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Weekly roundup

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Frost blanketed the Czech Republic. Temperatures dropped to minus 30 degrees Celsius, and railroad tracks cracked in many parts of the country. More snow fell after the freeze. The charity People in Need organized a concert on Old Town Square in Prague for the earthquake-affected Haiti. Avatar sank Titanic in sales. Sixty-five years passed since the liberation of Auschwitz; except Polish and Israeli leaders, no other top European politicians attended the commemorative event at the gate of the former extermination camp.

“Last Friday, after two years, Leoš told me he was finally ready to accept my offer and assume so much responsibility. I am sure that his work in his new job will have a beneficial effect on the whole Czech tabloid world,” Lidové noviny cited Antonin Herbeck, director the publishing house Stratosféra, as he welcomed the advent of television presenter Leoš Mareš to the post of editor-in-chief of the weekly tabloid Spy. Newspapers reported that Steve Jobs introduced the iPad – a hybrid between a cell phone and laptop – to the world. A university committee launched an investigation into the fairness of the “accelerated regime” study programs used by local judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers who obtained their degrees – often without attending and being examinations – from the law school in Pilsen. A nighttime fire drove tourists from Luční bouda resort in the Giant Mountains. “After abdominal liposuction, the fat can start storing itself on your back,” MF Dnes told its readers in a front-page headline. President Václav Klaus received Miloš Zeman, chairman of the extra-parliamentary Party of Rights, at the Prague Castle, and expressed his satisfaction that the new party’s election campaign will be paid for by people from the Russian oil giant Lukoil. The President receives reports from the Security Information Service (BIS), which warns that Putin’s government seeks to regain control of territory which had been subordinated to the Soviet Union via companies such as Gazprom and Lukoil; and even though, in this respect, the electoral success of a party financed by the Russian oligarchs must be perceived by the BIS as a threat to the state, it doesn’t stop Klaus from support such an association with the full weight of the institute of the presidency, Jiří Leschtina commented in Hospodářské noviny on the head of state’s actions. I am inviting Miloš Zeman because he is an important figure in Czech politics, and no reporter’s lampoons can change that. He deserves to be invited to the castle, and those who envy him should think hard about why that isn’t so in their case, was how Klaus, whose book about the weather, Blue, Not Green Planet, was published with financial backing from the Kremlin’s firm Lukoil, responded to the Leschtina’s article.

“Who here can speak for gorillas? To a large extent, zookeepers know how gorillas feel, they can empathize with them. And we have knowledge bordering on certainty that they do not mind,” Miroslav Bobek, the new director of the Prague Zoo, replied when asked by MF Dnes reporters, how he knows that the imprisoned gorillas do not mind his plan to place a camera in the “inaccessible” parts of the ape pavilion and to amuse visitors and show them what is happening there. J. D. Salinger The number of HIV-positive in the Czech Republic rose by 157. Production at domestic steel mills revived, but their management announced that it would not begin hiring to replace the jobs it cut. Former President Václav Havel received the first ever Ibrahim Rugova Gold for Peace, Democracy and Humanism, from the Government of Kosovo. The currently published European Commission figures revealed that the Czech Republic had reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases by about 141 million tons in recent years. The Šediváčkův Long, an annual sled dog race, was held in the Orlicke Mountains. In the trial of the Czech State versus Přemysl Chmelař, the court confirmed that the popular Czech board game Člověče, nezlob se isn’t owned by a single inventor, but by everyone. A STEM survey revealed that most Czechs think last year 2009 was “the worst year in the 21st century.” The Plastic People “christened” their new album Maska za maskou (The Mask Behind the Mask) in Prague’s Palace Akropolis.

“It is a totally unique work that is unprecedented in human history,” Pavel Antonín Stehlík, the Chief Commissioner of the Czech Republic’s participation in the Chinese EXPO 2010, introduced his plan for the Czech exhibition to journalists: tears cast from a ton of gold will stand in the exhibition hall surrounded by hockey pucks stacked in the shape of a map of the Czech Republic. Meteorologists reported that, after a brief period of warming, a new arctic cold front was on its way from Siberia.

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