In the News 11.5.09

In the News 11.5.09

Aktuálně.cz CzechNews

NEW CABINET APPOINTED. Czech president Václav Klaus appointed a caretaker government of Jan Fischer on May 8.

Despite the bitter relationship between Václav Klaus and Mirek Topolánek, both once from the Civic Democrats (ODS), Klaus  sent a letter of thanks to the cabinet of the former prime minister, appreciating their work.

In December 2008 Václav Klaus, a founder of ODS, left the party, unhappy about the party going too centre-right. Topolánek’s support of the Lisbon Treaty was another for Mr. Klaus to bid farewell to ODS.

But not all were disconcerted about the ODS new position.

“It seems to me that [the ODS] are now less arrogant and especially less fundamentalist,” Havel said a couple of weeks ago.


EU PRO-FISCHER. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed the appointment of Jan Fischer as the new head of the country. He would like to see him chairing the June EU summit, about which speculation abound.

Václav Klaus is said to want to be at the helm of the EU summit. But most of EU leaders fret about having a eurosceptic heading the summit.

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BOOST FOR THE EU REFORM PACT. The Czech Senate approved the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday afternoon, thus endorsing the plan to streamline decision-making in the European Union.

Of 79 lawmakers 54 voted for the Lisbon blueprint.

A six-hour debate preceded the vote, in which outgoing PM MIrek Topolánek (Civic Democrats-ODS) pleaded with the senators to approve the Treaty.

Some wanted to make sure the Senate votes Yes to the Lisbon Treaty and went to support the senators in person. Have a look at what was happening in front of the building.


MEASURES TO TACKLE UNEMPLOYMENT. Rather than firing people European companies should reduce their working hours to prevent job losses in the times of the economic downturn. That is one of the key measures recommended by EU leaders who met at the EU employment summit in Prague.

In March the EU unemployment rate jumped up to 8.3 percent, which translated into 20.5 million of unemployed Europeans. The EU unemployment rate in February was 8.1.


At one of its last sessions the outgoing cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek decided to pay tribute to the victims of the Roma holocaust.

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The government decided to build a memorial place for the Roma victims in Lety and a research and education center in Hodonín u Kunštátu, former concentration camps where 6,000 Roma were incarcerated.

Lety has become infamous for housing a pig farm, which the government has been ignoring.

Hodonín will house a unique research and education center on Roma history and culture, the design of which has been proposed last December.


ROMA AGAINST EXTREMISTS. Czech Roma and their sympathisers took to the squares of 13 Czech cities and towns on Sunday May 3 to protest against the growing extremism and xenophobia.

Never before have the Roma communities got together on such a massive scale.

In Lysá nad Labem, some 30 km east of Prague, however, only a handful showed up. There has been some disagreement over the failure to attract more.


TRADITIONAL MEDIA ON DECLINE. In the previous quarter of the year, nearly twenty printed titles have disappeared from Czech newsstands. Others are going to cease to exist within a few weeks. Big television stations have cut their production costs and the small ones are even working out plans for new, low-cost programme schemes.

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According to Aktuálně.cz findings, the first quarter of 2009 was a dramatic period for traditional publishing houses – the company CME, the owner of television station Nova, is dealing with a 30% sales fall against the plan, and another giant Mafra is just a few percentage point better.


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