Wednesday, October 3, 2012

News 10.3.2012

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

News Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromir Drabek has resigned from

* The cabinet is planning to take effective action against unlicensed
production and sale of spirits.

* The Dukovany power plant which has come under fire for the type of
fuel used, will remain in operation.

* Trade unions have called on the public not to give their vote to the
ruling parties in the upcoming regional and senate elections.

* Prague's Ruzyne Airport will be officially renamed to Vaclav Havel
Airport Prague on Friday, on the anniversary of the late ex-president's

Labour minister resigns over bribery scandal

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromir Drabek has announced his
decision to resign from his post in connection with the bribery scandal
surrounding two of his closest associates - his deputy Vladimir Siska
and the head of IT Milan Hojer. At a press briefing in Prague on
Wednesday minister Drabek said he did not feel guilty in any way but
was ready to accept personal responsibility for this development in
order not to damage his party TOP 09 further ahead of the regional and
senate elections. The labour minister reiterated his firm belief in his
deputy's innocence but said he was not in a position to wait for Mr.
Siska to clear his name in court. The minister will leave his post at
the end of the month.

Deputy labour minister remanded in custody

A Prague court has ruled that Deputy Labour Minister Vladimir Siska who
was arrested and charged with bribery on Monday be remanded in custody
for fear of influencing witnesses. The head of IT at the ministry Milan
Hojer who was likewise arrested and charged on suspicion of having
proffered a bribe and manipulated a public tender has been released.
The police have not disclosed any details on the case.

Cabinet planning effective action against unlicensed production and
sale of spirits

The cabinet is planning to take effective action against unlicensed
production and sale of spirits. The prime minister has given experts
from the justice, health, industry and finance ministries a fortnight
in which to produce new licensing regulations and control mechanisms
which would enable the authorities to crack down on bootleg producers.
The move comes in the wake of a serious outbreak of methanol-related
deaths from bootleg liquor, which estimates say makes up 20 percent of
the spirits market. The government is also planning to step up the
fight against alcohol abuse by minors.

Dukovany power plant to remain in operation

The Dukovany power plant in Moravia which recently came under fire for
the type of fuel used, will remain in operation, EURATOM agency
officials confirmed on Wednesday. The Czech Republic had come under
pressure from some EU member states to close down the power station
because it was operating on fuel made of uranium enriched outside of
the EU, namely in Russia. This runs against a European agreement signed
in Corfu in 1994. EURATOM said Wednesday that although it was looking
into the matter of other potential suppliers the plant was in no danger
of being closed down and if no alternate supplier is found then the
matter would be closed. CEZ argues that the contract on fuel deliveries
with the Russian supplier Tvel was closed before the country's
admission to the EU and accepted by the EU authorities.

Czech Republic to increase its quota in the IMF

The Czech Republic is planning to more than double its quota in the
IMF, a move that should strengthen its position in the organization.
Currently the country's quota amounts to 1,002 billion Special Drawing
Rights. The Finance Ministry's proposal, approved by the government on
Wednesday, envisages an increase to 2,180 billion Special Drawing
Rights. A member country's quota determines its maximum financial
commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its
access to IMF finances.

Trade unions call on public to boycott ruling parties in upcoming

The Confederation of Czech and Moravian Trade Unions has called on the
public not to give their vote to the ruling parties in the upcoming
regional and senate elections. Trade Union leader Jaroslav Zavadil who
has been increasingly critical of the centre-right government, said the
centre right coalition was negatively impacting developments in the
regions and any votes given to them would only serve to make matters
worse. Trade unions predict a 2.0 to 2.5 percent inflation next year
and have said they will strive for a respective minimal growth in wages.

Civic Democrat deputies sticking to their guns in VAT-hike controversy

The six Civic Democrat deputies who are vehemently opposed to the
government proposed VAT hike for 2013 say they will torpedo the
government's austerity package for next year if a compromise solution
is not found. A series of negotiations with the Civic Democrat
leadership has not brought the two sides any closer to agreement. The
respective bill is crucial for next year's state budget and the prime
minister has linked it to a vote of confidence in his government. Civic
Democrats opposed in principle to tax hikes claim that the money should
be found by cost-cutting measures and through privatization, but this
solution has been criticized in view of time-pressure.

Roithova officially enters presidential race

MEP Zuzana Roithova from the Christian Democrats has officially entered
the presidential race by collecting signatures from 50,000 supporters.
Her rivals for the post are former prime minister Jan Fischer, another
former head of cabinet Milos Zeman, former MEP Jana Bobosikova,Foreign
Minister Karel Schwarzenberg head of the ruling TOP 09 party, Social
Democrat Senator Jiri Dienstbier and deputy speaker of the Senate
Premysl Sobotka of the Civic Democrats. The country's first direct
presidential elections are set for January 11th -12th. Polls suggest
that the two hot favourites for a second round are Jan Fischer and
Milos Zeman.

Moravian farmers report devastating losses due to drought

Moravian farmers will demand compensation from the state for damages
caused by this year's drought, according to the head of the Moravian
Agrarian Chamber Vaclav Hlavacek. Mr. Hlavacek told reporters on
Wednesday that in Moravia the 2012 grain harvest was 65 percent smaller
than last year's due to the long months of drought which could have
disastrous consequences for local farmers. He said farmers would
request compensation to the tune of 750 million crowns. The situation
in the Czech lands is slightly better although farmers say the harvest
will be one of the worst in decades.

Ruzyne Airport to be renamed in honour of late Vaclav Havel Vaclav Havel

Prague's Ruzyne Airport will be officially renamed to Vaclav Havel
Airport Prague on Friday, on the anniversary of the late ex-president's
birthday. A special ceremony at the airport will also see the unveiling
of an exhibition of Vaclav Havel photographs taken by CTK news agency
photographers. A parallel photo exhibition is to open in London. The
Czech Centre in New York will mark the occasion with a newly published
English language collection of Vaclav Havel's plays. Vaclav Havel died
last December at the age of 75.


The coming days should bring overcast skies and rain with day
temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
From the For Toys fair to Deskohrani 2012

Last weekend saw the third annual For Toys fair held at Prague's
Letnany featuring children's products. One of the focuses was
highlighting creative and safe toys, from simple building block systems
for toddlers to more complex games for kids. Teens also were included
with the very latest in electronic consoles and interactive games.
End of the line for methadone bus

The Czech NGO Drop-In, which helps drug addicts fighting addiction, has
cancelled a facility which had provided methadone for heroin users. The
substance acts as a replacement for heroin, gradually reducing
dependence. Drop-In had a centre on wheels - a bus - which provided the
synthetic opiod for hundreds of users each day near Prague's main
station. But the project, only a month old, was opposed by Czech
Railways as well as holders of the station's lease.
Domestic violence costs state budget 1.3 billion crowns, new study finds

A new study by the Prague-based NGO proFem looks at the costs of
domestic violence to the state budget. The authors of the survey took
into account the costs of health care for victims of domestic violence
as well as the expenses of the judiciary, law enforcement and social
welfare systems, and found that domestic violence each year costs the
state over 1.3 billion crowns. RP discussed the details with one of the
authors of the study, sociologist Kamil Kunc.

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: