Tuesday, February 26, 2013

News 2.26.2013

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

News Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

By: Daniela Lazarova

* The Senate will debate a proposal to press charges of high treason
against President Vaclav Klaus.

* The opposition Public Affairs party is suing the government for
tolerating excessive gambling on video-lottery terminals.

* Police have raided the Mirov jailhouse in search of evidence that the
guards were smuggling anabolics to prisoners.

* Customs officials have seized a record shipment of cocaine at Vaclav
Havel Airport.

* The batch of meatballs containing horsemeat detected at Czech IKEA
stores reportedly went on sale in several European countries.

Senators to debate possible treason charges against Czech president

A group of 27 senators have signed a petition calling for President
Vaclav Klaus to be charged with high treason over the controversial
amnesty he declared at the beginning of the year. The proposal to lodge
a constitutional complaint against the president was initiated by
senators Eliska Wagnerova and Miroslav Antl who claim Vaclav Klaus
overstepped his mandate in declaring an amnesty that will, among
others, halt the prosecution of all cases older than eight years. Many
of these cases pertain to serious economic crime. The signature of 27
senators is a prerequisite to have the proposal discussed. Pushing it
though would require gaining majority support in the upper chamber. The
petition has likewise been signed by over 73,000 members of the public.

Public Affairs sues government over tolerating excessive gambling

The opposition Public Affairs party is suing the government for
tolerating excessive gambling on video-lottery terminals. Party leader
Vit Barta said the government had received a warning from the Ombudsman
regarding the need to fill a hole in the gambling law by setting a
ceiling on bets and losses on video-lottery terminals and approved a
resolution to that effect which it later quietly cancelled at the
request of the finance minister. The law sets a limit on gambling but
has no cap on bets and losses on video-lottery terminals.

Police raid on Mirov jailhouse

Police have raided the Mirov jailhouse in search of evidence that the
guards were smuggling anabolics to prisoners. The four-day operation
ended on Tuesday with the arrest of several people. Two guards, two
prisoners and two civilians have so far been charged. A police
spokesman said officers on the case gained a significant amount of
evidence, including bank statements. One of the guards remains in
detention for fear of influencing witnesses, the others were charged
and released.

Dutch nationals caught smuggling cocaine

Police are questioning three Dutch nationals who were detained at
Vaclav Havel Airport on Tuesday morning after customs officials found
31 kg of cocaine in their luggage. The group -two men and a woman
-arrived from the Dominican Republic. It is not yet clear if the drugs
were intended for the Czech market or were to have been smuggled to
another destination. The street value of the drugs in their possession
is estimated at 60 million crowns.

Possible out-of-court-settlement on case of police brutality

Interior Minister Jan Kubice will try to reach an out-of-court
settlement with the relatives of a Vietnamese man who died as a result
of police brutality. The victim's mother is suing the state for her
son's death and has demanded 50 million crowns in compensation. On
Tuesday the court postponed further hearings until April at her request
to give the two sides time to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Minister Kubice said he thought the mother wanted moral satisfaction
first and foremost and would be willing to settle for a significantly
lower sum if she received a proper apology from the state.

The incident took place in Brno in 2005. A woman called the police
because she thought she had found drugs in her apartment which she
shared with 43-year-old Vietnamese man. The man was brutally assaulted
by the police and later died of internal injuries in hospital. The
officer responsible was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

President Klaus in Slovakia

President Vaclav Klaus is on a two-day visit to neighbouring Slovakia,
his last foreign visit before his term in office expires in March. The
president is meeting with the country's top officials and leading
members of the Slovak business community. He will also attend a number
of social events, including the opening of an exhibition on 20 years of
Czech and Slovak independence. Mr. Klaus is accompanied by his wife
Livia, who herself is Slovak. Ever since the break-up of Czechoslovakia
in 1993 the two countries' presidents have made it a tradition to pay
their first and last foreign visits in office to the former
sister-state as a mark of above-standard relations.

Znojmo town hall official found guilty of corruption

A regional court has served former Znojmo town hall official Vladimir
Krejcir a one year prison sentence and a 100,000 crown fine for
corruption and abuse of office. Krejcir was found guilty of soliciting
bribes to influence tenders which he had no say over and channeling
sponsors' gifts to his personal account. Two businessmen who paid him
bribe money were given suspended sentences.

Cerny ordered to pay for insult

The Prague court of appeals has ordered artist David Cerny to pay the
former head of the National Gallery Milan Knizak 100,000 crowns for
insulting him in a Czech TV documentary. Czech Public Television has
been ordered to pay the same amount for airing the program. Both the
artist and Czech Television have already apologized for the incident.
Relations between the two artists have been strained for years.

IKEA says horse meatballs went on sale in several European countries

A batch of meatballs pulled from shelves at IKEA's stores after Czech
inspectors discovered they contained horsemeat had been on sale in
several European countries, the company's Czech spokesman said on
Monday. Petr Chadraba, spokesman for the Swedish furniture chain's
Czech branch, said the batch of meatballs had been on sale in countries
including Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Czechs increasingly cautious about taking loans

Czechs are increasingly unwilling to burden their family budgets with
loans, according to a poll conducted by the CVVM agency. Inflation and
uncertainty on the job market have made Czech notably more cautions
with respect to loans for vacations and consumer goods. According to
the poll results 88 percent of respondents said they were no longer
willing to take loans on vacations or consumer goods, though 85 percent
of them said would do so to finance their housing or start a business.
According to statistics 17 percent of Czechs have serious problems
repaying their loans.


The coming days should bring partly cloudy to overcast skies with rain
in places and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Berg Orchestra experiments with form and setting of contemporary music

For many lovers of classical music, the Czech Republic is the land of
Dvorak and Smetana. Fans of more modern music may know Leos Janacek or
Bohuslav Martinu. It may seem, though, that for the past fifty or so
years, creation of and even interest in orchestral music has all but
died out in this country.


Civic Democrat chairman on regional tour to drum up support from local

The prime minister has begun to take aim at his party's flagging
fortunes which have been on a marked downturn since last year's
regional and senate elections. Prime minister and Civic Democrat leader
Petr Necas was in Pardubice on Monday, one stop on his regional tour
aimed at boosting support among local leaders.


15th One World to deliver over 100 documentaries on huge range of topics

The 2013 One World festival of human rights documentaries kicks off in
Prague on Monday. Over a week and a half, this year's festival, the
15th, will present more than 100 films on subjects ranging from the
international hackers group Anonymous to acid attacks on women in
Pakistan to a homeless New Yorker who's become friends with top film
stars. The theme of this year's One World is tolerance and intolerance;
festival director Hana Kulhankova told me why.


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