Tuesday, September 4, 2012

News 9.4.2012

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

News Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has said he is prepared to stake his
government's future on winning parliamentary approval for tax hikes
aimed at reducing the deficit in public spending.

* Police on Tuesday raided the offices of the Usti regional
administration arresting six people.

* Government officials, cultural figures and war veterans on Tuesday
paid their last respects to WWII veteran general Tomas Sedlacek.

* The Czech Republic stands to lose the equivalent of 4-5 billion
crowns due to problems in drawing money from EU funds.

* Tomas Berdych has reached the quarterfinals of the US Open.

PM prepared to stake government's future on tax hikes

Prime Minister Petr Necas said on Tuesday he was prepared to stake his
government's future on winning parliamentary approval for controversial
tax hikes aimed at reducing the gap in public spending. The proposed
bill includes a 1 percent hike in the lower and basic VAT rates to 15
and 21 percent respectively in 2013 and a "solidarity tax for the rich"
pertaining to people earning more than 100,000 crowns a month for a
period of three years. The bill, earlier rejected by the Senate, has
divided the lower house with some members of the prime minister's own
Civic Democrats refusing to support it on the grounds that it would
strangle the economy. The governing coalition which now has 100
deputies in the lower house would need to muster 101 votes to overturn
the Senate's veto. However six Civic Democrat deputies have indicated
they will not support the bill.

At a meeting of his party's deputies club on Tuesday Prime Minister
Petr Necas said he was prepared to link the fate of the government to
the said bill in a repeat vote should it be rejected. He said the
ruling coalition would have no reason to remain in office if it were
unable to fulfill its primary goal -fulfilling its fiscal consolidation

Public Affairs obstruct debate in lower house

The ongoing session of the lower house, which is also set to debate a
controversial bill on church restitutions, was badly disrupted on
Tuesday by a bout of filibustering by the opposition Public Affairs.
The party announced its intention to obstruct debate on the bills in
question in view of getting the lower chamber to discuss last week's
sacking of the police president which party leader Radek John described
as an unprecedented attack on democracy. He accused the government of
trying to sabotage the work of the police in investigating corruption
in high places and said the present administration had completely lost
its legitimacy.

Police raid offices of Usti regional administration

Police on Tuesday raided the offices of the Usti regional
administration arresting six people. Among those detained was the
governor's deputy Pavel Kouda. According to Czech Television the
arrests are linked to suspicious financial activities in the North-West
operation program. Its current head Pavel Markvart is being questioned
by the police. In July of this year the program's former head Petr
Kusnierz was sentenced to 7 years in jail for accepting millions of
crowns in bribes and manipulating EU grants. Social Democrat leader
Bohuslav Sobotka said in response to the news that Pavel Kouda would be
taken off the party's list of candidates for the autumn regional

Country pays its last respects to war veteran

Government officials, cultural figures and war veterans gathered at
Prague's Vitkov memorial on Tuesday to pay their last respects to WWII
veteran general Tomas Sedlacek who died last week at the age of 94. The
general fought with the Allies in France, Britain and later with the
Soviet army helping to liberate Czechoslovakia. After the communist
take-over he was arrested convicted of anti-communist activities and
jailed for life. He was released in 1960 and exonerated by the Czech
Velvet Revolution in 1989. President Vaclav Klaus, who awarded him the
Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, described him as ,,a true soldier". A
private funeral ceremony for family and friends only was held in the
late afternoon.

Agricultural workers union calling for general strike

The Agricultural Workers Union is trying to drum up support for a
two-hour general strike against government policy to take place on
September 27th. The protest is aimed against the government's austerity
package which the union says will impact primarily lower income groups,
families with children, pensioners and the disabled. Relations between
the government and trade unions have been strained since trade unions
walked out of a tripartite meeting in June. An attempt to resume talks
is to be made on September 24th -just three days ahead of the planned

Education ministry admits it will not be able to draw available EU funds

The Czech Republic stands to lose the equivalent of 4-5 billion crowns
due to problems in drawing money from EU funds, according to Education
Minister Petr Fiala. Minister Fiala said it was now almost certain the
available funds would not be drawn by the end of the year due to poorly
prepared projects and delays on the Czech side. Efforts are now being
made to minimize the impact of this fall out on the state budget. There
are fears that the problems with drawing of EU funds could seriously
impact the government's consolidation strategy.

Investigation into soldier's death points to suicide

A military police investigation has concluded that a Czech soldier
found dead at the military army base in Libava committed suicide. The
38-year-old soldier is believed to have shot himself in the head
outside army barracks. A spokesman for the military police said an
autopsy had confirmed the suicide theory. It is the second suicide at
the Libava military base in the last 12 months.

Hana river contaminated by pollutant

An as yet unspecified pollutant contaminated a 20 kilometre stretch of
the Hana river near the town of Nezamyslice in the early hours of
Tuesday doing considerable damage to local water species. Dozens of
fish are reported to have been killed despite the fact that fire
brigades from three regions fought to contain the pollutant. Experts
have taken samples of the dead fish to try and ascertain what killed
them and who may have been responsible.

International job fair in Prague

Twenty-seven German hospitals have announced they will take part in the
fourth international job fair in Prague in November of this year. In
addition to head hunters the hospitals are sending Czech specialists
already working in Germany to provide references with regard to work
conditions and pay. In 2011 over 500 highly qualified Czech specialists
sought and found work abroad getting four times the salary they receive
in the Czech Republic.

Tennis: Berdych reaches quarterfinals of US Open

Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych on Monday defeated 11th seed Nicolas
Almagro of Spain 7:6, 6:4, 6:1 to reach the quarterfinals of the US
Open where he will play world number one Roger Federer. The sixth
seeded Czech said he would have to put in more than 100 percent
performance to rout Federer in Wednesday's game.


The coming days should be partly cloudy with day temperatures around 25
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Rising consumer goods prices bring down real wages

Although the most recent figures from the Czech Statistical Office gave
a slightly optimistic view of rising wages in the second quarter of
this year, a report in the daily Lidove noviny warns that the reality
is different. The inflation in the Czech Republic is increasing faster
than wages, and given the rising prices of basic goods and threats of
further tax increases, the Czech consumer is left less than optimistic
about the future.


Explosives ordnance team to clear mortar bombs in Sava River in Bosnia

An elite police unit from Brno has headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina to
clear vestiges of the war in Bosnia 17 years ago: unexploded mortar
bombs in the winding Sava River. Divers from the elite squad - working
in poor visibility, underwater - will understandably have to proceed
with extreme caution: an estimated 150 mortar shells litter the river


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