Tuesday, March 5, 2013

News 3.5.2013

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

News Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

By: Jan Velinger

* The head of protocol at the Constitutional Court has confirmed that a
complaint of treason filed against the outgoing head-of-state will be
given top priority.

* President Klaus has repeated earlier criticism of the Senate
complaint, stressing that - in his view - it had nothing to do with
actual steps he had taken.

* Prague's Municipal court has cleared Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe
of manslaughter.

* The centre-right Civic Democratic Party has continued to lose
popularity, a poll suggests, falling to its lowest numbers since 1997.

* The Czech Republic, represented by the Interior Ministry, is to pay
one million crowns in damages over the death of a Vietnamese man in a
police raid.

Constitutional Court to give treason complaint top priority

The head of protocol at the Constitutional Court, Vlastimil Gottinger,
has confirmed that a complaint of treason filed against outgoing
President Vaclav Klaus will be given top priority. A decision by the
court could be taken at the very earliest by the end of March. On
Monday, the Czech Senate approved the treason complaint against Vaclav
Klaus with 38 senators voting in favour and 30 against - the first time
such a legal move has ever been taken against a Czech head-of-state.
The complaint pertains to five cases in which the president is alleged
to have violated the constitution, including a controversial amnesty he
declared at the start of the year, the fact that he refused to sign the
European stability mechanism and his procrastination in nominating
judges to the Constitutional Court. The complaint on was officially
filed at the court registry on Tuesday, shortly after 11 am.

Klaus calls complaint a political attempt to tarnish his presidency

President Vaclav Klaus has said he is convinced the complaint against
him was not motivated by any actions or actual wrongdoing on his part.
Earlier, Mr Klaus had suggested the move to press charges for treason
was an attempt by his political opponents to tarnish his presidency. If
the Constitutional Court were to find that actions taken by Mr Klaus
constituted treason, he would, under normal circumstances, suffer the
loss of office. But given that the president steps down this week, such
an outcome would be a mere formality. At the same time, some observers
have noted that such a ruling could significantly weaken Mr Klaus'
political influence into the future.

Outgoing president receives backing from Civ Dem MPs

In related news, a day earlier, the president received backing from
some of his more vocal supporters within the Civic Democratic Party,
but also from his former political rival Milos Zeman, the
president-elect who will be sworn in this week. Mr Zeman called the
move by the Senate against the outgoing head-of-state this week a
"hysterical reaction".

Lamb of God singer cleared of manslaughter

Prague's Municipal Court acquitted American musician Randy Blythe on
Tuesday, with the judge saying the performer had hurt no one
intentionally. Mr Blythe, the singer for the hard rock band Lamb of
God, was standing trial for manslaughter, after a Czech fan was fatally
injured during the band's Prague concert more than two years ago. The
young man had climbed onto the stage, but fell after clashing with
Blythe and suffered a head injury that later proved fatal. He died in
hospital. In his testimony the singer said he had seen the young man
get up and that surrounding fans had signalled he was 'ok'. Had he been
found guilty, Mr Blythe could have faced between 5 -10 years in prison.
The prosecution may still appeal Tuesday's decision.

Constitutional Court rejects proposal for Article 2 of amnesty to be
struck down

The controversial New Year's amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus
will not come under further scrutiny by the country's Constitutional
Court, the court's general secretary Ivo Pospisil confirmed on Tuesday.
No official reason was given. The court dismissed a proposal by a group
of senators calling for Article 2 of the amnesty to be struck down; the
article halts or threatens to halt high-profile corruption and fraud
cases that have languished in the courts between eight and 10 years,
with potential sentences of up 10 years in prison. Four judges of the
court, including chairman Pavel Rychetsky, differed in their opinion.
Discussed was whether the court could at all revise a presidential
amnesty. The court just last month rejected a proposal that the entire
amnesty be struck down. The amnesty halted 327 criminal proceedings at
the beginning of the year and saw some 6,500 prisoners released.

