Friday, April 12, 2013

News 4.12.2013

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

News Friday, April 12th, 2013

By: Jan Velinger

* Czech police this week successfully apprehended a German national
wanted for illegal gun possession and other charges.

* A state attorney filed a proposal on Friday for Ronald Adams, the CEO
of Moravian lorry maker Tatra Truck, to be charged with corruption.

* The Czech Republic can expect a growing number of lawsuits regarding
video lottery terminals following a ruling by the country's top court.

* Czech-born US chaplain Emil Kapaun has been posthumously awarded for
bravery in the Korean War.

* This weekend is expected to be the last for ski hill operators this

Police 'headhunter' unit apprehends German national wanted on gun

A specialized police unit, nicknamed 'the headhunters' in the press,
successfully apprehended Uwe Giesemann - a German national wanted on an
international arrest warrant for illegal gun possession and other
charges. Germany's criminal police last year uncovered more than 200
firearms in his home, one of them a bazooka. The 69-year-old suspect
was caught in Karlovy Vary on Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the Police
Presidium confirmed. A search of his apartment in the west Bohemian
town uncovered a stash of weapons and other items including jewels,
gold coins, and 290,000 euros in cash - together estimated as being
worth more than one million euros. Police suspect the loot was gained
through criminal activity. The suspect will be transferred to the
German authorities.

State attorney files proposal for Tatra CEO to be charged with

State attorney Jan Petrasek filed a proposal on Friday with the Brno
Regional Court for Ronald Adams, the CEO of Moravian lorry maker Tatra
Truck, to be charged with corruption. Mr Adams, an American national,
is suspected of having offered a 20 million crown bribe to try and
secure a military contract with the Czech Army. He was accused by
former defence minister Martin Bartak, himself a suspect in the case.
Mr Adams allegedly discussed the bribe at the IDET trade fair in Brno
in 2009. In the past, Mr Adams refused to comment on the case, citing
the ongoing investigation; later he described details of backstage
negotiations between Tatra and representatives of the Czech state in an
interview for Lidove noviny. He admitted to the daily that a bribe was
mentioned but said he had only tried to suss out the situation.

PM, ex-president to attend funeral of Margaret Thatcher

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and ex-president Vaclav Klaus will
attend the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
next week, according to government spokesman Jan Hrubes. The funeral
service is to be held on Wednesday, April 17 at St. Paul's Cathedral in
London which can accommodate up to 2,300 guests. Former president Klaus
has long cited Mrs Thatcher as an inspiration in politics; he met with
her personally on many occasions. Among other former world leaders,
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan's widow, Nancy Reagan, both
declined invitations for health reasons, CTK said.

Pervetin gang rounded up

Police this week arrested a six-member gang operating in the area of
Domazlice, suspected of producing and selling the illegal drug pervetin
(methamphetamine). The detained are two women and four men ranging
between 20 and 37 years of age. Police suspect the gang began operation
in the area last April. So far, there is evidence of the production and
sale of 70 grams of the drug but the amount produced was much higher,
the head of the Domazlice police Lubomir Martinec said. Members of the
gang allegedly travelled to Poland as well as Germany to buy
over-the-counter medicine used in the drug's production.

Lawsuits over court decision on gambling expected

The Czech Republic can expect a growing number of lawsuits following
Thursday's decision by the country's top court in favour of gambling
regulation, Czech Radio's Radiozurnal reports. The court struck down
legislation allowing sites to continue the operation of video lottery
terminals until 2014. Ivo Valenta, the head of Synot Holding - one of
the largest distributors of lottery terminals in the country - told
Czech Radio the firm had had a 10-year license and would take steps to
recoup its investment, filing in the Czech Republic and Brussels if
need be. Under Thursday's ruling individual towns can decide whether or
not to completely ban gambling. SPELOS, the Czech association of
lottery system operators, has warned that complete bans would lead to
hundreds of millions of crowns in damages.

