Monday, September 10, 2012

News 9.10.2012

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

News Monday, September 10th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* The Health Ministry has ordered emergency inspections of alcohol in
eating establishments across the country.

* A trial over corruptive practices at the Defense Ministry has
commenced in Ceske Budejovice.

* Czech midwife Ivana Konigsmarkova's appeal has been rejected by the
Supreme Court.

* The Czech Supreme Audit Office has found 27 million crowns from EU
funds that were incorrectly allocated by a regional council.

* Overall unemployment has stayed the same in August in the Czech
Republic, but outlook for September is worse.

Health ministry to carry out alcohol inspections

The Health Ministry has ordered emergency inspections of alcoholic
beverages in cafeterias and restaurants on Monday in the whole of the
Czech Republic, following a string of cases of Methane Alcohol
poisoning in different cities since last week. So far, three people
have died as a result of poisoning, and a number of others were
hospitalized in grave condition. The most recent case was in the
central Bohemian city of Pribram, where a man was admitted on Sunday
night after losing his sight. If the inspectors find any hard alcohol
of questionable origin, the information will be immediately handed over
to the police.

Defense ministry corruption trial has started

The trial of 52 defendants accused of manipulating state tenders at the
Defense Ministry began Monday morning at the Regional Court in Ceske
Budejovice, South Bohemia. Eleven former employees of the Defense
Ministry, 38 representatives of private businesses, two notaries and a
lawyer are being accused of influencing reconstruction tenders worth
300 million crowns in five different cities. Ninety minutes after the
beginning of trial, almost all of the defense lawyers left the court
room in protest, claiming that the conditions were not appropriate for
trying the case. The largest court room in the regional court could
barely fit all of the persons involved in the trial, and defense
lawyers complained of having little room at their desk. The trial may
last for as long as a year, a member of the judging panel has said.

Midwife's appeal rejected by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic has rejected an appeal from the
head of the Midwives Union, Ivana Konigsmarkova, on Monday. Last year,
Ms Konigsmarkova received a two-year suspended sentence for negligence
resulting in grievous bodily harm during a home birth, and was banned
from carrying out home births for five years. She was accused of not
carrying out proper CPR procedures on a newborn after complications at
birth. The defendant has maintained her innocence throughout the trial.
Ms Konigsmarkova said she will take her appeal to the Constitutional
Court. Home births are highly frowned upon by the Czech medical
establishment, and birth assistants are usually unable to get proper
license to carry out births in the home.

Regional council criticized for incorrect selection of EU-funded

The Czech Supreme Audit Office (NKU) has concluded that more than 27
million crowns were incorrectly disbursed as part of the Czech
Northeastern regional operational programme in 2007-2011. NKU
controlled 13 projects that were funded with 373 million crowns from EU
subsidies. The regional council, which is the body in charge of
selecting projects for funding and distributing funds, has allegedly
broken a number of regulations concerning the assessment of submitted
project proposals. The NKU says the council's decision process was
subjective and lacked transparency. These irregularities are grounds
for a request to return the funds.

Job market outlook negative until the new year

The level of unemployment has not changed in August from July's 8.3
percent in the whole of the Czech Republic, although there are
approximately 1,000 more people looking for work. The number of new
positions increased by 3.6 percent. In Prague, the level of
unemployment went up in August by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.4
percent. In some regions, unemployment is above 10 percent. Analysts
expect the situation on the job market to get worse starting in
September, in part due to the large number of fresh college graduates
that will enter the market. Given the current economic recession in the
Czech Republic, employers are cautious about hiring a lot of new
workers. A Pricewaterhouse Coopers analyst has said that unemployment
figures may improve in the new year.

National theatre management calls for culture minister's dismissal

The management of Prague's National Theatre has called for the
dismissal of Culture Minister Alena Hanakova, over Friday's unexpected
sacking of the theatre's director Ondrej Cerny. The management
questioned the move in an open letter to the prime minister and
criticized the culture minister's decision to appoint her deputy Martin
Sankot as a temporary replacement. The culture minister has agreed to
meet with theatre representatives on Tuesday but made it clear that her
decisions regarding the theatre were irrevocable.

Minister Hanakova on Friday sacked the theatre's director without
forewarning, later saying that she was not happy with the pace of the
ongoing merger of the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera. The
theatre head has rejected the stated reason for his dismissal saying
his sacking and the manner in which it was undertaken reflected
"arrogance of power". Cerny's mandate was to have expired in March of
2013. A number of Czech actors, playwrights and theatre directors have
sighed a petition against his dismissal.

Czech exports to Russia to break records high

The amount of Czech exports to Russia should break the record of
approximately 115 billion crowns, or six billion American dollars, this
year. Last year, Czech companies exported around 94 billion crowns
worth of goods to Russian. According to the Industry and Trade Ministr
Martin Kuba, Russia is among the top priorities for Czech international
trade. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, imports a large amount of
its gas and petrol from Russia. A number of Czech firms have won large
tenders in Russian in the past few months. Among them are a Brno
company Unis, which will renovate an oil refinery in Krasnoyarsk, while
Czech companies under the leadership of OHL ZS will begin the
construction of a railroad in the Urals this year, with a total budet
of 58 billion crowns.

Fire consumes a part of a Vietnamese market in Brno

A large first broke out at an Asian market in the Cernovice district of
the Moravian capital Brno. The fire started just after midnight on
Monday and was eventually given the highest level of fire alert, by the
Brno fire brigade. No one was hurt, but the damages are estimated to be
as much as five million crowns. It took 80 fire fighters from 15 fire
brigades to get the blaze under control by nine o'clock in the morning.
The burned down building was right next to another in the market that
had been victim to a massive fire last year. So far it remains unknown
how the fire had started.

International Roma sculptors to make sculpture for Brno street

The third annual symposium for Roma sculptors has started on Monday at
the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno. Five artists from the Czech
Republic, Slovakia, Albania, Hungary and Poland will create sculptures
inspired by the Cejl street in Brno, which is home to many of the
city's Romani residents. The sculptures created at the week-long
festival will be part of a travelling exhibit that will go to Slovakia,
Hungary and Poland and will later return to the Czech Republic.

TOP 09 candidate in Silesia joins mythical figures in a campaign ad

Pavol Luksa, a candidate for the TOP 09 party for the governor of
Moravian-Silesian region, came out with an unusual clip for his
campaign. The video presents mythological and fairytale characters that
are connected to the region. They are shown coming together with the
candid to help and defend people in hard times. Luksa, who is going to
challenge the current governor Jaroslav Palas in the October elections,
said the video was done more as a joke but was also meant to underscore
some of his own values such as honesty and pride in ones homeland.


The coming days should see clear skies and sunny weather, with possible
light showers in the evening. Day temperatures will reach up to 29
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Growing concern over public safety as police investigate bootleg liquor

The Czech Republic is in the grip of a methadone scare after 11 people
suffered acute methadone poisoning from bootleg alcohol. As the number
of fatalities rises police around the country are trying to trace the
source of the contaminated liquor and issuing urgent warnings to the
Sports News 10.9.2012

In Sports News this Monday: Czech national football team draws against
Denmark in World Cup qualifier; in tennis, three Czechs reach finals at
US Open but fail to win; in hockey, Lev Prague premieres in Kontinental
Hockey League; and Czech athletes win 11 medal at London Paralympics.

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