Written by Naďa Straková
SAD NEWS ABOUT A VITAL MAN. Last week’s Monday saw sad news in the media headlines – the man who built the world largest shoe empire Tomáš Baťa died in Toronto, Canada. Czech-born industrialist Baťa headed the worldwide shoe empire bearing his family’s name fr over 50 years, managing hundreds of outlets in 50 states around the globe.
The 93-year old Baťa was one of the first emigrants who returned to his homeland only few weeks after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Have a look at photos of jubilant Tomáš Baťa coming back to his even more jubilant hometown of Zlín.
PM Mirek Topolánek and Deputy PM for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra presented the video-spot featuring the sugar cube on Thursday.
The main slogan of the campaign Evropě to osladíme (literally “We will make it sweet for Europe”) defies translation as it centers on an idiom, meaning of which is to give someone (Europe, in this case) a hard time.
However, what might appear at first sight as a witty pun and celebration of a confidence of a small nation in the middle of Europe, may be carrying a deeper meaning as well.
“We have been members of the EU for four years, and during the whole time we have been perceiving it [EU] with skepticism. We would like to follow the Irish and the Danish who know how to identify with the EU and at the same time they keep their own views and identity,” said PM Topolánek.
THE OLD-NEW HEAD OF THE GREENS. The weekend saw a party congress of the Greens the main task of which was to elect a new head.
While Martin Bursík defended his post as the boss of the Greens, the ever dissatisfied Dana Kuchtová who aspired to replace him in his chair failed her bid even for a deputy chairwoman. Ondřej Liška, ironically the one who replaced Kuchtová as the education minister, defeated her, and became the vice-president of the party together Kateřina Jacques who gave up her seat in the hope of silencing the party squabbles that have been rocking the Green Party in the past months.
The Green Party, mostly voted by young and educated, split the public and the voters. A majority of Czechs wanted to see the former education minister Dana Kuchtová as the head of the party, those who voted the Green Party two years ago preferred the chairman and Environment Minister Martin Bursík.
NOT A TRAITOR BUT A DUTIFUL CITIZEN. He was not a Nazi collaborator, instead a loyal Czechoslovak citizen. That is the ruling of Prague Supreme Court on Karel de Fours Walderode, whose property was nationalized under for some controversial Beneš Decrees.
Based on the court´s decision, Žďárek u Turnova authorities in northern Bohemia are obliged to return a 0.25 hectare forest to Johanna Kammerlander, heiress of the Walderode family.
And the Czech state may lose even more – Kammerlander tried to reclaim property worth CZK 120 million in 2005.
OLYMPIC MEDAL WINNING JAVELIN THROWERS DOWNTOWN PRAGUE. She may have hesitated with shaking her hand enthusiastically but she accepted her invitation to see Prague. An attentive viewer of Beijing´s Olympics may have spotted Russian javelin thrower Maria Abakumova´s reluctance to shake Barbora Špotáková´s hand, let alone kiss her as heartily as their German rival Christina Obergföll did upon receiving the Olympic medals in Beijing.
Špotáková invited her Olympic competitors to Prague where she showed them around. The top female javelin throwers came to the Czech Republic to attend Špotáková´s intiative Jablonecký oštěp over the weekend.
CZECH COUNTRY TEACHER IN ITALY AND CANADA. Czech film Country Teacher directed by Bohdan Sláma premiered on international screens at the Venice film festival.
Country Teacher is a story of a teacher who escapes the city without being able to commit to a relationship, be it with a woman or a man, and teaches at a country school. Soon he finds himself involved in an unsual love triangle.
The film was warmly welcomed in the Italian film contest with all tickets sold out. The film was presented at the Toronto Film Festival, which is said to be the place where the Oscar season begins.
BEETLEGATE IN INDIA. Two Czech entomologists who were arrested in India in June for what the Indian authorities call illegal bug collection will know their verdict only today. But anything can happen in India, as one of the scientists commented the protracted and complicated process of digging the truth and finding justice.
The two men, released on bail, but stuck in Darjeeling, were supposed to have found out the verdict two weeks ago but the court did not make any ruling and adjourned the trial until this Thursday but the judge’s final pronouncement was so long that the secretary present at the hearing did not manage to write it all down.
None of the scientists dare to say what the verdict may be. Watch out for the update.
CZECHS AMONG THE MOST HARD-WORKING EUROPEANS. The latest report by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions sends out a clear message – while the former EU15 states work less and have more holidays, the new member states work much longer for less vacation.
Bulgarian, Romanian and British full-time employees work the longest hours per week, followed by the Czech Republic (41.2), while the lowest levels are reported in France, Italy and Denmark.
And while Czechs take 21.9 days of paid leave, citizens of former E15 members states have 26.7 days of paid holidays per year.
FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME. It is the pre-election time and lots of the cases that come to light may be connected to the competition for the voter. Scandals, gossips, sensitive information – all that suddenly must come out just few weeks before the election.
The latest scandal rocking the Czech political scene is so complicated with everyone involved stating different facts that are impossible to capture in one sentence.
According to what has transpired in some Czech media since Thursday evening, Jan Morava, a 29-year-old MP from Civic Democratic Party (ODS) was trying to blackmail a rebel MP from the Green Party into toeing the line within the three-member coalition led by ODS.
And then, we have another ODS member the ever-rebellious Vlastimil Tlustý who has been an vocal critic of PM Topolánek and who wanted to uncover the hidden reality behind scandal-prone Czech politics. He even posed for staged photographs of him and a young woman in a hotel pool and agreed that the bogus private agency would try to peddle these among politicians.
The young and eager Jan Morava hoped to score political points by uncovering the network of people who were peddling sensitive information about prominent people. “I wanted to establish myself politically through this,” says the young MP.
Realizing this is not the right way, Jan Morava resigned from his post Monday September 8, and decided the best thing for him to do at the moment is to return to his hometown.