Finance Ministry revises economic outlook downwards

The Finance Ministry, in a new macroeconomic forecast, has revised the
country's economic outlook downward, expecting stagnation in 2013 and
1.2 percent growth in 2014. By comparison, in January the ministry
predicted 0.1 percent expansion for this year and rise of 1.4 percent
for the next. The outlook may further worsen, said the ministry��s
spokesman Ondrej Jakob. Factors include developments in the euro zone
as a majority of Czech products are exported to euro zone countries.
The Finance Ministry expects the euro zone economy to contract by 0.3
percent this year. The moderate worsening of the estimated economic
development this year reflects unfavourable data from the first
quarter, analysts confirmed.

Czech-born US chaplain Kapaun awarded for bravery

U.S. President Obama has awarded Czech-born Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun the
Medal of Honour posthumously for his extraordinary heroism while
serving with the 3d Battalion of the US army during combat operations
in the Korean War. The Medal of Honour is the highest US military
award. Speaking at Thursday's ceremony President Obama said Chaplain
Kapaun had walked bravely through enemy fire to provide comfort and
medical aid to injured and dying soldiers. He died in a POW camp in
1953. Members of Chaplain Kapoun's family and a number of Korean War
veterans looked on as President Obama handed the Medal of Honour to the
chaplain's nephew.

Soldiers awarded for service in Afghanistan

Czech Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek and Chief of the General Staff
of the Armed Forces Petr Pavel awarded military honours on Friday to
Czech as well as Slovak soldiers who together trained policemen and
pilots in Afghanistan over the past several months. At the ceremony,
the defence minister expressed appreciation for their work and
happiness that all had returned home safely. General Petr Pavel noted
that the security situation in the Afghan province of Wardak where they
operated had been complicated. The Czech mission in Afghanistan has
seen changes, such as the number of soldiers deployed decreasing. The
Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), for instance, ended its
mission in the Logar province in Afghanistan in January after five

Prague elementary school principal says uniforms have been a success

The first public elementary school in the Czech Republic to introduce
school uniforms has said, eight months on, the project has been a
success. The principal of Zs Frantisky Plaminkove in Prague 7, Josef
Koudela, expressed the conviction that the uniforms (worn by the
first-years) had helped the children better identify with their school.
A recent poll by SANEP suggests that 40 percent of Czech parents
support the idea of school uniforms; some psychologists are opposed,
however, questioning their usefulness. The Education Ministry has
stayed on the sidelines on the issue, leaving the decision up to
individual schools.

Ski season draws to a close

With warmer spring temperatures, this weekend is expected to be the
last of the season for ski hills still open. Many have already shut
down for the spring and summer but several across the country still
boast good conditions, including sites in the Krkonose Mountains such
as Harrachov, Spindleruv Mlyn and Medvedin. Even areas no longer
running lifts, for example in the Jeseniky Mountains, still have 94
centimetres of snow - ideal for cross-country skiing, meteorologists
have noted.


Cloudy conditions are expected into the weekend with a chance of rain
but also sunny periods. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of
around 16 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Martin Barry - New York-based landscape architect, founder of reSITE

In this week's Arts my guest is New York-based landscape architect
Martin Barry who last year launched a new festival and conference in
Prague called reSITE, focussing on urbanism and rethinking the public
space. To this aim, he and organisers involved everyone from
internationally recognised designers and urban planners, to students of
arts and architecture, and last, but not least, politicians.

Business News 12.4.2013

In the Business News this week: Korean Air completes deal for
44-percent stake in CSA; jobless rate falls for first time in nine
months, but only slightly; labour costs in Czech Republic are below
half EU average; car production slows; mobile operators are offering
new low monthly prices for unlimited calls; and forest owners want
state compensation for recreational use of land.

Top court gives municipalities right to curb gambling

Czech municipalities have been given greater powers in regulating
gambling on their premises. On Thursday the country's Constitutional
Court struck down legislation that prevented town and city halls from
banning lottery video terminals on their premises until the end of
2014. The judges said that the provision, which protected terminals
licensed by the Finance Ministry, contradicted communities' right to
self-administration. Jan Richter spoke to Vladan Broz from the
anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International about the court's

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