Tuesday, April 23, 2013

News 4.23.2013

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

News Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

By: Masha Volynsky

* President Milos Zeman said he will seek the prime minister's approval
if no agreement over ambassadorial appointments will be reached with
the foreign minister.

* The Supreme State Attorney has filed appeals in seven major fraud
cases that were closed as a result of the New Year's presidential

* The Czech government will give four million crowns to town of West in
Texas to help rebuild destroyed Sokol building.

* Minor seismic activity has been registered in the Cheb region in
western Bohemia

* Oliver Stone will receive the Crystal Globe award at this year's
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Row over ambassadorial appointments intensifies

During the first day of his visit to Austria, President Zeman said that
if an agreement will not be reached with Foreign Minister Karel
Schwarzenberg over ambassadorial appointments, he is willing to ask the
prime minister to confirm his candidates. Mr Schwarzenberg responded
that if Prime Minister Petr Necas were indeed to confirm the
president's chosen candidates instead of the ones he has put forward,
his TOP 09 party would leave the governing coalition. The premier
dismissed the foreign minister's threats saying that he is planning to
keep to constitutional tradition that says ambassadors are nominated by
the foreign minister and subsequently approved by the government and
then the president. He added that the weeks-long spat between the
president and the foreign minister is hurting the reputation of the
Czech Republic.

Zeman makes strong comments on first presidential visit to Austria

President Milos Zeman began his two-day visit to Austria by meeting
with the country's President Heinz Fischer in Vienna's Hofburg Palace
on Tuesday. The two leaders discussed nuclear energy safety - an issue
that has always been a divisive one for the neighboring countries - and
specifically the expansion of the nuclear power plant Temelin.

Later, in an interview with the Austrian news agency APA, the Czech
president insinuated that the majority of ethnic Germans in Sudetenland
supported and collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War Two,
and that many of them could have faced much worse punishment than

Supreme attorney wants to reopen major amnesty cases

The Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has filed extraordinary appeals
to reopen seven cases that were closed as a result of the New Year's
presidential amnesty. Mr. Zeman is focusing particularly on the cases
involving companies Progres Invest and H-System accused of fraud, as
well as those of fugitive defendants like Milan Senfeld, Jiri Stepanek
and Martin Bajger. All of these cases were closed in January, since the
amnesty announced by former president Vaclav Klaus applied to cases
that were open for longer than eight years.

Czechs to give four million to West for Sokolovna

The Czech government will give four million crowns (about 200,000 US
dollars) to the people of the town of West in Texas, where fourteen
people died and dozens of houses were destroyed as a result of an
explosion last week. The Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg
made the announcement in Brussels on Tuesday, saying that most of the
money will be used to rebuild the Sokol building in the town, where
three-quarters of inhabitants are of Czech descent.

Improving economy

The Czech economy is seeing the first signs of a slow recovery,
according to a member of the board of the Czech National Bank, Eva
Zamrzilova. According to Ms Zamrzilova, the decline in real estate
prices has stopped and the number of mortgages has risen in February by
6.2% year-on-year, indicating a recovery. Some analysts expect consumer
confidence to begin improving this year and households spending to

Unions at Totalitarian Regimes institutes are ready to strike

Some employee unions at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian
Regimes have announced that they are ready to strike in response to the
personnel changes carried out by the new head of the institute Pavla
Foglova. The unions said they are afraid of employee purges and are
ready to defend the social and economic rights of their members. Not
all of the unions at the institute, though, see Ms. Foglova's actions
as problematic.

Tremors felt in Cheb

The ground shook a number of times in the west Bohemian Cheb region
throughout Tuesday, with the strongest tremors registering at 2.5 on
the Richter scale during the night. Experts believe that the seismic
activity may continue and get stronger. The last time this area
experienced seismic activity was in 2011.

Oliver Stone to receive Crystal Globe in Karlovy Vary

This year's recipient of the annual Crystal Globe prize for outstanding
artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International
Film Festival will be the American director and producer Oliver Stone.
The announcement was made on Tuesday at a press conference by Jiri
Bartoska, head of the festival. The other recipient of the award this
year will be the Czech costume designer and artist Theodor Pistek. This
year's festival will take place from 28 June to 6 July.

Medieval village findings on display in Brno

The Dietrichstein palace in Brno is hosting an exhibit of the remains
and reconstructions of the village of Bystrec in South Moravia, which
is the best preserved medieval village in the Czech Republic. The
village was burned in 1401 and remained covered by topsoil for 600
years, until it was uncovered by archeologists 30 years ago. This is
the first exhibit that shows objects found at the site, and includes
reconstructions of village life.

New book about film magnate Milos Havel launched in Prague

A new book about the Czech film magnate Milos Havel, the uncle of
Vaclav Havel, was presented at Prague's Lucerna on Monday evening.
Throughout the day, films from the interwar years and the period of the
Nazi occupation produced by Milos Havel, founder of the Barrandov film
studios, were screened at the cinema in the Lucerna Palace; it was
built by Vacslav Havel, the grandfather of playwright Vaclav Havel.
Milos Havel - Czech Film Magnate is written by journalist Krystyna


It will be sunny to partly cloudy in the upcoming days, with possible
light showers in some places. Temperature will be around 20 to 22
degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Top anti-graft cop quits over spat with state attorney

The Czech police's anti-corruption unit has been relatively visible in
recent times, with operations culminating in charges against two former
ministers. But now the unit's head has announced he is to quit after a
spat with the high state attorney, who had levelled some damning
charges against his department.


Authorities lose patience with Wenceslas Sq. kiosk owners

The Prague authorities are suing owners who have failed to remove food
stands on the city's Wenceslas Square. Eight out of 18 ordered off the
square after the city cancelled contracts remain. The eighth,
remarkably, continues to sell pizza despite the closure order and the
imposition of fines.


Raketon - a myriad of sounds on two strings

A one-of-a-kind instrument called raketon made its first public
appearance three years ago in a museum exhibit, but this week it had
its debut in a contemporary classical music concert, together with
Prague's Berg Orchestra. I had a chance to speak to Raketon's inventor
Michal Cimala and to composer Jakub Rataj who mastered this simple and
elegant instrument and wrote the first orchestral piece that includes
it. Both of them perform on the raketon as well by plucking, striking
and touching its two strings with bows, mallets and even milk frothers.


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