In the News 13.7.09

In the News 13.7.09

THE SHOW IS OVER. The Karlovy Vary film festival is over, prizes awarded and viewers dispersed all over the country. The Crystal Globe went to a Belgian-Canadian film Angel at Sea, debut feature film by a Belgian director Frédéric Dumont. The film recounts a story of a boy who goes through hell with his manio-depressive father.

American actor, director and producer John Malkovich, French actress Isabelle Huppert and Czech film maker Jan Šnakmajer took home special awards for lifetime contribution to world cinema.

Antonio Banderas was there too and he enjoyed the program and the city (who would not?).

Not the viewers who had accreditations, though. Mysteriously, there were more accreditations issued this year but less films watched. 13,200 people asked for accreditations, compared to 12,000 last year versus 131,293 films watched compared to 144,000 last year. 


TO INTRODUCE OR NOT TO INTRODUCE. The heated debate about Canada’s reintroducing visa restrictions is not over yet but the imminent threat of reimposing the visa on Czechs is. Foreign Minister Jan Kohout told public service Czech TV on Sunday that Canada feels “less certain” about renewing the visa requirement for the Czech Republic.

“The visas may be introduced, but not in the days to come,” Kohout said, adding that there are different way to control the unexpected surge in Czech asylum seekers.

Kohout also said that the number of Roma immigrants to Canada has falled down with a few dozens returing in the coming days.

He was also quick to point out the Czech diplomacy proved efficient with its “clear position in the issue” as well as having the European Commission’s head Jose Barroso on its side.

According to Czech Roma foundation Dzeno, once in an overcrowded refugee camp, some of the Roma families realised it is “no fools’ country” and decided to come back to the Czech Republic.


TO PUBLISH OR NOT TO PUBLISH. Coming to grips with the communist past is poised to create rows over and over. A new dispute over the former communist secret police files emerged between a former anti-communist dissident and state archive.

Stanislav Penc decided Wednesday to publish two databases containing the names of about 100,000 people who are believed to have been informers of the secret police in the pre-Velvet Revolution times.


NO SCRAPPING PLAN IN CZ. While the scrappage schemes have proved popular in the countries that have implemented them with the funds running out soon, Czech president vetoed some of the crisis stimulus package items, including the car-scraping bonus.

“It is a discriminatory bil, lacking any substance and there are numerous legislative errors. It is also not certain if such a bill would bring any positive effects,” Klaus commented the whole set of measures, proposed by the former cabinet of Mirek Topolánek (Civic Democrats).

Under the scrappage scheme, as proposed by Social Democrats (ČSSD), Czech motorists who would trade in a car more than 11 years would receive a CZK 30,000 discount (roughly 1,200 eur).


EU FUNDS FOR FLOOD-HIT FAMILIES. The month of August could see CZK 4 billion (EUR 155 million) coming from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to cover damages caused by recent flash floods, Finance Minister Eduard Janota told journalists at a EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

These funds would be generated by selling state bonds to the EIB and a large sum will go to recovering the transport infrastructure.

According to the minister, it will be the Czech government that will decide about the fund spending, not MPs.


MORE FINES IMPOSED IN SAVOY AFFAIR. The Savoy case hits back. Prosecution handed CZK 100,000 and 40,000 fines to former secret policeman Petr Bakeš and former policeman Jiří Dvořák, respectively.

Bakeš and Dvořák helped to air a CCTV footage that showed a secret meeting of President Václav Klaus’s chief of presidential office Jiří Weigl with Miloslav Šlouf, controversial lobbyist and former adviser to Social Democrat PM Miloš Zeman shortly before the presidential election in February 2008.

In February this year prosecution handed a CZK 20,000 fine to reporter Sabina Slonková after she refused to disclose the source of a controversial CCTV footage aired by internet online daily Aktuálně.cz.

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