Tuesday, May 21, 2013

News 5.21.2013

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

News Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

By: Daniela Lazarova

* Civic Democrat councilors are holding an emergency meeting on the
crisis at Prague City Hall.

* The police have uncovered close to one million liters of untaxed
liquor in storage in a number of warehouses around the country.

* There are growing protests against President Zeman's decision not to
name a widely recognized Catholic intellectual professor.

* The Ombudsman has said he will look into complaints regarding how
banks and insurance companies are treating older clients.

* Delta Airlines will renew its direct flights from Prague to New York
as of May 25.



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Crisis at Prague City Hall
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Civic Democrat councilors are holding an emergency meeting on the
crisis at Prague City Hall. The future of the city's administration
lies in the balance after TOP 09 pulled out of the coalition and is
demanding the lion's share of powers in local government. TOP 09 is
pushing for a new coalition agreement with the Civic Democrats under
which it would get seven seats on the eleven member council and the
post of mayor. The party has been increasingly critical of overpriced
city projects such as the Blanka tunnel or Opencard and in future wants
to oversee key areas such as public transport, property and financing.
It has offered its right wing coalition partner just four council seats
and made it clear that if the offer is rejected it would approach the
Social Democrats or seek support for a broad coalition. The Civic
Democrats have said they are not prepared to relinquish the post of
mayor.


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Police uncover close to one million liters of bootleg liquor
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The police have uncovered close to one million liters of untaxed liquor
in storage in a number of warehouses around the country. The tanks of
alcohol had been cemented underground in order to escape inspections
relating to the methanol scandal which broke out last year. Several
people from an unspecified firm have been detained for questioning. The
loss in taxes is estimated at 300 million crowns. The police's
organized crime squad is on the case.


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Growing tension between president and academics
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There are growing protests against President Zeman's decision not to
name Martin C. Putna, a widely recognized Catholic intellectual,
professor. Seven other professorial candidates are refusing to accept
their decrees from the president's hands and say they will boycott the
ceremony in protest. Others have criticized the president's decision
and are awaiting the outcome of a meeting between President Zeman and
the rector of Charles University Vaclav Hampl. Under growing public
pressure President Zeman on Monday clarified the reason for refusing to
name Mr. Putna professor. He said it was due to the wording of a banner
that he carried at Prague's Gay Pride parade two years ago which did
not correspond to his notion of how a university professor should
appear in public. The president is to give a press conference on the
issue on Wednesday.


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Ombudsman to look into possible discrimination of senior citizens
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The Ombudsman has said he will look into complaints regarding how banks
and insurance companies are treating older clients. Apparently some
financial institutions are refusing to issue older people credit cards
and asking them to pay higher health insurance on trips abroad purely
on the grounds of age. The Ombudsman's Office is planning a survey of
45 banks and 52 insurance companies to get an overview of the
situation. The results should be known in August.


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PM Necas defends pension reform
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Prime Minister Petr Necas defended the government's pension reform on
Tuesday urging more people to join the so-called second pillar, thereby
putting part of their pension funds into private insurance companies.
He said that in view of the aging population the only alternatives to a
pension reform would be to increase taxes or cut pensions by a third.
He said the second pillar of the government's pension insurance scheme
was advantageous to approximately half the working population, rather
than just high income groups. Czechs have proved wary of putting their
money into private insurance companies, with only 31,000 people joining
the second pillar in the past four months. The government had hoped to
see half a million people join by the end of June.


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Deputies drafting bill to allow homosexual couples to adopt their
biological children
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A group of MPs across the political spectrum are preparing an amendment
to the law which would allow registered homosexual couples to adopt
their biological children. Civic Democrat deputy Jana Cernochova, one
of the authors of the amendment, told the CTK news agency that this was
to formalize an existing state of affairs, where children already live
with one of their parents in a same-sex registered partnership but
cannot be legally adopted. She said the proposed amendment to the law
was minimalist in order to give it a better chance of passing through
Parliament.


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Cyprus to close its embassy in Prague
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Cyprus is reportedly planning to close down four of its embassies,
including its embassy in Prague, within the framework of tough
austerity measures. It is not clear when the decision will come into
force. Greece, also in financial straights, is selling dozens of
buildings around Europe and moving its diplomatic missions to cheaper
quarters. The move is likewise expected to effect its Prague
representation.


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Czech-born New Zealand artist Mirek Smisek dies at 88
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Czech-born New Zealand artist Mirek Smisek died on Sunday aged 88. Born
in Czechoslovakia in 1925 Mirek Smisek forged a successful career in
New Zealand since arriving there in 1951. He was an internationally
respected potter who specialized in salt-glazed stoneware and
porcelain. For close to a year he dropped all his other work to make
about 700 pieces for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.


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Delta renews Prague to New York flights
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Delta Airlines will renew its direct flights from Prague to New York.
The flights, which were suspended in November, are being renewed as of
next Saturday. There will be seven flights a week, as previously. The
cost of a return ticket should be around 15 thousand crowns.


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Kladno to get compensation for noise pollution
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The town of Kladno is to get 1.5 million crowns in compensation from
Vaclav Havel Airport for excessive noise pollution over the summer.
Maintenance work on the airport's main runway has necessitated the use
of alternate runways meaning that between now and September planes will
be flying at low altitudes over densely inhabited areas. The Kladno
authorities have said they will use the money for road maintenance.


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Weather
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The coming days should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered
showers and afternoon highs reaching 20 degrees Celsius.



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Articles posted on www.radio.cz today
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Prague city gallery brings back life and history to an Old Town palace
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The City of Prague Gallery was given custodianship of the
Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace in Prague's Old Town a few years ago. The
gallery is finally ready to open the building to the public, and
possibly make it one of its main exhibition and educational sites.
Radio Prague headed over to the palace to speak with the team that is
working on its new appearance.

http://radio.cz/en/section/in-focus/prague-city-gallery-brings-back-life-and-history-to-an-old-town-palace


Police uncover almost one million litres of illegal alcohol
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After last year's methanol affair in the Czech Republic, the police
redoubled efforts in uncovering bootleg liquor. A week ago, it was
confirmed Tuesday, they found three secret sites and uncovered close to
one million litres of undeclared alcohol. Earlier searches at different
warehouses around the country missed the hidden chambers as they were
sealed underground beneath metre-thick concrete.

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/police-uncover-almost-one-million-litres-of-illegal-alcohol


Banik back from brink, but what does future hold for club?
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One of the Czech Republic's best known soccer clubs has just escaped
bankruptcy and expulsion from the first division. In fact, for a brief
period on Monday it appeared it really was curtains for Banik Ostrava.
But how have the 2004 league champions found themselves in such dire
straits? And what does the future hold for the club?

http://radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/banik-back-from-brink-but-what-does-future-hold-for-club






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