Monday, March 11, 2013

News 3.11.2013

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

News Monday, March 11th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* Milos Zeman has met Czech diplomats in his first day in office at
Prague Castle.

* Vratislav Mynar has come in for criticism for saying his party should
take maximum advantage of his post as head of the President's Office.

* MP David Rath may be released from custody after his relatives posted
bail of CZK 2 million.

* The Czech economy contracted by 1.2 percent last year, according to a
revised official estimate released on Monday.

* Petra Kvitova will face fellow Czech Klara Zakopalova in the fourth
round in Indian Wells.

President Zeman meets diplomats in first day in office at Prague Castle

The new Czech president, Milos Zeman, took up office at Prague Castle
on Monday, three days after being sworn in. The head of state's first
tasks included a meeting with Czech diplomats, whom he told he support
international trade and would bring delegations of Czech businessmen
with him on foreign trips. Mr. Zeman also told members of the
diplomatic corps that combating terrorism was the common task of the
international community.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zeman will meet the governors of the Czech Republic's
13 regions. However, he has turned down an invitation from Prime
Minister Petr Necas to attend a government session on Wednesday, the
first since he assumed office.

President's designated chancellor condemned for calling for
exploitation of position for party benefit

Mr. Zeman's designated chancellor, Vratislav Mynar, has said he will
remain a member of the president's Citizens' Rights Party-Zemanites.
However, he will not stand for re-election as party chairman. On Monday
morning, the future head of the President's Office told Czech Radio
that he would discuss with senior party members how to make the maximum
use of his new post to benefit the Zemanites. Mr. Mynar's comments have
been condemned by members of the Civic Democrats and the Social
Democrats, the biggest parties in Parliament.

Rath may be released after family post bail of CZK 2 million

MP David Rath may be released from custody after his wife and father
posted bail of CZK 2 million set by the Prague West district court. An
official for the court said it had received the money and would discuss
his release at a hearing on Friday morning. However, as the state
attorney has filed a complaint against the bail procedure, the superior
Central Bohemian Regional Court will also have to rule on whether Mr.
Rath can be released. The former Social Democrat governor of Central
Bohemia and a one-time health minister, he was arrested last May on
corruption charges.

Judge suspended while investigation continues

The minister of justice, Pavel Blazek, has suspended Prague judge
Ondrej Havlin, who stands accused of corruption. Mr. Blazek said the
judge would not be allowed to return to court while he remains under
investigation. Justice Havlin, a former diplomat, is being held on
remand at the request of the senior state attorney, Lenky Bradacova.
State attorney Frantisek Fiala is also being along with a number of
other people in conjunction with the alleged rigging of verdicts.

Revised official estimate: economy contracted 1.2 percent in 2012

The Czech economy contracted by 1.2 percent last year, according to a
revised official estimate released on Monday. Gross domestic product
declined by 1.7 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of last year,
and analysts believe there was a further contraction in the first
quarter of this year. The country is currently going through the
longest recession on record and the forecast for the whole of 2013 is
for continued decline or at best stagnation.

MfD: Police have new evidence in connection with alleged corruption case

The police have new evidence in connection with the alleged
solicitation of a huge bribe in connection with a contract to buy
armoured personnel carriers for the Czech Army, the newspaper Mlada
fronta Dnes reported on Monday. The evidence consists of the
transcription of a 2007 conversation with lobbyist Marek Dalik made by
Victor Jackovich, a former US diplomat and an advisor to the Austrian
firm Steyr, which sold over 100 Pandur vehicles to the Czech state in a
deal worth CZK 14.4 billion. In the document, Mr. Jackovich says Mr.
Dalik, a close associate of then Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek,
asked for a bribe of nearly half a billion crowns. Mr. Dalik has been
under investigation since his arrest last year.

Jazz pianist Chick Corea plays sold-out show in Brno

The great US jazz and fusion pianist and keyboardist Chick Corea played
a sold-out concert at Brno's Boby Centre on Sunday night. Corea was
performing with his new group The Vigil as part of their first European
tour. Now aged 71, he is regarded as one of the leading jazz pianists
of the post-John Coletrane era and has picked up 20 Grammy awards. His
concert was organised by the festival JazzFestBrno, which runs
throughout April.

Kvitova to meet Zakopalova in all-Czech fourth round match at Indian

Czech women's number one Petra Kvitova has reached the fourth round of
tennis's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, after a 6-2 7-6 victory over
the Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday. Kvitova's opponent in
the next round will be fellow Czech Klara Zakopalova, who overcame
Dominka Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4 7-5.

Horvath signs one-year contract extension with Viktoria Plzen

Pavel Horvath has signed a contract extension with Viktoria Plzen that
will keep him at the soccer club until at least the summer of next
year. The midfielder, who turns 38 in April, has played a key role in
the club's success in recent seasons. He led Plzen to their first ever
league title in the 2010-2011 season, while they have also appeared in
the Champions League group stage and are currently in the knock-out
stage of the Europa League.


It should be cloudy with snow or rain in the coming days. Temperatures
will reach a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Sports News 11.3.2013

In Sports News this Monday: the NHL's Patrik Elias scores in a penalty
shootout to down the Winnipeg Jets; the Ceska pojistovna hockey
playoffs have gotten underway; football's Baros clinches hat-trick for
Banik Ostrava; Cech misreads key play in FA Cup quarter-final; tennis
player Petra Kvitova makes it to the final 16 at Indian Wells.

Change of guard at Prague Castle signals end to animosities between
Prague Castle and Brussels

President Milos Zeman took up his duties at Prague Castle on Monday in
what is his first day in office as head of state. The chain-smoking,
outspoken former prime minister has already started outlining his plans
for the future; they range from establishing smoking-quarters in
various parts of the castle to hoisting the EU flag on the castle
premises, signaling a departure from the Eurosceptic policies of his

Helle Faber - Russia's Nashi like Hitler Youth, says producer of
Putin's Kiss

Helle Faber's production company Made in Copenhagen has been behind a
string of documentary films that have made an impact far beyond the
borders of her native Denmark. The producer has just been in Prague for
the One World festival of human rights documentaries, giving workshops
for local filmmakers at the East Doc Forum sidebar and introducing her
company's Putin's Kiss, an excellent documentary that maps the fate of
a leading member of Russia's pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi.

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