Saturday, December 15, 2012

News 12.15.2012

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

News Saturday, December 15th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* One of those charged in the Rath corruption case is providing key
testimony to the authorities, a Czech daily says.

* A controversial figure at Prague Castle, Petr Hajek, has slammed the
legacy of the late Vaclav Havel just a few days before the first
anniversary of Havel's death.

* City councilors are weighing the possibility of renaming a Prague
bridge or street after the late ex-president.

* The new transport minister has listed finding alternatives to the
overused D1 highway as "a top priority".

* Icy conditions have complicated the situation on Czech roads and city

Press: Salacova cooperating with authorities in hopes of lesser sentence

Businesswoman Ivana Salacova, involved in a wider corruption case that
brought down former regional Social Democrat governor David Rath, has
provided key testimony in the hopes of receiving a more lenient
sentence, Czech daily Lidove noviny reports. As a witness, Mrs Salacova
has reportedly revealed how suspects operated to mask large bribes. In
May of this year, former governor Rath was caught red-handed with seven
million crowns in cash on his person. Ten others face prosecution in
the case. Rath, formerly one of his party's most prominent figures, is
behind bars awaiting trial.

Vice chancellor slams late president ahead of anniversary

Petr Hajek, the controversial vice chancellor to current president
Vaclav Klaus, has issued harsh criticism of the late Vaclav Havel, the
playwright and former dissident and president, who died a year ago on
December 18. In a TV interview, Mr Hajek indirectly compared the late
president to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, suggesting that Mr
Havel's politics had been undemocratic and had favored a non-elected
elite. In a recently-published book Mr Hajek slammed Vaclav Havel as
having been "in the service of Satan". The vice chancellor is no
stranger to controversy: in the past he has questioned, for example,
who was behind the 9/11 attacks. German daily Die Welt this week dubbed
the vice chancellor "court jester" to outgoing president Vaclav Klaus.

Prague bridge, section of embankment, could be named after Havel

City councilors are weighing the possibility of renaming a Prague
bridge or part of an embankment street after late President Vaclav
Havel, Mlada fronta Dnes reports. According to the daily, part of
Rasinovo nabrezi near where Mr Havel once had an apartment could be
renamed in his honour. Councilor Lukas Manhart told the paper the
renaming was a possibility but provided few details. At least one other
city councilor expressed support for the idea. Earlier this year
Prague's Ruzyne international airport was renamed after the late

Transport minister says new road should be alternative to the D1

New Transport Minister Zbynek Stanjura has listed as a top priority for
alternatives to be found to the Czech Republic's "overused" major
highway, the D1, connecting Bohemia and Moravia. His stressed as an
alternative the building of a major road, the R35, as well rail
"corridors". The minister suggested that such a solution made more
sense than adding lanes to the D1 and said such projects would help
boost the economy. The D1 highway often comes under criticism for
damaged routes and surfaces suffering heavy traffic and transport.
Minister Stanjura made clear that any new projects would need to be
carefully prepared to avoid unexpected jumps in costs, as was the case
in the past.

Icy conditions complicate situation on Czech roads and city sidewalks

Icy conditions which intensified in areas around the country this week
complicated the situation for countless motorists and pedestrians in
the early hours of Saturday. According to the Czech news agency, CTK,
emergency services had registered 80 falls on icy Prague sidewalks
alone by 1 pm on Saturday. Traffic accidents also increased, with some
reporting that the municipal police were having trouble processing
cases quickly due to the high number. Although temperatures have risen
somewhat, motorists have been asked to exercise extreme caution due to
the difficult conditions.

Ice a factor in fatal accidents

In related news, a driver was killed and his fellow passenger was
seriously injured on Saturday on the road from Litvinov to Most. The
driver apparently lost control of his vehicle on an icy patch and
crashed into an electrical column for trolleybuses. He died at the

In another accident, the father in a family of four was killed shortly
8 am after their car hit a tree in the area of Jindrichuv Hradec. His
wife and children suffered injuries and were taken to hospital for care.

Hockey: Czech squad crushed in 6:0 loss

The Czech hockey team suffered a debacle at the hands of Russia in
their opening game in the second part of the Euro Jockey Tour, the
Channel One Cup. The Czechs were soundly defeated by a score of 6:0;
Russia's Dajcuk got a hat-trick. The Czechs face Sweden next.


Sunday could see sunny periods with daytime temperatures remaining just
below zero, at -1 degree Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Mailbox 15.12.2012

Today in Mailbox: Christmas greetings and carols, comments on Radio
Prague's Facebook page, answers to our listeners' competition, a brand
new question for the coming weeks. Listeners/readers quoted: Pamela
Carley, Igor Lepetsky, Andy Alexander, Marketa Hradecka, Barbara M.
Ziemba, Paul R Peacock, Ian Morrison, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Hans Verner
Lollike, Charles Konecny.
Collecting the unusual: A look at the Curiosity Collectors' Club

Collecting as a hobby is popular in the Czech Republic as it is
throughout the world: the country has no shortage of those who collect
prints, coins, stamps, and works of art. But the country also boasts a
high number of collectors focussed on more unusual items: from pocket
diaries to fruit & vegetable labels, from historic puppets to paper
tissues. The country's Curiosity Collectors' Club, based in Prague, was
founded more than 40 years ago, and now has 1,000 members. Recently, I
caught up with the group's chairman Ladislav Likler to learn more about
the art of collecting - specifically collecting the "unusual".

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