Friday, May 3, 2013

News 5.3.2013

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

News Friday, May 3rd, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* The police have proposed that 12 people be charged over suspicious
contracts awarded during the Czech EU presidency.

* The president has appointed three new Constitutional Court judges.

* The head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes says
she is considering suing her predecessor for alleged financial

* A pro-cycling group have launched a competition aimed at encouraging
more Czechs to ride to work.

* The Czech Republic beat Belarus in their opening game at the World
Ice Hockey Championship on Friday.

Police call for 12 to be charged over contracts won during EU presidency

The police's anti-corruption unit have proposed that 12 people be
charged in connection with suspicious contracts won by the company
Promopro during the Czech presidency of the European Union in 2009.
Detectives say the firm overcharged the Office of the Government by
almost CZK 400 million for audiovisual services. Among those accused
are three former state officials, including the then deputy to Alexandr
Vondra, who was deputy prime minister for European affairs when the
alleged offences took place. The three face charges of abuse of office
and breach of trust, while police say the other accused are guilty of
money laundering and fraud.

President appoints three new judges to Constitutional Court

The Czech president, Milos Zeman, appointed three new Constitutional
Court judges on Friday. Following Senate approval of their nominations
last week, academics Jaroslav Fenyk and Jan Filip have joined the
country's highest court, as has judge Milada Tomkova. The Senate also
gave its backing to the nomination of Vladimir Sladecek; he will be
appointed next month when the term of one of the current justices comes
to an end. All in all, seven of the 15 members of the Constitutional
Court are stepping down this year.

Head of Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes "considering suing"

The acting head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
says she is considering suing her predecessor for alleged financial
mismanagement. Pavla Foglova told journalists on Friday that former
director Daniel Herman had paid bonuses in January that the institution
did not possess and had raised the salaries of dozens of senior
employees shortly before his removal last month. Mr. Herman says his
sacking by the Institute's left-controlled board was a political move.
The state agency administers the files of the StB secret police and
other documents from the communist era.

Poll: Czechs more positive on working of EU than last year

Czechs now have a more positive attitude towards the work of the
European Union than they did a year ago, suggests a freshly released
opinion poll by the STEM agency. Forty-five percent of respondents in
the survey, which was conducted last month, said they believed that EU
functioned democratically, seven percent more than in a similar poll
last year. Meanwhile, 30 percent - compared to 25 percent in 2012 -
said they thought the bloc worked effectively.

Couple get eight-year terms for appalling abuse of mother

A couple have received eight-year jail terms for the grave mistreatment
of a sick woman who subsequently died. Zdenek and Alena Hostas, from a
small town near Olomouc, were looking after the woman, the man's
mother, and lived off her disability benefit money. However, they kept
the 62-year-old woman, who had suffered a stroke, in appalling
conditions in an unheated room without adequate food, drink or
medicines. She died a few weeks after being taken into hospital early
this year.

Cycle to work competition gets underway around Czech Republic

The pro-cycling civic association Auto*Mat has launched a competition
aimed at encouraging more people in the Czech Republic to ride to work.
Around 3,500 people in 11 cities and towns around the country have
signed up for the contest "To Work By Bike", which runs throughout May
and is being held for the third time. Entrants sign up online and
collect points for cycling to their job with colleagues in teams
ranging from two to five members.

Collection of interviews with Jan Werich set for CD release

A collection of interviews with the great Czech actor and writer Jan
Werich is set for release later this month, a spokesperson for the
label Supraphon said on Friday. The interviews were conducted by his
daughter Jana in 1969, when Werich was in his mid 60s, and broadcast in
a weekly series on Czechoslovak Radio entitled Tato, povidej! (Talk,
Dad!). His colourful stories, which also take in a period he spent
living in the United States in the early 1940s, will come out in an
eight-CD box set.

Czechs beat Belarus in opening game at Worlds

The Czech Republic beat Belarus 2:0 in their opening game at the World
Ice Hockey Championship in Stockholm on Friday with the goals coming
from Jakub Voracek and Radim Vrbata. The result means the Czechs - who
were last crowned world champions three years ago - have maintained
their record of never having lost their opening in the tournament.
Alois Hadamczik's charges will face stiffer competition on Saturday,
when they face hosts Sweden.

Cech believes his Chelsea will now win Europa League and set new

The Czech soccer star Petr Cech says he believes his club Chelsea will
win the Europa League, after on Thursday reaching the final with a win
over Basel. In a post on his website, Cech says he and his teammates
are motivated by the chance of becoming the first team to win the
competition a year after taking the Champions League trophy, adding
that Chelsea had given the lie to those who doubted they would take
Europe's second-tier club competition seriously. The goalkeeper has won
virtually every trophy possible in nine years at the English club.


The forecasters say we can expect both sunny spells and rain in the
next few days. Temperatures should reach up to 21 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Violin virtuoso Josef Spacek

My guest in today's Arts is violinist Josef Spacek, who has emerged as
one of the Czech Republic's most talented virtuosos. Spacek - a
graduate from the Juilliard School - is a concertmaster with the Czech
Philharmonic and in less than a fortnight he will be performing at the
Prague Spring International Music Festival. He has also just released
his debut CD with recordings of Prokofiev, Janacek and Smetana.

Campaign challenges city dwellers to cycle to work

Bikers all over the Czech Republic can now join a campaign called Bike
to Work, which was started last year by a Prague-based advocacy group
Auto*mat to encourage urban cycling. Teams made up of two to five
people can join in the race and record the number of kilometers they
bike on the way to and from work for the whole month of May. Those with
the highest number of kilometers receive prizes, and all the
participants get to join a growing community of urban bikers.

Business News 3.5.2013

In Business News this week: European Commission says Czech Republic
needs no further austerity this year; Czech central bank cuts growth
forecast for this and next year; Finance Ministry launches monitor of
public finances; Skoda considers plans to produce utility vans; six
Czechs are ranked among dollar billionaires; and groundbreaking travel
firm Student Agency eyes Prague's taxi market.

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