Poll: Civic Democratic Party continues steady decline

The centre-right Civic Democratic Party has continued its steady
decline in opinion polls falling to its biggest its lowest level of
popularity since the fall of the Vaclav Klaus government in 1997, a new
survey by the ppm factum agency suggests. According to the survey, the
Civic Democrats would clinch only 13.3 percent of the vote if the
national election were held today. The opposition Social Democrats
would come in first with 25.9 percent, followed by TOP 09 with 16.5 and
the Communist Party with 13.6. The Christian Democrats would also pass
the five percent threshold to make it into the Chamber of Deputies, as
would the Citizens' Rights Party- Zemanites. The Social Democrats
together with the Communist would, however, no longer enjoy a majority
in the 200-member lower house, the poll suggests.

Czech Republic to pay one million crowns in damages in police brutality

The Czech Republic, represented by the Interior Ministry, is to pay one
million crowns in damages to the 18-year-old son of a Vietnamese man
who died in 2009 following a brutal police raid in Brno. The decision
was announced on Tuesday by Brno's Municipal Court Judge Jan Sedlacek.
The son as well as the wife of the deceased had sought 50 million
crowns in damages each. In his decision, the judge explained that Czech
law did not recognise exemplary sentences, which ruled out such
significant damages. The judge instead relied on an existing benchmark
but raised the sum of 240,000 crowns usually paid out in such cases. He
said he had raised the amount given the father's level of suffering and
the fact that his son had lost his father at the age of just 14.

Website operators in dark over who instigated cyber attack

Czech news servers that came under a series of cyber assaults on
Monday, which slowed or crashed home pages on the internet, are no
closer to learning who the instigator may have been, CTK reports.
According to the news agency, Seznam which operates Novinky estimates
the attack came from an IP address in Europe, while Economia, which
operates the website ihned.cz suggested it came from further afield, in
Africa. Among those affected were also idnes.cz and lidovky.cz .No one
has yet claimed responsibility. IT experts say the hackers flooded the
websites with digital requests overwhelming their systems.

Regional court cancels Vestec junction

The regional court in Prague has cancelled a planned route known as the
Vestec junction in a Central Bohemian zoning plan that would have
connected the Prague ring-road with the D1 highway. The junction was
opposed for several years by the village of Kreslice as well as by
owners of surrounding land. Locals also oppose a planned junction known
as Exit 4.

Faculty of Sciences opens nursery school

Charles University's Faculty of Science has opened its own nursery
school in the centre of Prague. Its main aim will be to teach
pre-schoolers about zoology and botany. The project is being financed
by the Prague Adaptability Operational Programme. There is room for up
20 children to be enrolled.


Mostly clear skies are expected mid-week. Daytime temperatures on
Wednesday should reach highs of around 11 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Study shows schools need to think creatively about resources to fund
inclusive education

The non-profit organization Rytmus, which focuses its work on education
for children with mental and learning disabilities, has completed a
year-long project which illustrated in practical terms what would need
to be done for all students, no matter their mental, physical or social
abilities, to be able to attend regular schools. Currently in the Czech
Republic, many Roma children and most students with disabilities are
relegated to so-called special schools.


Political analyst: Treason charges against Klaus should have been filed
much earlier

The Czech Senate voted on Monday afternoon to file charges of treason
against the outgoing president Vaclav Klaus. Heads of all of the ruling
coalition parties have expressed disapproval of the move, with the
Prime Minister insinuating that it was a vindictive move from the
opposition-controlled senate. RP asked political analyst Jiri Pehe
about what will be the fallout from the senate's decision.


One World opener Bravehearts maps year in life of Norwegian students
shaken by Breivik attacks

Bravehearts, which opened the One World festival of human rights
documentaries in Prague on Monday night, follows politically engaged
Norwegian students preparing for student elections. However, midway
through filming Norway suffered a terrible tragedy, when Anders Behring
Breivik shot dead 69 people at a Labour Party youth camp after setting
off a bomb in Oslo. One of the film's protagonists was there.


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