Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News 11.27.2012

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

News Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Constitutional Court has invalidated several articles from the
government's health and social reform laws which were contested by the

* The former police president Petr Lessy has been charged with slander
and abuse of office.

* A Czech tourist whose ruined holiday was not refunded by the bankrupt
travel agency's insurance company has demanded compensation from the

* Two foreign nationals being deported from Denmark to Romania
attempted to escape during a stop-over at Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport
on Monday evening.

* Passive smoking reportedly kills 3,000 Czechs every year.

Constitutional court rules on 14 reform laws

The Constitutional Court has invalidated several articles from the
government's health and social reform laws which were part of a package
of laws contested by the opposition. Chief Justice Pavel Rychetsky said
the articles in question, such as that introducing compulsory community
service for the jobless, were unconstitutional, but he upheld the
validity of the laws as a whole. The opposition filed a complaint
against 14 health, social and pension reform laws on the grounds that
they were not properly debated and that opponents of the bills were
restricted in their right to address Parliament in the matter. The
ruling is seen as a partial victory for the opposition which had been
hoping to see the entire package of reform bills invalidated.

PM: government respects court verdict

Prime Minister Petr Necas said in response to Tuesday's ruling that he
fully respected the court's verdict. He said the government would study
the justification of the ruling carefully and then debate a possible
course of action in amending the respective legislation.

Opposition says change of guard at VZP will not help ailing health

The head of the opposition Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka has said
the changes on the board of VZP, the country's largest health insurance
company, were merely a redistribution of power between the two senior
parties in government and would do nothing to resolve the growing
problems in the health sector. Mr. Sobotka also criticized the fact
that one of the members of the board of VZP owns a private hospital.
The head of the VZP insurance company, Pavel Horak, and the head of the
firm's administrative board, Marek Snajdr, stepped down on Monday in
the face of mounting criticism from the Health Ministry over poor

Anti-monopoly office cancels tender over mistakes

The Czech anti-monopoly office has moved to cancel a tender announced
by the Czech National Museum for the reconstruction of its new
headquarters, the building that formerly housed the Czechoslovak
federal parliament at the upper end of Wenceslas Square. The
anti-monopoly office said it has found serious errors in the
100-million-crown tender which would need to be corrected. The museum
has not appealed the decision.

Lessy charges with slander, abuse of office

A Prague state attorney has filed charges of slander and abuse of
office against the former police president Petr Lessy. The move comes
on the basis of a criminal complaint from the General Inspectorate of
the Security Forces. The libel charge is connected to statements Mr
Lessy made in the press over half a year ago when he insinuated that a
subordinate officer had swept criminal investigations under the rug.
Mr. Lessy has dismissed the charges as a pack of lies constructed to
remove him from office. Under Czech law the police president cannot be
dismissed unless he is suspected of having committed a crime. If
convicted of the charges Petr Lessy could face up to three years in

Air pollution worsens in Moravia and Silesia

Air pollution is reported to have worsened severely in parts of Moravia
and Silesia with the concentration of dust particles in the air far
exceeding permitted norms at 9 out of 15 monitoring stations. According
to data from the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute the concentration
of harmful substances in the air is more than double the permitted norm
in Ostrava and exceeds it three times in Karvina where the authorities
have advised elderly people and children to stay indoors as much as
possible. Air pollution plaques the region for most of the winter
months and has increased the incidence of allergies and asthma among
the locals.

Tourist whose travel company went bankrupt is demanding compensation
from the state

A Czech tourist whose ruined holiday was not refunded by the bankrupt
travel agency's insurance company has demanded compensation from the
state. This is the first case of its kind in the Czech Republic. The
insurer of Parkam Holidays which went bankrupt last summer refused to
refund clients in full for holidays that fell through arguing that the
company's insurance was low. Something similar happened to the clients
of BG Travel which also went bankrupt. The Czech tourist who has set a
precedent by demanding that the state refund the money is citing poor
legislation which sets a low basic insurance limit for travel companies.

Social Minister proofing administration against future corrupt practices

The new Social Affairs Minister Ludmila Mullerova has launched a
clean-up operation to cut all possible ties to the former deputy
minister Vladimir Siska who is charged with corruption. The new
minister has appointed Jan Vitula and Zdenek Kadlec her deputies and
says more changes will be implemented as of the beginning of next year.
Mr. Siska's responsibilities will be divided between the two new
deputies to lower the risk of abuse of office. The former social
affairs minister Jaromir Drabek resigned in connection with the
corruption scandal surrounding his deputy.

Foreign nationals try to escape deportation during stop-over in Prague

Two foreign nationals being deported from Denmark to Romania attempted
to escape during a stop-over at Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport on Monday
evening. They failed to board a waiting bus and ran across the tarmac
to a fence where they were caught by police. Officers had to restrain
the two men. The police were reportedly not informed about the reasons
for their deportation.

Smoking killing 3,000 passive smokers every year

Passive smoking reportedly kills 3,000 Czechs every year. According to
a Eurobarometer study there are approximately 3 million smokers in the
ten-million-strong Czech Republic. 18,000 Czechs die of smoking-related
diseases such as lung and throat cancer every year, of which 3,000 are
passive smokers. Doctors say that the borderline where serious problems
appear is after 250 thousand cigarettes smoked, which amounts roughly
to thirty years of smoking a pack a day.


The weather is expected to continue grey and overcast with drizzle and
day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Uherske Hradiste - a fortress of culture

Spotlight this week comes from Uherske Hradiste, a charming picturesque
town in south-east Moravia. Like so many places in this part of the
world, Uherske Hradiste has a rich and complex history. As tour guide
Lenka Kornelova explains, the town was established nearly eight
centuries ago in reaction to the turbulent events of that time and the
city actually gets its name - meaning "Hungarian Fortress" - from this


Court rejects opposition debate complaint but throws out community
service for jobless

A skirmish in the battle over the fate of the right-of-centre
government's extensive programme of reforms reached its final stage on
Tuesday. The opposition took a case to the Constitutional Court saying
that laws changing the country's health, social and pension systems had
been pushed through in a manner that contravened their rights. In the
end, the opposition saw that complaint rejected - but scored a partial
success when community service for the jobless was overturned.


Former police chief pleads guilty to bribery charge

Former Prague City Police chief Vladimir Kotrous appeared in court on
Monday on corruption charges, roughly a year after he was caught
red-handed with a suspected bribe. On Monday, he surprised many by
admitting guilt. The case won't end there: the funds he admitted to
taking are thought only to be the tip of the iceberg.


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