Monday, August 13, 2012

News 8.13.2012

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

News Monday, August 13th, 2012

By: Jan Richter

* The Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities has kicked off in the
Czech capital.

* Czech health insurance companies run under the lowest operating costs
in Europe, according to an OECD report.

* Nearly 70 percent of Czechs are content with their mobile phone
operator, a new poll suggests.

* Singer Dara Rolins has landed a suspended sentence for killing a man
in a car accident.

* Members of the Czech Olympic team return from London.

Prague Pride festival kicks off

The second instalment of the Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities
kicked off in the Czech capital on Monday. The festival programme
offers some 80 concerts, exhibitions, parties, debates and other
events. The festival, held under the auspices of Prague Mayor Bohuslav
Svoboda, received backing from 11 embassies including those of the US,
UK, Switzerland, and others. For their part, Czech conservatives groups
have voiced protests against the festival, dismissing it as an
expression of "homosexualism". The festival will culminate on Saturday
with a march through the city centre.

Auditors propose to close state culture fund

The Czech Supreme Auditing Office on Monday proposed to abolish the
State Culture Fund, along with other similar bodies, on the grounds
that they fail to fulfil their missions. The auditing authority carried
out inspections in the funds, set up to provide state support in
various fields including housing, the environment, and cinema. The
auditors discovered that over the last six years, the State Culture
Fund has not paid a single grant for any cultural project, a
spokeswoman for the auditing authority said.

OECD: Czech health insurance companies' operating costs lowest in Europe

The operating costs of Czech health insurance companies are the lowest
in Europe, according to an OECD report released on Monday. Over the
last 20 years, the costs decreased from 12 to 3.2 percent of the
companies' total expenses. The OECD list of insurance firms by their
operational costs is topped by Germany where the expenses amount to 6.8
percent. Experts say that operating costs in the Czech Republic were
driven down by competition among various health insurers. The country's
largest health insurance company, the VZP, has six million clients,
followed by the Czech Interior Ministry's insurer, with around 1.2
million clients.

Czech security council to discuss counter terrorism strategy

The Czech Republic's security council will meet on Tuesday to analyze
the Czech Republic's counter terrorism strategy and learn from other
countries' know-how in helping victims of terrorism, the news agency
CTK reported on Monday. The council will also discuss drills related to
terrorist threats. The meeting will be attended by President Vaclav
Klaus in his role as the supreme commander of the Czech Armed Forces.
The country's security council last met two months ago when it
discussed funding for the army at a time of government spending cuts.

Poll: most Czechs content with their mobile phone operator

Most Czechs are content with the services provided by their mobile
phone operator, according to a survey by the marketing firm GfK Czech
released on Monday. Nearly 70 percent of those polled expressed
"general satisfaction" with their current operators; the same number of
respondents said they would consider switching to a new operator if it
were to offer much cheaper rates. The Czech telecommunications
authority has launched an auction of frequencies which could result in
the arrival of a fourth mobile phone operator at the Czech market,
currently dominated by Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telefonica O2.

Kaplicky's concert hall in Ceske Budejovice to be completed in 2015

A concert hall in Ceske Budejovice, nicknamed Stingray, designed by the
late architect Jan Kaplicky, could be completed in 2015, the head of
the local music fans' association said. The project, which is the
Czech-born architect's last design to be built in his native country,
is expected to cost around two billion crowns; however, the investor of
the project has not been disclosed. The supporters of the project hope
that they will secure all permits by the end of the year and
construction should begin in December 2013. The new concert hall could
then open to the public in January 2016.

Jan Kaplicky, who died in 2009 aged 72, also designed a new National
Library building in Prague, known as the Blob. However, the project was
dropped under pressure from Prague City Hall.

Police arrest brutal gang of robbers

The police have arrested a gang of six Romanian citizens in Prague who
allegedly committed a series of brutal robberies, the police said. The
gang mainly targeted warehouses with construction material and
electronics; they would attack the security staff, inflicting serious
injuries on the personnel. On at least one occasion, they also robbed a
gambling bar in Prague. The police said the damages amounted to 3.5
million crowns. If convicted, the men will face up to 12 years in

Singer Dara Rolins lands suspended sentence for killing bike rider

A court in Prague on Monday handed pop singer Dara Rolins a suspended
sentence of two years in prison for causing an accident that killed a
58-year-old motorcycle rider. The court said that the Slovak-born,
Prague-based signer was driving in the opposite lane of the road when
the accident happened, on the outskirts of Prague in 2010. Her car then
crashed into the man who later died in hospital. The court also took
the 39-year-old singer's driver's licence and sentenced her to pay some
four million crowns in damages. Ms Rolins' lawyer said they would
appeal the verdict.

Fishermen stun fish to remove them from Czech lake

Fishermen in Tabor, in the south of the country, on Monday began
removing fish from a local lake to allow for the cleaning of the lake's
basin. The fish are stunned with electricity, produced by a submersible
generator, before they are relocated to a nearby river or another part
of the lake. It's not clear how many fish are in the lake which was
last cleared 180 years ago, the project's manager told the CTK news
agency. Cleaning and de-mudding the 51-hectare large Lake Jordan will
cost some 375 million crowns and should be finished in 2014.

Czech Olympians return from London

Members of the Czech Olympic Team return to Prague from London on
Monday on two special flights. The first plane which arrived at
Prague's Kbely airport in the afternoon carried among others the bronze
crew of the men's four kayak; the second flight, to land at 8:30 PM,
will carry gold medallists Barbora Spotakova, David Svoboda and
Jaroslav Kulhavy. The Czech team won ten medals at the XXXth Summer
Olympic games - four gold, three silver and three bronze medals - which
ranked the Czech Republic 19th in the medal tally.


The next few days will be mostly overcast, with occasional showers and
storms. Daytime highs should range between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Czechs Olympic success measured not only in gold

On the last day of the Olympics, the Czech team managed to sweeten
their already successful run in London with two more gold medals in
men's mountain biking and pentathlon. The Czech Olympians can return
home with heads held high, having won four more medals than in Beijing,
and one more gold than four years ago. But the successes of the Czech
delegation can be measured not only in the number of medals won, but
also in the publicity it drew both in London and on the home turf.
Marko Ivanovic: opera has always been a multimedia genre

Opera performances are generally not crowd pullers, but the new opera
Enchantia, which premiered in January 2012 at the Prague National
Theatre was sold-out in a matter of weeks. Families with children of
all ages literally swarmed to the opera house eager for a glimpse of
the magic land. Directed by Petr Forman, one of the twin-sons of famous
Milos Forman, and composed by Marko Ivanovic, Enchantia became a
phenomenon disproving the view that opera is a dead genre. Composer
Marko Ivanovic is JPs guest on todays One on One.
Sports News 13.8.2012

In this week's Sports News: From five medals to ten; Hejnova secures
bronze in the Women's hurdles; canoe sprinting quartet secure Czech
Republic another bronze; Barbora Spotakova wins javelin gold medal;
Svoboda brings the Czech team a third gold and a final gold medal on
the final Olympic day.

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