Wednesday, February 6, 2013

News 2.6.2013

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

News Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By: Jan Richter

* The Czech government has approved a military training mission to Mali.

* The Czech National Bank has cut its economic forecast for 2013 to 0.3
percent contraction.

* The lower house of Parliament has accepted the government's "fiscal
constitution" for further debate.

* A court in Prague has sentenced a high-profile doctor to 14 years in
jail for sexually abusing his assistants.

* The Czech national football team plays Turkey in a friendly match on
Wednesday.



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Government approves military training mission to Mali
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The Czech government on Wednesday approved a military training mission
to Mali. The Czech contingent should be part of an EU mission to the
African country destabilized by Islamist insurgency, Prime Minister
Petr Necas said. The mission, consisting of up to 50 instructors, is
yet to be approved by the lower house; the opposition Social Democrat
leader, Bohuslav Sobotka said however his party would agree provided
Czech soldiers would not take part in the fighting. Czech instructors
should assist in training Malian mechanized infantry troops at various
army bases. The mission's budget of around 220 million crowns should be
paid for by the Czech Defence Ministry.


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Central bank cuts growth forecast to 0.3 pct contraction
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The Czech National Bank on Wednesday cut its forecast for the country's
economy to 0.3 percent contraction, down from a previous estimate of
0.2 percent growth. The central bank also decided to keep the interest
rate at a record low of 0.05 percent, a spokesman for the bank said.
Economists expect the interest rate to remain at the current level
until the end of 2014.


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Czech industry fell by 12.5 pct in December
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Czech industry registered a 12.5 pct annual decrease in December, the
worst result since July 2009, the Czech Statistical Office said on
Wednesday. In the whole of 2012, Czech industrial output contracted by
1.2 percent. In 2013, the industry is expected to decrease by around 1
percent.


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Exports in 2012 exceed three trillion crowns
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In related news, Czech exports in 2012 for the first time exceeded 3
trillion crowns, or nearly 158 billion US dollars, according to
government figures released on Wednesday. The exports consisted mainly
of machinery, vehicles and other final products. Some analysts believe
the results point to a beginning of economic recovery in the Czech
Republic which has been in recession for over a year. The country also
registered a record foreign trade surplus last year which amounted to
310 billion crowns, more than 30 percent more than in the previous year.


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MPs accept government's "fiscal constitution" for debate
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The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday voted to accept the
government's proposed fiscal legislation for further debate. The
so-called "fiscal constitution" introduces a limit for the country's
public debt; it also requires the government to come up with ways of
curbing spending if the debt exceeds 40 percent of GDP. In case the
public debt reaches 48 percent of GDP, the government would be legally
bound to cut at least 3 percent of its spending. The opposition has
called for changes to the draft legislation which they say would narrow
the manoeuvring space for any future government regardless of the
economic cycle.


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Czech operational programme to return 2.5 billion to EU
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The Czech operational programme Northwest will have to return 2.5
billion crowns of EU funds over problems with project management, the
head of the programme said on Wednesday, quoting a letter from the
European Commission. The commission, which is expected to officially
inform the regional administrations of the request in the coming days,
said the funds had to be returned over problems with the programme's
ineffective evaluation system and errors in the individual projects.
The Northwest operational programme was halted last year and several of
its managers are prosecuted on corruption charges.


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High-profile doctor sentenced to 14 years in jail for abusing assistants
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A court in Prague on Wednesday sentenced high-profile physician
Jaroslav Bartak to 14 years in prison for sexually abusing his
assistants. Mr Bartak was convicted of assaulting 10 women between 2006
and 2010 who worked as his assistants; the court found the 54-year-old
man guilty on six charges of rape, three charges of sexual assault, as
well as on charges of blackmail and restricting personal liberty. Mr
Bartak, who co-owns a well-known Prague clinic and served as the head
of a local branch of Lions Club International, has consistently denied
all charges and said he was victim of a conspiracy, a claim rejected by
the court.


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Court acquits woman charged with child abuse
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A court in Prague on Wednesday acquitted a 38-year-old woman charged
with child abuse for having beaten her son with a wooden spoon. The
woman had received a conditional sentence but the verdict was
overturned by the Supreme Court which argued the woman, who had no
previous criminal record, otherwise took good care of the child, and
was in contact with the boy's school. Experts also found that the boy
did not suffer from abused child syndrome.


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New plan unveiled to combat alcoholism
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Czech doctors on Wednesday unveiled a new plan to combat alcoholism in
the country. The National Action Plan, as proposed by the Association
for Addictive Diseases, should increase public awareness of the issue,
and make more people with drinking problems undergo treatment, the head
of the association, Petr Popov, said. One of the new strategies should
curb people's consumption of alcohol rather than make them give it up
for good. The Czech Republic ranks among the countries with the highest
consumption of alcohol in the world, with each Czech over 15 years of
age annually consuming nearly 17 litres of pure alcohol.


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Several streets in central Prague closed after grenade is found at
construction site
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The police on Wednesday closed several streets in central Prague,
including the busy Narodni trida, after a WWII artillery grenade was
found at a construction site. No buildings in the area had to be
evacuated. The police's explosives squad transported the grenade to a
safe location where it could be detonated, a police spokesman said. The
unexploded artillery grenade was unearthed at a construction site near
the Narodni metro station where a new shopping mall is being built; the
operation of the metro was unaffected by the find.


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Football: Czechs take on Turkey in friendly match
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The Czech national football team plays Turkey in a friendly match in
Turkish city of Manisa on Wednesday night. Czech manager Michal Bilek
included playmaker and captain Tomas Rosicky in the line-up, after a
seven-month break due to injury. The Czech side will also feature Matej
Vydra and Ladislav Krejci.


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Weather
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The coming days should be mostly overcast with rain or snow in higher
places. Daytime highs should range between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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President-elect gets down to business
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President-elect Milos Zeman on Tuesday launched a series of high-level
meetings with the country's political leaders. The talks are intended
to set the framework for future cooperation and heal the rifts of a
ruthless election campaign.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/president-elect-gets-down-to-business


Barbies and barbarity: exhibition takes novel approach to post-war
massacres of Germans
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A new photography exhibition that gets underway in Prague on Thursday
takes a novel approach to one of the thornier subjects in modern Czech
history: the massacres that took place during the expulsion of millions
Germans at the end of WWII. Photographer Lukas Houdek has reconstructed
some of those actual events - using Barbie and Ken dolls. Ahead of the
opening of The Art of Killing, Houdek told me about how he prepared for
the unusual project.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/barbies-and-barbarity-exhibition-takes-novel-approach-to-post-war-massacres-of-germans






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