement projects. The police were originally going to
charge 13 people in the case but the prosecutor dropped the charges
against seven of them.

USAID: Czech civil society ranks third among post-communist countries

The USAID agency ranked the Czech Republic third among post-communist
nations in the sustainability of the civil society sector for 2011. In
its annual report, the US Agency for International Development said the
Czech NGO sector scored above average in the fields of advocacy and
public image but low in financial viability which was affected by the
ongoing economy crises. Oldrich Haicman, the head of Charity Czech
Republic, the largest Czech NGO, said the survey reflected the reality
as many NGOs have been hit by the financial crunch.

Tattooed artist interested in presidential run

Respected Czech artist and composer Vladimir Franz on Monday expressed
interest in running in direct presidential elections next year provided
he gets 50,000 signatures required. Mr Franz posted a short video clip
online discussing his views on the role of the head of state as a moral
guarantor and someone who could represent the Czech Republic in a
dignified manner in organisations like NATO. Vladimir Franz,
recognisable to many Czechs because of his extensive bodily and facial
tattoos, has become the 14th person interested in running for the
office of the president in next year's election.

NGO launches campaign fighting anti-Roma prejudices

Czech NGO IQ Roma Servis on Tuesday announced the start of a new
campaign aimed at fighting prejudices against Romanies. The campaign
lampoons some of the anti-Romany stereotypes rooted in the Czech
society, and cleverly plays with the fact that Czechs might perceive
some words differently in a Romany-related context. The campaign which
also targets Czech employers, will be launched on Wednesday.

Czech households' debt reaches new high

Czech households' debt with banks and financial institutions rose by
4.2 billion crowns in June compared to the previous month, and reached
one trillion and 133 billion crowns, or over 55 billion US dollars,
according to the latest figures by the Czech National Bank released on
Tuesday. The debt increased by 53 billion crowns year-on-year. The bulk
of the debt consists of relatively safe housing credits and loans.
Analysts say that compared with western European countries, the debt
levels in the Czech Republic are still relatively low.

Every third scrap merchant buys stolen things: inspection

Every third Czech scrap merchant buys stolen metal, the country's trade
inspection authority said on Tuesday. In the first six months of this
year, the Czech Trade Inspection carried out checks in 200 scrap metal
yards and found out that over 30 percent of them breached the law.
Theft of metal items has become a serious issue in the Czech Republic;
thieves often steal sewage covers, electrical wiring and other items
which they sell to scrap yards. Municipalities from around the country
have long been calling for introducing stricter regulation of the

Film Dark Knight Rises tops weekend's box offices

The film The Dark Knight Rises topped the Czech box offices over the
weekend. Some 80,000 viewers came to see the Hollywood blockbuster
which made around 11 million crowns at the first weekend in Czech
cinemas, according to figures by Czech film distributors released on
Tuesday. Second on the list came the animated film Ice Age 4 with jut
over 26,000 viewers, followed by Madagascar 3, The Amazing Spiderman
and Magic Mike.

Ex-US embassy guard gets six years in jail for assaulting bus driver

A court in Domazlice, in western Bohemia, on Tuesday sentenced a
36-year-old man to six years in prison for having assaulted and injured
a bus driver. The court said that the man, who in the past worked as a
guard at the US embassy in Prague, was trying to overtake the bus on a
country road; when they reach a nearby town, the man got off his car
and attacked the bus driver, inflicting permanent injuries in the
incident which occurred in September 2011. The convicted man appealed
the verdict.

Olympics: Jezek fifth in men's single canoe event

Stanislav Jezek finished fifth in the final of the Olympic men's single
canoe event on Tuesday, 8.67 seconds after the winner Tony Enstanguet
from France. The 35-year-old Czech canoeist achieved the same position
as four years ago at the Games in Beijing. In other Olympic results,
Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat the Italian pair Daniele
Bracciali, Andreas Seppi 4:6, 7:6, 6:4 to advanced to the second round
of the Olympic tennis doubles tournament while skeet shooter Jan Sychra
finished sixth in the Olympic finals on Tuesday.


The next few days will be mostly clear, with rain showers and storms
setting in from the west. Daytime highs should range between 24 and 28
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

The Four Corners of the Czech Republic, Pt. II: The Sudetenland

On the one hand, defining one's territory is said to be a basic human
trait, and on the other there is nothing that comes so natural to
people - when given a say - as to defy a boundary and explore the other
side. The Czech/German/Polish tri-border is an excellent example of


Bradacova appointed high state attorney

It took weeks for the new Justice Minister Pavel Blazek to decide but
in the end, on Monday, he appointed reputable state attorney Lenka
Bradacova high state attorney at the state prosecutor's office in
Prague. Her candidacy - and fearless reputation as a prosecutor -
sparked controversy within the government and namely within the ruling
Civic Democratic Party, suspected by some of trying to stall or derail
her appointment.


New Sumava National Park head raises eyebrows with plans to downgrade
conservation status

The Sumava National park is one of the Czech Republic's indisputable
natural treasures. A vast 100km long stretch of forest running along
the south-western border of the country, the area has been protected
since the early 1960s and a nature reserve has existed within this zone
since 1991. But, the reserve's new head Jiri Manek has announced
controversial plans to weaken environmental protection there.


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