Tuesday, May 7, 2013

News 5.7.2013

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

News Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

By: Ian Willoughby

* In an address to the lower house, President Milos Zeman said a system
to support solar power was the greatest robbery in the history of the

* A lawyer at the centre of a dispute over who prepared a presidential
amnesty has refused to attend a meeting called by the justice minister.

* The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding an open day at its Cernin
Palace headquarters on Wednesday.

* Forty-five people have now died and over 130 have suffered health
problems due to drinking poisonous bootleg spirits, say the police.

* Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will be fit to play for the Czech Republic
in their next game at the Ice Hockey World Championship.

Zeman: solar power support biggest robbery in history of state

In a 50-minute address to the lower house of the Czech Parliament on
Tuesday, President Milos Zeman said that a system to support solar
power had amounted to the greatest robbery in the history of the Czech
state. He said "solar barons" had cheated the state out of around CZK
200 billion and called for a commission to look into the background to
the scheme, which has been scaled back considerably. In his first
speech to the Chamber of Deputies, the head of state also discussed the
issue of Czech envoys, over which he is locked in a dispute with the
minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg; he said the cause of
the disagreement was his support for what he called "economy diplomacy"
and made a number of digs at Mr. Schwarzenberg, who he defeated in
January's presidential election.

Lawyer refuses to attend meeting called by minister to clear up who
wrote Klaus amnesty

A lawyer at the centre of a dispute over who prepared an amnesty
declared by former president Vaclav Klaus has said he will not attend a
meeting that the minister of justice called with a view to clearing up
the matter. Pavel Hasenkopf, who current president Milos Zeman says
co-drafted the document, said he had no reason to participate in a
meeting with the media organised by Minister Pavel Blazek. Mr.
Hasenkopf, a one-time advisor to Mr. Zeman's predecessor, denies being
behind a controversial section of the amnesty that halted the
prosecution of several long-running cases, many involving alleged
large-scale corruption in the privatisation era. Mr. Klaus has
repeatedly said that he is the sole author of the amnesty.

Foreign Ministry to hold open day on holiday marking end of war in

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding an open day on Wednesday,
which is the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and a
state holiday in the Czech Republic. Visitors will be able to enjoy a
rare opportunity to view the interior of the Cernin Palace, including
what was once Jan Masaryk's apartment, between 10 AM and 4 PM. The
building's gardens will host an event featuring live music celebrating
Croatia's accession to the European Union in July. The Senate will also
be open to the public on Wednesday, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Forty-five methanol deaths recorded while over 130 suffer health

Forty-five people have died in the Czech Republic as a result of
drinking illegal spirits containing the poison methanol, a police
spokesperson said on Tuesday. There were a series of deaths last
summer, causing the minister of health to impose a ban on the sale of
all spirits for a fortnight. Over 130 people have suffered health
problems, including blindness, as a consequence of drinking the bootleg
booze. After the introduction of safety measures, the number of cases
fell, though seven have been recorded since the start of this year,
with most resulting in death. In all seven people are being
investigated in connection with the matter; they face jail terms of 12
to 20 years, or even life, if found guilty.

Car sales down 14 percent in first quarter

Car sales fell by 14 percent year-on-year in the Czech Republic in the
first quarter of this year, the country's car importers association
said on Tuesday. Skoda, the most popular manufacturer on the Czech
market, saw a fall of 18 percent in sales between the start of January
and the end of March. Analysts said both households and companies were
reluctant to purchase a car in an uncertain economy; they expect a
return to growth at the end of the year.

Conference to re-evaluate "wrongly dismissed" Communist-era buildings

A conference is to be held in Prague next month aimed at re-evaluating
Czech architecture from the four decades of Communist rule. Organisers
say they want to show that buildings created between 1948 and 1989 were
highly diverse in terms of style and that many have been viewed from a
political perspective and as a result wrongly stigmatised. The
conference will take place on June 13 at the former Federal Assembly
building in central Prague, which was completed in 1973.

Czech Republic has below average sunshine since start of year

The Czech Republic has seen a lower than average amount of sunshine
since the start of the year, the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute
said on Tuesday. In April there was 137 hours of sunshine, which is 88
percent the average amount for that month. The last month that saw
above average values in this regard was December. In the winter months,
the Czech Republic typically gets between 50 and 60 hours of sunshine;
in June and July that figure rises to around 200.

Kozena performs recital at Prague Castle

The Czech opera star Magdalena Kozena performed a much-anticipated
recital at the Spanish Hall at Prague Castle on Monday evening.
Accompanied by her regular collaborator, pianist Malcolm Martineau, the
mezzo-soprano performed a programme of songs by Ravel, Hayden and
Bartok that she will repeat on Wednesday at London's Barbican. Led by
Czech Philharmonic director David Marecek, the audience at the sold-out
Spanish Hall sang Happy Birthday for Kozena, who turns 40 later this

Goaltender Pavelec back in frame for Denmark game at hockey Worlds

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has recovered from an ankle injury and will
be fit to play for the Czech Republic in their next game at the Ice
Hockey World Championship in Sweden, a meeting with Denmark on
Thursday. While Pavelec's replacement, Alexander Salak, has been
praised for his performances, the team have been disappointing so far;
since beating Belarus in their opening game at the tournament, the
Czechs have lost to Sweden and Switzerland and have only scored five
goals in total.


We can expect sunshine but also rain and occasional storms in the next
couple of days. Temperatures should reach up to 26 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Cycle path traces former Iron Curtain, revealing forgotten history and
unspoiled nature

The frightening and desolate border separating western Europe from the
Communist countries for some 40 years is now being made into a new
10,000-kilometer long cycling path, full of unique natural and
historical landmarks, going from northern Finland to southern Bulgaria.
Part of the Iron Curtain Trail in the Czech Republic began to be marked
out a couple of weeks ago. Radio Prague spoke to Daniel Mourek from the
Partnerstvi Foundation who is the coordinator for the Central European
part of the route and asked him about the background of the Iron
Curtain Trail project.


Public indignation causes Regional Exhibition to remove Hitler's statues

The large-scale regional exhibition taking place in two South Bohemian
and two Upper Austrian cities hit the first snag within days of the
grand opening. Part of the exhibit in the small town of Vyssi Brod,
which is dedicated to the houses of worship in the region, sparked
intense criticism for displaying works dating back to darker days in


Czechs fail to stop Switzerland at Ice Hockey World Championships

If anybody was counting on Switzerland being an easy match-up at the
Ice Hockey World Championships underway in Sweden they have since
learned their lesson. The Swiss are the surprise of the tournament so
far: first they upended hosts Sweden, then edged Canada, and on Monday
added another scalp, defeating the Czechs.


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