Friday, November 30, 2012

News 11.30.2012

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

News Friday, November 30th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* The Finance Ministry has announced that it expects the deficit for
this year to go up to five percent of the GDP.

* Jiri Dienstbier and Milos Zeman have asked the Communist Party
leadership to support their bids in the presidential election.

* The Czech Republic voted against Palestine's bid to upgrade its
status at the UN.

* Teachers in the Karlovy Vary region have sent an open letter to the
regional government objecting to the appointment of a Communist
politician to the post of Education Councilor.

* The Prague City Council has rejected a proposal that would allow for
the renewal of the tramline along Wenceslas Square.

Annual deficit estimated to go up to 5 percent

The Finance Ministry has announced that it is expecting the deficit for
this year to reach five percent of the GDP, in comparison to last
year's 3.3 percent, due in large part to the recently approved church
property restitution bill and problems with drawing of EU funds this
year. In October, the ministry was still counting on an annual deficit
of 3.2 percent, but Friday's fiscal outlook shows a different prognosis.

Dienstbier and Zeman ask for Communist support

Presidential candidates Jiri Dienstbier and Milos Zeman met with the
leadership of the Communist Party on Friday to ask for their support in
the upcoming elections. Unlike the Civic Democrats or the TOP 09 party,
the Communists have not nominated their own presidential candidate. The
party's leadership said that it would take them a week to deliberate
and decide on who to support. This recommendation may influence the
decision of Communist Party voters in the January election. Mr
Dienstbier said that he considers himself to be the only real candidate
for left-wing voters, so he felt it was natural to ask the Communist
Party for support.

Czechs vote against Palestine's bid for UN upgrade

The Czech Republic voted against the Palestinian Authority's bid to
upgrade its status at the UN to a non-member observer state. Czech
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that this position was in
line with the Czech Republic's long standing policy on the issue. Eight
other countries voted against the move, including the United States,
Israel and Canada. The motion to grant Palestinian Authority non-member
observer status was supported by 138 nations, while 41 abstained from
voting. Leaders of the Czech Social Democrat Party and the Communist
Party criticized the government for the decision to vote against
Palestine's new status. Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Social Democrat
Lubomir Zaoralek said that Czech foreign policy is incomprehensible.

Karlovy Vary teachers object to communist education councilor

A number of teachers from the Karlovy Vary region on Friday sent an
open letter to the governor and regional council asking for them to
consider replacing the new education councilor - Communist party member
Vaclav Sloup. The teachers argue that the position of councilor for
education should be given to someone from the education sector who has
no affiliation with a political party. Earlier this week, Mr Sloup said
that he would consider closing down a number of high schools in the
region. Mr Sloup was politically active under communism, heading one of
the dreaded border patrol units whose job it was to prevent people
fleeing the country. Earlier this month, teachers and students in
Southern Bohemia protested against a communist education councilor in
their region.

Court gives higher combined sentence to Krejcir

Prague's Municipal Court has found fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir
guilty of tax evasion, passing an 11-year prison sentence and a
three-billion-crown fine. Friday's verdict issued in absentia is a
combined sentence for Mr Krejcir's current and previous convictions for
tax and securities fraud as well as embezzlement. Mr Krejcir escaped
from the Czech Republic in 2005 and has been living in South Africa
since 2007, where he has applied for refugee status.

Complications crop up after Stock Exchange switches to new trading

After two years of preparations, the Prague Stock Exchange switched to
a different electronic trading system on Friday, causing some problems
for traders and clients. Prague's electronic securities trading
migrated to the German Xetra trading system, linked up via the Vienna
Stock Exchange during the previous night. According to the online news
server iHned, there were numerous glitches in the first hours of
trading, due to the limited capacities of the data link. Many people
said that they could no longer see some stocks in their electronic
portfolios. The problem was fixed before noon.

CASA planes are still not fully functional

The anti-rocket system on the CASA military aircrafts that the Czech
Defense Ministry purchased from a Spanish company is still not
functional, the ministry informed on Friday. Testing of the planes was
supposed to be completed by the end of the week, but the malfunction
will prevent the planes from being used by the Czech mission in
Afghanistan, as was originally planned. Other allied armies have
already begun using the CASA aircrafts without the anti-rocket system.
The purchase of the planes was highly controversial, and there is still
an ongoing investigation into the former Defense Minister Vlasta
Parkanova and her deputy over possible corruption.

Hard liquor will be strictly banned from Christmas markets

Visitors of the many outdoor Christmas markets around the Czech
Republic will not be able to enjoy the traditional rum-based hot drinks
like punc and grog this holiday season. The authorities have announced
that they will strictly enforce a law prohibiting non-licensed vendors
from selling drinks with alcohol content higher than 15 percent. In the
past, the police turned a blind eye to such practices at the festive
Christmas markets, but following this year's methanol-crisis which
claimed 37 lives, they have decided to take a harder line. The sale of
hot drinks will be restricted to mulled wine or tea.

Prague council turns down trams on Wenceslas square

Prague's city council did not approve a change in the urban plan that
would allow for trams to run along Wenceslas square up to Vinohradska
street. The opposition Social Democrats and some Civic Democratic
councilors voted against the change on Thursday, after the city
assembly gave its approval earlier this week. The old tramline on
Wenceslas square was suspended in the 1980's.

Kupka exhibition opens at Prague's National Gallery

A large exhibition of the Czech modernist painter Frantisek Kupka opens
on Friday at the National Gallery in Prague. Entitled The Journey to
Amorpha, the exhibition follows the painter's path toward
non-figurative art. The exhibit is based on Kupka's paintings that were
first exhibited in Paris in the early 20th century and are considered
the first public presentation of abstract visual art. The exhibition,
held in cooperation with Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of
Modern Art in New York and other institutions runs until March 2013.


The upcoming days will be partly cloudy and overcast, with light snow
expected over the weekend. High day temperatures should be between -1
and 2 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Business News 30.11.2012

In Business News this week: MPs debate draft budget for 2013; OECD cuts
Czech growth forecast for this and next year; Prague Stock Exchange
introduces new trading system; how much would CEZ's exit from Albania
cost? Car maker Skoda to introduce four new models next year; and the
east Bohemian town of Prelouc is ranked as the country's best place for
Modry tygr (The Blue Tiger) wins Best Picture at Kinodiseea

Just a few days ago a Czech/Slovak/German children's film called Modry
tygr (The Blue Tiger, released earlier this year) won the award for
Best Picture at the Kinodiseea international children's film festival
in Bucharest. The film, based on a book by Tereza Horvathova, is set in
a magical part of the city, focussing on a little girl and boy whose
botanical garden is in danger of being demolished and can only saved by
a magical tiger that the children befriend.
Education ministry planning effective action against discrimination of
Romanies in the education system

The Czech Education Ministry has unveiled a new series of comprehensive
measures aimed at removing widespread discrimination of Romany children
in the Czech education system. Although the European Commission has
long urged the Czech Republic to address the problem little corrective
action has been taken since the matter was first raised in 1998.

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: