Friday, December 7, 2012

News 12.7.2012

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

News Friday, December 7th, 2012

By: Masha Volynsky

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has announced a number of major concessions
concerning the electronic social benefits cards.

* The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill legalizing medical use of
marijuana.

* President Klaus has refused to sign an addendum to the Lisbon Treaty
on the creation of a European Stability Mechanism.

* Meteorologists have issued warnings of severe cold weather over the
weekend in nine regions.

* The Prague Zoo is getting ready for a complicated birth of a baby
gorilla.



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Necas makes concessions over S-Cards
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Prime Minister Petr Necas has announced significant concessions to the
government's S-card system streamlining social and welfare benefit
payments that is to come into effect in January next year. In line with
a fresh agreement reached with Ceska Sporitelna and the Czech Postal
Service S-Cards will not be mandatory for payments and will only serve
for identification purposes. Under the proposed amendment, people will
be free to decide whether they want their benefits sent to the S-card
account, a different account or by post.The only exemption concerns
those suspected of exploiting the welfare benefits system.


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No resolution reached on defense and transportation posts
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Friday morning's meeting between the leaders of the coalition parties
brought no answers to the new appointments of defense and
transportation ministers. Prime Minister Petr Necas said that he hopes
to pick the candidates for the ministerial positions next week. He has
previously indicated that if the Civic Democrats and the LIDEM party
exchange the two posts, it is possible that LIDEM chairwoman Karolina
Peake would become the Defense Minister. President Vaclav Klaus
expressed doubts on Friday over Ms Peake's suitability for this
appointment.


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Medical marijuana bill approved by lower house
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The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill on Friday that legalizes
the use of marijuana to alleviate some medical conditions. Patients
will be able to purchase marijuana only with an electronic prescription
from a doctor. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and
signed by the president to come into effect.


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Klaus refuses to sign rescue fund addendum
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President Vaclav Klaus has refused to sign an addendum to the Lisbon
Treaty on the creation of a European Stability Mechanism. The president
said on Friday that he considers the European Stabilization Mechanism
to be ill-conceived and absurd. The addendum to the treaty which was
agreed on at an EU summit last December has been ratified by both
chambers of Czech Parliament, but the president's refusal to sign it
makes the Czech Republic the only EU member state not to have completed
the ratification process. The Senate called on the president on
Thursday to sign the addendum without further delay, noting that
failure to comply with Parliament's decision in this matter would be in
violation of the constitution.


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Charles University senate protests proposed changes
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The academic senate of Prague's Charles University has issued a
statement saying that it disagrees with the current proposal for higher
education reforms. According to the senate's spokesperson the Education
Ministry's current proposal does not resolve even the basic problem of
separating universities into scientific and professional ones. They
also claim that the ministry has not allowed for enough time to
negotiate possible changes. The academic community has rejected a
number of proposals for reform s in the past few years. Thousands of
students and academics protested against the reforms proposed by the
former Education Minister Josef Dobes this February.


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Czech Republic remains in recession
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The Czech GDP fell by 0.3 percent in the third quarter of this year,
and by 1.3 percent year-on-year, the Czech Statistical Office confirmed
on Friday. This means the Czech economy has been in recession since the
end of last year, which some analysts say equates them to the most
indebted south European countries like Greece and Spain.


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Ombudsman to bring DONEZ to court
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The Czech ombudsman Pavel Varvarovsky is planning to lodge a legal
complaint against the system of checks for the unemployed called DONEZ,
which will come into effect starting January. DONEZ requires people
registered as unemployed to appear at public administration centers a
few times a week. The measure is meant to prevent people who receive
unemployment benefits from working illegally. Mr Varvarovsky believes
this constitutes an excessive encroachment on human dignity.


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Meteorologists warn of freezing temperatures over the weekend
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The Czech Meteorological Institute has issued low temperature warnings
for nine regions, mostly in the east of the country, for the whole of
the upcoming weekend. In some mountainous areas, temperatures are
expected to dip as low as -17 degrees Celsius during the nights. Day
temperatures may be around -10 degrees in some parts of the country.
Extreme temperatures should become more moderate by Monday morning.


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Prague Zoo gets ready for complicated gorilla birth
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A gorilla named Kamba, who resides at the Prague zoo, is due to give
birth in January, but already a month before sixty people are ready to
step in at any moment, to help the mother who most likely is also
suffering from a heart condition. Because of her condition, the birth
may be tricky and dangerous, so the zoo's veterinarian has a list of
in-house and external specialists who are on call and would be able to
help with the delivery. Another gorilla in the zoo named Kyjiva will
also give birth around the same time, but the staff do not expect
complications in this case.


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Plzen beat champions Atletico Madrid to top Europa League group
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Viktoria Plzen finished top of their group in the Europa League after
beating defending champions Atletico Madrid 1:0 at home on Thursday
night, thanks to a goal from Vaclav Prochazka. Plzen had already
qualified for the knockout stage of Europe's second-tier competition
prior to their final group stage game. The same applied to Sparta
Prague, who drew 0:0 away with Athletic Bilbao. The pair's success
means it will be the first time two Czech clubs have still been in
European competition in the New Year since 2004.


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Weather
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It will be getting increasingly colder in the upcoming days, with day
temperatures going possibly as low as -13 degrees Celsius, and up to
around -2 degrees in south Moravia. Despite the cold, the sun will be
out for most of the weekend, with possible light snowfall later on.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/arts/prague-playhouse-launches-new-production-of-dickens-a-christmas-carol.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/c/divadlo/dickens_christmas_carolp.jpg
Prague Playhouse stages new production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"
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The Prague Playhouse, a successful English-language theatre company
based in the Czech capital since 2003, premieres its new production of
Charles Dickens' timeless tale A Christmas Carol on Friday at Divadlo
Inspirace.

http://radio.cz/en/section/arts/prague-playhouse-stages-new-production-of-dickens-a-christmas-carol

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/economic/business-news-2012-12-07.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/r/penize/penize9p.jpg
Business News 7.12.2012
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In Business News this week: Czech real wages continue to fall; few
Czechs plan to join a new pension system; Qatar Airways and Korean Air
are interested in acquiring Czech Airlines; apartment prices expected
to decrease next year; Czech spas going through hard times, and Czech
architects win competition to build monument to victims of slavery in
Senegal.

http://radio.cz/en/section/economic/business-news-2012-12-07

http://old.radio.cz/mp3/podcast/en/curraffrs/government-makes-significant-concessions-on-s-card-system.mp4http://img.radio.cz/pictures/c/socialni/socialni_kartap.jpg
Government makes significant concessions on S-Card system
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Few of the government's social reforms have aroused as much opposition
as the controversial S-Card system; a new electronic system
streamlining social and welfare benefit payments which is to come into
force in January. In the face of growing opposition from left-wing
parties, the National Disability Council and even the Ombudsman, the
centre-right government has now promised to amend the law which would
make S-Card payments mandatory for everyone concerned.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/government-makes-significant-concessions-on-s-card-system






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