Tuesday, September 11, 2012

News 9.11.2012

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

News Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Eight people have died of methanol poisoning from bootleg alcohol and
two dozen are fighting for their lives in Czech hospitals.

* The prime minister has come under fire for saying that support for
Pussy Riot and the Dalai Lama are harming the country's interests and
export potential.

* Economist Jan Svejnar, who was considered one of the hot candidates
in the upcoming presidential elections, has announced he will not be
running for office.

* The head of the National Theatre Ondrej Cerny was allegedly dismissed
for poor financial management.

* Two Czechs have been arrested on spying charges in Greece.



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Death toll from methanol poisoning reaches eight
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Eight people have died of methanol poisoning from bootleg alcohol and
two dozen are fighting for their lives in Czech hospitals. There is now
growing concern for public safety as new cases are registered daily in
different locations. Although two cases of methanol poisoning have
appeared in central Bohemia the vast majority of cases are reported in
Moravia. The health ministry has ordered inspections in cafeterias and
restaurants around the country and the public has been warned not to
consume unlabeled alcohol or spirits on tap. Police are still trying to
trace the source of the contaminated liquor and it is not clear how
much of it may be on the market or where it may surface. A number of
suspect bottles confiscated by the police on Monday carried a Drak
spirits producer label, but the company says the labels were fake.
Three cases of methanol poisoning have been reported across the border
in neighbouring Poland. Two people are reported to have died and a
third has gone blind.


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PM wants concerted action in methanol poisoning scare
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Prime Minister Petr Necas has expressed grave concern regarding the
latest developments and wants a central crisis committee established in
Prague to try and prevent further loss of life and damage to health. He
has urged closer cooperation with the media and local crisis committees
in spreading the message and taking effective preventive measures.
Meanwhile the opposition Social Democrats have called for the dismissal
of several ministers, saying the Necas administration had miserably
neglected its duty to protect public health.


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PM under fire over foreign policy statement
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The prime minister has come under fire for saying that support for
Pussy Riot and the Dalai Lama are harming the country's interests and
export potential. The coalition party TOP 09 said on Tuesday that the
views expressed by the prime minister at the International Engineering
Fair in Brno were regrettable and could discredit the country.

Speaking to an audience of business leaders at the fair on Monday the
Czech prime ministry said that while support for human rights must
remain a top priority in Czech foreign policy, the false adoration of
and support for the group Pussy Riot or the Dalai Lama were simply a
fashionable trend that had nothing to do with supporting democracy and
merely harmed the country's exports.


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Schwarzenberg horrified by PM's statement
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TOP 09 leader and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has
clearly distanced himself from the prime minister's statement. In an
interview for Tuesday's Lidove Noviny, Mr. Schwarzenberg said he was
horrified by the prime minister's words and expressed concern about the
fate of a government that placed economic interests above human rights.
Mr. Schwarzenberg said he hoped no Czech foreign minister would ever
pander to the superpowers in order to serve the country's economic
interests. Dictators must be treated the same regardless of their size,
Mr. Schwarzenberg noted.


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Jan Svejnar not to run for office
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Economist Jan Svejnar, who was considered one of the hot candidates in
the upcoming presidential elections, has announced he will not be
running for office. Mr. Svejnar said in a press release on Tuesday that
he wanted to pursue his academic and consultancy activities. The
Czech-born US based economist ran for office in 2008 when he was beaten
in a tight race by President Vaclav Klaus.


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Culture ministry says Cerny sacked over poor financial management
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The head of the National Theatre Ondrej Cerny was allegedly dismissed
for poor financial management. At a press conference in Prague on
Tuesday Deputy Culture Minister Martin Sankot said Mr. Cerny had failed
to draft a satisfactory 2013 budget on the funds earmarked for the
theatre. Earlier Minister Alena Hanakova said the theatre head was
being dismissed because she was not happy with the pace of the ongoing
merger of the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera. Petitions
are being signed in support of the director and the theatre's
management has called for the culture minister's dismissal.


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Government to debate 2013 budget
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The government will meet to debate the 2013 budget on Wednesday. The
budget is tailored to a 100 billion crown deficit which should bring
the gap in public finances to under 3 percent of the GDP. Expenditures
are projected at 1,185 billion crowns, revenues at 1,085. The proposed
budget hangs on the approval of government proposed tax-hikes which
parliament recently rejected and which the government sent back
unrevised linked to a vote of confidence in the Necas administration.
The government is also expected to discuss measures taken in connection
with the methanol poisoning scare.


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Bail revoked for David Rath
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A Prague court has revoked the 14 million crown bail for MP David Rath
set by a lower instance court. The court ruled on the basis of an
appeal by the state attorney on the case who argued that there were
legal reasons to keep Rath in custody, among others the possibility
that he might try to influence witnesses or flee from justice. The
former central Bohemian governor is facing trial on corruption charges
after being caught with an alleged 7 million crown bribe on his person.


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Jiri Dienstbier gives up his seat on Prague city council
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Senator Jiri Dienstbier has given up his seat on the Prague city
council. Mr. Dienstbier told journalists he wanted to concentrate fully
on his presidential campaign. His seat will be filled by colleague
Social Democrat Lucie Valova.


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Two Czechs arrested on spying charges in Greece
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Two Czechs have been arrested on spying charges in Greece. The men
-aged 28 and 33 - were detained for taking photos and recording video
footage of a Greek military base and an airport on Lemnos Island. The
men said in their defense they had made the documentation for a
computer game they were working on. They are to be transported to
Lesbos Island where they will be questioned by a state prosecutor.


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Weather
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The coming days should bring more cloudy skies, scattered showers and a
drop in day temperatures to around 18 degrees Celsius.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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http://img.radio.cz/pictures/ctk1209/necas6p.jpg
Human rights at the center of a new government controversy
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Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has come under criticism from some
members of his government, several Czech NGOs and even exporters over
his statement about human rights and their relation to the economy. Mr
Necas said that support for the Dalai Lama or jailed members of the
Russian punk band Pussy Riot might have a negative impact on trade
relations. This earned him accusations that his words ran contrary to
the country's official foreign policy.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/human-rights-at-the-center-of-a-new-government-controversy

http://img.radio.cz/pictures/sport/hc_lev_prahap.jpg
New KHL club Lev Praha takes root in Czech capital
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The newly-formed hockey club Lev Praha has made its debut in the
Kontinental Hockey League. The first Czech-based team to join the KHL
got two wins out of its three home games before setting off on a tour
of Russia and Belarus. But has the new club also succeeded in bringing
Czech hockey fans to see KHL action in Prague?

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/new-khl-club-lev-praha-takes-root-in-czech-capital






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