Wednesday, January 9, 2013

News 1.9.2013

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

News Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

By: Masha Volynsky

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has defended the presidential amnesty as an
exclusive right of the head of state.

* German President Joachim Gauck has praised the Czech president for
his role in his country's transition to a market economy.

* Unemployment in the Usti nad Labem region has increased again and
remained the highest rate in the country.

* Two more people have died in the past two days due to severe flu

* Jaromir Jagr made a surprise final appearance for Kladno on Tuesday
before returning to the US following the ending of the NHL lockout.

Necas defends signing amnesty

In an interview for the news server iDnes on Wednesday, Prime Minister
Petr Necas defended the presidential amnesty and his role in the
affair. Mr Necas pointed out that it is a constitutional convention for
the prime minister to sign a presidential amnesty in order to confirm
its legality and the government's responsibility to carry it out. But
the initiative of the amnesty is the exclusive right of the president,
the premier noted. He claims he could not refuse to sign the amnesty
along with the president since it was within legal norms. Mr Necas also
denied rumors that his signature was a "trade" for President Klaus'
signing of the government tax reform package in December. The prime
minister is set to offer the president an opportunity to address the
issue of the amnesty in front of the parliament.

Amnesty applies to 18 state attorney cases

Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has announced that the accused in 18
cases that are being dealt with by state attorneys are eligible for the
presidential amnesty. In total, Mr Zeman said, somewhere between 100
and 150 criminal suites may be suspended due to the amnesty granted by
President Klaus on New Year 's Day.

Klaus meeting Gauck and Merkel on Berlin visit

The Czech President Vaclav Klaus made his last visit as president to
Germany on Wednesday. His German counterpart Joachim Gauck praised Mr.
Klaus for contributing to the Czech Republic's transition to a market
economy and to solidifying the relationship between the two countries.
During their lunch together Mr. Gauck also pointed out that the future
lies in a unified Europe. The Czech president is due to hold talks with
the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, later on Wednesday evening. His
visit comes soon after the one Mr. Gauck made to the Czech Republic,
becoming the first German president to pay his respects to the people
of Lidice at the site of the Nazi massacre there in 1942.

Unemployment in Usti still on the rise

The highest unemployment in the country at the end of last year was in
the Usti nad Labem region, according to figures released on Wednesday
by the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry. The employment rate in this
northern Bohemian region went up by 0.6% from November to reach 14% in
December. Contributing factors to the worsening situation on the job
market are cutbacks carried out by some of the major employers in the

Huge blaze engulfs former Svit warehouse

Some 150 firefighters from 28 brigades have been fighting a massive
fire since early Wednesday morning in the east Moravian city of Zlin.
The fire started at around 1 am at a warehouse with electrical
appliances belonging to HP Tronic Zlin, the owner ETA and Euronics.
Three employees of the company were at the scene and suffered from
slight smoke inhalation. No one else is reported injured. The
surrounding area, including primary schools were evacuated to locations
further away, as a preventive measure. Smoke particles in the air are
under the permitted limit.

More people fall victim to severe flu symptoms

Seven people have died in the Czech Republic so far this winter due to
complications from the flu. Almost 50 people are currently in hospitals
with severe flu symptoms. In the past two days, two people have died
and 19 were hospitalized. There has also been an increase of cases of
swine flu, which has recently claimed one victim in the Czech Republic.
The chief hygiene officer Vladimir Valenta previously issued a warning
that the country is on the verge of a flu epidemic. The Health Ministry
has opened a telephone hotline that provides advice to doctors around
the country. Most serious cases of the flu are associated with lung

CEZ hopes to offer more services for electric vehicle owners

In an effort to support the use of electric cars, the Czech state-owned
energy producer CEZ has announced it will offer personal charging
consoles and special electricity prices for electric car owners. The
company's representatives believe that this year will be a
groundbreaking year for electric vehicles. Currently, CEZ allows
customers to charge their vehicles at its 32 charging station around
the country for a flat monthly fee of 150 crowns.

Government wants to rework proposal on parties finances

The government has suspended deliberations on the proposal that would
introduce an independent office that would oversee political parties'
finances. Parties have been unable to agree for a longer time whether
it is preferable to introduce a new body in a time of budget cuts.
Interior Minister Jan Kubice has been charged with reworking the
proposal in a way that would introduce stricter measures for managing
parties' finances and would allow the public to have easier access to
financing information.

Iranian Film Festival opens in Prague

The second year of the Iranian Film Festival will begin in Prague on
Wednesday. Prague cinemas Svetozor and Lucerna will show more than a
dozen feature, animated and short films from Iran during the five-day
festival. The central theme of this year's festival is children.

NHL returnee Jagr makes surprise last appearance for Kladno

The Czech ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr made a surprise final appearance
for his hometown club Kladno on Tuesday night before heading back to
the US following the ending of the NHL lockout. Jagr, who is 40, had
previously said his NHL club Dallas had instructed him not to play
again for Kladno. However, in the end he took to the ice to the delight
of the home fans and provided two assists to help the team overcome
Litvinov 3:2. His presence helped turn Kladno into one of the biggest
draws in the Czech Extraliga.


The weather will be cloudy and overcast with light rain. Day
temperatures should be between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Czech economy set for moderate recovery in 2013, says economist Jan

Economically speaking, the year 2012 was a difficult one for the
Czechs. The country's economy, heavily dependent on exports to the
eurozone, is according to most estimates set for a contraction of
around one percent. Wavering demand from the euro area along with weak
and fading domestic spending are considered the main reasons behind the
decline, not helped by the government's austerity and tax hikes. In
2013, the eurozone is generally expected to return to moderate growth -
but will this be enough to revive the Czech economy as well? That's a
question for Jan Bures, the chief economist for Era Postovni
sporitelna, part of the Belgian KBC group.
President accuses media of smear campaign

President Vaclav Klaus has hit back at critics of his New Year's Day
amnesty, giving public broadcaster Czech Television an exclusive
statement in which he accused his political opponents and the media of
orchestrating a smear campaign to discredit him towards the end of his
second term in office.
Split gave Slovaks needed confidence, says former PM Dzurinda at
exhibition opening

"Twenty years on Czech and Slovak Squares" is the name of a new
exhibition of photos, posters, newspapers and other memorabilia
documenting the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia and developments in both
countries since. The venue, the Czech National Museum's New Building,
is wholly appropriate, as in the past it housed the Czechoslovak
Federal Assembly.

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