Monday, October 1, 2012

News 10.1.2012

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

News Monday, October 1st, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* Czech President Vaclav Klaus has called last week's pellet gun attack
against him a "political act" reflecting the poor state of society.

* Voters will go to the polls on January 11 and 12 to elect the
country's next head-of-state.

* Methanol has claimed the life of a 62-year-old, bringing the number
of those who have died from poisoning to 27.

* Hygiene officers conducted checks of some 1,200 establishments at the
weekend to see if they were following regulations on the sale of hard

* The deputy labour and social affairs minister and another ministry
official have been accused of bribery by the country's anti-corruption

Czech president calls plastic gun attack a "political act"

President Vaclav Klaus has said in an interview that he considers
Friday's attack against him a "political act" - one that reflected the
extremely poor state of Czech society. In an interview for the daily
Mlada fronta Dnes on Monday, Mr Klaus said the attack involving a man
firing pellets at him from a plastic gun, was not a "regrettable
incident" (as described by the prime minister) but the first such
attack on a Czech president in history. Rather than a failure of his
security detail, the shooting highlighted much deeper issues within
society, the president said.

Last Friday an assailant shot pellets at the president seven times
during an official visit in Chrastava: video footage, aired around the
world, showed the president's security team oblivious to any danger,
failing to react. The assailant successfully departed the scene and was
even able to grant interviews to two TV stations before being arrested.
The head of the president's security team has stepped down over the

Airsoft seller: security detail may not even have heard shots

In related news, a Czech seller of airsoft weapons and equipment has
suggested that failure by the president's security team to register
pellet shots fired by the assailant last Friday stemmed simply from the
fact that the guns are generally hard to hear. Jan Sulc told the Czech
news agency the sound emitted by the guns, although audible on tape of
the incident, was minimal. Video captured bodyguards completely failed
to act against the assailant who fired at close range, hitting the
president's arm. Others, including security expert Andor Sandor,
reacted more critically: shown the footage by a private station, Mr
Sandor suggested that the security detail should have better read the
body language of those in the crowd. He suggested that the behaviour of
the shooter was different enough from those around him to have stuck

Dates set for direct presidential election

Czechs will go to the polls to elect the country's next president on
January 11th and 12th, 2013. The dates were announced by the speaker of
the upper house, Milan Stech. If no candidate wins an outright majority
in the first round, a run-off will take place between the two most
successful candidates. The successor to Vaclav Klaus will be known, at
the latest, by the 26th of January.

Presidential candidates will now have five weeks to officially submit
their bids by the November 6 deadline. Candidates not nominated by 10
senators or 20 members of the Chamber of Deputies will have had to have
collected 50,000 signatures, under the election law. The Interior
Ministry will check the candidatures by November 23 to see that they
comply with the law. This is the first time in the country's history
that the president will be elected directly by voters. Until now, they
were elected in a joint session of both houses of Parliament.

Methanol poisoning claims 27th life

Methanol poisoning has claimed a 27th life in the Czech Republic since
the outbreak of poisoning began on September 14. The patient was a
62-year-old man from the Beskydy area. The man had been found poisoned
in his home on September 28; he is one of 11 people in his region to
have died as a result of having drunk bootleg alcohol.

Hygiene officers conduct checks at restaurants, drinking establishments

Hygiene officers conducted checks of 1,207 establishments - mostly
restaurants - at the weekend to see if they were upholding the partial
ban on hard liquor following the spate of methanol poisoning in the
Czech Republic in September that killed 27 people. Nine remain in
hospital from drinking poisoned alcohol; five of those persons were
admitted to hospital at the weekend. In all, 76 people were poisoned
after consuming bootleg liquor; some of those who survived suffered
permanent disability, such as blindness or badly-damaged eyesight.

Health Minister Leos Heger confirmed on Monday that of the 1,207
establishments checked at the weekend, 20 venues had failed to meet the
strict new requirements, lacking, for example, the necessary
documentation for specific products sold. Under the partial ban,
establishments have up to 60 days to produce certification for alcohol
in storage and only hard alcohol produced before 2012 can be legally
sold. In the near future, hygiene officers will focus on taking samples
from opened bottles at establishments to measure for the presence of
dangerous substances.

