Tuesday, February 19, 2013

News 2.19.2013

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

News Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* Police say suspect that a fatal explosion at an apartment building in
north Moravia was caused deliberately by a resident.

* Bulgaria is planning to strip the Czech firm CEZ of its distribution
license in the country on Tuesday, a local news agency reported.

* With regard to developments surrounding CEZ, the Czech prime minister
says he expects Bulgaria to adhere to treaties on the protection of

* The Chamber of Deputies has approved the sending of Czech soldiers to

* A court has confirmed the victory of Milos Zeman in presidential
elections, though it said some of his statements could have been
perceived as mendacious.

Police: Fatal apartment building explosion may have been deliberate

Police say they are leaning toward the view that a fatal explosion at
an apartment building in the north Moravian town of Frenstat pod
Radhostem on Sunday was caused deliberately by a resident. Police chief
Martin Cervicek said on Tuesday that he believed a serious criminal act
had been committed. Another police representative said reports that a
62-year-old man who lived in the basement of the building had
barricaded the doors had not been confirmed. The fire is thought to
have broken out in different parts of the structure at the same time.
At least five people were killed in the blast, including the suspected
arsonist and three children. Two survivors are fighting for their lives
in hospital.

Agency: Bulgaria to strip CEZ of distribution license on Tuesday

The authorities in Bulgaria are planning to strip the Czech power giant
CEZ of its distribution license in the country on Tuesday, Bulgaria's
Focus news agency reported, referring to a statement made by the
country's prime minister, Boyko Borisov, at a news conference in Sofia.
People in Bulgaria have been protesting against what they regard as the
excessively high prices for electricity charged by CEZ and an Austrian
company. An analyst told the news website iHned.cz that a forced exit
from Bulgaria could cost CEZ as much as CZK 15 billion.

Necas calls on Bulgaria to adhere to international commitments and
treaties in CEZ dispute

Reacting to developments surrounding CEZ's position in Bulgaria, the
Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, said on Tuesday that he expected that
Bulgaria, as an EU member, would adhere to its international
commitments and treaties regarding the protection of investments. Mr.
Necas said he believed the dispute over electricity prices had become
politicised and said comments made by Bulgarian officials were out of
the ordinary. Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of industry and
trade, Martin Kuba, said the situation was alarming, adding that he was
prepared to discuss the matter with the European Commission.

MPs approve sending of Czech soldiers to Mali

The Chamber of Deputies has approved the sending of Czech soldiers to
Mali, where they will take part in a European Union mission. If the
legislation is passed by the Senate, around 50 Czechs will be sent to
the West African state, where as well as training local troops they
will guard a base in the capital Bamako. Prime Minister Petr Necas, who
is currently also acting defence minister, said the soldiers' role
would be a non-combat one. The Czech mission is mandated to last for a
maximum of 15 months.

Court rejects complaints against election, confirming Zeman victory

The Supreme Administrative Court has confirmed the victory of Milos
Zeman in last month's presidential vote after on Tuesday rejecting the
last of over 100 complaints filed against the election. Several of the
challenges related to the presidential campaign, in which claimants
said Mr. Zeman had employed untrue, xenophobic and nationalistic
arguments. The court said some of the victor's statements could have
been perceived as incorrect, demagogic or even mendacious; however,
they were not so serious as to force the abrogation of the election, it
said. The unsuccessful claimants can in theory now turn to the
Constitutional Court, but such a course would not prevent Mr. Zeman's
inauguration on March 8.

Head of one-time "miracle" collective farm to serve as President
Zeman's agricultural advisor

Frantisek Cuba, the 77-year-old former head of a Communist-era
agricultural collective, will serve as an advisor on farming issues to
President Milos Zeman when he is installed at Prague Castle, the two
men announced after a meeting on Tuesday. Mr. Cuba, who is a member of
Mr. Zeman's Citizens' Rights Party, is known for heading a collective
farm at Slusovice in South Moravia in the 1980s; the farm achieved a
"socialist miracle" by branching out into other areas of the economy
and generating huge turnover.

Acting head of Supreme Audit Office says president-elect backs him for

The vice president and current acting head of the Supreme Audit Office,
Miloslav Kala, says the incoming head of state Milos Zeman supports him
for the post of president of the agency. Mr. Kala made the comments
after a meeting with Mr. Zeman on Tuesday. He is the nominee of the
Social Democrats, a party Mr. Zeman previously headed but with which
the president-elect today enjoys mixed relations. The Supreme Audit
Office has been without a head since the departure of Frantisek Dohnal,
to whom a court handed a suspended sentence for failing to allow an
investigation into the agency's financing.

Study: Almost 70 percent of Czech households sort waste

Sixty-eight percent of Czech households regularly sort their waste,
suggests a study carried out by the STEM/MARK agency. Only 4 percent of
respondents said they never sorted their waste, saying they believed
that all rubbish ended up in the same place anyway. The mostly commonly
sorted items are paper, plastic and glass, with sorting figures of
above 90 percent, while only 42 percent of those surveyed said they
separated biodegradable waste.

Jazz musician refuses to take part in Klaus tribute concert

The renowned Czech jazz musician and flautist Jiri Stivin has said he
will not appear at a special concert for President Vaclav Klaus that is
set to take place on March 3, less than a week before the head of state
steps down after a decade in office. Mr. Stivin said he has disagreed
with some of the positions adopted by Mr. Klaus recently, including his
criticisms of his predecessor, Vaclav Havel; he said if he appeared at
a show "thanking" Vaclav Klaus it might appear he agreed with his
presidency. The president has taken an active interest in a series of
concerts entitled Jazz at the Castle since it began at Prague Castle in

Comedy Babovresky sets new Czech opening week box-office record

The comedy Babovresky has set a new Czech box-office record after
selling 140,000 tickets in its opening week. The film stars the likes
of Lucie Vondrackova and Lucie Bila and is directed by Zdenek Troska,
who says its huge success is down to the fact it allows viewers to
enjoy a laugh and escape from their daily concerns. Critics have
received the film coolly. Mr. Troska, who has a string of successful
movies to his name, has also directed operas.


Forecasters say we can expect more cloudy weather and snow in the
coming days. Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 2 degrees

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Go and Don't Shoot: A story of survival in Kayin

A new exhibit entitled Go and Don't Shoot will open on Tuesday evening
at the National Gallery's Veletrzni Palac. It presents multi-media
works that the contemporary Czech artist Stepanka Simlova brought back
from her visits in Kayin State in Burma. In this week's In Focus, Masha
Volynsky speaks to Ms. Simlova about the exhibit, and her experiences
in Burma, and later looks more closely at the situation in this
war-torn country.


Social Democrats lodge constitutional complaint against church
restitution law

The opposition Social Democrats have lodged a constitutional complaint
against the law on church restitutions in a last-ditch attempt to
scupper an agreement that continues to divide Czech society. Their
decision to challenge the law is perfectly legitimate, but some of the
arguments behind it have raised eyebrows.


Another 18 people awarded recognition for anti-communist resistance

More than a dozen people who risked their lives to stand up to the
communist regime in Czechoslovakia received recognition from the
government on Monday for participating in the so-called third
resistance. The Prime Minister awarded 12 former dissidents, people
smugglers and political prisoners for their resistance to the
totalitarian regime. Six awards were granted posthumously.


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