Last Week – 14/2010
Melting snow and citizens’ lack of interest ended the ski season. Clocks sprung forward. After 160 years, the post office stopped receiving and delivering telegrams. The Czech Interior Ministry ordered increased security at the Prague subways after two suicide bombers killed 39 people in the Moscow metro. Brendan Perry danced live in Prague’s Archa Theatre.
“We’re all holding our breath here… we’re stabilizing the beams… and we have a collision! Hooray! For the first time in history! A world record!” the media cited the enthusiasm of the European Organization for Nuclear Research scientists who managed to simulate the conditions in the universe one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang using the world’s largest particle accelerator in Geneva; the scientists also rejected critics’ concerns that the experiment could create a massive black hole that would swallow up the world as “unfounded.” The deadline for filing tax returns passed. Cleaning crews set out onto the streets. The TPCA car plant in Kolín gave employees thousand-crown raises and pledged not to lay off anyone with a regular employment contract for one year. A team of experts from the Czech Technical University (ČVUT), traffic police and Road Safety Department concluded that Czech roads are full of unbalanced, life-threatening driver-aggressors who drive fast and recklessly and are prone to road rage, and that the statistical chance of meeting one on Czech roads is every 16th kilometer.
“At first they were boxing, then one ran to his car for a gun; the first shot missed, the second guy wanted to take cover and was crawling behind the car, but the first one caught up to him and fired; then he came up, shot into his limp body once again, kicked him and walked away,” an eyewitness described to the media how one angry driver shot another after an argument in Sokolov. Monetica bought the Czech mint. Boaters opened the Odra River. Slavia Praha coach Karel Jarolím was replaced by František Cipro after a long string of poor results. Statisticians calculated that unemployment growth stopped in March. The Czech interior ministry informed the public that the ranks of neo-Nazis are gaining people with university degrees. Tuition for language courses went down. The Greens left the government. The cities of Brno, Telč, Třeboň and Děčín briefly switched off their lights to join the global Earth Hour protest and bring attention to electricity waste.
“I wish the new ODS looked a bit more like the old one,” said President Václav Klaus, commenting on Petr Nečas replacing the outgoing Mirek Topolánek as the ODS election leader; Klaus, a founder of the ODS, left the party some time ago to protest against its liberal and pro-European direction under Topolánek’s leadership. The first Czech president Václav Havel said that Šimon Pánek, the universally popular and reputable founder and director of the humanitarian organization People in Need, would be a respectable president of the modern Czech Republic. Rains raised river levels. The threat of soaring steel prices shook European industry. The number of people who have chosen to prematurely withdraw savings from their retirement funds rose to 100,000.
“In times of poverty, the level of corporate or personal integrity certainly dissolves more easily than other times,” marketing expert Josef Havelka told Lidové noviny, commenting on news that six Czech advertising agencies have taken up the Communist Party’s offer to work on its election campaign. The Communist deputies blocked the founding of the National Conscience Museum at the former prison in Uherské Hradiště where the father of Miroslav Grebeníček, former Communist Party chairman and current member of the lower house of Parliament, cruelly tortured political prisoners in the 50s, according to witnesses. The British cycling chain Halfords announced it was leaving the Czech Republic because of unprofitability. The anti-corruption police began investigating the business dealings of former Transport Minister Aleš Řebíček (ODS), suspected of money laundering and fraud. Two new automatic milk machines were installed in Brno. Goalkeeper Petr Čech returned to Chelsea.
“Judging from the ages of the signatories, Roma education in our schools is obviously needed,” Gabriela Hrabaňová, director of the government’s Council for Romany Affairs, commented on the fact that, in just one week, more than 40,000 young secondary-school-age Czechs signed a Facebook petition against the Ministry of Education’s plan to begin offering Romani as an elective subject in Czech schools. More companies went bankrupt. Trail sign maintenance people headed out to the hiking trails.