Thursday, November 22, 2012

News 11.22.2012

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

News Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

By: Ian Willoughby

* Speaking in Brussels before an EU summit, the Czech prime minister
said he would fight a proposed cut in the bloc's cohesion fund.

* A Czech military pilot died on Thursday after his fighter plane
crashed west of Kolin in central Bohemia.

* The Interior Ministry is preparing to announce which aspirants to the
post of president meet the requirements to win a place on the ballot.

* An art group have sparked controversy by inviting gallery goers to
send anonymous SMSes to Czech politicians.

* Three zookeepers were injured by a white tiger at Liberec zoo on

Necas pledges to fight reduction in cohesion fund at EU budget summit

Speaking in Brussels just ahead of a key summit on the EU's next
seven-year budget, the Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, said he would
fight a proposed cut in the bloc's cohesion fund; the Czech Republic
has had EUR 26.7 billion at its disposal between 2007 and 2013, with
the money available to all regions except Prague. Mr. Necas said plans
to reduce that sum to EUR 19.5 billion between 2014 and 2020 were
unacceptable. He said the Czech Republic, unlike a number of states,
was not threatening a veto, but, he added, neither would it approve any
plan whatsoever.

Military pilot dies in plane crash

A Czech military pilot died on Thursday after his fighter plane crashed
west of Kolin in central Bohemia. The pilot was returning to base from
exercises when his Czech-built L 159 one-seater aircraft came down in
an unpopulated area and burst into flames, a spokesperson for the
General Staff told reporters. His body was found in the wreckage. The
cause of the crash is being investigated.

Church restitution to go into effect after Klaus neither vetoes nor
signs bill

A Czech government bill to return billions of dollars worth of property
confiscated from churches under the Communist regime is set to go into
effect, after the president, Vaclav Klaus, said that he had not vetoed
it. However, neither did the president sign the legislation, saying he
wished to distance himself from the plan, which has proven divisive
among Czech society. Under the bill, the state will return part of the
land and property seized by the Communists in the 1950s, while it will
repay the rest of the original value in the form of monetary
compensation over a period of 30 years. Both the Social Democrats and
the Communist Party say they will take the matter to the Constitutional

Ministry preparing to announce which aspirants for president have
fulfilled requirements to stand

The Ministry of the Interior is preparing to announce which of 20
aspirants to the post of president have fulfilled the requirements to
win a place on the ballot in January's first direct election. Some
would-be candidates may be disqualified for having false signatures
among the 50,000 minimum required to stand if they do not have the
support of a party in parliament. Which aspirants have made the cut
will be announced on Friday afternoon. Those denied a place on the
ballot have until the middle of next week to appeal to the Supreme
Administrative Court.

Czech president calls on Greek counterpart to devote attention to case
of detained Czechs

The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has written to his Greek
counterpart, Karolos Papulias, asking him to devote special attention
to the case of two Czechs detained in Greece on suspicion of espionage.
Mr. Klaus described the arrests as unfortunate and called on the Greek
head of state not to allow the matter to cast a shadow over their two
states' excellent relations. Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, who are
computer game developers, have been behind bars since September, after
allegedly taking photographs of a military facility on the island of

Art group invite gallery goers to send anonymous SMSes to politicians

The art group Ztohoven have sparked controversy by inviting gallery
goers to send anonymous mobile phone text messages to Czech
politicians. Their installation Moral Reform in an exhibition at
Prague's DOX Centre of Modern Art features the mobile numbers of
numerous politicians and a free, untraceable phone. One target, the
minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, told the iDnes news website
that he had received hundreds of SMSes, some of them vulgar and
threatening. Mr. Kalousek said, however, that he had had his number for
over a decade and had no intention of changing it. Ztohoven have
frequently come into conflict with the law; one member, Roman Tyc, was
imprisoned for a month this year after amending traffic lights to show
the red and green figures in various poses.

Zookeepers attacked by white tiger at Liberec zoo

A zookeeper was attacked by a white tiger at the zoo in the north
Bohemian town of Liberec on Thursday morning. He sustained head
injuries but his life is not in danger, a spokesperson for the local
emergency services said. Two other zoo employees were slightly hurt as
they tried to rescue their colleague. After the attack, the escaped
seven-year-old tiger moved about the zoo for about an hour before being
tranquilised and recaptured. Liberec zoo is known for its white tigers,
a rare breed believed to no longer exist in the wild.

First parking places for women created in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic's first car park spots designated for women have
been created at a branch of the fast food chain McDonalds in Prague,
the news website reported on Thursday. The places reserved
for women - which are located in relatively areas near main buildings -
are intended to increase users' safety by reducing the risk of attack.
A spokesperson for McDonalds said the special spots were in line with
EU voluntary guidelines and were common in some European states.

Casual workers' need for medical cert voted "Absurdity of Year"

A regulation under which casual workers have to undergo a medical
examination even if they will only hold a job for one day has been
voted the "Absurdity of the Year" in a poll conducted by the business
daily Hospodarske noviny. If firms hire the same person for a second
day's work at a later date they are required to get a fresh doctor's
certificate. The annual survey is intended to highlight nonsensical
administrative duties forced on businesses by state agencies.

November 22 100th anniversary of opening of Prague's grand Municipal

November 22 is the 100th anniversary of the opening of one of Prague's
best-known buildings, the Municipal House (Obecni dum). A popular
landmark today, its combination of the French Baroque style with Art
Nouveau decoration split opinion among architects and the city's
residents at the time of its opening in 1912. The Municipal House was
originally conceived as a cultural centre and it remains one, hosting
concerts at its grand Smetana Hall and occasional exhibitions. It is
also home to a Viennese style cafe and a French restaurant.

Czech clubs set sights on reaching knockout stages of Europa League

Two Czech soccer clubs have their sights set on reaching the knockout
stages of the Europa League on Thursday night. Viktoria Plzen, who face
the Portuguese side Academica de Coimbra away, need only one point from
their last two group games to go through. Sparta are in the same
position, but they will face an arguably tougher opponent on Thursday
in the form of France's Olympique Lyonnais, who they will be hosting in


It should be largely cloudy over the next couple of days, with
temperatures of up to 9 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Czech government moves to protect whistleblowers

With corruption perceived as one of the country's most serious
problems, the Czech government has now moved to give whistleblowers
greater legal protection. While it hopes to encourage more public
sector workers to report corrupt practices, it is stepping cautiously
for fear that the legal norm could be abused.
President Klaus appeals to Greek counterpart over two Czechs jailed on
espionage charges

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has weighed in on the case of two Czech
nationals held in Greece on espionage charges. The two men, both
professional video game developers, were arrested in September on the
Greek island of Lemnos after they took photos of local military
installations. But they say they were only collecting material for a
new game. Mr Klaus has now appealed to the president of Greece, asking
him to follow the case with special attention.
Vitkovice ironworks turned into a showcase of industrial development

It's a far cry from the country's traditional tourist sites. The
imposing Vitkovice ironworks, dubbed the steel heart of the country,
served the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First Republic, the Wehrmacht
and later communist Czechoslovakia. In 1998 part of this huge
industrial complex with its blast furnaces and coke oven batteries was
closed down and rather than getting dismantled it was declared a
national cultural monument that is gradually being transformed into an
interactive museum and a multipurpose cultural facility.

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