Friday, September 14, 2012

News 9.14.2012

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

News Friday, September 14th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech government has banned all sales of hard liquor in the Czech
Republic in response to the growing methanol crisis.

* The police have arrested 17 people in connection with methyl alcohol

* The deputy prime minister has warned that all government ministries
will be required to make substantial budget cuts.

* Prague's main airport is making final preparations ahead of its
renaming after Vaclav Havel.

* Radek Stepanek has lost the opening match of the Davis Cup semi-final
in Buenos Aires.

Government bans hard liquor sales

The Czech government has banned all sales of hard liquor in the Czech
Republic indefinitely after the 19th person died on Friday from methyl
alcohol poisoning. Affected are all establishments where hard liquor is
normally sold including hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. Under the
ban, effective immediately, proprietors are no longer allowed to sell
liquor stronger than 20 percent. An earlier ban had prevented alcohol
sales by street vendors only. Sellers failing to heed the ban could
face a fine of up to three million crowns. The recent incidence of
methanol poisonings in the Czech Republic has shocked the country; five
new cases were registered on Thursday; the newest case is a 30-year-old
in Prague who fell ill on Friday after drinking laced alcohol and is in
critical condition.

Police arrest seventeen people over methanol-laced alcohol

The police have now arrested 17 people in connection with methyl
alcohol poisoning. The arrests came in three regions: Moravia-Silesia,
Zlin, and Olomouc. Earlier in the day, police president Martin Cervicek
revealed that eight people had been charged following a meeting of the
emergency task force set up by the government to deal with the crisis;
the number of those charged has since gone up to 11. In recent days the
consumption of laced bootleg liquor across the country claimed the
lives of 19 people.

Reviews of autopsies uncover no additional methanol-related deaths

Reviews of more than 150 autopsies of people who died in the
Moravian-Silesian region over the last four months have revealed no
further methanol-related deaths, forensics specialists have said.
Methyl alcohol poisoning was uncovered earlier in the case of a woman
from Havirov who died in May. That case is reportedly not related to
the current wave of methanol poisoning in the country. Nineteen people
in the Czech Republic (the latest a 66-year-old woman in
Moravia-Silesia found dead in her apartment) have died in recent days
as a result of consuming bootleg liquor laced with methyl alcohol.
Twenty-seven others remain in hospital in serious condition; on
Thursday alone five new cases were registered.

Deputy prime minister: additional cuts needed at all ministries

Additional cuts in the civil service will affect all government
ministries Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has revealed. Speaking
to journalists the head of the smallest party in government, LIDEM,
said a major cut in funds might be needed at the Culture Ministry while
the Ministry for Regional Development might be closed entirely. She
stressed what was key was not the closing of ministries per se but a
reduction in their agendas. A report compiled by the deputy prime
minister will be discussed at the cabinet level; she said in advance
she expected to be met with resistance from individual ministries. In
June, the government assigned Mrs Peake the task of proposing cuts in
areas of the civil service; under the plan, almost 12 billion crowns
are to be saved in 2014 and as much as 25 billion crowns one year
later. According to the deputy prime minister, the ministries together
have only proposed cuts of 1.6 billion crowns.

Former intelligence head to run for president

Karel Randak, the former head of Czech counter-intelligence, has
confirmed his intention to run for the post of Czech president. Mr
Randak said as a single individual he did not have enough opportunities
to combat corruption in the Czech Republic; he added that he would
discontinue his membership of the board of businessman Karel Janecek's
anti-corruption fund. The former intelligence chief said that along
with collecting signatures, he would address independent senators. He
will need either to secure support from members of Parliament or at
least 50,000 signatures. More than 20 candidates have now announced
they are running; numerous polls have placed former interim prime
minister Jan Fischer and former Social Democrat prime minister Milos
Zeman at the forefront.

Prague airport prepares ceremony ahead of renaming

Prague's Ruzyne international airport is preparing steps ahead of its
planned renaming after Vaclav Havel. The step will officially take
place on October 5th - the day the ex-president, who died last
December, would have turned 76. According to organisers, a special
ceremony marking the occasion will be attended by diplomats serving in
the Czech republic as well as key political and cultural figures. The
new name of the airport will be visible not only from the front of the
building, CTK reported, but also from the airfield itself. An
exhibition of photographs honouring the Czech Republic's first
president will also open on the same day in Terminal 2.

