Friday, November 23, 2012

News 11.23.2012

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

News Friday, November 23rd, 2012

By: Jan Richter

* Doubts have appeared about the ministry's method in calculating the
number of invalid signatures supporting the candidates' bids.

* Three candidates for the presidential race have been disqualified by
the Interior Ministry for failing to meet the legal requirements.

* President Klaus has re-appointed two members of the board of the
Czech National Bank.

* Dozens of international express trains face delays following an
accident on the Czech Republic's major railway route.

* In football, Arsenal FC and Czech international Tomas Rosicky could
appear in a league game next week after a five-month injury layoff.

Interior Ministry disqualifies three presidential candidates

Three candidates for the presidential race - Jana Bobosikova, Vladimir
Dlouhy and Tomio Okamura - have been disqualified by the Interior
Ministry for having failed to meet the requirements. The ministry said
on Friday that the three candidates failed to submit the required
50,000 signatures in support of their candidacy. The disqualified
candidates may contest the ministry's decision in court. Eight
candidates are now left in the race including three - senators Jiri
Dienstbier and Premysl Sobotka and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
- who were nominated by MPs or senators and did not therefore need to
present any signatures to run for the post. Former prime minister Jan
Fischer has topped the polls so far, followed by another ex-prime
minister Milos Zeman.

Doubts appear about calculation of invalid signatures supporting
presidential bids

In related news, doubts have appeared about the Interior Ministry's
method of calculating the number of invalid signatures supporting the
presidential candidates' bids. The ministry took two samples of the
total amount of signatures in support of each candidate, and verified
whether they were valid. It then added the two error rates and deducted
it from the total number of signatures. However, the news website reported that according to the act on the presidential
election, ministry officials should only deduce an average rate error
from the total number of signatures. In that case, one of the
disqualified candidates, Jana Bobosikova, would have remained in the
race. Interior Ministry officials said the issue would have to be
resolved in court.

Two of three disqualified candidates to contest ministry's decision

Two of the three presidential candidates whom the Interior Ministry
disqualified from running in January's presidential election said they
would contest the ministry's decision in court. Jana Bobosikova
announced she would continue her campaign until a court verdict
confirms her disqualification. Meanwhile, Vladimir Dlouhy said she
would appeal to the country' Supreme Administrative Court to make sure
the number of invalid signatures in his support was calculated
correctly. The third candidate barred from running, Tomio Okamura, said
he would consult his lawyers and announce his decision next week.

Czech PM says latest draft of EU 2014-2020 budget unacceptable

Speaking in Brussels, the Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, has said he
will reject the latest draft European Union budget for the 2014 to 2020
period. He says he cannot accept a reduction in the bloc's cohesion
fund that would see the amount available to the Czech Republic fall
from EUR 26.7 billion in the current seven-year budget period to EUR
19.5 billion in the next one. The funds are available to all regions
except Prague. Mr. Necas has said that the Czech Republic, unlike a
number of states, is not threatening a veto, but, he added, neither
would it approve any plan whatsoever. EU leaders are set to return to
the negotiating table at noon on Friday, though there are fears that no
agreement will be reached.

President re-appoints two members of central bank board

President Vaclav Klaus on Friday re-appointed Mojmir Hampl and Vladimir
Tomsik members of the board of the Czech National Bank. Their second
six-year term will begin on December 1; they now serve as
deputy-governors of the bank and will retain their positions. President
Klaus said the bank could do more to boost the growth of the Czech
economy; Vladimir Tomsik however noted the central bank's main
responsibility was to maintain the stability of the Czech currency and
the inflation rate was close to the bank's target. The Czech crown
strengthened slightly upon the news.

PwC: different VAT rates could be in place in January due to
legislation issues

Three different rates of the value added tax could be in place in
January 2013 due to a possible delay in approving the government's tax
legislation, the Czech branch of the advisory firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Friday. If the process of approving the
tax package is delayed, a single VAT rate of 17.5 would come into force
on January 1. This will be replaced by two rates of 15 and 21 percent,
respectively when the government legislation comes into effect later in
the month. This would be an unprecedented situation for the country's
businesses and firms, PwC said.

Social Democrats re-elected governors of Karlovy Vary, South Moravian

Social Democrat Michal Hasek was re-elected the governor of the South
Moravian region on Friday, following his party's victory in October's
elections. The region will be ruled by a coalition of Social Democrats
and the Christian Democrats. In the western Karlovy Vary region where
the Communists won the ballot, Social Democrat Josef Novonty was
re-elected governor. This was part of a deal between the Communists and
the Social Democrats who formed a coalition there.

Accident halts traffic on major railway route

Dozens of international trains face delays following an accident on the
Czech Republic's major railway route. The accident occurred shortly
before 5 PM on Friday when a train hit man on the railway line near
Pardubice. Czech Railways said the line should be reopened at 7:30 PM;
in the meantime, dozens of express trains connecting Germany, Austria,
Hungary and Slovakia via Prague will be detoured and delayed. Several
local trains have been cancelled.

Usti region to push for lifting of coal mining limits

The Usti region, in the north of the country, will push for the lifting
of government-imposed limits on coal mining, the region's governor
Oldrich Bubenicek, of the Communist Party, said on Friday. Mr Bubenicek
said this could save hundreds of jobs in the region, but added that an
agreement between mining firms and the affected municipalities was
needed before any decision on the issue is taken. Limits on coal mining
were imposed in 1991 to protect the environment in northern Bohemia and
other areas devastated mainly by surface mining of lignite.

Police arrest five blackmailers

The police have arrested five men and charged them with blackmail,
robbery and other crimes, a spokesman for the organized crime unit of
Czech police said on Friday. The men allegedly targeted wealthy people
in the Pardubice region in eastern Bohemia and blackmailed them for
money, using threats of violence against them and their families. They
also allegedly set at least eight cars on fire, two of which belonged
to police officers investigating the case, the police said.

Football: Rosicky could appear in next week's league game

Arsenal FC and Czech international midfielder Tomas Rosicky could
appear in a league game next week, after a five month absence caused by
injury. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the 32-year-old Czech
footballer should be back with the team on Monday, a week after he
resumed training with the team. Tomas Rosicky injured his Achilles
tendon during the European championships in June. Next week, Arsenal
plays Everton and Swansea in the Premier League.


The weekend will be overcast, with rain or drizzle in places. Daytime
highs should range between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Business News 23.11.2012

In Business News this week: the Czech cabinet approves a draft budget
for next year; CEZ has problems in Albania - and a bid for a power
plant at home; the Czech Republic buys into the Transalpine Pipeline,
with a view to reducing reliance on Russian oil; e-tailers in the Czech
Republic are to join forces next Tuesday for a day of sales with free
delivery; and the "Absurdity of the Year" is announced.
International Festival of Outdoor Films: bringing together fans of
documentary, travel & extreme sports

The International Festival of Outdoor Films has been bringing quality
documentary, travel and extreme sport films to the Czech Republic and
Slovakia over the last decade. In its 10th year, this year's inception,
which kicked off in Ostrava in October before travelling from town to
town and city and city, is more than halfway through. In early December
it is will wrap up in Prague with the winning films announced.
Plane crash sees fleet of L-159 fighter jets grounded

The Czech military has grounded its fleet of L-159 fighter jets after
one of the planes crashed on its way back from a training session near
Kolin in central Bohemia on Thursday. The pilot did not survive the
crash. It is the second fatal accident involving the Czech-made
military aircraft since they were first introduced in 2003.

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