Friday, May 24, 2013

News 5.24.2013

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

News Friday, May 24th, 2013

By: Jan Richter

* A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno has been
arrested in Washington, DC.

* Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has expressed doubts about the
planned expansion of the Temelin nuclear plant.

* A Russian Orthodox priest who stood up in defence of the band Pussy
Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic.

* During a visit to Poland, President Zeman proposed to merge the
Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges.

* Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been spotted during his visit to

American suspected of murdering four people in Brno arrested

A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno was arrested at
Washington airport on Thursday evening shortly after arriving on a
flight from Vienna. Czech police chief Leos Trzil said the suspect had
already been charged and the Czech authorities were preparing a request
for his extradition. The man known on social networks as Kevin Dahlgren
is believed to have killed his distant relatives - an older couple and
their two sons - after spending three weeks with them in their home in
Brno. The motive for the crime remains unclear. There has been
speculation that the suspect may be suffering from a serious mental

Finance minister doubts planned expansion of Temelin nuclear plant��

Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has expressed doubts about the
planned expansion of the Temelin nuclear plant. In an interview for the
daily Hospodarske noviny on Friday, Mr Kalousek said he was not sure
whether the investment would be effective due to an uncertain outlook
of electricity prices. The minister also said he was surprised by the
high cost-estimate given by the two bidders. In a reaction, Prime
Minister Petr Necas said the plant's expansion was necessary to ensure
the country's energy stability.

The Czech government is planning to invest between 200 and 300 billion
crowns in building two new reactors at the Temelin plant. The two
bidders left in the process are a Russian-led consortium and the
US-based firm Westinghouse.

Russian priest who stood up for Pussy Riot gets Czech asylum

Russian orthodox priest Sergei Baranov who stood up in defence of the
punk band Pussy Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic. The
cleric told the daily Pravo he received political asylum from the Czech
Interior Ministry last month. Sergei Baranov said he found himself
under pressure from Russian intelligence services when he protested
against the trial with members of the band. In the interview, the
priest expressed gratitude to the Czech authorities and said he was
planning to convert to the Greek Catholic Church and establish a
monastery in the Czech Republic.

President Zeman proposes to merge Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges

On the second day of his official visit to Poland, Czech President
Milos Zeman proposed to merge the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges.
Speaking at a Polish-Czech business forum in the Polish capital, Mr
Zeman said the merger would establish a strong, Warsaw-based central
European exchange that would better compete with other exchanges. The
head of the Prague exchange, Petr Kobliha, said negotiations had been
underway for several months to connect the region's various exchanges.

President nominates Constitutional Court chief for another term

President Milos Zeman on Friday proposed the chief justice of the Czech
Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetsky, for another 10-year term. The
president last week nominated another three judges for the top court:
Supreme Administrative Court judge Katerina Simackova, Supreme Court
judge Ludvik David and Constitutional Court justice Miloslav Vyborny.
The Czech Senate is set to vote on the nominations by the end of next
month. In April, President Zeman appointed three judges to the
Constitutional Court which was facing paralysis as the mandates of
seven of its 15 judges expire this year.

Changes continue at Prague City Hall

Prague councillors for the TOP 09 party continue to implement changes
at City Hall following Thursday's break-up of the coalition and the
dismissal of Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. On Friday, the council dismissed
Civic Democrat members from the supervisory boards of Prague's
transport authority and the Municipal House; TOP 09 also took over some
responsibilities previously held by Civic Democrat councillors, such as
the completion of the multi-billion Blanka tunnel complex and a planned
acquisition of a stake in the city's service firm.

The coalition of TOP 09 and Civic Democrats collapsed this week in what
observers see as a major feud of the two right-of-centre parties for
the same electorate in the capital and beyond.

