Last Week – 08/2010

The Year of the Tiger began. Dominik Dukawas appointed the new Archbishop of Prague. The coalition forces in Afghanistan launched the largest offensive against the Taliban since 2001. Freezing temperatures were followed by warm weather. “Of course it is a problem, but what can I do? I can’t fly there to get him,” Cyril Svoboda, Christian Democratic Party Chairman, deflected media criticism regarding the long absence of Deputy Libor Ambrozek, who “hopped” down to Antarctica with Brno geologists on a scientific expedition and then was stranded there for weeks waiting for a spare aircraft to fly him back home. The power companies ČEZ and E.ON announced that they were no longer connected to the solar power networks in the interest of breaking the coal mining limits. Wages declined. Statisticians calculated that another economic drop had come instead of anticipated economic growth. Martina Sáblíková won the gold medal in speed skating at the Olympic Games in Vancouver. So far, seven restaurants have joined the network that supplies leftover lunch specials and other unsold meals to Brno’s homeless. Czechs started to save.

“I rejoice in the civic awakening in the capital,” former Czech President Václav Havel commented on the fact that several hundred people gathered outside the Prague Magistrate and let their dissatisfaction with the city’s current leadership known by shouting, “Bém, quit!” A timely rescue operation saved a group of children who got lost between the Vysoký and Harcovský peaks on a school trip in the Jizera Mountains. Malinovka, or raspberry soda, returned to Czech pubs. “It is populist, chauvinistic and shows racist tendencies,” the Supreme Administrative Court wrote in its verdict prohibiting the Workers’ Party. Jiří Pernes was named the new director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Scientists discovered that Queen Nefertiti was not the mother of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, as previously thought. After a year-long absence, an unknown dog poisoner resurfaced in Třebíč and scattered poisonous kibbles in Borovina Park.

“I haven’t met with any foreigner about that subject, definitely – I mean, definitely… I think… I mean I’m almost certain,” said Stanislav Gross, attorney and former Prime Minister for the Social Democrats, responding to testimony from two managers from the Austrian arms maker Steyr who revealed on hidden camera to an MF Dnes reporter pretending to be a businessmen that Steyr had sold its expensive Pandur armored tanks to the Czech Army because it had bribed three politicians – Stanislav Gross, Karel Kühnl and Martin Barták. A survey of the quality of Czech universities revealed that Czech economics graduates lack experience, new lawyers in turn ethics. Cigarettes consumption declined. News agencies reported that studio Abbey Road is up for grabs for £10 million. The mayor of the Brno’s Žabovřesky district, Aleš Kvapil (ODS), was arrested for taking bribes. It became clear that doctors in the Ivančice Hospital left a 30-centimeter-long spatula in a woman’s stomach after surgery; the woman then suffered unbearable pain, but the Ivančice doctors refused to re-examine her for six months and ordered her to take aspirin to alleviate “undetermined problems.”

“We wanted to try something new and not very well-known,” replied members of the Pavel Haas Quartet to journalists, “After two CDs with Janáček, why specifically Prokofiev?” The Czech pension system fell into the hole once again. Zdeněk Svěrák was awarded 200,000 crowns in damages from the retailer Bauhaus, which used part of his song from a fairy tale, “Put a brick on brick,” in a commercial six years ago. As retaliation for the expulsion of a reporter from the Russian newspaper Parlamentskaja gazeta – in fact, a spy – last year, Moscow authorities refused to extend the Czech Television reporter Josef Pazderka’s visa. A bomb threat interrupted TOP 09, a ball for regional organizations, in Olomouc. Newspapers reported that the real leader of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, had been arrested in Pakistan. Libya stopped for unknown reasons, to issue visas for Czechs. The justice ministry decided to equate child support to between 16 and 22 percent of the income of the parent without custody. Companies began posting the names of debtors on the internet. Czech actor Kryštof Hádek, 27, became one of the new European Shooting Stars at the film festival in Berlin. Salt arrived for road maintenance workers. Mácha read nonstop in Waldstein Street in Prague.