Thursday, December 27, 2012

News 12.27.2012

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

News Thursday, December 27th, 2012

By: Jan Velinger

* Senator Tomio Okamura has filed a complaint with the Constitutional
Court over his elimination as a candidate in the upcoming presidential

* President Vaclav Klaus has signed the bill on the state budget for

* The leader of coalition party LIDEM has called a meeting of the
party's top leadership for January 3 to discuss its future in the
current government.

* Presidential candidate Karel Schwarzenberg has released a doctor's
report to show that at 75 he is in good enough health to meet all the
demands of office.

* Czech police have closed their enquiry into the alleged post-war
murder of 16 ethnic Germans near Dobronin in the area of Jihlava, Czech
Radio reports.

Senator Okamura files complaint with Constitutional Court

Senator Tomio Okamura on Thursday filed a complaint with the Czech
Constitutional Court over his elimination from the upcoming
presidential election. Earlier, the Interior Ministry refused to
register Mr Okamura for the election on the ground he had failed to
collect the required 50,000 signatures in support of his bid, a
decision confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court. In his
complaint, Mr Okamura is contesting the cut-off of 50,000 signatures as
unconstitutional. The senator's complaint could lead to a delay or
cancellation of the first direct president election, the first round of
which is scheduled for January 11 and 12.

President signs law on budget for 2013

President Vaclav Klaus has signed the bill on the state budget for
2013, a third version of the budget prepared by the cabinet of Prime
Minister Petr Necas. No hurdles remain for the budget, which outlines a
deficit of 100 billion crowns next year, from coming into effect. The
deficit, according to Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek is expected to
be about 5 percent of GDP, rather than the 3.5 percent deficit target
expected earlier. The final version of the budget passed in the lower
house only last week, on the heels of the government's tax reform
package, which was signed earlier by the president, raising the
country's VAT rates and other taxes.

LIDEM party leadership to meet on January 3

The leader of coalition party LIDEM, Karolina Peake, has called a
meeting of the party's top leadership for January 3 to discuss its
future in the current government. Following the firing of Mrs Peake as
defence minister ahead of the holidays, LIDEM's top leadership called
on remaining party ministers to resign by January 10. The Civic
Democrats led by Prime Minister Petr Necas have indicated a hope that
the current crisis can be quelled and have made clear they want to
continue with LIDEM as a partner. A departure by the smallest party
would badly weaken the already fragile government which would be far
from sure it could secure a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. Mrs
Peake has repeatedly suggested LIDEM has no intention of staying in the
coalition but will head into opposition.

Presidential candidate Schwarzenberg releases health report

The oldest among nine candidates for president, Foreign Minister Karel
Schwarzenberg, released a doctor's report online on Thursday giving him
a clean bill of health. The report, by Professor Milan Kvapil, head of
the internal medicine clinic at Prague's Motol Teaching Hospital,
concluded the 75-year-old foreign minister's health would allow him to
meet all the demands of office. Some in the past criticised Mr
Shwarzenberg for sometimes dozing during political meetings, which in
turn fuelled speculation over his health. Of the nine candidates, five,
including Schwarzenberg, are over 60 years of age; he is the only one
over 70. The youngest candidates are senator and Social Democrat deputy
chairman Jiri Dienstbier, 47, followed by Sovereignty Party chairwoman
Jana Bobosikova, who is 48.

Police close enquiry into the alleged post-war murder of ethnic Germans

Czech police have closed their enquiry into the alleged post-war murder
of 16 ethnic Germans near Dobronin in the area of Jihlava, Czech Radio
reported Thursday. Human remains were uncovered in the Budinka and U
Viaduktu localities near Dobronin more than two years ago in a mass
grave. Anthropologists said the bodies of at least 13 people, between
the ages of 30 to 60, were buried there. The cause of their death
remains unclear but according to some sources, they were killed by
assailants with shovels and other tools in a rampage of violence that
erupted against local Germans after the end of World War II. The police
are not commenting the enquiry in detail and have stressed that only
those linked to the case will be acquainted with the results. Those are
to be translated into German and sent to 20 or so surviving relatives.

Health insurance companies post losses for first time in four years

All Czech health insurance firms posted losses in 2012 and spent their
financial reserves- proof that a crucial part of health care reform -
the health insurance bill - is badly needed. The firms finished in the
red for the first time since 2008. Czech hospitals had to wait almost
to the end of the year whether health insurers would sign new contracts
with them for the coming years. The year did see any major shake-ups up
at the Health Ministry but did see the chief hygiene officer replaced
and major changes introduced in the management and administration of
the country's largest state-owned insurer VZP.

Poll: trust in government remains dismal

A new poll published by the STEM agency has suggested that public trust
in the government, its members, as well as and the country's
legislative branch remains low. The poll found that the current
government was trusted by only 17 percent of Czechs, 1 percent more
than a year ago, while trust in the prime minister fell from 28 to 25
percent. The lower house enjoyed trust of only 18 percent and the
Senate 27 percent. The chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies, Miroslava
Nemcova posted 39 percent and the chairman of the senate, Milan Stech,

Folklorist Radomil Rejsek dies aged 83

Well-known Czech folklorist Radomil Rejsek, the author of a number of
key texts on traditional song and dance and teacher of folkloric
traditions who influenced generations of young students, died on
Thursday morning at the age of 83. Mr Rejsek was a co-founder and
long-time member of the Joseph Vycpalek Ensemble of Song and Dance
(Souboru pisni a tancu Josefa Vycpalka). For his efforts on the
international scene, Mr Rejsek received the highest recognition from
the International Organisation of Folk Art - honorary membership. The
news of Mr Rejsek's death was released by Kazimir Janoska, the
editor-in-chief of Folklor magazine.

Czech shot in hunting accident

A 39-year-old Czech man was injured in a hunting accident in the area
of Jesenik on Wednesday, when an as yet undetermined shooter hit him in
the leg. The man had to be treated in hospital; the police are
investigating. Similar incidents are not uncommon during hunting
season: last month a 59-year-old was hit by shotgun pellets in the hand
and leg, while in February a 60-year-old hunter died after being
mistakenly shot in the chest. The police regularly monitor hunters to
try to prevent similar incidents, checking the state of hunters'
firearms as well as checking for alcohol consumption.

Chelsea goalkeeper racks up eighth clean sheet

Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech, who plays for Chelsea in the Premier
League, earned his 8th clean sheet of the season on Wednesday, helping
his club beat Norwich by a score of 1:0. As a result Chelsea are within
four points of second-place Manchester City but has a game in hand. On
Sunday, his team embarrassed Aston Villa winning 8:0.


The end of the week should be overcast with occasional rain and snow in
higher places. Daytime highs should range between 3 and 7 degrees

Articles posted on today
Rejected presidential candidate lodges complaint against election law

Rejected presidential candidate Senator Tomio Okamura on Thursday
lodged an extensive complaint with the Constitutional Court against the
election law that sets the framework for the country's first popular
vote. His protest, based on the claim that the law is unconstitutional,
may jeopardize the first round of the election set for January 11 -12.
Salvation Army: Czechs do not give less to charity, but state cuts are

Christmas is the season to be merry, and in many cultures it is also a
season of giving. In the Czech Republic this is only a growing trend,
and given the uncertain economic climate, charity is not necessary the
first thing on people's minds. Radio Prague spoke to Michael Stannett,
the head of the Czech branch of the Salvation Army, or Armada Spasy, in
Czech, and asked him if the current economic downturn has had a
negative effect on how much people were willing to open their
pocketbooks this Christmas season.

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