In the News 10.11.08

Czech MPs on Obama, Lisbon Treaty, and more...

Written by Naďa Straková
Aktuálně.cz CzechNews


CHANGE IS HERE. Even Prague saw overcrowded pubs and bars, festive atmosphere, young people’s eyes fixed on the TV screens last Tuesday night. Even Prague celebrated Barack Obama’ s victory in the 44th presidential election last week.

Expats of all origins living in the Czech Republic flocked to local pubs to collectively support anyone whom they wished to take over the US president’s post. See whom that could be and what was happening in the pubs that night.


CZECH MPs on OBAMA. The 44th presidential election  was closely followed probably like no other election in the history. The reason why? The military base to be stationed on Czech soil.

Czech politicians may be predictable in their comments of Mr. Obama – polarized precisely according to their view of the radar issue – but there is one who did not hesitate and wrote an open letter to Mr. Obama the minute he was elected. See who and what she has to say here.


DELAYED IF EVER. Never mind the EU presidency, the Czech Republic will not likely ratify the Lisbon Treaty by the end of this year, as promised to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by PM Tolopánek two weeks ago.

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“It is completely evident that it won’t happen this year. I would say that it is due to extraneous influences,” Topolánek said on Tuesday 4 November after a meeting with Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen.

The uncertainty about when and if at all the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified by the Czech Republic will put the country in a strange position, since come January ČR will take over the EU presidency and as such will have to push the implementation of the Treaty.

Pushing without ratifying? Doesn’ t not seem plausible.


PM Topolánek does not have to be afraid that Czech voters would blame him for being hesitant to ratify the Treaty, because most of them seem to have little knowledge of it, as recent poll showed.

And what more – more than half of the Czech population oppose the Lisbon Treaty, according to the same poll conducted by STEM polling agency in October.


MORE COMPETITION IN AIRPORT BUSINESS. The management of a small airport in Vodochody outside Prague is in talks with several budget airlines it would like to lure from Prague Airport in the future. Aktuálně.cz has found out these include Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz Air.

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In a privatization two years ago, Czech-Slovak investment group Penta bought small aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody, including its testing runway. Penta is now expanding the facility into an international airport for low-cost, charter and private flights.


MORE COMPETITION IN TV CHANNELS. The gradual introduction of digital TV broadcasting may reduce the dominant position in the Czech TV market currently held by commercial station Nova.

Private TV Prima signed a contract with České radiokomunikace that will expand the channel’s coverage to 99.6 percent of Czech households by 2011. The expansion of Prima’s coverage will likely increase its viewership ratings.

But Nova says it is not affraid of Prima’s increasing foothold.

“Nova has been the long-term number one of the Czech TV market not because of its coverage, but mainly because of the quality of its content,” said Nova spokeswoman Michaela Fričová, refusing to comment on Prima’s agreement with České radiokomunikace.


THE YOUNGEST, THE MOST MATURE. The winner of this year’s Josef Škvorecký Award – and the CZK 250,000 that come with it – is Petra Hůlová and her latest novel, Stanice Tajga (Taiga Station).

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The jury has selected this young Czech prose writer over well-established authors including Jaroslav Rudiš, Emil Hakl and Jiří Dědeček.

Based on her own travels through Siberia, the adventurous story is about Danish entrepreneur Hablund, who travels to Siberia after the World War II, and anthropologist Erske, who 60 years later tries to track Hablund.

“For a long time I have wanted to write a book about someone who goes away and never comes back. Because even I had this feeling – maybe a desire – to go away somewhere and never come back,” says the author.

Don’t you sometimes? 

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