Tuesday, February 12, 2013

News 2.12.2013

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

News Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a proposal from the
Prague Municipal Court to overturn a presidential amnesty.

* President Vaclav Klaus says he regrets the decision of Pope Benedict
XVI to step down.

* A Czech court has issued a European warrant for the arrest of former
Social Democrat deputy Petr Wolf.

* The Czech Republic has strongly condemned a nuclear test carried out
by North Korea.

* Milos Zeman says he will put a third of his salary into a new
presidential fund aimed at paying off the state debt.

Constitutional Court rejects proposal from Prague court to overturn
Klaus amnesty

The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a proposal from the Prague
Municipal Court to throw out in its entirety an amnesty declared by the
president, Vaclav Klaus, on New Year's Day. The court is still
considering a previously filed challenge to the amnesty by a
cross-party group of senators. It rejected the Prague court's appeal
for two reasons. First, because the senators had been the first to
challenge a plank of the amnesty halting cases running for over eight
years that could have resulted in jail terms of 10 years or less.
Second, because the Prague court didn't have the right to propose the
abrogation of the whole amnesty. President Klaus said he was declaring
the controversial amnesty to mark 20 years of the independent Czech

Klaus expresses regret over pontiff's decision to step down

President Vaclav Klaus says he regrets the decision of Pope Benedict
XVI to step down. In a statement, the Czech head of state said he and
the pontiff had been close in their outlooks and that the latter had,
unlike others, not ridden the cheap bandwagon of "progressivism". Mr.
Klaus said Pope Benedict had been aware of the dangers arising from the
loss of traditional values and the breakup of institutions such as the
family and the nation state, as well as headlong European integration.

European arrest warrant issued for ex-MP found guilty of fraud

A court in Ostrava has issued a European warrant for the arrest of
former Social Democrat deputy Petr Wolf, who three weeks ago failed to
turn up to begin serving a six-year jail term for fraud. A spokesperson
said that the police had told the court there was a realistic suspicion
that Mr. Wolf was no longer in the Czech Republic. There have been
reports that the former politician had drawn substantial amounts from
his bank account and last week the newspaper Pravo said that it had
received a text message from his mobile phone saying that he was
disguised as a tree and was being bothered by a nesting woodpecker.

Prague issues condemnation of North Korea nuclear test

The Czech Republic has strongly condemned a nuclear test carried out by
North Korea. In a statement, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said
the test was an irresponsible and regrettable move that threatened
peace and stability in the region and was in contravention of
international treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Tuesday's nuclear test, the third carried out by North Korea, has been
met by international condemnation, including from its ally and
neighbour China.

Zeman to put third of salary into fund to pay off national debt

The incoming head of state, Milos Zeman, says he will put a third of
his salary into a new presidential fund aimed at paying off the Czech
Republic's state debt. Speaking at a town hall meeting near the country
house where he spent much of the last decade, the president-elect said
he was setting up the fund to draw attention to the fact that Czechs
were merely paying off the growing interest on their national debt, not
the debt itself. Mr. Zeman, who takes office on March 8, said he would
also seek other donors.

Zeman pledges to veto bill allowing LIDEM to form parliamentary group

President-elect Zeman has said he will veto a bill that would allow for
deputies from LIDEM, the smallest party in the coalition government, to
form a parliamentary group. Mr. Zeman is a critic of LIDEM, a breakaway
group from the disgraced Public Affairs, because the party has never
stood in an election. He says their membership in the coalition casts
doubt on its legitimacy and has called for early elections. If Mr.
Zeman refuses to sign the bill when he becomes head of state, the
Chamber of Deputies can overturn his veto with a simple majority.

Police investigating brutal murder of four-year-old

The police are investigating the brutal murder of a four-year-old in
the town of Ceska Lipa. The child, who was alone with its mother when
the police arrived, died of stab wounds to the neck. The mother was
also critically injured. Police suspect she may have killed her child
and tried to commit suicide. There were no signs of forced entry into
the home. In line with the family's wishes the police have refused to
disclose further details.

Fine for having one's car towed away in Prague to increase

The authorities in Prague are planning to raise the fine for the towing
away of illegally parked cars by CZK 600 to CZK 1,900. The change is
set to come into effect at the start of April. A spokesperson said the
fine had been at the same level since 2001. Some 40,000 cars were towed
away in the Czech capital last year, down from 70,000 in 2008. The
price per day of "leaving" one's vehicle at the centre where towed away
cars are kept will also go up.

It's a girl, Mrs. Elephant

An elephant calf born at Prague zoo on Monday is female, a spokesperson
said on Tuesday. The baby was born to an elephant named Donna that came
from Rotterdam zoo last year and keepers from the Dutch city were
present for the birth. The elephant calf is the first one born at the
zoo in its 80-year history and has generated a lot of interest, with
10,000 people "liking" a picture of it on its Facebook page. It will be
shown to the public for the first time at the end of next month.

Sand Martin declared Czech Republic's bird of year

The Sand Martin has been declared bird of the year in the Czech
Republic. Ornithologists have called for protection of the smallest
member of the swallow family, whose nesting has been impacted by
changes linked to the management of the Czech Republic's river system.
Between 15,000 and 30,000 pairs of Sand Martins are believed to nest in
the country every year.

Repka, 39, says he would play for regional league club for "beer and

The former Fiorentina and West Ham defender Tomas Repka says he may
play for a club in a Czech regional league for "a beer and a sausage",
TV Nova reported. Repka, who is 39, has been without a club since being
released by top flight side Ceske Budejovice before Christmas. However,
if Repka - known for his aggressive style and propensity to pick up red
cards - does sign for Dobrovice he would also receive CZK 80,000 a
week, Nova said.


The snow currently seen in many parts of the Czech Republic should
continue over the next couple of days. Temperatures are expected to
reach a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

New Czech Centre director seeks to bring modern design to London

Tereza Porybna took over as director of the Czech Centre in London
earlier this month. Her professional and academic experience have been
quite varied - for many years she worked on humanitarian and
development projects in Ethiopia, ran the biggest documentary film
festival in the Czech Republic and had completed a doctorate in visual
anthropology, receiving a Fulbright grant to do research in the United


Czech Catholics praise Pope's "courageous" decision to resign

The news of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down has surprised the
world. Here in the Czech Republic, church leaders have praised his
courage and recalled his visit to the country in 2009. However, Pope
Benedict's retirement for health reasons raises questions over whether
his successor will attend a huge Catholic celebration in Velehrad
planned for later this year.


Prague's Zizkov district celebrates twenty years of Masopust

Traditional carnival celebrations preceding the beginning of lent are
taking place all over the Czech capital, with many neighborhoods
organizing their own celebrations. Prague's Zizkov district holds the
claim to the longest running post-communist tradition of Masopust
festivities, as they are called in Czech. This year, Zizkov celebrates
the twentieth Masopust in the neighborhood.


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