Thursday, December 20, 2012

News 12.20.2012

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

News Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* Karolina Peake has called on ministers from the LIDEM party to resign
from the government by 10 January.

* The sacking of Defense Minister Karolina Peake has precipitated a
major government crisis.

* The Interior Ministry is said to have published information making it
possible for presidential candidates to cheat the ministry's
verification procedure of their list of supporters.

* The Prague City Hall will try to re-negotiate the rental contract
with Skoduv Palace owner.

* The Olympic javelin champion Barbora Spotakova has been named Czech
Sportsperson of the Year.

Peake calls on ministers to quit government by early January

Following her dismissal from the post of defense minister, LIDEM party
chairwoman Karolina Peake has called on her party's ministers to resign
from the government by 10 January, which would mean the fall of the
governing coalition. Beside Ms Peake, who still holds the post of
deputy prime minister, LIDEM has two other members in the government -
Minister for Regional Development Kamil Jankovsky and minister without
portfolio Petr Mlsna. The party holds eight seats in the Lower House.
Shortly before the LIDEM party's announcement, Mr Necas said that he is
still interested in cooperating with LIDEM within the coalition and
said that Ms Peak will keep her position as deputy prime minister.

Peake's sacking causes government crisis

Karolina Peake was sacked on Thursday afternoon eight days after taking
up the post of Defense Minister. Prime Minister Petr Necas has
announced that he decided to fire the LIDEM chairwoman because of her
unwillingness to cooperate with the government. The premier said Ms
Peake did not comply with his request to withdraw her dismissal of her
first deputy Vlastimil Picek, which she issued the next day after her

Lessy unhappy with verdict from closed hearing

Former police president Petr Lessy has expressed disagreement with the
verdict of the Prague 7 court, which pronounced him guilty of
slandering a subordinate and abuse of office. Mr Lessy claims he is
innocent of the charges leveled against him and has protested against
the fact that the court decision came after a closed hearing, not a
public one. He told the press on Thursday that he would most likely
appeal the court's decision. Mr Lessy was accused of giving his press
secretary documents that were damaging to the then deputy police chief
in Zlin, Jaroslav Vanek. The documents, that were later passed on to a
journalist, allegedly presented proof of Mr Vanek's links with the Tofl

Interior ministry under fire over signature verification procedure

The Interior Ministry is said to have published information making it
possible for presidential candidates to cheat the ministry's
verification procedure of their list of supporters. The randomized
system for controlling the signature sheets was created by Hewlett
Packard, which won in a public tender. Czech Radio said on Thursday
that by placing the full text of the contract between the ministry and
Hewlett Packard on the internet, including the formula used to randomly
select signature sheets to be checked, the Interior Ministry allowed
candidates to calculate exactly which sheets would be picked, and
prepare those sheets more carefully. The ministry defended itself
saying that it is obliged by law to place the full text of the contract
for any public tender online, and that signature sheets were given
internal numbers at the ministry, which prevented any possible fraud in
this respect. Three candidates who submitted petitions with more than
the necessary 50 thousand signatures were originally disqualified for
having too many unverifiable signatures, though Jana Bobsikova was
later registered as an official candidate.

Czech Railways sues Transport Ministry

Czech Railways are suing their only shareholder - the Transport
Ministry - in an effort to prevent it from making public the amounts
with which it subsidizes the trips made by Czech Railways trains.
Owners of private companies that have begun competing with the national
train operator, like Radim Jancura of RegionJet, say that the Transport
Ministry has to release information about the exact amount of money it
costs the state to run every kilometer of vital train lines. So far,
the ministry has released only an average figure, but Czech Railways
want to completely block the release of this information. One of their
cases has already been turned down by the Prague Municipal Court.

Former minister Dobes founds new political movement

Former Education Minister Josef Dobes has founded the New Movement for
Sport. The Public Affairs Party member has said that the New Movement
will be engaged politically and has aspirations to run in parliamentary
elections in 2014. The group's main goals are to push for a new law on
the financing of sports, and in general strengthen the sporting
community in the country. At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Dobes
said that a number of famous Czech sporting personalities support the
movement, and that they also have popular support in a number of

Vaclav Havel Library supports Schwarzenberg

The presidential Vaclav Havel Library has publicly announced its
support for the presidential candidacy of Karel Schwarzenberg. The
mission of the Prague-based library, that was founded in 2004, is to
disseminate information about former Czech and Czechoslovak President
Vaclav Havel and his works, as well as collecting an archive of
materials by and about him. Karel Schwarzenberg, who is currently the
finance minister, at one point served as the chancellor in President
Havel's cabinet.

Prague City Hall wants to get better rental price for administrative

Prague city hall has announced that it will try to re-negotiate the
contract it has with the owners of Skoduv palace, where many of the
central administrative offices are located. The city hall has
previously announced that the rent and terms of the contract are
disadvantageous. Rent prices in the surrounding buildings are allegedly
almost half of the 196 million crowns that the city paid last year for
renting the Skoduv palace in Jungmannova street. If the palace's owners
will not offer a better price, city hall officials will consider filing
a legal complaint.

Olympic javelin champion Spotakova named Czech Sportsperson of Year

The Olympic javelin champion Barbora Spotakova has been named Czech
Sportsperson of the Year. Spotakova, who is 31, received the award,
which is voted on by members of the Club of Sports Journalists, at a
ceremony in Prague on Wednesday evening. She also won the prize four
years ago, when she took her first Olympic gold. The athlete recently
announced she was taking a year out in 2013 to have her first child.


It will be cloudy and partly cloudy with possible snow in the next few
days. Temperature will drop slight to around -3 to 1 degrees Celsius.

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Tana Fischerova - an idealist offering a vision of a better world

Actress and civic activist Tana Fischerova, one of the three female
candidates running for president, is selling a dream: she is offering
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her as a pioneer and a moral authority, others dismiss her as a
hopeless idealist who would be eaten alive in the harsh world of
high-level politics.

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