Monday, May 13, 2013

News 5.13.2013

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

News Monday, May 13th, 2013

By: Jan Velinger

* The president was questioned earlier this year over the privatisation
of Czech coal mining company Mostecka uhelna.

* Cardinal Dominik Duka took part in a commemorative ceremony for
Romany victims of the Holocaust at the Lety memorial in southern
Bohemia on Monday.

* Prague gas company employees checked for potential gas leaks across
the city over the course of Monday.

* A public tender for the renovation of the National Museum's historic
main building on Wenceslas Square has been launched.

* The national team will have to beat Norway on Tuesday to advance to
the knockout stages at the Ice Hockey World Championship.



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Zeman questioned over coal mining company privatisation
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The country's president, Milos Zeman, was questioned by the Czech
anti-corruption police in February over the allegedly fraudulent
privatisation of Czech mining company Mostecka uhelna, Czech TV
reported a day before a Swiss court began dealing with the case. Six
former managers at the company are accused of having illegally
transferred 150 million dollars from the firm and of having bought a
majority stake in the coal giant for the money. The police suspect them
of having conducted the deal at a considerably lower price. The
privatisation of Mostecka uhelna took place under the government headed
by then-prime minister Milos Zeman, who told the police that the price
was the decisive factor; he dismissed the idea that the state lost any
money in the deal.


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Commemorative ceremony at Lety
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Cardinal Dominik Duka took part in a commemorative ceremony for Romany
victims of the Holocaust at the Lety memorial in southern Bohemia on
Monday. The event was attended by a number of foreign ambassadors,
cultural dignitaries and Roma representatives. Czech political leaders
were notably absent this year, with the exception of the deputy speaker
of the Senate Miluse Horska. The Lety memorial, unveiled in 1995 by
then president Vaclav Havel, is situated close to the site of a former
concentration camp for Romanies where 300 Romany prisoners lost their
lives and from where hundreds of others were transported to the
Auschwitz extermination camp. The fact that a pig farm is located on
the site of the former camp has been the source of considerable
controversy and embarrassment to the Czech government which says it
does not have the money to relocate it.


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Prague gas workers check for leaks
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Prague gas workers checked for potential gas leaks across the city over
the course of Monday following an explosion in the capital that damaged
buildings near the National Theatre earlier this month and injured
around 40 people. The amount of an olfactory indicator added to natural
gas has been doubled to help residents detect leaks. Anyone in Prague
suspecting a leak should call line 1239.


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Gas leak found near Main Station
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In related news, a gas leak was detected on Monday not far from
Prague's Main Station. Gas leaked for several dozen minutes, officials
said, after someone dismantled a gas tap at a nearby abandoned
building. The leak was stopped by workers from the Prazska plynarenska
gas company. The discovery of the leak was not connected to checks of
gas piping taking place in the city on Monday, a spokesman said;
because of the leak, traffic was disrupted for a time at Prague's
Magistrala throughway.


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President back at work
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President Milos Zeman is back at work after suffering from a viral
infection, the president's office has said, stressing he will spend
most of the workweek at his desk to further aid his recovery. Mr Zeman
attended the opening of the Prague Spring Music Festival on Sunday but
was visibly unwell only a few days ago at a ceremony of bringing the
crown jewels out of storage. During the official ceremony, the
president, who is 69, had to prop himself against a wall to keep from
swaying, sparking broad speculation over the cause of the problem.


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Public tender on National Museum renovation launched
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A public tender for the renovation of the National Museum's historic
main building on Wenceslas Square was launched on Monday. The tender
was approved in April by the government and subsequently by the finance
and culture ministries. Proposals received will be revealed at the end
of August. The main building of the National Museum will retain its
historic facade which was designed by architect Josef Schulz, but
visitors in the future will be able to enjoy a modern exhibition venue
following 21st century trends, representatives have made clear. One of
the most prominent elements in the renovation plans is the creation of
a tunnel connecting the National Museum's main building with a
sister-site which used to serve as the Parliamentary building in the
former Czechoslovakia.


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Elementary schools hold mock exam
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Elementary schools across the country on Monday held a second mock exam
to test levels of knowledge and the capabilities of students in grades
five and nine. Children are being tested in the Czech language, math,
as well as foreign languages. Around 1,000 parents have come out
against the exam, claiming it was not objective.


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Alfons Mucha exhibition to see 50,000th visitor
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A month after opening, 50,000 visitors will have seen a unique
exhibition at Prague's Obceni dum featuring an almost complete
collection of posters by Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha. The
collection is owned by former tennis great Ivan Lendl. The 50,000th
visitor is expected on Tuesday, organisers revealed. Another recent
exhibition in Prague that saw similar numbers (almost 49,000 visitors)
was one dedicated to the work of 20th century avant garde painter
Frantisek Kupka. Ivan Lendl : Alfons Mucha continues until the end of
July.


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Hockey: national team gets help from Swiss at Worlds
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The national team will have to beat Norway on Tuesday to advance to the
knockout stages at the Ice Hockey World Championship. A loss on Sunday
against Team Canada put the Czechs on the brink of being knocked out of
the tournament; the squad, however, gained a reprieve with
Switzerland's 3:1 defeat of Norway later on Sunday evening. Norway are
a point ahead of the Czechs in their group standings, meaning they only
need to tie on Tuesday to advance. Switzerland has been the Cinderella
story of this year's championship, remaining the only undefeated team.


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NHL playoffs: for Bruins, Krejci & Jagr, it's "do or die" against Leafs
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For the Boston Bruins, with Czech players David Krejci and star forward
Jaromir Jagr, it will be "do or die" in the final game of their
best-of-seven series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night in
the first round of the NHL playoffs. Krejci leads in the playoffs on
goals, having scored five (including a hat trick) against Toronto; Jagr
managed an assist in Game 6 but has been less of a presence. Toronto,
by comparison, has seen strong performances by its goaltender, James
Reimer, and players like Phil Kessel, who was key to Toronto's forcing
a seventh game.


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Weather
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The weather should remain fairly cold in the next day or two with
scattered showers and day time highs reaching 16 degrees. Warmer
weather is expected mid-week with sunny skies and temperatures around
24 degrees Celsius.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Sports News 13.5.2013
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In Sports News this Monday: The Czech Republic just about hang on at
Ice Hockey World Championship - and now need to beat Norway to reach
playoffs; defeat for leaders Plzen allows Sparta to cut gap to two
points with three rounds to go in soccer league; Kweuke gets 12-match
ban for leg-breaking "tackle"; and Nicholas Kemboi wins Prague Marathon.

http://radio.cz/en/section/sport/sports-news-2013-05-13


Swiss court begins hearing major Czech privatization case
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A Swiss court on Monday began hearing a major Czech privatization case.
Six former managers of the Czech coal company MUS face accusations of
money laundering and other crimes they allegedly committed during the
privatization of the firm in the 1990s. The complicated case has been
running for years, and is also prosecuted in the Czech Republic.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/swiss-court-begins-hearing-major-czech-privatization-case


Corruption universal but corruption tourism unique to Prague, says tour
boss Petr Sourek
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One of the more colourful news stories out of the Czech Republic last
year concerned Corrupt Tour, which started running excursions - in
Czech, English and German - to sites linked to graft. These include the
villas of dodgy businessmen, Prague City Hall and the spot where the
city's "Olympic centre" was projected to stand.

http://radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/corruption-universal-but-corruption-tourism-unique-to-prague-says-tour-boss-petr-sourek






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