The Hubble telescope photographed an unknown galaxy with a billion stars and a hundred million suns in the Big Dipper constellation. Election campaigns began. The eighth annual documentary film festival One World opened in Prague; at the opening ceremony, former President Václav Havel presented this year’s People in Need award for exemplary recognition for the promotion of human rights, the Homo Homini Award, to the Belarussian dissident Ales Bialacki. “The main question is which will be more successful – the export of democracy or the import of Islam,” pronounced military intelligence chief Miroslav Krejčík in a debate at the Chamber’s foreign committee where deputies and intelligence service members discussed the impending threat of the Islamification of Europe.
The Pardubice-based company Explosia accused Madonna of using its “semtex” trademark without permission in the name of her new production company Semtex Girls, thanks to which Pardubice chemists became famous worldwide in the 1970’s, when they refused to odor-mark the plastic explosive in order for police dogs to recognize it, resulting in it becoming undetectable and a favorite weapon chiefly among assassins and terrorists. Suzi Quatro returned to Pravo’s culture section after a thirty-year absence. According to an unreleased labor union analysis, the number of people with below-average wages has increased. Polls showed that the popularity of Paroubek’s Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) has dropped from twenty-seven to twenty-three percent, while the popularity of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has remained at 28 percent and the Green Party’s has risen from five to six percent. The Communist Party’s new leader Vojtěch Falmer Filip stopped speaking with the party’s former leader Miroslav Grebeníček, and started communicating only through e-mail. Škoda Auto inaugurated its new car, the Roomster, at the Geneva Motor Show. The energy group ČEZ calculated its 2005 profit at 17.5 billion Czech crowns. NATO Security Director Thomas McKeever came to the Czech Republic to check whether any important information sent here from NATO headquarters had leaked from the scandal and political corruption beleaguered Czech secret service agencies. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Czech Republic. “Which is spiritual and which isn’t simply depends on each bishop’s decision; it really has to be based on feeling,” replied Martin Horálek when asked at a bishops’ conference why Brno Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle banned Mahler compositions from being played in South Moravian churches with the explanation that it is “non-religious music,” while Prague Bishop Václav Malý holds mass accompanied by Daniel Landa’s nationalistic hymns. The price of medications rose. Gripen airplanes were relocated to Pardubice. The European Statistical Office announced that if the Czech birth rate and low influx of immigrants continues its current trend, fifty years from now there will be just eight instead of the current ten million inhabitants – and a substantial number of them will be retired. After sixty-six years, the Czech broadcasting service of the BBC went off the air. Concerned about bird flu, Czech national football team players removed chicken meat from their diet. In reaction to that, Agriculture Minister Jan Mládek ate several chicken legs in front of TV cameras in order to show that there’s no need to fear poultry and that it tastes great. “Last year I was operated on and I should take it easy, but the doctors told me, ‘if you’re going to continue walking into room with more than 200 people in them, you can expect to get some kind of infection,’ so I’m leaving,” said Deputy Josef Hojdar (ČSSD), explaining why he’s leaving politics. Merboltice held the first carnival dance in the modern history of the municipality. Brno decided to erect a statue of Wolgang Amadeus Mozart in the city center. The deadline for elementary school enrollment passed. The World Bank officially ceased all development aid to the Czech Republic, and WB President Paul Wolfowitz came to Prague to declare that the Czech Republic had been removed from the “development” category and placed on the list of “wealthy” countries. The government set this year’s social stipendium for poor college students at CZK 1,600. Czech Olympians sued Budvar for tens of millions of crowns in damages for harming the Olympic concept by using Olympic symbols in its beer commercials. In a series matches in a South Moravian metropolis, senior teams continued qualifying for the upcoming national karate championships. Bohdan Sláma’s film Something Like Happiness swept the Czech Lion Awards. Jaromír Jágr announced the end of his national hockey team career.