In the News 24.2.09

Lisbon treaty, foreign workers, and more...

Written by Naďa Straková
Aktuálně.cz CzechNews

This week’s news digest is a true mix of everything: politics, culture, ecology and sports, of course. With the Nordic ski world championship kicked off in Liberec last week, it would be unfair not to mention it.


LISBON TREATY SUPPORTERS AND OPPONENTS. Last week saw a key step taken by the Czech government to get closer to the European Union. It took some bickering and postpoments but the lower house of the Czech Parliament finally approved the Lisbon Treaty.

Praise by the European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso soon followed.

Ironically, only a day after the successful vote, Czech president Václav Klaus known for his anti-Lisbon Treaty attitude, addressed the members of the European parliament (MEPs).

Klaus’ speech that prompted a walkout and booing in the EP halls but also an applause did not surprise nor angered most of Czech politicians who know Mr. President’s anti-euro sentiments too well by now.

Interestingly, some of them were quick to point out that booing is not a way to treat a head of a sovereign state.

You can read the whole speech of Václav Klaus here.


CZECH MADE BY FOREIGN WORKERS. Never before have migrant workers been written about in media as in the past few weeks. Facing some 17,000 jobless guest workers who came to the Czech Republic mostly from Vietnam, Mongolia and Ukraine, the government has come up with a plan to help send the workers back home.

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A free ticket and bonus of 500 eur should motivate the migrants return to their homelands. But not having enough funds to pay off their debts and facing staining their reputation among family members, most of them stay in the country.

Only a handful of migrants is reported to have used this option. The rest stays in the country with no proper documents or chance to get a job again.

Now, the Multicultural Centre Prague has prepared an exhibition that deals with the lives of guest workers in the country. The organizers asked several Czech artists to draw a story based on reality, which were republished in a cartoons book.

Further, the organizers would like to alert the European parliament to “the exploitation of foreign workers in the Czech market.”


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN LIBEREC. Lukáš Bauer of the Czech Republic finished the second in the men’s 15-km classical race at the Nordic Ski world championship on Friday in Liberec.

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And what more, the Czech Republic is the first country in the world to stage the women’s ski jumping category.

Lindsey Van of the United States became Friday the first woman ever to win the women’s ski jumping world championship after beating Ulrike Graessler of Germany in her second jump.

“It feels pretty good” to be the first world champion, Van told AP Agency. “But I have to wait for a few days to see what happens. I need to think about it, for sure. But I’m happy right now.”

Golden Olympic medalist Kateřina Neumannová is at the helm of the ski race.

Last year she has become a serious candidate for for the anti-environmental award called Ropák for moving snow from Jizerské hory (Jizera Mountain) to a race track in Vesec near Liberec, northern Bohemia, where the World Ski Cup in cross country skiing took place.

The Ropák award is to be announced in April 24, 2009 in Brno.

Now, the reputation of the nordic ski world championship may not stay entirely clean.

Also read:  These industries are hiring the most foreigners in Prague and the Czech Republic right now

PM Mirek Topolánek (Civic Democrats) now wants to examine all the errors committed by the organizers during the championship preparation.


HYDROPOWER PLANTS ON THE RISE. The Czech Republic may not be the most eco-friendly country in the world but things are improving. The energy giant ČEZ has reported an increase in hydropower energy generation in 2008 and apparently, it is an overall trend.


HAPPIEST IN THE JUNGLE. Millions of people know the story of a small lion called Elsa that was raised by people and later set free into African wildlife.

But less people seem to be familiar with the fact that the author of the famous book Born Free Joy Adamson has Czech roots.

Now thanks to an exhibition organized by the Czech EU presidency in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, more people can find out about one of the first nature conservationists.

Her life story is full of dramas, but paradoxically those that stirred her otherwise peaceful life in the African Bush were her husbands (3) and eventually her former employee that murdered her in 1980.

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