Wednesday, March 27, 2013

News 3.27.2013

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

News Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

By: Jan Velinger

* The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court has thrown out treason
charges filed against former president Vaclav Klaus.

* The Chamber of Deputies has passed an amendment paving the way for
the electronic registration of firearms in the Czech Republic.

* Construction work on the AZ Tower, the country's tallest building, is

* A fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning damaged part of the
historic Topic House in the Prague city centre.

* Tomas Berdych has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters
in Florida.

Court throws out treason charges

The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court on Wednesday threw out
treason charges filed by a group of senators against former president
Vaclav Klaus. Parliament's upper house, dominated by the leftwing
Social Democrats, voted on March 4 to file the charges against the then
outgoing president on the claim he had on several occasions acted
outside the boundaries of the country's constitution. Central to the
treason charge was a controversial amnesty Mr Klaus declared on January
1. Had Mr Klaus - who stepped down on March 7 - been convicted as
charged, the worst punishment he could have received was the loss of
office and a ban from running for president again.

Chamber passes amendment introducing electronic registration of firearms

The Chamber of Deputies has passed an amendment paving the way for the
introduction of the electronic registration of firearms in the Czech
Republic, to replace an outdated hardcopy registration system. The new
system, which will now have to receive majority backing in the Senate,
will also introduce other changes, extending, for example, the period
of validity of firearm permits. The amendment is also meant to increase
safety and security in the transport of firearms, to be overseen by the
police. If passed into law, the legislation will come into effect in
the middle of next year.

President to veto legislation on waste disposal over solar issue

President Milos Zeman will reportedly veto legislation on waste
disposal that includes a loophole benefit for solar energy operators,
the president's spokeswoman Hana Burianova has revealed. If the
president takes the step, the veto will be his first since taking
office. The mistake in the law, allows solar energy plants an
additional six months to sign contracts on financing for the removal of
solar panel waste. The chairwoman of the lower house, Miroslava
Nemcova, said the chamber had not passed the bill in its current
wording but that the mistake had taken place in the Senate.

AZ Tower complete

Construction work at the AZ Tower in Brno - at 111 metres the tallest
building in the Czech Republic - is complete; officials said that
workers were now only finishing up the interiors. The AZ Tower,
designed by architects Gustav Krivinka and Ales Burian, edges the City
Tower at Prague's Pankrac by two metres. The building is slated to
house offices, apartments, restaurants and shops and other services,
including an auto salon and fitness club. The new building was designed
to make use of Green technology in order to leave a smaller ecological

Topic House partially damaged by fire

Ten people had to be evacuated from their homes on Prague's Narodni
Street on Wednesday morning after a fire broke out on the roof of their
building, the historic Topicuv Dum (Topic House). One person had to be
treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire began at around 4:30
in the morning and was put out by 7 am. Topicuv Dum, located across
from the National Theatre, has a rich history and is regarded as an
important example of Art Nouveau architecture.

Union of Towns and Association says towns hurt by lack of enough
medical/dental services

Smaller towns and villages are beginning to suffer a lack of medical
and dental services, the Union of Towns and Associations has confirmed.
The union is to begin talks with regional authorities as well as
insurance companies to try and improve the situation. Representatives
of villages and small towns in the region of Karlovy Vary, meeting on
Wednesday, confirmed that action needed to be taken, for example
offering health care workers already well-equipped facilities as an
incentive. The number of GPs and dentists has dropped in part due to
retirement age as well as a lower number of graduates entering the

======================================================================== Police searching waste site in connection to alleged murder of

Police have sifted through some 300 tonnes of garbage at a waste site
in the area of Jihlava since Tuesday evening, idnes and report,
speculating that officials may have found the body of a 15-year-old
girl missing in the area since mid-March. According to sources, she was
last seen leaving a local discotheque with another individual. Both
idnes and report that police had uncovered key evidence in the
case and were holding a suspect who has allegedly already confessed to
the girl's murder.

idnes: gold medal to sell for almost 1.5 million

Ceska mincovna, a partner of the Czech national bank, has begun
manufacturing a one kilogram gold medal featuring 19th century writer
Bozena Nemcova, news website idnes reports. According to idnes, the
medal will sell for almost 1.5 million crowns. The author of the design
featuring Bozena Nemcova is the late Oldrich Kulhanek. Mr Kulhanek was
best-known for designing the Czech Republic's banknotes, still in use.
The commercial mint is calling the release a tribute to the artist who
died unexpectedly in January at the age of 72.

Part of tram route along Milada Horakova Street to be closed off

Prague's transit authority has announced that part of a tram route on
Prague's busy Milada Horakova Street in Prague 6 will be halted for a
period of three months, due to renovation and construction work on both
the route and the city's Blanka Tunnel. Trams will be rerouted along
several stops across from Prague Castle, beginning on March 31. The
rerouting is relatively minor in comparison to a major section of the
same road being closed off for several months in Prague 7 last year,
which led to marked traffic delays on Letna plain.

Berdych advances to quarter-finals of Miami Masters with win over

Tomas Berdych has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters
in Florida. The Czech men's tennis number one easily overcame Sam
Querrey of the United States 6-1 6-1 in just 51 minutes, a contrast
with his previous outing when it took him two and a half hours to
overcome Colombia's Alejandro Falla. Berdych will now face Richard
Gasquet of France for a place in the semi-finals.


Cloudy conditions with some sunny periods are expected on Thursday;
daytime temperatures should reach highs of around 5 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Green Marketing expert: organic food sales holding their own in crisis

A survey of shopping habits by the KPMG agency published this week
suggests that organic food products have lost their initial attraction:
shoppers find them too expensive and often question their superior
quality. According to the results of the poll only 4 percent of Czechs
buy organic food on a regular basis. 37 percent of respondents said
they did so occasionally and approximately the same number of people
said they had tried organic products in the past but no longer shopped
for them. So are Czechs losing interest in organic food and should
organic farmers and producers be worried? I spoke to Tom Vaclavik of
Green Marketing to find out how organic products are doing on the

Charging of Prague councillors over smart card system latest twist in
murky saga

When a smart card system was introduced in Prague in the mid 2000s to
serve for public transport and other amenities, it may have seemed like
one more step in the city's transformation into a modern metropolis.
However, more or less from the off the Opencard has been dogged by
controversy and allegations of corruption. Now, in the latest, murky
twist, almost the entire city council are facing criminal charges in
connection with the system.

Controversial Marian column to return to Old Town Square after almost
100 years

The Prague City Council has approved a revitalization plan for the
capital's Old Town Square that includes the installation of a replica
of a Marian column that stood on the square for over 250 years until it
was torn down in 1918. Many consider the column a symbol of oppression,
but its supporters, who have campaigned for its return for over 20
years, have found a strong ally in the current mayor.

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