World Press Photo opens in Prague

World Press Photo 2011 opened on Friday at Prague's Karolinum, the
exhibition's regular venue in the city centre. Works on display include
the winning photograph in the competition taken by photographer Samuel
Aranda, capturing unrest in Yemen.

Funeral ceremony for Radoslav Brzobohaty to be held next week

The funeral for legendary Czech actor Radoslav Brzobohaty, who died
this week at the age of 79, will be held on Friday, September 21st in
Prague-Strasnice. It is not yet clear whether the ceremony will be
private or open to members of the public. Mr Brzobohaty was widely
recognised as one the country's finest actors, starring in seminal
Czech New Wave films such as All My Compatriots and The Ear, as well as
the TV series F.L Vek. Czech TV has honoured the late actor by
broadcasting several of his films; on the day of his passing, the
broadcaster aired All My Compatriots as well as a 2009 documentary by
director Jiri Strach.

T.G. Masaryk remembered on 75th anniversary of his passing

September 14th marks 75 years since the death of Czechoslovakia's first
president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. A strong advocate of Czechoslovak
independence during World War I, Masaryk was key in the country's
founding in 1918. He was elected president on November 14, 1918 and was
re-elected in the years 1920, 1927 and 1934. Masaryk died in 1937 -
less than two years after leaving office, at the age of 87. On Friday,
historians in the Czech media recalled his many contributions to the
state not only as president but as a philosopher and humanist.

Tennis: Czechs face Argentinians in Davis Cup semi-final

Members of the Czech tennis team began their Davis Cup semi-final
against Argentina on Friday, with Radek Stepanek facing Juan Martin del
Potro in Buenos Aries. The players have faced each other on four
previous occasions with the Czech winning three times. But Stepanek on
Friday in the first rubber fell to his opponent by a score of 4:6,
4:6,2:6. Earlier this week it was unclear whether Del Potro, who is
battling a wrist injury, would be ready to play.

Press: Czech NHL players could play in domestic league

Hockey legend Jaromir Jagr and Kladno will play several league matches
at a Prague's O2 arena this season, reports news website idnes. The
reason is to allow a far greater number of fans view the club's league
matches, including one of the sport's biggest stars. According to the
daily, other Czech players like Tomas Plekanec, Marek Zidlicky and
Tomas Kabrle could also play in the Czech league given developments in
the NHL where a lockout appears increasingly likely as time for a new
Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out.


The end of the week should see overcast conditions with some sunny
periods. Daytime highs should range between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Proudy 2012 - A promising new multimedia festival

A new festival called Proudy 2012 (or Currents 2012) organised by
students for students (or generally anyone up to the age of 30 or so)
kicks off later this month. The highly ambitious project, bringing
together numerous schools from CVUT to Charles University as well as
the private sector, centres primarily on multimedia - an amalgam of
live music, screen projections, live drawing, dance, and even silent
disco, relying on a combination of technology from new apps to
robotics. Entry is free and if you are interested in new media, Proudy
2012 is a festival you won't want to miss.
Norwegian doctor brings hope - and antidote - to methanol poison victims

The Czech health ministry says there have been no new deaths in the
last 24 hours from the outbreak of methanol poisoning, and attention is
now shifting to the 27 people still in hospital. Help has arrived in
the form of an effective but expensive antidote called fomepizole,
eighty boxes of which have donated by Norway. They were brought here by
poisons expert Dr Knut Erik Hovda from the Nuclear, Biological and
Chemical Centre in Oslo. Radio Prague spoke to Dr Hovda shortly before
he went into a meeting at Ostrava Hospital, and we began by asking him
how common methanol poisoning was.
Business News 14.9.2012

In this week's business news: The Czech national debt has risen by
almost 10 percent in the first half of 2012; Real estate prices are
dropping for the second quarter this year, while land prices are on the
rise; Skoda Auto will introduce a new Fabia specifically for the Indian
consumer; Fuel prices are breaking record highs again this week; a
number of operational programmes in the Czech Republic will not get the
EU funds they were counting on.

This e-mail is sent to you automatically according to the settings you
chose at To change the settings, click
here. (C) 2012, Radio Prague - the international service of Czech Radio,
all rights reserved., E-mail: