Written by Naďa Straková
Prague – The beginning of last week was not a good kick-off for Czechs, as their national team lost what looked like a shoo-in in their last game at the Euro 2008 football championship against Turkey. Home they went that very day.
Squandering a 2-0 lead in the last minutes of the game, Czechs left much to be desired in their uninspired and uninspiring effort.
There went the opportunity to defend the bronze medals from four years ago, if not the silver medals from twelve years ago. And let´s not even mention the gold medals won in 1976.
TOO BIG ECO-FOOTPRINT. If all the people of the world reached the same standard of living as Czechs, we would need more than three Earth-sized planets to survive.
According to the New Economics Foundation, an independent British think-tank, Czechs consume too much food and energy and produce too little transportation and generate too much waste. The only consolation is they are not doing it alone, for most of the Western countries face the similar problem. But is that really a consolation?
PANKRÁC SKYSCRAPERS. Can you picture another skyscraper in Pankrác? Czech conservationists and Arnika association definately cannot. They both battle against a high-rise building called Ice Tower that the Pankrác company plans to build.
“High-rise buildings in the immediate proximity of Prague’s historic centre are a lucrative business. But the construction of other high buildings on the city skyline may destroy the unique character of the capital,” Arnika´s Martin Skalský explains.
EARTHQUAKE IN TEMELÍN? Can the nuclear power plant Temelín be threatened by an earthquake, Austrian experts wonder. Czech experts consider the region around Temelín as “seismic standstill”, the Austrian experts think otherwise. The battle of different views should be decided in a a new special research which will be conducted in the surroundings of Temelín.
HORRID CHILD ABUSE. Last week also saw the first couple of hearings in the case of unprecedented child abuse in Czech crime history. It is quite safe to say not a single person present in the public trial would not feel sickened after hearing all the horrible things two boys of 8 and 10 were made to suffer. The case is all the more appalling as their mother participated in the torture.
NO MORE SMACKING SOON. The Kuřim case is all the more ironic when you consider the grudges Czech parents feel about the new law that bans smacking children. 80% of Czechs agree with corporal punishment as a corrective measure for naughty children. It looks like though, in two years they all will have obey the new bill that the human rights minister Džamila Stehlíková advocates.
DINO GOES EAST. It didn´t take long for Jan Koller, the Czech national team´s all-time top scoring player, to find a new employer after his 1.FC Nuremberg got relegated from German Bundesliga this year.
Dino (as in dinosaur), as the 35-year old striker is sometimes called for his unusual height (202 centimeters), is headed East to play for Russian Premier League´s FC Krylya Sovetov Samara.
AUNG SAN SUU KYI´S BIRTHDAY. Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi around the world marked the Burmese pro-democracy leader´s 63rd birthday on Thursday, while the birthday girl herself spent the day in isolation – something she has by now gotten used to, having spent nearly 13 out of the last 19 years in detention in her residence in Rangoon. Prague´s fans of Suu Kyi gathered at Jan Palach Square for the occasion..
The symbolism of the meeting´s location wasn´s lost on the participants – the space formerly known as the Red Army square today bears the name of Jan Palach, a student at the nearby Philosophical Faculty whose self-immolation in January 1969, in protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia five months earlier, sent shockwaves across Europe and wider world.
AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA. Here is a tip for next weekend´s activity – if you do not know what to do and you want to witness the first gay and lesbian pride march, visit Brno, the capital of Moravia. Apart from joining the tradition of gay parades, the event is aimed at reducing the level of homophobia among Czechs.
“We also want to point out specific legal and social inequalities in the Czech Republic, such as family issues and legal insecurity of raising children,” explained march spokesperson Andrea Jochmanová.
The planned action has already caused some controversy among the extreme right followers as well as Christian-minded people, so expect them to appear at the show as well. I bet they will be easy to spot among the colorful crowd.
SACROSANCT MASARYK. If your surname is Masaryk, forget about registering it as a trade mark. The name of the first president of Czechoslovakia – Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk – is so sacrosanct in the Czech Republic that Slovak vintner Alojz Masaryk will have to rebrand his wines. But you can buy ties or socks named after incumbent president Klaus. Only in Germany, though.
15-MINUTE FAME FOR CZECHS. Czechs hit the global headlines again. But you know that whenever that happens, there is not much to celebrate. After the bed cage debacle brought by an undercover BBC report, this time Czech threat looms the Lisbon Treaty, as BBC reports.
During the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy last Monday, Czech PM Mirek Topolánek promised the Czech Republic would not halt the adoption of the reform treaty, whcih was recently rejected by the Irish public in the only referendum on the matter across the EU.
Nonetheless, the Lisbon Treaty is with the Czech Constitutional Court at the moment, as requested just by ODS. Civic Democrats want to know whether some of the treaty’s articles breach the Czech constitution or not.
Typically for the world of politics, we will surely hear Topolánek´s response now quoted around the world, this one at BBC [note the money conversion]:
“I am not going to force MPs to back Lisbon (Treaty) and I wouldn’t bet 100 crowns (Ł3, $6) on a Czech ‘Yes’.” Would you? If not, you can just vote in our survey.