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Finance minister tells Czechs to brace for succession of lean years

27-02-2012 16:38 | Daniela Lazarová

Miroslav Kalousek Although the Czech government has refused to sign up to the EU’s fiscal discipline pact, frugality has become the order of the day and the finance minister has warned the nation that, come what may, fiscal discipline will be observed in the interest of bringing the country’s public finances under control. On Monday the cabinet’s economic ministers are meeting to debate austerity measures for 2013 which far surpass those previously undertaken.   More

Cakes for freedom – tongue-in-cheek happening to support artist facing controversial prison sentence kicks off in Prague

24-02-2012 15:20 | Sarah Borufka

Roman Týc, photo: CTK Activists are holding a protest happening in front of Prague’s Pankrác prison, where Czech artist Roman Týc on Friday afternoon is starting a one-month prison sentence for a 2007 art project that involved defacing fifty traffic lights in Prague by changing the standard red and green figures to show them in situations such as drinking, urinating and hanging themselves. The artist says he chose prison time over paying a fine because otherwise he would be renouncing the project’s message. Titled “Bábovka pro Týce” or “A cake for Týc”, the happening is as tongue-in-cheek as the art project itself – as a sign of their solidarity, participants will bring cakes to the prison, an allusion to the well-known prison cliché of a cake with a file in it. Ahead of the start at 2 p.m., we spoke to co-organizer Magda Vídeňská about the unusual happening.  More

Pundit: battle over control of High State Attorney’s Office in Prague decisive for country’s democratic development

23-02-2012 15:30 | Daniela Lazarová

Jiří Pehe The battle over who should head the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague and the implications of the return of the office’s old-new head Vlastimil Rampula are very much at the centre of media attention. Radio Prague asked commentator Jiří Pehe for his interpretation of the affair.  More

Change of guard at High State Attorney’s Office in Prague in drawn-out battle for control of decisive post

23-02-2012 15:30 | Daniela Lazarová

Vlastimil Rampula, photo: CTK The change of guard at the High State Attorney’s Office in Prague has sent reverberations across the political spectrum and has raised concerns regarding the independence of the Czech judiciary. Vlastimil Rampula, Prague Chief Prosecutor who was sacked last July on suspicion that he had been holding up key corruption investigations returned in triumph on Wednesday to reclaim his post after the Prague Municipal Court ruled that his dismissal was not sufficiently justified.  More

Scattered oversight: the gaping loopholes in Czech public servant conflict of interest laws

23-02-2012 15:30 | Dominik Jůn

A recent study by the pro-civic engagement charity Oživení found that of five hundred disclosure declarations lodged by Czech politicians – MPs, Senators and local officials - roughly a quarter had errors or issues worthy of further investigation. Critics suggest that the current system simply is not working and with an array of authorities across the Czech Republic tasked with examining conflict of interest declarations – some admit that they do not even have the resources to fully check what public servants have declared. In addition, there are numerous loopholes that appear to make the system highly ineffective. Dominik Jůn spoke with Vladan Brož, of Transparency International and began by asking whether he thought the current system was working.  More

Ambitious exhibition project “Other Air” brings surrealist art to Prague

22-02-2012 15:50 | Sarah Borufka

Something is in the air in Prague’s Old Town Hall: An exhibition titled “Other Air” gives the public a chance to see both a retrospective of Czech and Slovak surrealist art from the last two decades, as well as surrealist works from renowned international artists. In addition, the exhibition features a rich accompanying program with surrealist films and readings and a bilingual catalogue with surrealists texts. The ambitious project kicked off in February and will be running in the Czech capital until April. We spoke to artist and member of the Czech surrealists, Kateřina Piňosová, about the exciting and unusual project.  More

Czech MEP intervenes on Tymoshenko’s behalf

22-02-2012 15:50 | Jan Velinger

Yulia Tymoshenko, photo: European People's Party, CC 2.0 license Czech MEP Zuzana Roithová has confirmed that jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has failed to receive adequate medical attention and is in serious condition. The MEP travelled to Kiev last Friday and was allowed to inspect medical records, which reportedly showed a decision should have been taken on surgery regarding the politician’s lumbar spine.  More

Survey shows drinking among 16-year-olds on rise

21-02-2012 17:17 | Jan Velinger

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) has found that the number of 16-year-olds in the Czech Republic who drink beer or hard liquor on a regular basis has gone up. Back in 1995, 14 percent of the country’s sixteen-year-olds drank at least three times a month, but last year the percentage moved up to 20. By contrast, marijuana use dropped, if only slightly.  More

Radioactive Waste Depository Authority launches multi-million-crown incentive to win over municipalities for possible nuclear waste sites

21-02-2012 17:17 | Sarah Borufka

Illustrative photo While the Czech Republic relies on nuclear power for some 30 percent of its total energy supply, the Radioactive Waste Depository Authority is facing difficulties in finding new locations for depositing nuclear waste. As an incentive for municipalities to agree to geological research on their territory, the state-run authority is now offering mayors millions of crowns. Sarah Borufka has the details.  More

Prague and London launch initiative to deepen common European market

20-02-2012 16:17 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas, British Prime Minister David Cameron, photo: archive of the Czech Government The Czech Republic and Britain, who both decided to stay out of the EU’s fiscal discipline pact, are preparing to launch an initiative of their own: one aimed at deepening the common market. Prague says that this is the real key to economic growth at a time when the alliance needs to boost its flagging economy.  More



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