Tuesday, January 1, 2013

News 1.1.2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

By: Masha Volynsky

* President Vaclav Klaus has announced a partial amnesty in his New
Year's address.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has said that it would be unimaginable if
the Constitutional Court were to nullify direct presidential elections.

* The Czech and Slovak prime ministers have said that the two countries
should cooperate more in the area of defense and international

* The Czech Philharmonic Orchestera will perform the traditional New
Year's concert in honour of the 20-year anniversary of the founding of
the Czec Republic.

* Two Czech ski jumpers have made it into the final stage of the Four
Hill Tournament.

Klaus announces partial amnesty

In his final new year's address as president Vaclav Klaus has announced
that a partial amnesty will come into effect on 2 January. People who
had previously received legally binding prison sentences of one year or
less will be released from jail. Prisoners who are older than 75 years
old as of 1 January and who are serving sentences of no more than 10
years will also be released. The amnesty also lowers sentences for a
number of other categories.

In the televised speech, President Klaus, whose second and last term
will end in March, spoke about the downbeat and apathetic public mood
in the Czech Republic, which is exacerbated by political squabbles,
inadequate political opposition and the European debt crisis. He also
called on the public to return to old values and traditions.

Necas confident presidential elections will be upheld

During a special edition of the Vaclav Moravec talk show on Tuesday,
Prime Minister Petr Necas has said that he does not believe the
Constitutional Court would change the part of the constitution that
stipulates direct presidential elections. The premier said that it
would be unthinkable for the court to cancel the January elections, but
said that changes to the accompanying executive law are not out of the

Necas and Fico appeal for closer cooperation

The Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and the Slovak Prime Minister
Robert Fico appeared on a special edition of the Questions of Vaclav
Moravec television talk show on 1 January, marking the 20th anniversary
of the split of Czechoslovakia. The two heads of government agreed that
the their countries should do more to work together in the areas of
defence and international relations. Mr Necas said that common defense
of the two countries' airspace could begin functioning by 2016 or 2017.
Although both he and Mr Fico admited that there is certain resistance
from generals in both countries to these plans. The Slovak premier
pointed out that the Czechs and Slovak could in the future share
consulates and embassies in some parts of the world.

The show was broadcast from the famous Vila Tugendhat in the Moravian
capital of Brno, where the break-up agreement was signed in 1992 by the
then Czechoslovak Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and the head of the
Slovak government Vladimir Meciar.

Seven babies born during first minutes of new year

In the first ten minutes of the new year, seven children were born
around the Czech Republic. Two girls were born in southern Moravia in
the first minute after midnight. Traditionally, regional councils give
a financial gift to the parents of the first child born in their region
in the new year. In Prague, parents of all the children born on 1
January receive rewards.

Czech Philharmonic gives New Year's performance

The Czech Philharmonic orchestra will perform the New Year concert in
celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the founding of the Czech
Republic on Tuesday evening in Prague's Rudolfinum concert hall. The
concert will be broadcast live on Czech Radio's Vltava station. The
orchestra will be conducted by Jiri Belohlavek.

MeetFactory to screen Piussi's films

The Prague performance art space MeetFactory will show a selection of
documentaries by the Slovak director Zuzana Piussi, who is currently
under criminal investigation in Slovakia in connection with her film
Nemoc treti moci. Ms Piussi has made a number of provocative
documentaries focusing on corruption in Slovak politics and attacking
top politicians like the current prime minister Robert Fico. Her films
will be screened at the MeetFactory on 21 January.

Two Czechs are in Four Hill final

Two Czech ski jumpers - Jan Matura and Roman Koudelka - have entered
the final stage of the Four Hill Tournament, after finishing among the
top 20 after the New Year's jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on
Tuesday. Although Matura was in 8th place at the end of the first
round, the results of the second round brought him down to 16th place.
Koudelka came in 18th. The best Czech jumper Lukas Hlava took a fall
after completing his jump in the first round, and was knocked out due
to a low final score.


It should be sunny in the northeast and cloudy or partly cloudy in the
rest of the country. Daytime temperatures in the next few days should
be between -1 and 5 degrees Celsius, with some snow expected mid-week.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

The split of Czechoslovakia: context, reasons, and lessons for the

For Czechs and Slovaks, New Year's Day has a special meaning as the
independent Czech and Slovak Republics emerged 20 years ago today. But
what strained their relations while they were still living in one
country? Why did Czechoslovakia split against the wishes of most of its
inhabitants? And what lessons can be learned from the history of their
common country? In our special New Year's Day programme, we discuss
these issues with Jan Rychlik from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles
University, and political scientist and historian Juraj Marusiak from
the Slovak Academy of Sciences.


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