Thursday, September 6, 2012

News 9.6.2012

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

News Thursday, September 6th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* The government has again approved a stabilisation package rejected by
MPs in the lower house on Wednesday.

* The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill designed to reduce
overcrowding in Czech prisons.

* The central satellite navigation centre of the European space
agency's Galileo program, based in Prague, has officially opened.

* The Senior Citizens Council has petitioned the president over a bill
slowing down old age pensions.

* Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych has beaten World No. 1 Roger
Federer to advance to the semi-finals at the US Open.

Government re-approves stabilisation package

The government has again approved a stabilisation package rejected by
the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, where several rebel MPs were
instrumental in its blocking. The coalition government needed 101 votes
but six Civic Democrats- opposed to the idea of further raising the
two-tier VAT rate - voted against. The bill is being pushed to help
lower the deficit. The centre-right government led by Prime Minister
Petr Necas is staking its future on the bill by tying it to a vote of

The prime minister suggested on Thursday that the next few weeks would
reveal rebel MPs' 'true intentions', that is, whether they were
purposely trying to damage the government or individual politicians, or
were honestly concerned about programme issues.

Rebel MPs to negotiate terms next week

In related news, lawmaker Petr Tluchor has revealed that he and other
MPs opposed to the government's tax package will take part in talks
next week after the session in the Chamber of Deputies. The MP stressed
in a statement for the Czech news agency that he would not outline
specific demands prior to sitting down with the prime minister. He
revealed that the six deputies, however, were ready to support the
package in a first reading when the government submitted it again and
that they would support the shortening of deadlines in the legislative
procedure. In the final reading of the bill, Mr Tluchor said, he and
the others would only vote for it if changes had been made.

Lower house passes bill tackling overcrowding in prisons

The Chamber of Deputies has approved an amendment aiming to reduce
overcrowding in prisons. The bill, rejected earlier by the Senate,
emphasises alternative sentences such as home detention or parole.
Under the bill, the minimal period to be eligible for parole would be
shortened - a key factor senators rejected. The bill passed in the
lower house on Thursday with 102 votes. The justice minister, Pavel
Blazek, has called the amendment "essential". According to available
data, the country's jails in August held 23,200 inmates - 2,500 over
the limit. Some jails are overcrowded by as much as 30 percent.

European navigation centre for Galileo opens in Prague

The central satellite navigation centre of the European space agency's
Galileo program began full operation on Thursday in Prague's Holesovice
district. The Galileo system or GSA, is the European answer to the
American GPS navigation system, and should be launched sometime in 2014
or 2015. The European space agency already has two out of the necessary
18 satellites in orbit and two more should be launched in early
October. The Czech Republic was selected out of 12 EU countries to host
it. Among those who spoke at the launch on Thursday were Antonio
Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, GSA head Carlos Des
Dorides, and Czech Transport Minister Pavel Dobes.

Senior Citizens Council petitions president over pensions amendment

The Senior Citizens Council has petitioned President Vaclav Klaus to
not sign into law a government bill slowing down the growth of old age
pensions. The amendment on pensions - part of a broader austerity
package aimed at reducing the gap in public spending - was passed in
the lower house on Wednesday. According to the bill, which was rejected
earlier by the Senate, pensions will be adjusted yearly by a third of
the increase in prices and in real wages. The previous system had
pensions adjusted by the full amount of price and wage increases. The
Senior Citizens Council is some 320,000 members strong; 1.7 million
people in the Czech Republic are over the age of 65 and average monthly
pensions amount to 10,740 crowns.

Education minister confirms budget increase

Education Minister Petr Fiala told university chancellors on Wednesday
that next year Czech universities will operate on a budget of 21.8
billion crowns - roughly 700 million crowns more than in 2012. The
minister made the statement at a meeting of the Czech Rectors
Conference in Ceske Budejovice. The amount was confirmed by the head of
the Czech Rectors Conference Vaclav Hampl.

Mayor of Ceske Budejovice charged in connection with suspicious
computer deal

Police have charged the mayor of Ceske Budejovice Juraj Thoma and a
former official at city hall with clerical misprision and breach of
trust. Mr Thoma is under suspicion of having signed a contractual
addendum on the purchase of computers without approval from the town
council. In doing so, he allegedly ignored a limit on deals that can be
approved without a public tender; if found guilty of the charges the
mayor could face up to ten years in jail.

Victim fails to testify in Bartak case

A woman allegedly victimised by prominent physician Jaroslav Bartak,
who is on trial on charges of sexual abuse, was unable to testify
against the defendant on Thursday for health reasons. The witness, said
to be deeply traumatised by her ordeal, developed psychiatric problems
which prevented her from taking the stand. After leaving Mr Bartak's
employ, she had received treatment and was hospitalised. Several others
in the case who were also allegedly brutalised developed similar
problems. The judge overseeing the case said on Thursday that expert
witnesses would assess the woman's condition and would determine her
ability to appear in court in the future.

US Open: Berdych upsets Federer in quarterfinals

Sixth-seed Tomas Berdych beat the favoured Roger Federer Wednesday
night in a quarterfinal match at the US Open tennis tournament. It took
four sets for the highest ranking Czech tennis player to beat the
17-time Grand Slam winner and this year's Wimbledon champion. The final
score was 7:6 (1), 6:4, 3:6, 6:3. Berdych will face Andy Murray in the
semi-final on Saturday.

Football: Key Liberec defender signs with Russian club

A key defender with reigning Czech football league champions Liberec
Michal Breznanik, a Slovak national, has signed with Russia's Perm, a
contract until 2015. As a halfback Breznanik rivalled players up front
on goals, scoring 12 last season.


The coming days should be sunny with possible light showers with day
temperatures around 19 to 21 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Award-winning Czech typographer takes on Gujarati

Type design is an ancient art enjoying a renaissance in the computer
age. The specificities of writing systems that were once passed down
from master to apprentice can now be worked with by designers anywhere
in the world who have the patience and the talent to take on a foreign
script. One such designer is David Brezina, one of the founders of the
Brno type foundry Rosetta. In 2008 his Skolar type family received
international recognition and he is now working on a font for the
Gujarati writing system, used by over 60 million people in the Indian
subcontinent. When he came to our studio recently I asked him how he
became interested in type design in the first place.
Embattled prime minister fighting to keep fiscal reforms on track

The Necas cabinet suffered its first significant defeat in its
consolidation drive on Wednesday. The lower house rejected a crucial
part of its austerity package -a controversial bill on tax hikes aimed
at bringing the gap in public finances below 3 percent of GDP in 2013.
The move has left the prime minister fighting not only for the future
of his reform cabinet but primarily his own future as the head of the
Civic Democratic Party and the government.
Tomas Berdych stuns Roger Federer to reach US Open semi-final

Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych scored an important win at the US
Open when he beat world number one Roger Federer in the tournament's
quarterfinal. Berdych, whose play against the Swiss has been described
as overwhelmingly powerful, will next play Andy Murray of the UK for a
spot in the US Open final.

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