In the News 14.7.08

Russia responds, littering in Prague, & more...

Written by Naďa Straková
Aktuálně.cz CzechNews

 

Prague – Last week´s headlines were what could be called monothematic. The issue of radar base on Czech soil dominated pretty much all Czech media.

Tuesday was a sad day for the estimated 70 percent of Czechs who are against the US missile defense system, as Condoleezza Rice arrived in Prague to sign the so-much-talked-about US treaty. Some of them did not let signing the deal just go and took to the streets of Prague to protest against the deal. However, the MPs´ support is less than half (about 97 MPs are pro-missile) at the moment and it will be PM Topolánek´s task to secure the majority of the votes.

The chief negotiators threw a briefing on the radar issue the next day during which they tried to “sell”  the radar treaty to a bunch of journalists.

The negotiations between the US and Czechs were repeatedly described as „tough” by the representatives of both sides. But when asked by members of the press to name the single most difficult moment of the 18-month negotiating process, the chief negotiators Tomáš Pojar and John Rood failed to come up with any.

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Interestingly, the League Against Anti-Semitism plans to file a charge against the anti-US radar initiative ´NE základnám´ (NO to bases). The league claims that the initiative’s web site contained a link to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-Semitic forgery produced by the Imperial Russia’s secret services at the beginning of the 20th century.

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The initiative reacted promptly to the accusations, calling them absurd and unjustified. At their website, the representatives of the umbrella association explained that link to the “Protocols” was in a blog section of the page which doesn’t express official views of the initiative.

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The last radar-related issue takes Russia “on board”. Russia angrily responded against the US defense missile pact to be deployed in the Czech Republic warning that they may retaliate militarily, should the base be approved by Czech parliament. Czech Defense Ministry objected to Russia´s aggressive rhetoric.

If some hoped new Russian president Dmitry Medvedev would be a softer version of Vladimir Putin, then he or she is dissapointed. His sharp words sound as if Putin wrote them: “We will not be hysterical about this but we will think of retaliatory steps…”

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With the demographic outlooks not looking very favorable for Czechs, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Petr Nečas decided to help to make it easier for young women who oscillate between having a family and pursuing a career.

He would like to create part-time job opportunities that the market seems to lack. That is to support employment of mothers with small children for whom staying home with kids is not enough.

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Nečas wants to offer CZK 1,500 to companies that will give a part-time job to mothers or people who for some reason cannot be employed full-time.

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It all started as an artistic attempt to draw attention to the virtual nature of media reality. It all ended with seven members of the art group Ztohoven being taken to court and later cleared. Now, Ztohoven face up to three years in prison again and the show is not over yet.

If they are sentenced to serve in jail, it will be the first post-communist case when artists end up in prison.

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On the other hand, the heparin killer story is over. Petr Zelenka, who was sentenced for the murder of seven people to life-imprisonment, will most likely spend the rest of his life in Valdice Prison, which is among the toughest prisons in the country.

Zelenka was found guilty of killing seven people and attempting to kill ten others with the blood diluting drug called Heparin. He worked as a nurse in a hospital in a small town of Havlíčkův Brod in the Vysočina region.

According to the Valdice convicts, the only advantage of the prison is its cuisine. “Of all the prisons I know, they serve the best food here. We get steaks, chicken, Segedin goulash and also good soups,” Jiří Kajínek, another infamous Czech murderer, told tabloid daily Aha! some time ago.

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A new rule on littering in Prague should see an end to sticky patches of chewing gums on sidewalks, cigarette butts at tram stops and who knows, one day you will be able to lie down in a park without worrying about having a doggy poo under your back.

It is also to bring money to the city coffers; for the first week of the regulation Prague police collected over CZK 60,000. These doggie poos are valued quite high, aren’t they?


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