Police reviewing rocker’s anti-Roma lyrics
Police are reviewing whether “Deratizer” (“The Exterminator”), the title song of the new album by Czech musician Aleš Brichta, violates the country’s laws on inciting racial hatred. In the song Brichta sings, “Politicians making fools of everyone/ Gypsies stealing bikes in the street/ This should be taken care of by an exterminator.” Former KDU-ČSL leader Jiří Čunek, who has been criticised for his statements about Roma, said that “the word ‘exterminator’ is heavy-handed, but insofar as it is conceptual like an artistic statement, it is permissible”.
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LN: Courts divided on roadside alcohol tests
Some Czech courts are refusing to accept readings from Dräger Alcotest, a new instrument used by police since the beginning of 2009, as evidence of drunken driving and are still requiring blood tests. Under a new traffic law blood tests are no longer required as proof. According to Lidové noviny, this could raise the incidence of drunken driving as motorists will be less fearful of being punished.
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Topolánek rallies EU against Canada
Civic Democrat chief and ex-PM Mirek Topolánek on Friday asked European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to help Czechs fight their recent exclusion from Canada’s visa waiver programme. Topolánek told Barroso in an open letter that Czechs have to travel to Vienna for a Canadian visa and that his country “finds itself undeservedly in an undignified and unequal position”. The Canadian embassy in Prague said the Vienna embassy can issue same-day visas, denying a Právo report that Czech applicants have to spend a night in Vienna.
Govt report blames far right for Roma exodus
An increase in activity by right wing extremists is the main reason why many Roma emigrate, according to a report on the Czech Romani community to be presented today by Michael Kocáb, minister for human rights and minorities. Poverty and general discrimination are also listed as factors.
Ministry: Prague drivers are biggest speeders
Transport Ministry statistics on traffic offences in Czech regions indicate that drivers from Prague are the most frequent violators of town speed limits, Lidové noviny reports. Drivers from the capital are also most likely to violate a driving ban. Motorists in south Moravia most often telephone while driving, speed on roads out of town and eschew safety belts.
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Poll: Voters do not want ‘grand coalition’
In a survey conducted by STEM for the daily Právo, 65% of respondents said they would not want ODS to form a governing coalition with ČSSD if the former wins the fall elections. If ČSSD won, 62% would oppose such a coalition.
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Bursík will not run for the Greens
Former Green Party chief Martin Bursík has decided he will not stand as a candidate for the party in the autumn general elections. Bursík said he planned to focus in the future on “concrete work” on climate change and environmental protection.
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LN: Ex-minister Němec still pulling strings at Justice
Lidové noviny reports that lobbyist Pavel Němec, who headed the Justice Ministry from 2004 to 2006 and has been linked to several controversial legal cases, might be behind caretaker Justice Minister Daniela Kovářová’s recent dismissal of several employees who cooperated closely with her predecessor, Jiří Pospíšil.
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Rosický back in action after long rehab
Czech football star Tomáš Rosický returned to the pitch Saturday after 18 months battling injuries, playing for Arsenal in a friendly match against Barnet.
most Czech press
ČR has more forest than in 2007
An ongoing reforestation programme last year increased the total size of Czech woods by 0.07% to 2.653 million hectares, the Agriculture Ministry reports.
Motorway gold robbery suspects caught
Police last week apprehended and took into custody two Serbs and a Czech wanted for last year’s hold-up of a jeweller’s car with gold worth CZK 3 million on the D1 motorway.
Another travel firm goes bust
CK Tomi Tour, one of the 10 biggest travel agencies on the Czech market, went out of business Friday, announcing the closure in a flier posted on the locked door of its Prague office. Clients are to be refunded by Slovak insurer Union poisťovňa. Czech Airlines, which has been providing charter flights for Tomi, has repatriated more than half of the 3,000 clients on holiday with the firm. Tomio Okamura of ACČKA, the association of Czech travel agents, called it the biggest bankruptcy in the sector in 12 years. Some Tomi clients want police to investigate whether the firm committed fraud by continuing to sell holiday packages in its final days.
most Czech press
SkyEurope gets green light for restructuring
A court in Bratislava on Friday approved a restructuring plan for insolvent airline SkyEurope, extended protection from creditors and appointed a public administrator. The Slovak budget carrier, which also operates from Vienna and Prague, is looking for an investor.
EU funds to help cash-starved road project
The EU’s TEN-T programme for a trans-European transport network will put some CZK 300 million toward building an extension of the D47 motorway from Bohumín to the Polish border, a tenth of the project’s cost. Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka recently said a lack of funding would delay completion of the project by at least two years.
Hyundai to boost gear production in ČR
Korean carmaker Hyundai will spend CZK 3.4 billion in the next two years expanding production of transmissions at its Nošovice plant in north Moravia from 300,000 to 500,000 units per year. The move will help soften a drop in Czech direct foreign investment, Reuters reported.
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Czech consumer prices at 72% of EU level
Consumer prices in the Czech Republic are 28% lower than the EU average, according to a recent Eurostat survey. The cost of clothing and electronics in the country exceed the EU average, by 13% and 8%, respectively.
Charges dropped in Czech Beer affair
Prosecutors last week cleared a dozen Czech and foreign bankers and entrepreneurs in the České pivo (Czech Beer) affair, ending an 8½ year investigation. Police had suspected the men of illegally trading shares in brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj and the now defunct bank IPB in 1998 and ’99. ČSOB, which later took over IPB, favoured taking the case to court.
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Govt mulls incentives for foreign film shoots
The ministries of finance and culture are drafting measures aimed at reversing the migration of foreign film shoots to other countries. The Finance Ministry has rejected tax breaks for film productions, but the state might refund a percentage of the money crews spend on Czech soil.
Rival travel groups differ on school breaks
Competing travel agency trade groups AČCKA and ACK are backing different approaches to changing school holiday periods to boost the industry. While AČCKA recently called for a two-week extension of summer breaks, which traditionally run from 1 July to 31 August, ACK favours letting regions decide when the break will begin and end.
Czech Coal becomes No 1 in solar power
REN Power CZ, a subsidiary of the Czech Coal group, on Friday phased in a 1.1 MW solar power plant outside Starojická Lhota in north Moravia. This makes Czech Coal the largest solar energy producer in the Czech Republic, with total output of 6.33 MW.
Kooperativa to move headquarters
Czech insurer Kooperativa and its subsidiary Česká podnikatelská pojišťovna plan to relocate their corporate offices to the planned Main Point complex in Prague-Karlín. Developer PSJ Invest will launch construction by the end of the year. Costs are expected to reach CZK 1 billion.