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Last week’s events – 25 September – 1 October

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After much debating and quarrelling, the lower house adopted an austerity measures package on Friday with the budget deficit expected to reach CZK 162.8 billion next year. Taxes will be higher and maternity leave benefits will decrease significantly. The salaries of deputies, senators, ministers and the president will be cut by 4%. ČSSD deputy Vítězslav Jandák suggested sarcastically that one deputy be executed each week in order to save money, Právo reported on Saturday.

>>> Pope Benedict XVI came for a three-day visit of the largely atheist Czech Republic. A large spider appeared on the pontiff’s white robe as he addressed politicians and diplomats in Prague on Saturday afternoon (see video here). The pope wished to have apple strudel and a lot of juice, a Mf Dnes said, commenting the pope’s diet in the Czech Republic.

>>> Pope Benedict XVI preached to as many as 120,000 people at Brno Airport on Sunday and to 50,000 in Stará Boleslav the followig day. Believers suffering from celiac disease received gluten-free sacramental bread during the Eucharist in Brno, Lidové noviny reported. The owner of the Bernard brewery appeared dressed in a pope-like attire on 21 billboards in Brno with the aim to speak out against the absurdity of closing down the D1 highway for the pontiff’s visit. President Václav Klaus gave the pope a Petrof piano stool as a present, Právo reported on Tuesday.

>>> Right-wing senators filed a constitutional complaint against the Lisbon Treaty on Tuesday. They also challenged the compatibility of the EU founding treaty of Rome with the Czech constitution.

>>> Prague was on the verge of traffic collapse on Wednesday morning when it was struck by a power outage, Pražský deník reported on Thursday.

>>> The Czech Technical University (ČVUT) in Prague launched an unconventional campaign on Monday to win over hip hop fans who comprise a substantial chunk of the teenage population, Mf Dnes reported on Saturday. ČVUT students were competing in computer monitors lifting and mice throw on the occasion of the start of the new academic year, Pražský deník reported on Saturday.

>>> This year’s end of the summer is the driest in the last decades, Lidové noviny wrote on Saturday. 2,500 kilos of fish were let out in the Vltava river on Wednesday in the preparations for the coming Fish festival.

>>> “Those who want to continue using traditional light bulbs should act quickly,” Lidové noviny wrote on Tuesday in reaction to the thinning stock of 100W traditional light bulbs in stores.

>>> The lower house banned the sale of Prague Airport on Wednesday. A consortium of Unimex and Travel Service hoping to buy Czech Airlines has offered CZK 1 billion for the state-held 91.75% stake in the carrier, the press reported on Thursday.

>>> The lower house on Wednesday scrapped bill on lobbying that would have required deputies to announce scheduled meetings with lobbyists and obliged lobbyists to register, make public their income and state whom they work for.

>>> Czech children start drinking alcohol at an earlier age than their Russian peers, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Thursday.

>>> An e-mail sent from the Czech Republic threatened gun violence at Franklin Regional High School in the Pennsylvania’s town of Murrysville on Tuesday morning, Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday.

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