Thursday, February 21, 2013

News 2.21.2013

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

News Thursday, February 21st, 2013

By: Daniela Lazarova

* In a historic address to the Bavarian Parliament, Prime Minister Petr
Necas expressed regret over the post-war expulsion of millions of
Sudeten Germans.

* The Czech Senate is holding a public hearing on the controversial
amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus.

* President-elect Milos Zeman has slammed the Czech government for not
doing enough to defend the Czech power utility CEZ in Bulgaria.

* The Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association has filed a criminal
complaint against the Energy Regulatory Office for allegedly having
intentionally misled the Constitutional Court.

* A court in Novy Jicin has declared bankruptcy proceedings against the
heavily indebted Tatra truck company.



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Czech PM addresses Bavarian Parliament
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In a historic address to the Bavarian Parliament on Thursday Prime
Minister Petr Necas expressed regret over the post-war expulsion of
millions of Sudeten Germans. He said the principle of collective guilt
applied at the end of the war was an injustice that hurt thousands of
innocent people, people who had significantly contributed to the
economic and cultural development of the border region, but he made it
clear that there could be no question of abolishing the Benes decrees
or making property claims relating to the expulsions. Very few wrongs
of the past are ever corrected, the Czech prime minister noted. Mr.
Necas who is the first Czech prime minister ever to address the
Bavarian Parliament, highlighted the common cultural heritage of
Bavarians and Czechs expressing the hope that their common roots would
help the two sides overcome the sensitive issues of the past and focus
on their future in Europe.


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Senate hearing on presidential amnesty
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The Czech Senate is holding a public hearing on the controversial
amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus at the start of this year.
The hearing is attended by the country's leading experts on
constitutional law and the debate centers on whether the amnesty, which
concerns several cases of high-profile economic crime, may not be in
violation of the constitution. There have also been proposals that the
constitution should be amended to curb the president's powers in this
respect. President Klaus, who continues to defend the amnesty, refused
to attend the hearing.


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President-elect urges government to actively defend CEZ
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President-elect Milos Zeman has slammed the Czech government for not
doing enough to defend the position of the Czech power utility CEZ in
Bulgaria. Mr. Zeman said it was the duty of any government to defend
its companies abroad and urged the Necas administration to use all the
means at its disposal - such as EU contacts, international arbitration
mechanisms and negotiations with the outgoing Bulgarian government - to
defend Czech national interests. The state-owned power utility may lose
its license in Bulgaria following mass protests over electricity
prices. President Vaclav Klaus has also criticized the Czech government
for taking what he called "a passive stand" in the dispute, saying that
CEZ has been made a scapegoat for the growing social unrest in Bulgaria.


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Government officials say they are doing their duty by CEZ
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Government officials have rejected the criticism. Trade and Industry
Minister Martin Kuba said that it was primarily up to CEZ to prove to
the Bulgarian authorities that it had not violated any public
procurement rules or any other norms. The Czech government, he said,
would only make sure that the administrative proceedings against CEZ
were not politicized. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
said he had discussed the matter both with Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Nikolay Mladenov and EU officials in Brussels. Diplomacy is conducted
behind-the-scenes, he noted.


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Czech-Slovak relations problem-free
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The Czech and Slovak foreign ministers Karel Schwarzenberg and Miroslav
Lajcak, met for talks in Prague on Thursday on the side-lines of a
conference marking "Twenty Years of Independent Czech and Slovak
Diplomacy". Twenty years after the break-up of Czechoslovakia the
ministers described bilateral relations as "above-standard and
problem-free". The two neighbour states cooperate closely in many areas
such as coordinated infrastructure projects. Both are also strong
advocates of nuclear power. Every year they hold joint
government-sessions focussing on bilateral relations, trade and common
goals.


