Monday, September 24, 2012

News 9.24.2012

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

News Monday, September 24th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* Two men have been arrested for knowingly distributing a lethal
methanol-ethanol mixture that caused dozens of methanol poisonings.

* President Klaus has vetoed the government's pension reform bill.

* Methanol has claimed another life in the Czech Republic, bringing the
overall number of deaths to twenty five.

* Trade union and business representatives did not reach an agreement
with the government on next year's budget.

* The finance ministry has announced it will help alleviate the
financial impact of the liquor ban on alcohol producers.

Main suspects responsible for methanol distribution arrested

The police have arrested and charged two men who knowingly distributed
a methanol mixture that caused poisonings of at least 67 people in the
Czech Republic, Police President Martin Cervicek and state prosecutor
Roman Kafka announced Monday at a press conference. The main suspect -
a forty-two year-old man from Ostrava - made a full confession on
Friday night saying that he and his accomplice prepared a lethal
methanol and ethanol mixture that they then distributed through a
middleman to liquor producers. According to Mr Kafka, the main
motivation for his actions was financial gain. Police President
Cervicek warned that 15,000 liters of noxious methanol-laced alcohol
had entered distribution, but not all of it has been accounted for yet.
Charges have been brought against 42 people in connection to the
distribution of methanol-laced liquor, which has killed 25 people in
the Czech Republic. Twenty two of them are currently in jail.

President Klaus vetoes pension reform bill

President Klaus has vetoed the government's pension reform bill. The
bill introduced a so-called "second pillar" to the pension system which
would enable Czechs to send part of their compulsory pension insurance
contributions to private accounts as of next year. The president is
concerned that there is no consensus over the reform among experts,
politicians and the broad public. He also cautioned against introducing
such a reform in an uncertain economic climate. The
opposition-controlled Senate vetoed the same bill earlier, but the veto
was overturned by the lower house of parliament in early September. The
bill will now go back to the lower house for another vote in which the
governing coalition would have to find 101 votes to override the
president's veto.

The 25th victim of methanol poisoning dies in Silesia

A 55-year-old man died of methanol poisoning in the north Moravian town
of Havirov on Monday. The man was admitted to hospital on 3 September
in critical condition. He is the 25th victim of the recent outbreak of
methanol poisonings, and the 15th in the Moravia-Silesian region. In
the meantime, a hospital in the nearby city of Ostrava admitted yet
another methanol patient, in serious, but not critical condition. The
patient was administered the Norwegian antidote drug Fomepizol.

Tripartite negotiations over the budget reach no consensus

Representatives of the government, trade unions and employers did not
come to an agreement over the proposal for next year's budget during
tripartite negotiations on Monday. Union representatives rejected the
budget proposals, and business representatives have reservations about
it. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the government will send
the budget proposal to the lower house in its current state along with
the statements from the trade union and employers' representatives.
These were the first such negotiations in the past half a year, and
there were doubts about whether they would take place at all after a
spat between Prime Minister Petr Necas and the head of the
Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions last week. Trade union
representatives have walked out of tripartite negotiations a number of
times in the past.

Health Minister optimistic about decrease in hospitalizations

Health Minister Leos Heger said on Monday that the number of cases of
methanol poisonings is beginning to dwindle. Minister Heger announced
that as of today, 18 people were in hospitals being treated for
methanol poisoning and that only two people were hospitalized over the
weekend. Since the beginning of the outbreak, 67 people were confirmed
to have been intoxicated with methyl alcohol.

Finance ministry will alleviate financial pressure for alcohol producers

Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek announced on Monday that the
ministry is prepared to change or delay tax advances for alcohol
producers who have been negatively affected by the ban on hard liquor.
A ban on the sale of alcohol with 20 or more percent alcohol content
was instituted on 14 September, and a ban on exports six days later.
The government is currently preparing necessary measures to allow newly
produced alcohol to enter onto the market again.

Police arrest drug gang in south Moravia

Criminal police have cracked down on a gang of methamphetamine
producers and marihuana growers in southern Moravia in the past few
days. The police announced Monday they have ten suspects and six are
already under prosecution. The main suspects were arrested in
mid-September. Two methamphetamine labs and over 60 marihuana plants
were discovered during raids. This is one of the largest drug
operations uncovered in the region in the past decade. According to
investigators, the drug producers were legally purchasing the medicine
to produce the methamphetamine in the Polish city of Kladsko.

Golden Bull of Sicily goes on display

The Golden Bull of Sicily, one of the founding documents of the
mediaeval Czech state, will be displayed at the National Archive in
Prague to mark the 800th anniversary of its issuing. The bull, issued
by Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1212, confirmed the royal title
obtained by Ottokar I of Bohemia and granted him and his heirs the
hereditary title of the Kings of Bohemia. The document will be
displayed on Thursday until the end of the week.

400 thousand crowns worth of jewelry stolen from exhibit

Prague police are looking for a thief of 400 thousand crowns worth of
jewelry from an exhibit of clocks, watches and jewelry in Prague's
Vystaviste exhibition grounds. The police has not revealed which pieces
were actually stolen.

Primary school may be named after Vaclav Havel

A primary school in the town of Zdarec, that former Czechoslovak and
Czech President Vaclav Havel had attended in childhood, may be renamed
after the former dissident who passed away at the end of last year. The
town council will discuss the change soon, and the mayor believes all
the paperwork might be completed by the end of the school year. The
Vysocina region so far has no public institutions or places that are
named after Vaclav Havel.


Partly cloudy and sunny skies with possible rainshowers in the evening
will be accompanied by slightly warmer temperature between 22 and 24
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
This year's St.Wenceslas Day dedicated to Czech expats

September 28th is St. Wenceslas' Day or the Day of Czech Statehood and
this year it is dedicated to Czechs living abroad. To mark the occasion
Czech Radio, Czech Television and the Czech Foreign Ministry are
co-hosting a project called "Czechs abroad" which aims to bring more
insight into the life of Czechs who have settled abroad and made their
mark there while maintaining strong links to their native country. The
head of Radio Prague Miroslav Krupicka explains the idea behind the
Dan Brown - Western actor on a popular Czech soap opera

There are thousands of Westerners in Prague, but it's highly likely
that none of them are as well known to ordinary Czechs as Dan Brown.
He's a Canadian-born theatre director and actor who for the best part
of a decade has been regularly appearing on one of the Czech Republic's
most popular soap operas, TV Nova's Ulice, or The Street.
Sports News 24.9.2012

In Sports news this Monday: Two Czech clubs begin their Europa League
campaign while football at home is set for fresh scandal; in hockey,
Jaromir Jagr and other NHL legends join the Czech extraliga; and a
Czech billionaire aims to revive the communist-era cycling event known
as the Peace Race.

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