Tuesday, August 21, 2012

News 8.21.2012

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

News Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* Czechs are marking the 44th anniversary of the 1968 Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia.

* Tatra CEO has been accused of offering bribes by the former Defense
Minister Martin Bartak.

* European Commission has sent the first disbursement of subsidies to
Czech Ministries after earlier suspension.

* Three members of the Prague Public Transport Company's supervisory
board quit following a week of controversy.

* The Agriculture Ministry has announced plans to release EU subsidies
ahead of schedule for farmers affected by dry weather.

Czechs commemorate the 1968 Soviet-led invasion

Czechs marked the 44th anniversary of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of
Czechoslovakia. A number of high-ranking politicians attended a
remembrance ceremony on Tuesday at the main Czech Radio building in
Prague, including speakers of both the upper and lower house and Prague
mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. At least 15 people perished in front of the
building as they tried to prevent Soviet troops from entering after the
invasion on August 21, 1968. More than 100 people were killed across
the country during the tragic days that followed the invasion.

Police charge Tatra CEO with corruption

The Czech police have charged Ronald Adams, the CEO of the Czech
automobile company Tatra, with corruption. The 62-year-old US citizen
allegedly offered a bribe in 2009 to then defense minister Martin
Bartak to secure a 2.7 billion crown deal from the Czech military. The
case against Mr Adams is based on testimonies by Martin Bartak and arms
dealer Michal Smrz who themselves face corruption and bribery charges
in the same case. A court in Brno is set to rule on Tuesday whether Mr.
Adams will be taken into custody.

European Commission pays out first funds since suspicion

The European Commission sent 9.3 billion crowns worth of subsidies to
the Czech Republic in August. These are the first funds the commission
disbursed to the Czech Republic after it suspended cash flow in March.
The suspension of subsidies to Czech ministries came as a result of the
European Commission's concerns over lack of controls and problematic
auditing. The funding had been partially renewed in July, after Czechs
fulfilled all of the commission's requirements and improved the
auditing system, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Monday. The
ministry expects that the European Commission will pay out a total of
29 billion crowns in subsidies for the whole of 2012. So far, the Czech
Republic has received 13.6 billon.

Transport Company board members quit amid controversy

Three members of the supervisory board of Prague's Public Transport
Company have resigned following a week of controversy. Deputy Mayor of
Prague 9 Tomas Portlik confirmed this on the news site iDnes on
Tuesday. All three men are members of the Civic Democratic party. It is
rumored that some of the board members changed their minds about voting
for the dismissal of the Transport Company's director general Vladimir
Lich last week. Civic Democrat David Vodrazka who pushed for Lich's
dismissal remains on the company's supervisory board.

Farmers affected by hot weather will get subsidies early

Agriculture ministry has come up with a number of measures to help
farmers whose harvest was reduced this year by lack of rain and
excessive heat. Agriculture minister Petr Bendl said on Tuesday that
the ministry will give affected farmers an advance on direct EU
subsidies, that they would normally get a few months later. Farmers
will receive a total of 9.4 billion crowns by October 16th,
approximately half of the total amount for the year. This year's
agricultural yield is on average lower by one-fifth than last year's
and in some regions like South Moravia or Olomouc it is even less.

Romani residents cancel protests in Krupka

Romani residents of the northern Bohemian town of Krupka have come to
an agreement with the city council over the recent city ordinance and
announced they will cancel the protest planned for 5 September. The
ordinance that came into effect on 10 July, prohibits sitting atop of
walls, and using chairs, grills and cookers on public property in some
parts of the city - specifically in the Horni Marsov neighborhood that
is inhabited by mostly socially excluded residents. The city council
promised to place benches in the neighborhood, while residents agreed
to respect the ordinance, town hall spokesman said on Tuesday.

Nitrogen gas leak at a chemical plant in Parubice

A cloud of nitrogen gas escaped from the Synthesia chemical plant in
the eastern Bohemian city of Pardubice on Tuesday. The leak resulted
from an explosion of a nitrogen fuel tank that took place at night.
Firefighters were at the scene immediately and are advising local
residents to close their windows.

Vandals target church in support of Pussy Riot

Over the last several days, unknown perpetrators in Karlovy Vary
vandalised several signs at the town's Russian Orthodox Church of Peter
and Paul, expressing support for imprisoned members of the female group
Pussy Riot. The story was reported on Tuesday by Czech news site idnes.
At least one slogan scribbled on the signs called for the group to be
freed. The group - which has gotten public support from international
pop stars like Madonna and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - was sentenced
in Russia last week to two years in prison for an anti-Putin protest
staged in March in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Aside from
a number of signs at the Karlovy Vary church being vandalised, the
church's Father Nikolaj received a threatening text message, idnes
said. The police were contacted over the incident.

First newborn left in Plzen babybox

A roughly two-week-old newborn was left in a babybox in Plzen on
Tuesday morning, the first child left at the Plzen facility. The
babybox system founder Ludvik Hess revealed the child was in good
health and had been given the name Norbert by staff. Babyboxes were
conceived as a safe any anonymous way for a parent to hand over a child
they are unwilling or unable to care for; the system, launched in 2005,
has since saved 76 infants. The Plzen babybox was only installed in
March of last year, after several years of negotiations. Some
paediatricians as well as the former regional governor, Milada
Emmerova, had opposed the idea.

Occupy Czech activists send paper airplanes to Necas

Activists from the Occupy Czech movement threw paper airplanes into the
gardens behind Strakova academy, the seat of the Czech government, on
Tuesday. The airplanes were made from anti-government leaflets and
contained messages to the members of the cabinet calling for some or
all of them to resign.

Temperature records fall for the second day in a row

On Tuesday, more record high temperature was recorded in the Czech
Republic. In the north Bohemian town of Doksany, a 23-year-old record
was broken with a measurement of 34 degrees Celsius during the day. The
Czech Republic has experienced the second day of intense heat, after
temperatures spiked to over 40 degrees Ceslsius in some parts of the
country on Monday.


Cloudy and partly sunny weather is expected on Tuesday with possible
showers or storms in the evening. High temperatures will be between 29
and 33 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Seeing Prague through the eyes of the homeless

In this week's spotlight, Radio Prague goes on a special tour with a
Pragulic guide to look at a different side of Prague.


Czech Radio commemorates 1968 invasion

A remembrance ceremony on Tuesday marked the 44th anniversary of the
beginning of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The
first days of the invasion were closely tied to the Czech Radio
building in front of which bloody clashes took place and at least 15
civilians were killed.


Heat wave breaks all-time Czech temperature record

The Czech Republic has been hit with a severe heat wave. Currents of
hot air coming from north Africa via France and southern Germany raised
temperatures by to record-breaking highs this week, with a new record
of 40.4 degrees Celsius registered outside Prague on Monday. While
doctors advise people to take extra caution to avoid problems,
meteorologists warn the heat will soon give way to heavy storms
expected later on Tuesday.


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