Wednesday, February 27, 2013

News 2.27.2013

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

News Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

By: Jan Velinger

* Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said he will not accept
diplomatic posts being given as perks.

* The government has decided not to delay the introduction of the
country's new civil code.

* Czech Radio has unveiled its new logo aimed at unifying the
broadcaster's corporate identity.

* Outgoing Czech President Vaclav Klaus has received an award from the
Slovak Entrepreneur's Association.

* A Czech mountaineer was killed in an avalanche in Slovakia's High
Tatra Mountains.

Foreign minister says Fischer lacks experience for diplomatic post

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said he is not prepared
to appoint former prime minister and unsuccessful presidential
candidate Jan Fischer to any ambassadorial post. The foreign minister,
who has been discussing candidates for several ambassadorial posts with
president-elect Milos Zeman, said in an interview for Wednesday's
Lidove noviny that Mr. Fischer had no experience in diplomatic service
and advised him to stick to his field of expertise. The statement comes
amid speculation that the president-elect may have promised Mr. Fischer
a post in diplomatic service as a show of gratitude for supporting him
in the presidential election.

Ministers decide not to postpone introduction of civil code

The government on Wednesday decided not to postpone the introduction of
the country's new Civil Code, set to come into effect next January. The
code, once implemented, will unify private law covered in the Labour
Code, the Commercial Code and other legislation. Some politicians had
raised concerns that not all sectors will be ready for the changes. The
Justice Ministry, by contrast, saw no reason for any delay.

Czech Radio unveils new logo

Czech Radio has unveiled its new logo, a stylised capital 'R', which
will be used by the broadcaster's various stations, from the flagship
Radiozurnal to Vltava, Radio Wave and others. The change of logo is the
first for Czech Radio in 17 years. The author of the logo, Pavel
Zelenka, told journalists during the unveiling on Wednesday at the
Czech Radio building in Prague, that Radiozurnal - as the broadcaster's
main news station - had been given the sharper background of red, while
the other stations will have the white stylised 'R' framed by different
colours. The new logo is aimed at unifying Czech Radio's corporate
identity, the head of Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, said. The logo will
come into official use on March 1 and will be introduced gradually at
the different stations.

Klaus awarded in Bratislava

Outgoing Czech President Vaclav Klaus received an award from the Slovak
Entrepreneur's Association on Wednesday, the second day of his visit to
Bratislava. The association praised Mr Klaus's role in the economic
transformation of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic from a
central economy to a free market economy after 1989. Mr Klaus served as
finance minister in Czechoslovakia and then prime minister in the Czech
Republic, overseeing wide-ranging but often criticised reforms in the
1990s. In Bratislava, the president - who leaves office next week -
discussed the EU and slammed the union as no longer being a symbol of
prosperity. An outspoken EU critic, he also downplayed the negative
impact of a member state leaving the euro zone, citing the Czech
Republic's and Slovakia's own split and successful separation of

Prime minister slams actions taken by senators against president

Prime Minister Petr Necas has strongly criticised steps taken by a
group of 27 Czech senators who signed a petition calling for President
Vaclav Klaus to be charged with high treason over a controversial
amnesty declared at the beginning of the year, as well as other actions
taken, such as having delayed to sign the Lisbon Treaty or failing to
appoint new judges. The prime minister said that in his 20 years in
politics he had never seen such a base example of personal and
political "wretchedness". The signature of 27 senators was a
prerequisite to having the proposal discussed. Pushing it through would
require gaining majority support in the upper chamber. The petition has
likewise been signed by over 73,000 members of the public.

PM not satisfied with Sweden's approach over Gripens

The Czech government will seek direct talks with the government of
Sweden over the continued lease of Jas-39 Gripen fighter jets, Prime
Minister Petr Necas said after Wednesday's cabinet meeting. The Czech
Republic, he made clear, was not satisfied by the current approach by
Sweden which he suggested could be more accommodating. The Czech
government has postponed further negotiations on the Gripens.

More than 80 percent of Czechs say direct presidential election was
good step

Roughly four-fifths of Czechs consider the country's introduction of
direct presidential elections this year a good step, a new poll by the
STEM agency suggests. Some 80 percent of Czechs supported the idea
since the end of the 1990s. In the past the Czech head-of-state was
elected by a joint-session of both houses in Parliament. According to
the survey, the number in favour of direct elections has since grown to
83 percent. Czechs in the second round chose between two final
candidates, Milos Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg; Mr Zeman won by some
500,000 votes - his inauguration is in nine days. Two-thirds of those
queried agreed the election process had been dignified. The poll was
conducted at the beginning of February.

Association: Pension funds saw profits rise by 6 percent year-on-year

Pension funds in the Czech Republic saw profits rise by 6 percent
year-on-year to 4.83 billion crowns in 2012, the Association of Pension
Funds has told the Czech news agency. Pension funds registered a record
number of 5.15 million clients, over half a million more than at the
end of 2011. Savings made up by clients' deposits, employers'
contributions, state subsidies and appreciation reached 247.7 billion
crowns, which was an annual rise of 6 percent. In Q4 of last year
alone, the number of private pension scheme clients increased by more
than 474,000. The rise of interest in these kinds of savings was
connected with a statutory period that restricted the possibility of
signing such contracts until the end of November, APF president Karel
Svoboda said.

Mountain climber dies in avalanche in High Tatras

A Czech mountaineer was killed in a slab avalanche on Tuesday in
Slovakia's High Tatra Mountains, the Mountain Rescue Service has
confirmed. According to the service, the 65-year-old climber was buried
after he mistakenly set off the avalanche as he was descending part of
the mountain. The climber was not equipped with an anti-avalanche
device or with a transceiver. His body was found by rescue workers
aided by a sniffer dog. The search ended at around 10 pm on Tuesday.

Court reduces sentence for antifreeze poisoner

The Prague High Court has reduced a 20-year prison sentence to 17 for a
Czech mother who poisoned her child with antifreeze but had second
thoughts and called for an ambulance. In January the sentence was
changed from 25 to 20 years. The reason for the more lenient sentence
is that the child, five years old, was saved by doctors and was able to
recover fully. Had she died, the chairman of the appeals committee Jiri
Lnenicka indicated, the extraordinary sentence would have been upheld.
The little girl now lives with her father and has had no contact with
her mother. The would-be murderer has expressed regret over her deed.


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 today

Czech banks face class actions over loan and mortgage fees

Czech banks are facing a major confrontation with dozens of thousands
of their clients that could cost them hundreds of millions of crowns.
Over 40,000 people have now signed up to class actions to reclaim the
fees banks charge for loan and mortgage accounts. The clients say the
practice is illegal, and want their money back. The banks, meanwhile,
remain defiant, saying all their charges are in line with the law.

Motion calling for treason charges against Klaus to be discussed by

A complaint to the Constitutional Court against outgoing president
Vaclav Klaus is set to be discussed by the Czech Senate. The charge,
which accuses Mr. Klaus of treason over a controversial amnesty he
declared at the start of the year, made the agenda of the upper house
when the requisite support was acquired on Tuesday. Its backers say a
ruling would help define the president's powers in the future.

Smartphone app helps fare dodgers avoid inspectors

A new smart phone application called FareBandit can help you avoid
ticket inspectors in public transportation in Czech cities. The app won
the top prize this week at the annual AppParade in Prague.

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