Alcohol of unknown origin to be treated as dangerous waste

The Czech Environmental Inspectorate has outlined that uncertified
alcohol which will have to be destroyed for lack of documentation
should be handled as dangerous waste. The inspectorate warned that
anyone dumping alcohol without respecting existing legislation could
face fines of up to 50 million crowns. Sellers have until the end of
November to produce necessary certification or face having to dispose
of their supply. It will be possible to destroy bottles of unknown
origin, for example, at sites with industrial incinerators focussing on
dangerous materials.

Ministry officials detained on accusations of bribery

The anti-corruption police have accused deputy labour and social
affairs minister Vladimir Siska and ministry IT section head Milan
Hojer of bribery, the Czech news website reports. The
spokesman for the anti-corruption unit, Jaroslav Ibehej, confirmed that
both men had been detained on Monday but declined to reveal additional
details beyond the case being connected to public procurement. In a
press release, the Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromir Drabek of
the TOP 09 party expressed dissatisfaction that the police had refused
to give any details, calling procedures taken by the unit "scandalous
ten days ahead of the Senate and regional elections". If charged and
found guilty in court the two could face officials detained on Monday
could face up to six years in jail.

Some TOP 09 members urge minister to step down or consider step

In connection with Monday's developments there have been some calls
within the TOP 09 party for Mr Drabek to resign. Karola Haasova,
heading the candidates' list in the region of Usti made clear she
thought he should do so.TOP 09 Olomouc chairman Tomas Chalanek said the
minister should at least consider the step.

Court sentences man to eight years for death of children

The district court in Hradec Kralove sentenced a man responsible for
the death of two little boys last year to eight years in prison. A
previous six-year sentence handed to the man - Jaroslav Novak - was
struck down earlier; Monday's verdict can be appealed. Last year,
Novak, an epilepsy sufferer who had been banned from driving, backed
his car into and ran over the boys, who were brothers, at a zebra
crossing they were on with their grandparents. The defendant apologised
repeatedly on Monday. In court in May, he had said he remembered
nothing of the incident. He had suggested earlier he had felt a seizure
coming on but that was not confirmed by expert witnesses.

More than 5,000 sign Czech AI petition calling for Pussy Riot��s release

On Sunday more than 5,000 people signed the Czech version of the
Amnesty International��s petition calling for the release of members of
Pussy Riot, the Russian political punk band. Amnesty International
revealed the outcome at a meeting it staged in support of the group in
front of the Russian embassy in Prague. Some forty people attended the
protest. The three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced in August to
two years behind bars for a controversial performance in a Moscow
church earlier in the year.


October should get off to a cloudy start around much of the Czech
Republic, with temperatures on Monday expected to reach a maximum of 18
degrees Celsius. Forecasters say it will be quite sunny on Tuesday and
Wednesday, when temperatures will climb to 21 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Sara Vondraskova, an invigorating new voice taking jazz in her own

The sultry voice of young Sara Vondraskova there in the song Lay Down,
which has launched her from the cafes and clubs of Prague to the silver
screen, as the title song for the new Czech film noir Ve Stinu. The
jazz student's bewitching contralto and modern compositional
sensibility is giving her some well earned prominence in the next
generation of singer/songwriter/composers. Our guest in this edition of
One on One, Sara Vondraskova tells us first of all how she's begun to
move away from her home ground in jazz.
Sports News 1.10.2012

In Sports News this Monday: Slavia beat out-of-form Sparta in the 278th
Prague derby; ex-Czech defender Martin Jiranek scores one of Europe's
goals of the season so far, in the Russian league; Jaromir Jagr leads
Kladno to their fifth Extraliga win in a row - and draws the crowds;
and Tomas Berdych advances to the second round in Tokyo.
President Klaus in shooting scare

It was to have been a routine bridge opening ceremony in the town of
Chrastava, north of Prague with President Vaclav Klaus guest of honour
at the event. As it turned out, an unexpected act of hooliganism gave
the president a bad scare and revealed just how useless his bodyguards
were in a crisis.

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