Tuesday, January 29, 2013

News 1.29.2013

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

News Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* TOP 09 say they will only sign a new coalition deal if the Czech
Republic joins the EU's Fiscal Compact.

* The deputy chair of the Civic Democrats says TOP 09's demand
regarding the EU treaty is a pretext for bringing about early elections.

* The Civic Democrats have said they want "appropriate relations" with
president-elect Milos Zeman.

* Mr. Zeman's party have reported heightened interest in membership
following his election victory.

* Some prisoners freed from Czech jails under a presidential amnesty
did not actually qualify for early release, according to a press report.

TOP 09 make signing new coalition deal conditional on Czech acceptance
of EU fiscal pact

TOP 09, the second largest party in the government, will only sign a
new coalition deal with the Civic Democrats and LIDEM if it contains a
commitment to the Czech Republic joining the EU's Fiscal Compact by the
end of 2013. The Czech Republic and the UK are the only members that
have not signed up to the treaty, which sets strict limits for the
budget deficits of eurozone states. TOP 09's Miroslav Kalousek, who is
the minister of finance, announced the demand after a meeting of party
leaders on Tuesday.

Civic Democrats deputy chair says TOP 09 demand pretext for early

The deputy chairman of the Civic Democrats, Industry and Trade Minister
Martin Kuba, has described TOP 09's demand regarding the EU treaty as a
pretext for bringing about early elections. He suggested that the
present moment could be a good opportunity for Mr. Kalousek, who is
regarded as the de facto leader of TOP 09, to capitalise on the showing
by its official chairman, Karel Schwarzenberg, in the presidential
election, in which he received over two million votes in the second
round runoff.

The Civic Democrats say there is no reason for Prague to sign up to the
fiscal compact as the country has not adopted the euro; furthermore,
they say, Czechs should decide on the matter in a referendum, because
it would hand over some powers to Brussels.

Civic Democrats want "appropriate relations" with Zeman but reject call
for early elections

The Civic Democrats have said they wish to have "appropriate relations"
with president-elect Milos Zeman and to cooperate with him in the
fields of foreign and security policy. However, they rejected his view
that early elections should be held. Reacting to suggestions that Mr.
Zeman could dismiss him once in office, Prime Minister Petr Necas said
such a move would represent an illegitimate constitutional putsch; he
said only the lower house had the power to call early elections.

Within hours of his victory on Saturday, Mr. Zeman questioned the
legitimacy of the unpopular government, partly because it contains
LIDEM, a breakaway group from the disgraced Public Affairs party.

Zeman's party reports increased interest in membership

Milos Zeman's political party, which have no representation in
Parliament, have reported heightened interest in membership in the wake
of his success in the presidential election, Novinky.cz reported on
Tuesday. Vratislav Mynar, the chairman of the Citizens' Rights
Party-Zemanites, told the news website that the grouping wished to
prevent careerists entering its ranks. It now has over 2,000 members.

Zeman's party to collaborate with Social Democrats?

Meanwhile, there have been suggestions that the Citizens' Rights
Party-Zemanites could collaborate in some way with the Social
Democrats, Mr. Zeman's former party. Newspaper Hospodarske noviny said
Social Democrats' first deputy chairman Michal Hasek had indicated that
the Zemanites and his party could even merge in the future.

While some Social Democrats fear the future president will undermine
the party and settle scores arising from personal animosity, others
remain loyal to the man who in the 1990s built the party into an
election winning force.

Press: Some prisoners freed under presidential amnesty did not meet
necessary criteria

Some prisoners freed from Czech jails this month under a presidential
amnesty did not actually qualify for early release, Mlada fronta Dnes
reported on Tuesday. The newspaper said some judges made mistakes due
to the fact they were dealing with so many cases in a short time
period, while others have said the wording of the amnesty is unclear.
The minister of justice, Pavel Blazek, said it was not possible to
return prisoners who had been mistakenly released.

Over 6,000 prisoners serving terms of less than a year were freed early
under the amnesty, which President Vaclav Klaus said he had declared to
mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic on
January 1.

Castle protocol chief Forejt set to become Czech ambassador to Vatican

The chief of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindrich Forejt, is set to
become the Czech ambassador to the Vatican. The information was
confirmed by the minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg.
According to press reports, he had held off from nominating Mr. Forejt,
who was backed by President Vaclav Klaus; in return, the president had
dragged his feet about putting his signature to the appointment of
several other ambassadors.

Head of Czech organisation calls for ban on import of Polish foods

The president of the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries,
Miroslav Toman, has called on the Czech authorities to ban imports of
foodstuffs from Poland unless it introduces more thorough controls.
However, the Czech Ministry of Agriculture said such a move was not the
order of the day. Some supermarkets removed Polish-produced biscuits
from their shelves when it was found they could contain rat poison,
although in sufficient quantities to harm human health. Last year, some
table salt imported from Poland was also found to be contaminated.

Rosicky returns for Turkey friendly

Midfielder Tomas Rosicky will return to the Czech squad for an away
friendly against Turkey next Wednesday. The Arsenal player, who is 32,
last played for the national soccer team against Greece at Euro 2012,
where he sustained an Achilles' tendon injury. He has also suffered
from a calf problem this season. Tomas Huebschmann, Vaclav Pilar and
Tomas Necid are all unavailable for the game, while Stanislav Tecl of
Viktoria Plzen receives his first call-up. The Czechs are third in
their World Cup qualifying group and face Denmark and Armenia in March.


The mild weather we are currently experiencing is set to continue over
the coming days, with temperatures due to reach up to 8 degrees
Celsius. Rain is expected in many parts of the country.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Czech Kung Fu students to perform Lion Dance in celebration of Chinese
New Year

Various activities are being prepared for celebrations in the run up to
the Chinese New Year. Alongside a traditional dragon boat race on the
Vltava River and a performance by Chinese singer Feng-yun Song, Petra
Lorenzova's Kung Fu School in Prague is putting together the final
touches for a performance at Palac Akropolis, a popular club in the
city. I went along to one of the training sessions at the school on a
Monday night to find out how things were coming together.


'Atmospheric disturbance' possible but no storms ahead for Czech-German

The final days of campaigning before the weekend's presidential
election were marked by a bitter row over the postwar Benes decrees
that legitimised the expulsion of three and a half million ethnic
Germans from Czechoslovakia. Certainly 'the German card' appears to
have played a role, if not a decisive one, in the election of Milos
Zeman over Karel Schwarzenberg - an aristocrat who spent four decades
living in Austria and whose Austrian wife doesn't speak Czech. Mr
Zeman's campaign rhetoric has upset some in neighbouring Germany and
Austria - but what impact will this have on relations between Czechs
and their German-speaking neighbours? Peter Brod is a Prague-born
journalist who spent many years living in Bavaria.


Versatile graphic artist Oldrich Kulhanek dies aged 72

The well-known Czech graphic designer, painter, and illustrator Oldrich
Kulhanek died in Prague at the age of 72 on Monday. He is best known
for creating the images on the modern Czech bank notes, but his other
works have served as inspiration for a whole generation of graphic


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