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Criminal complaint filed against ERO
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The Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association has filed a criminal
complaint against the Energy Regulatory Office for allegedly having
deliberately produced false data to influence a verdict on solar power
passed by the Constitutional Court in 2012. The court ruled that the
government was within its rights to put a retroactive tax on solar
power plant investors in order to curb a solar boom. It was the Czech
Photovoltaic Industry which challenged the government's decision in
court and its head Zuzana Musilova now claims the Energy Regulatory
Office doctored two crucial reports on the grounds of which the court
made its decision.


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Tatra goes under
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A court in Novy Jicin has declared bankruptcy proceedings against the
heavily indebted Tatra truck company. According to the CTK news agency
the company is to be sold at a bankruptcy auction in mid-March. Its
price has reportedly been set at 300 million crowns. Tatra was
established in 1850 for the production of carriages. In 1897 the
company produced its first car named the President.


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Wave of solidarity with Frenstat
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Frenstat pod Radhostem is holding three days of mourning for the
victims of this week's tragic explosion that killed at least five
people in an apartment block in the north Moravian town. The tragedy
has sparked a wave of unprecedented solidarity with people sending six
million crowns to a help- fund for the survivors in the course of just
three days. Offers of help have been pouring in from around the country
and people are offering to provide accommodation for the families who
have now been left homeless. What has profoundly shocked the nation is
that the explosion was a deliberate act of violence by one of the
block's inhabitants.


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Food inspectors warn of second product that could contain horsemeat
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Czech food inspectors, who on Wednesday confirmed the presence of
horsemeat in frozen lasagne by the firm Nowaco, have warned customers
about a second suspect product on the market. The Czech Food Inspection
authority received warning from Germany via the Rapid Alert System for
Food and Feed regarding lasagne made by Eisemann in Luxembourg which
has also been found to contain horsemeat. Although horsemeat is legally
sold in the Czech Republic, in the form of salami, its presence must
clearly be stated on the label. Violation of the law can result in a
fine of up to 3 million crowns.


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Armed robbers make off with 30 million
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Three armed robbers held up a security van transporting a large amount
of cash in Premyslovice west of Olomouc, early on Thursday. They
blocked its way in an isolated spot near a forest and after threatening
the guards with machine guns, they made off with 30 million crowns.
Police have closed off a large part of the area and intensified checks
of vehicles around the country. No one was reported hurt in the hold-up.


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Weather
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The coming days should bring more overcast skies and snow showers with
day temperatures dropping to - 3 degrees Celsius.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Czechs celebrate 7th annual Marriage Week, but marriage rate still
falling
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Marriage week as a way of celebrating and nurturing the institution of
marriage was established in Great Britain in 1996 and has since taken
root in ten more countries. At the time of its establishment marriage
was the last thing on Czechs minds. The country had recently returned
to democracy and young people were on the brink of discovering the
world, living a Western life and developing successful careers:
everything their parents had been unable to do for four decades. As a
result the tradition of marrying at 18 and having a baby within a year
or two died a quick death. Marriage, at least marriage before one's
30s, became an unfavourable prospect and many Czechs who embraced a
singles lifestyle found they liked it too much to give it up or no
longer knew how to go about changing their life.

http://radio.cz/en/section/panorama/czechs-celebrate-7th-annual-marriage-week-but-marriage-rate-still-falling


Will President Klaus face high treason charges over controversial
amnesty?
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The wide-ranging amnesty declared in January by the outgoing Czech
president, Vaclav Klaus, continues to cause controversy. On Thursday a
public hearing on the subject was held at the Senate, where an
unprecedented legal move has been considered - charging President Klaus
with high treason.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/will-president-klaus-face-high-treason-charges-over-controversial-amnesty


Minister's advice is buy Czech, not imported foods as horse DNA
confirmed
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The Czech Republic became the latest country to be hit by the horsemeat
scandal on Wednesday, after officials confirmed the presence of horse
DNA in frozen lasagne labelled as containing beef. The imported lasagne
- sold at a Tesco supermarket in the city of Plzen - has now been
withdrawn as Czech authorities carry out further tests.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/ministers-advice-is-buy-czech-not-imported-foods-as-horse-dna-confirmed






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