Wednesday, April 17, 2013

News 4.17.2013

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

News Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

By: Jan Richter

* Prime Minister Petr Necas and ex-president Vaclav Klaus attended the
funeral of the former British PM Margaret Thatcher.

* The 23rd Prague Writers' Festival has begun in the Czech capital.

* The Czech culture minister has dismissed the director of the National

* The number of Czechs who believe there are too many foreigners has
dropped by 9 percentage points over the past three years, a new poll

* In hockey, retired Olympic champion Jaroslav Spacek is set to return
to ice in game five of the playoffs finals.

PM Necas, ex-president Klaus attend Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and ex-president Vaclav Klaus attended
the funeral of the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in
London on Wednesday. Mr Klaus told the daily Mlada fronta Dnes that
Mrs. Thatcher's policies to a large extent inspired his government's
reforms in the 1990s including the deregulation, liberalization and
privatization of the state-run economy. The former Czech president, who
said the late Baroness Thatcher was "his heroine", also appreciated her
pragmatic approach to the European Union.

Zeman: Institute should be headed by historian

President Milos Zeman says the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian
Regimes should be headed by a historian. In an interview for
Wednesday's Pravo, Mr. Zeman said that neither the former director,
Daniel Hermann, nor the acting director, Pavlina Foglova, were
qualified to lead the institution, which administers secret police
files and other documents from the communist era. Last week, the
Institute's Council, which is dominated by members appointed by the
Social Democrat-controlled Senate, dismissed Mr. Hermann, sparking a
political row and raising questions over the institution's future.

Head of National Gallery dismissed

Czech Culture Minister Alena Hanakova on Wednesday dismissed the
director of the National Gallery, Vladimir Rosel. In a statement, the
minister said Mr Rosel had failed to understand the gallery's role and
to guarantee its development. Vladimir Rosel, who became the gallery's
director in 2011, said he did not agree with the decision but that he
respected it. The new director will be chosen by a group of experts; in
the meantime, the gallery will be run by the head of its Old Masters
collection, Vit Vlnas.

Government approves higher speed limit on some roads

The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill that will raise the
speed limit on some roads from 90 to 110 kilometres per hour, the news
agency CTK reported. The higher speed limit will apply to
dual-carriageways classified as 1st class roads. Those will however
have to undergo safety audits by the Transportation Ministry before the
speed limit is raised. The new legislation approved by the cabinet
will, among other things, allow municipalities to sell towed vehicles
whose owners fail to recover them within six months.

Prague Writers' Festival begins Wednesday

The 23rd annual Prague Writers' Festival began in the Czech capital on
Wednesday. The event kicked off with a reading by Czech author Vladimir
Korner. The biggest name at this year's festival is the Noble
Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk; other guests include Mary
Heimann, writer of the divisive Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed,
Egypt's Sonallah Ibrahim, Miguel Sousa Tavares of Portugal, and other
authors. The Prague authorities have significantly reduced their
financial support for the festival which will only last for three days
instead of the usual week.

Justice minister backs Prague's high state attorney against
anti-corruption police boss

Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blazek has backed Prague's high attorney,
Lenka Bradacova, in her dispute with the head of the anti-corruption
police, Martin Cervicek. Ms Bradacova accused Mr Cervicek of
fabricating a case against her in relation to her role in prosecuting
an overpriced IT contract at the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry.
Minister Blazek told the news agency CTK on Wednesday that Ms Bradacova
came with an exceptionally serious claim; the minister also described
the police practices as similar to those used by the communist police
in the 1950s. The head of the anti-corruption police Martin Cervicek
has denied any wrongdoing.

Poll: Number of people drops who believe there are too many foreigners

The number of people who believe there are too many foreigners living
in the Czech Republic has dropped by 9 percentage points over the past
three years, suggests a new poll by the CVVM agency released on
Wednesday. While in March 2009, 57 percent of Czechs surveyed said
there were too many foreigners in the country, some 48 percent
expressed the same opinion three years later. Around 43 percent of
those surveyed in the latest poll said the number of foreigners in the
country was "appropriate" while 11 percent of Czechs who took part in
the poll believe foreigners should not be allowed to gain permanent
residence in the Czech Republic at all.

