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Respekt weekly roundup

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Last Week 52/2009

The Peace Light from Bethlehem arrived in the Czech Republic and frosts struck. According to demographers, the seven-year baby boom in the Czech Republic came to an end. Newspapers reported that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had met in Moscow with Russian leaders about the war in Afghanistan. NATO AWACS aircraft began patrolling Czech airspace. Ski lift and winter resort operators opened the winter ski season.

“We’ll send the necessary documents immediately and take their comments into consideration,” replied Daniel Vondrouš, Chief Adviser to the Environment Minister, when asked by the press how his office would handle the Federated States of Micronesia’s request to participate in the debate on modernizing the Czech power plant that Pruné*ov, which is the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the Czech Republic and which the Micronesian government believes is one of the possible culprits of Micronesia*s submersion by rising ocean levels as part of the impending climate catastrophe. Owing to consumer demand for new cars, Škoda cut back on operating hours in its Fabia division, where employees won’t work on Fridays anymore. News agencies reported global growth in stock prices, provoked by news that the failing oil-rich Emirate of Dubai borrowed ten billion U.S. dollars from the neighboring Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Finance Minister Eduard Janota did not resign, which he had considered after a coalition of Communists and Social Democrats voted to add twelve billion crowns to the already record deficit in Janota’s proposed budget for next year. “I will persevere, but I realize there is no chance of any major change with our political structure,” Minister Janota told Hospodářské noviny of his decision. Sparta lost 0-3 at home to Copenhagen. It became clear that Iran has an accurate missile that could carry a bomb to Europe. A new Eurobarometer survey revealed that the majority of Czech citizens expect next year to be worse. The European Union decided to improve the disastrous state of knowledge of foreign languages in the Czech Republic and allocated four billion crowns for language courses for 800,000 Czechs. Carp prices remained unchanged. The Pardubice Theater celebrated its 100th anniversary. Four professional soldiers serving on the KFOR mission in Kosovo were dismissed from the Army for smoking marijuana while assigned combat duty.

“The sausage for which the Poles are requesting one trademark is called kabanosy, but ‘kabanos’ is written quite prominently in the application; then, for kelbasy mysliwskiej, they’ve got the translation as lovecký salám (hunter’s sausage), which does not seem at all like a typo to me,” said Czech People’s Party MEP Jan B*ezina, explaining to the Czech press why he is pushing for the Czechs to block Poland*s request to trademark the sausages. *A huge war awaits us with the Czechs. About sausage,* warned the Polish newspaper Dziennik, whose editors dared to question the well-known truth that the sausage fondly called *love*ák* is a Czech invention. The government bumped up housing subsidies for the poor. Twenty years passed since the death of Andrei Sakharov, and the media pointed out that none of Russia*s public officials had spoken at the commemoration ceremony in Moscow. Former StB officer Zden*k Laube was appointed chief of the Czech Police*s special and classified operations division. Paul Samuelson died.

“I myself pick up my book with a trembling hand because I spoke so frankly and openly,” replied President Václav Klaus’ secretary Ladislav Jakl when asked by an MF Dnes reporter on the occasion of the release of Jakl’s memoirs, Rocker at the Castle: “You’ve been working for Václav Klaus for over twelve years. Won’t the President say about your book: My God, what is that Lada saying now?” Three hundred teachers demonstrated in Prague against their low salaries. Metrostav and Hochtief won a 19-billion-crown contract to add more four stations to the Prague subway system. The Ministry of Industry launched a business-to-business exchange for trading surplus chemicals. Newspapers reprinted reports that the widow of Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn had whittled The Gulag Archipelago down to one-fifth of its original content for the needs of school history courses.

“An acquaintance told me she doesn’t need any gifts for Christmas because it’s enough that the sun returns. Christmas has its own character because this mythical drama of whether the sun will return brings about the Christmas feeling,” geologist and thinker Václav Cílek responded when asked by Právo, “How do you see Christmas?” Avatar came to the cinemas.

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