Tuesday, February 5, 2013

News 2.5.2013

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

News Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* Vaclav Klaus says that while he supported Milos Zeman for president
he remains his "enemy".

* Following his declaration of a controversial amnesty last month,
trust in President Klaus has hit an all-time low.

* A poll suggests the Social Democrats would come first in general
elections, while Milos Zeman's party would enter the lower house.

* The minister of education has presented 10 steps aimed at improving
the Czech school system.

* The Prague authorities are planning to rebuild a traditional
marketplace in the centre of the city.

President Klaus describes successor Zeman as "enemy"

The president, Vaclav Klaus, held a meeting with his successor, Milos
Zeman, at Prague Castle on Tuesday. Mr. Klaus told reporters that while
he had supported Mr. Zeman in the recent presidential election, he
remained his "eternal and immortal enemy" and had agreed with very few
statements Mr. Zeman had ever made. For his part, Mr. Zeman said he
wished to thank Mr. Klaus for backing him against Karel Schwarzenberg
in the country's first direct presidential election. The president
formerly headed the right-wing Civic Democrats, while the future head
of state led the leftist Social Democrats. While Mr. Zeman was prime
minister from 1998 to 2002, Mr. Klaus's party supported his government
under a much-criticised "opposition agreement".

Support for Klaus hits all-time low following controversial amnesty

Support for President Klaus, who steps down on March 7, has hit an
all-time low. While 53 percent of respondents in a poll conducted by
the CVVM agency in December said they trusted the head of state, the
figure fell to only 26 percent in a survey conducted in January. The
decline in approval for Mr. Klaus followed a controversial amnesty he
declared on January 1 under which cases running for over eight years
and carrying a top sentence of 10 years were dismissed; several
involved alleged massive corruption dating back to the privatisation
era of the 1990s.

Press: Schools and state offices abandoning tradition of hanging
presidential portrait

Many schools and government offices in the Czech Republic are
abandoning the tradition of hanging a portrait of the head of state,
Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The newspaper said many head teachers and
state officials would not be ordering a portrait of Milos Zeman, who
becomes president in a month's time. Hundreds of framed photographs of
the outgoing president, Vaclav Klaus, were taken down recently in
protest at an amnesty he declared at the start of the year. The
tradition of placing portraits of the head of state in classrooms,
mayor's offices and other spaces - which is not enshrined in law -
dates back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Poll suggests Social Democrats would win election, Zeman party would
enter lower house

The Social Democrats would come first in general elections with 24.6 of
the vote if they were held this month, suggests a poll conducted by the
ppm factum agency. The Civic Democrats placed second in the survey,
with 15.6 percent backing, just ahead of their rivals on the right TOP
09 on 14.5 percent. The Communists would garner 13.8 percent support,
the poll indicates. The Citizens' Rights Party-Zemanites of president
elect Milos Zeman would enter the lower house on 7.4 percent, as would
the Christian Democrats with the same tally.

Education minister presents 10 steps aimed at improving school system

The minister of education, Petr Fiala, has presented 10 steps aimed at
improving the quality of the Czech school system. Mr. Fiala said there
needed to be an increased focus on mathematics and the technical and
science fields. He also outlined plans to reduce bureaucracy and change
how schools are financed, including ensuring funding per student is
consistent across the country's regions and making greater use of EU
money. Minister Fiala is planning in the coming months to present an
amendment to the law on universities that would guarantee third-level
institutions a certain amount of funding for several years in advance
and set conditions for the merging of schools.

Prague authorities to rebuild city centre market

The Prague authorities are planning to rebuild the city's Old Town
Market, which was located in the space between the streets 28. rijna,
Rytirska, Perlova in the heart of the capital. The listed building
today houses a supermarket and restaurants, with the only evidence of
its previous usage a decorated passage leading to Rytirska St. A
spokesperson for the city says it will again serve as a market place
when the CZK 28 million project is completed.

Brno theatre lobbying for Vaclav Havel St.

A theatre in Brno is lobbying to have a street in the Czech Republic's
second city named after the late president and playwright Vaclav Havel.
Members of Divadlo Husa na provazku have sent a proposal to that end to
the Town Hall in Brno Central, the news site Novinky.cz reported. The
local mayor said he was waiting to hear the opinions of local people on
the idea of making a space leading to the theatre, which is currently
without a name, Vaclav Havel St. Mr. Havel, who died in December 2011,
had links to the theatre, which put on some of his plays prior to the
fall of communism.

Cech named Czech Footballer of the Year for record sixth time

Chelsea star Petr Cech has been named Czech Footballer of the Year for
a record sixth time. The goalkeeper, who is 31, appeared at Monday's
award ceremony in Prague with a splint on his finger, after breaking it
in a Premiere League match at the weekend. Having won a series of
titles with Chelsea, Cech helped the club to a first Champions League
trophy last May. His sixth Czech player of the year award saw him pass
out a previous goalkeeping legend, Ivo Viktor, who was a member of the
Czechoslovak team that won the European Championship in 1976.

Hejduk scores in 1000th NHL match

The Czech ice hockey player Milan Hejduk played his 1000th game in the
NHL on Monday. Hejduk, who is 36, marked the milestone with his first
goal of the season for Colorado Avalanche in their 2:3 defeat to
Jaromir Jagr's Dallas. The right wing, whose career began with the
Czech club Pardubice, earned a Stanley Cup ring with Colorado in the
2001-2002 season. Hejduk says this may well be his last season.


It should be cloudy with the chance of rain in the coming days.
Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 5 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

What did presidential vote reveal about Czech society?

The first Czech direct presidential election has divided the nation
like never before. In the heated campaign ahead of the election's
second round, leftist Milos Zeman presented himself as a defender of
the underprivileged, exploiting his opponent's alleged lack of
"Czechness" in the process while those who backed the aristocrat
foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, believed his victory would move
the country away from post-communism. So how important was the social
vote? What role did nationalism play in the election? And what impact
will it have on Czech politics? Those are some of the issues I
discussed with my guests, sociologists Ivan Gabal and Tereza Stockelova.


Prague endorses Turkey's EU candidacy

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a one-day working
visit to Prague on Monday for talks dominated by business and his
country's drive to revitalize accession talks with the EU. The Czech
Republic, which has nurtured ties with one of the world's fastest
growing economies, fully endorsed Ankara's ambition.


National Museum's archaeological expedition uncovers more of Ancient
Nubia's secrets

Last December a group of archaeologists from the National Museum
returned from an excavation expedition in the Sudanese locality of Wad
Ben Naga. They have been working there since 2009 and are helping their
Sudanese colleagues fulfil the requirements to enable the whole area to
be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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