Police makes three arrests over attempted robbery

The police have arrested three men over last month's attempted robbery
of a cash transport van in Prague. The men, aged 32, 48 and 62,
attempted to rob the vehicle in front of an IKEA store on the outskirts
of the city on March 25. The robbers failed to get inside the van and
take the cash and fired a sub-machine gun at the van as it drove off.
One of the suspects is reportedly a repeat offender and faces up to 20
years in jail; the other two could land 12-year-sentences.

Civic Democrats propose rock musicians Vladimir Misik, Radim Hladik for
state honours

Civic Democrat deputies have proposed rock singer Vladimir Misik and
guitar player Radim Hladik for state honours. MP Walter Bartos, who is
behind the motion, suggested President Zeman should award the musicians
the Czech Medal of Merit in recognition of their artistic achievements
as well as their respect for freedom. Czech state honours are presented
on October 28, the anniversary of Czechoslovakia's independence; the
recipients are proposed by lawmakers but the president makes the final

Czech self-sufficiency in pork drops below 50 pct

The Czech Republic's self-sufficiency in pork last year dropped below
50 percent, the country's Agrarian Chamber said on Wednesday. After a
temporary rise, the numbers of pigs bred in the Czech Republic
registered a further decrease at the beginning of this year, the
chamber said. The producers blame the trend on the high prices of
fodder, mainly soya and wheat, which are not reflected in prices of
pigs offered by meat processing companies. Another reason behind the
dropping numbers of pigs is the fact that consumers tend to prefer
cheaper imported meat over more expensive meat produced in the Czech

Tennis: Berdych through to round of 16 at Monte Carlo

Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych defeated Spain's Marcel Granollers
7-5, 6-4 in the second round of the ATP tournament in Monte Carlo on
Wednesday and booked a place in the round of 16. The fourth-seeded
Czech played his first match after a two-week break caused by a
shoulder injury; he lost his service twice in the first set and made a
series of errors but eventually won in one hour and 40 minutes. Berdych
will next play either Italy's Fabio Fognini or Alberto Ramos of Spain.

Hockey: Olympic winner Spacek returns for playoffs finals

Retired hockey defenceman Jaroslav Spacek is set to return to ice in
Wednesday's game five of the Czech playoffs finals, the news website reported. The 39-year-old Olympic champion from the Nagano
Games, who played 13 seasons in the NHL, retired last summer but will
appear for his former club Plzen against Zlin. A manager for the club
said Plzen missed several players and persuaded Spacek to come back.
Plzen and Zlin are tied 2:2 in the best-of-seven final series.


The current spell of warm weather should last until Thursday when
overcast skies and rain are expected to set in, with daytime highs
dropping to 15 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

New documentary Crooks reveals abuse and manipulation of elderly people
during product demonstration trips

A new documentary called Smejdi, or Crooks, focuses on the phenomenon
of so-called product demonstration excursions. On these trips,
especially elderly people are often abused and manipulated into buying
overpriced products. The film, which premiered in Prague on Tuesday,
has already sparked a debate among lawmakers about tightening the rules
and increasing the penalties for such practices. The film's producer,
Hana Trestikova, describes what goes on these trips.

Czech Republic assesses security situation following Boston attack

Many people around the world, including in the Czech Republic, were
shocked and saddened to learn of the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday
which killed three people and injured more than 170 others. In the
Czech Republic, security has been heighted at some sites, such as the
US Embassy. In response to Monday, it will also be boosted during
Prague's own marathon next month.

Writers' fest "downsized" but bringing Pamuk to Prague

Wednesday sees the launch of the 23rd Prague Writers' Festival, whose
highlights will include appearances by one of the most important guests
the event has ever brought to the Czech capital: the Noble
Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. However, problems surrounding
funding mean that this year's festival will be the shortest to date.

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