Thursday, November 15, 2012

News 11.15.2012

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

News Thursday, November 15th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* The Czech GDP continued its slow decline in the third quarter of this
year, deepening the economy's recession.

* Methanol has claimed the life of a thirty-fifth victim in the Czech

* Denmark's Politiken reports that researchers have ruled out mercury
poisoning as the cause for the death of astronomer Tycho Brahe.

* Meteorologist in three regions have issued warnings about worsening
air quality due to persistent smog and inversion.

* Radek Stepanek will face Spain's David Ferrer in the first match of
the Davis Cup final on Friday.

GDP falls again in Q3 as recession continues

The Czech GDP fell by 0.3 percent in the third quarter, compared to the
previous one. Year-on-year the decline was 1.5 percent. According to
the Czech statistical office the GDP has been in decline for the fourth
quarter in a row, indicating that the Czech economy is in a slowly
deepening recession. According to the statisticians, the continuing
decline is due to decreasing demand of the Czech consumers, as well as
the lower investments into construction and transportation vehicles.

Another man dies of methanol poisoning

A man has died in the Frydek-Mistek region after drinking liquor with
excessive amounts of methanol, the postmortem confirmed on Thursday. He
is the 35th victim of methanol poisoning in the Czech Republic since
the outbreak began in early September. But there have been only three
victims since the beginning of the month. So far, 21 people have died
from methanol poisoning in the Frydek-Mistek region. Another man who
drank spiked alcohol is currently being treated in a hospital.

MfDnes: too many signatures on presidential candidates' petitions are

The registration petitions submitted by eight of the eleven
presidential candidates may need to go through a second round of
checks, because many of the signatures were not verified, the daily
Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Thursday. All candidates submitted
petitions with supporting signatures from the public, except for Jiri
Dienstbier, Premysl Sobotka and Karel Schwarzenberg, who were nominated
by their parties' MPs. The Interior Ministry completed the first round
of checks of the petitions, examining a random sample of 8,500
signatures, and said that more than three percent of them were invalid
for each of the candidates. The three-percent mark is the highest that
the candidates are allowed. If the second round of controls has similar
results, some candidates may possibly be eliminated.

Danish researchers say Tycho Brahe died of natural causes

The famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who served at the Prague
court of Rudolf II at the turn of the 17th century, may have died from
natural causes, not mercury poisoning, the Danish newspaper Politiken
reported. Based on analyses done by Jens Vellev, an archeologist from
Aarhus University, the amount of mercury found in Brahe's hair was not
life threatening and most likely indicates that he died of natural
causes. The hair was obtained by Danish scientists during an exhumation
of the astronomer's body at his burial site in the Tyn church in Prague
in 2010. The circumstances of Tycho Brahe's death have been long
debated and a number of theories, including an assassination, have
appeared over the years. The theory that he died of mercury poisoning
was supported by research done after the body's pervious exhumation in
1901. But this week's announcement of the most recent findings rules
out this possibility, pointing back to a previous theory that Brahe
died of kidney problems.

Czech Republic has most youngsters who tried marijuana

According to a study published by the European Monitoring Centre for
Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Czech Republic has the greatest
percentage of youngsters who have tried marijuana out of all the EU
countries. The study claims that almost 50 percent of Czechs between
the ages of 15 and 34 have some experience with marijuana. Cocaine was
the stimulant drug that the greatest number of people around the EU
have tried at least once. In the Czech Republic, only 1.6 percent of 15
to 34-year-olds tried cocaine, which is the third smallest number in
the among the 27 union members.

Inversion and smog aggravate air quality in the north

With cloud covering increasing in many parts of the country, inversion
is causing worsening air quality in a number of regions, particularly
in the north. Meteorologists have issued a smog alert in the
Moravian-Silesian region on Thursday. The Usti nad Labem and Hradec
Kralove regions are also experiencing adverse weather conditions.
Meteorologists are advising senior citizens, children and the
chronically ill in those regions to restrict their time out of doors.

Unions, NGOs to stage a protest over the weekend

Representatives of various unions, some NGOs and the public are
planning a demonstration for the November 17 state holiday, under the
slogan "Democracy doesn't look like this". The demonstration is meant
to express the participants' dissatisfaction with the current political
leadership and the state of society. The organizers of the common
platform Stop to the government! (Stop vlade!) have not revealed the
number of people expected to attend the protest on the anniversary of
the Velvet Revolution. A protest against government reforms that they
organized on 21 April drew approximately 100,000 people.

Four suspects accused of defrauding 6000 people

The State Attorney of the Usti nad Labem region has launched a suit
against four people, who allegedly fraudulently obtained almost 400
million crowns from 6,000 people in a pyramid scheme in the period
between the year 2000 and 2006. The prosecution estimates damages to be
more than 437 million crowns.

Stepanek will kick off Davis Cup final

Radek Stepanek will face David Ferrer in the first match of the
hundredth Davis Cup final on Friday afternoon in Prague. The second
best Czech player will be follow by his teammate, sixth seeded Tomas
Berdych, who will play Nicolas Almagro at the O2 arena. After the draw
on Thursday paired the Spanish number one with Stepanek, the coach of
the defending champions, Alex Corretja seemed confident his team could
win the tournament, although Rafael Nadal's absence may make it harder
to snatch.

Vaclav Benda Awards for services to freedom and democracy being
presented Thursday

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes will present the
Vaclav Benda Award for services to freedom and democracy to 19
individuals on Thursday evening. Relatives will collect commemorative
medals on behalf of recipients who are no longer alive. Among those
receiving the prize are a number of people who actively opposed the
Communist regime and the priest Josef Toufar, who died after being
cruelly tortured into confessing being behind the reputed movement of a
cross in a church. Vaclav Benda, who died in 1999, was a Charter 77
signatory and samizdat publisher. The awards are being given for the
fourth time.


It should be cloudy and foggy, with possible light showers. High
temperatures will be between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Stinky cheese sweetshop opens in Lostice

It is the country's most smelly specialty - Olomoucke tvaruzky - dubbed
by foreign visitors as "the stinky cheese of Olomouc" is not something
you can easily overlook. Its pungent odor hits you the minute you open
the fridge and will render you a social outcast several hours after
consuming it. However many consider it to be one of the country's
biggest delicacies and the Czech Republic fought and won a six-year war
with Germany and Austria over a protected geographical status trademark.
Czech president reiterates positions on nuclear power, Benes decrees
during Austrian visit

President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday concludes a three-day state visit to
Austria. During his trip, the Czech president met with the Austrian
president and prime minister, launched a Czech-Austrian business forum
and visited the Austrian Parliament. But his last visit to the
neighbouring country as the Czech head of state did little to improve
the strained relations between the two countries.
Ricky Gervais on world's first stage version of cult TV series The

The BBC comedy series The Office has been sold to more than 80
countries around the world, and local versions have been made in the
United States, France, Germany, Chile, Israel and Sweden. But there's
never been a stage version - until now that is. Last weekend Prague's
Municipal Theatre saw the premiere of Kancl, the world's first ever
stage adaptation of the cult series. Rob Cameron spoke to Office star
and co-creator Ricky Gervais, and asked him for his reaction.

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