Monday, January 28, 2013

News 1.28.2013

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

News Monday, January 28th, 2013

By: Masha Volynsky

* The German Foreign Ministry has announced that it expects good
relations with the Czech Republic to continue under next president.

* Authorities in Pardubice are preparing for possible evacuation of
parts of the town's residents from their homes, if unexploded bombs are
discovered during a clean-up operation.

* Graphic artist Oldrich Kulhanek, who created the images for Czech
bank notes, has died, aged 72.

* Experts have warned of potential problems for the Czech
Constitutional Court, with one judge's term expiring on Monday and six
more due to depart this year.

* Last year's victorious Fed Cup team will start off this year's
tournament in Ostrava.

German government looks forward to cooperation with Zeman

At a press conference the German Foreign Ministry's spokesman said on
Monday that the government is expecting good relations with the Czech
Republic to continue under Milos Zeman as they had in the previous ten
years. It has chosen not to react to the debate over the expulsion of
Germans from Czechoslovakia that evolved during the last two weeks of
the campaign. In the meantime, the leading German daily Die Welt
published an article saying that the government should not invite Milos
Zeman to Berlin, because of the anti-German rhetoric that was used in
his campaign. Some other German and Austrian media have expressed
similar views.

Putin welcomes Zeman's victory

Meanwhile, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has sent a
congratulatory telegram to the Czech president-elect, in which he
expressed his hope to further develop a political dialogue with Mr
Zeman. Mr Putin wrote that in Russia, Milos Zeman is seen as a leader
who will solidify Russian-Czech friendship.

Constitutional court turns down another Rath complaint

The Constitutional Court has turned down another complaint filed by the
former Central Bohemian governor David Rath against the seizure of his
property by the state during his criminal investigation. The court
ruled at a closed hearing that there was no breach of basic legal
rights during the seizure of his property and finances. Mr Rath, who
faces corruption charges, has spent the last six months in custody and
is awaiting trial with ten other defendants.

Pardubice authorities preparing for evacuation

Clean-up work has begun in the town of Pardubice near the mineral oil
refinery Paramo on Monday. According to pyrotechnical experts there may
be up to 180 unexploded bombs from Allied air attacks during World War
II in the soil. In case the bombs are discovered local authorities are
prepared to evacuate the area within two hours. As many as 10,000
people may have to be evacuated from their homes, and trains going
through the town may have to be stopped and potentially re-routed.

Oldrich Kulhanek dead at 72

Famous graphic artist, Oldrich Kulhanek, died at the age of 72 on
Monday morning. He is the author of the images that appear on Czech
bank notes as well as many Czech stamps. A Prague native, Mr Kulhanek
was detained by the Czechoslovak secret police in 1971 on charges that
he slandered communist leaders with his drawings from the late 1960s.
Although he was set free after a few weeks, he remained under
surveillance for a number of years and was prohibited from publishing
his work until the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.

Constitutional Court loses judge and could face backlog

The Czech Constitutional Court is now a judge short with the 10-year
term of Justice Jiri Mucha having come to an end on Monday. This leaves
the court with 12 judges, the minimum number required for it to sit. A
further six judges are set to leave the country's highest court between
now and the end of the year, and experts have warned that its case load
could pile up which could lead to delays in rulings. President-elect
Milos Zeman has said he hopes to be able to find candidates that would
be acceptable to the Senate within a couple of months of taking office
in March.

Zeman goes back to his village home to rest

President-elect Milos Zeman has retired to his home in the village of
Nove Veseli in the Vysocina region on Sunday. According to a friend, he
is planning to recuperate from the stress of the presidential campaign
until Thursday, when he will go back to Prague. Mr Zeman asked not to
be disturbed and said he will not pick-up phone calls from friends. The
police are still looking for the person who spray-painted a red star
near Mr Zeman's home in Nove Veseli on Saturday night in reference to
the former communist regime.

No-Zeman campaign supported by cultural figures

Some supporters of the former presidential candidate Karel
Schwarzenberg are joining an initiative under the motto: "Milos Zeman,
you are and will not be my president." The initiative was formed
spontaneously at the Lucerna music bar in Prague, where Mr
Schwarzenberg's supporters gathered on Saturday afternoon to await
election results. The initiative refuses to recognize Mr Zeman as
president because its members believe he won by spreading lies during
his campaign. Film director Monika Le Fay is one of the people behind
the initiative which has since been supported by singers Roman Holy and
Jaroslav Hutka, actor Olrich Navratil, documentary director Olga
Sommerova and others.

Voters placed fake ballots and candy into ballot boxes

During the second round of the presidential elections this weekend, a
little over three thousand ballots were found to be invalid in the
Czech capital. Apparently, some of them were made invalid on purpose.
Some voters placed homemade ballots into designated envelopes,
indicating their preference for the cartoon character Little Mole
(Krtek), for example, or the fictional theatre character Jara Cimrman.
One voter placed candy into the envelope instead of the ballot.

Winning Fed Cup team will begin new year

The Czech tennis captain Petr Pala has nominated the winning team from
last year's Fed Cup final to the first round of this year's tournament.
Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka
will face the Australian team in Ostrava on February 9 and 10. The
Australians are the second most successful team in the Fed Cup history,
having won the championship seven times. But their last victory was in


It will be mostly cloudy with possible light snow and freezing rain.
Daytime highs should be between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Sports News 28.1.2013

In Sports News: Czech figure skater Michal Brezina clinches bronze at
the European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb; speed skater
Karolina Erbanova improved her own Czech record at the World Sprint
Speed Skating Championships in Salt Lake City; in tennis Radek Stepanek
will miss the opening round of the Davis Cup; Prague football club
Slavia celebrates 120th anniversary.
Jiri Pehe: divisions in Czech society will take years to heal

Milos Zeman's victory in the country's first direct presidential
election has highlighted some deep divisions in Czech society. A large
part of the future president's support came from voters in rural areas
and small towns, while his rival, Karel Schwarzenberg, won the backing
of city-dwellers, higher income groups, and young people. In this
special edition of One on One, my guest Jiri Pehe discusses these
divisions, Milos Zeman's appeal to Czech voters - and the main factors
behind his triumph.
President-elect Zeman wastes no time in wading into party politics

Within hours of becoming the first directly elected head of state of
the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman made it clear that he has no intention
of being a docile occupant of Prague Castle. Indeed, Mr. Zeman
immediately questioned the legitimacy of the coalition government - and
called for early parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, elements within
his former party are also bracing themselves for trouble from the

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