EU funds recipients secure over 50 pct of funds earmarked for Czech

Czech recipients of EU subsidies have secured some 425 billion crowns
which represents over 53 percent of the funds earmarked for the Czech
Republic in the period between 2007 and 2013, the Czech Regional
Development Ministry said on Friday. Czech authorities have approved EU
funding for more than 41,000 projects worth around 666 billion crowns;
if passed by the European Commission, the Czech Republic will receive
some 83 percent of the earmarked funds.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spotted during Prague visit

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was spotted during his visit to the
Czech capital on Thuirsday. A photo showing Mr Zuckerberg and his wife
was posted on Twitter by a man who noticed the couple taking a stroll
through Prague's Mala strana district near Charles Bridge. Czech media
reported Mark Zuckerberg arrived in Prague from Poland where he met
with government officials. The Czech minister of industry and trade,
who is in charge of technological innovations, said no meeting with the
Facebook founder had been planned.

Police arrest violent debt colleting gang

The Czech police have arrested eight members of an illegal debt
collecting gang, a spokesman for the police's organized crime unit
said. The gang allegedly used violence and psychological pressure to
collect debts; they set the victims cars' on fire and in once case
forced a victim to pay for the debts with sex. The gang, led by a Czech
and Moldovan nationals, operated in southern Moravia. If convicted,
members of the group face up to 15 years in prison.

Javelin champion Spotakova gives birth to son

Czech javelin champion Barbora Spotakova has given birth to a son. The
baby boy, Spotakova's first child, was born in Prague on Friday
morning, and has been named Janek. The 31-year-old two-time Olympic
winner said she was very happy and felt a mix of euphoria and
responsibility. The boy will bear the surname of his father, Lukas
Novotny. Barbora Spotakova is planning to return to athletics in
October to prepare for the European Championships 2014.

Football: Banik Ostrava receives top division licence

Czech football club Banik Ostrava on Friday received a licence to play
in the country's top division next season. The Czech Football
Association initially denied Banik the licence over the club's economic
problems. Earlier this week, however, Ostrava City Hall approved the
acquisition of the club's stadium, allowing Banik to settle parts of
their debts amounting to around 170 million crowns. Banik Ostrava are
yet to avoid relegation to second division; with two rounds to go in
the Gambrinus liga, Banik are on 12th place, four points away from

Freezing temperatures recorded across Czech Republic

Temperatures below zero degrees Celsius were recorded in places across
the Czech Republic on Friday morning. The lowest temperature - minus
5.5 degrees - was recorded in the northern skiing resort Jizerka.
Meteorologists expect a spell of cold weather to continue for several
days to come but said freezing temperatures should not return.


The weekend will be mostly overcast with rain showers and daytime highs
ranging between 11 and 16 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Playwright Stuart Mentha: author of highly anticipated new play 'False
Friends' (debuting at Prague Fringe Festival)

The 12th annual Prague Fringe Festival begins on Friday evening in the
Czech capital. As always, the fest offers a wide range of theatre from
all around the world. Prague-based playwright Stuart Mentha, who had
success with his debut Deja Vu last year is also back. Friday sees the
premiere of his new play 'False Friends'. He told me more about it at
Czech Radio this week.

Business News 24.5.2013

In Business News: the IMF has advised the Czech government against
making further budget cuts in view of the country's worse-than-expected
economic development; Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has questioned
the financial wisdom of expanding the Temelin nuclear power plant;
Czech arms producer Ceska zbrojovka has won a multi-million crown
tender to supply 50,000 pistols to the Egyptian interior ministry and
the Czech liqueur maker Rudolf Jelinek posted its first loss since 1998.

California man wanted over Brno murders detained after fleeing to US

Police in Brno have said an American man wanted in connection with the
murder of a Czech family in Brno had been arrested after stepping off a
flight from Vienna to Washington D.C. Twenty-year-old Kevin Dahlgren
was being sought by police in both the Czech Republic and abroad after
four bodies were discovered in the house in Brno where he was staying.
According to Czech media reports, the victims were relatives.

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