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Weekly round-up

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Warm weather prevailed and meteorologists concluded that it would probably last until Christmas. Stock exchanges were rocked by the bankruptcy of the oil-rich desert kingdom of Dubai. Respekt celebrated its 20th anniversary.

“Probably not. Life itself brings incredible surprises, both public and private – for example, you could walk outside and meet a girl so beautiful that your life would change completely,” psychologist Slavomil Hubálek replied when asked by Mladá fronta Dnes, “It is certain that we were not ready for regime change. But is it even possible to prepare for something like that?” Inflation returned to the Eurozone. Anti-corruption investigators refused to explain why they once again postponed their investigation into bribery in the Czech Republic’s planned procurement of Gripen fighters, which it ultimately ended up leasing. The current epidemic of swine flu took its 22nd victim and the government ordered the vaccination of children in risk groups. Sick-leave forms became easier to fill out. The European Commission accused the Czech Antitrust Office of disclosing information about Brussels officials’ forthcoming raid on the offices of the Czech energy giant ČEZ; without further comment, the Office rejected the allegations as “not based on the truth.”

“Our demands are usually higher than those of American high schools,” Milan Štěrba, principal Prague’s Štěpánská High School, explained to Lidové noviny why Czech students who manage to go overseas to attend high school in the U.S. for a year end up repeating the year upon returning, despite their achievements and excellent grades. It surfaced that this year’s Knižní klub (Book Club) Literary Prize winner, the novel White Horse, Yellow Dragon, was not written by 19-year-old Czech-Vietnamese writer Pham Thi Lan, who was reportedly studying in Malaysia but whom nobody has ever seen because she does not exist, but by 40-year-old Jan Cempírek from České Budějovice. News agencies reported that Swiss lawmakers had prohibited the construction of minarets in Switzerland. The Czech Finance Ministry reduced maternity leave benefits. Michal Moravec, “white revolution” missionary and singer of the České Budějovice group Imperium, was sentenced to three years in prison for racist lyrics. After 20 years of litigation, the Mozart Community took possession of the Bertramka Villa in Prague. Aero Vodochody made it onto the shortlist of candidates to supply cockpits for the American manufacturer of Black Hawk combat helicopters.

“Hunting is not about shooting at colleagues, hunting is like a greener form of golf,” Michal Dlouhý, a partner in the law firm White & Case, told the business daily Hospodářské noviny. Newspapers reported that U.S. President Barack Obama had decided to send reinforcements to the war on terror in Afghanistan. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk presented Ostrava physician Borek Trávníček with the Gypsy Spirit Prize for his small team’s exemplary care of Natalie Siváková, who suffered extreme burns this spring in an arson attack on a Roma family’s house in Vítkov perpetrated by Czech neo-Nazis. According to a CVVM survey, one out of two Czechs is proud of their country and one out of ten is ashamed of it. Karel Gott won the title Czech Nightingale for the 35th time.

“It is a book devoted largely to my views on life, including my private life, and on the direction our civilization is taking,” said President Václav Klaus’ secretary Ladislav Jakl when asked what his forthcoming book, Rocker at the Castle, would be about. Advent arrived in Bohemia. A Sokolov court handed down conditional sentences to three gynecologists who caused the death of a patient two years ago after tearing her small intestine during a routing laparoscopic surgery, did not notice it and then failed to care for the injured patient, until she finally died a few days later. Nine thousand people gathered in Tvarožná to watch a reenactment of the Battle of Three Emperors near Austerlitz, which happened 204 years ago.

“Wherever possible, I want to present animals as individuals with their own stories,” Miroslav Bobek, the front-running candidate to head the Prague Zoo, told journalists about his concept as director; Bobek became known for a “reality show” where viewers could follow the desperate lives of gorillas trapped in a cage at the zoo in Troja via a webcam. Lamplighters returned to the Royal Way in the Czech capital. People in Need Foundation launched a new e-shop for Christmas,, where visitors can buy a goat for a family in the Congo, school supplies for children in Ethiopia and many other valuable gifts. The “baby Jesus Christmas post office” in Boží Dar (in English: Godsend) began stamping Christmas letters for the 16th year running.

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