Water and hail lashed down on Moravia. The post-election parliament assembled for its constituent session. Lakšmí Mittal, who owns the Ostrava steelworks, took control of the Luxembourg-based Arcelor. Several thousand pilgrims at Svatý Kopec near Příbram commemorated the 274th anniversary of the enthronement of the Svatý Kopec Virgin Mary figurine. “A shot was fired. It’s dead,” newspapers cited the words with which the newly appointed proxy for the bear issue, Manfred Wölfl, announced to the Bavarian public that a bear which had wandered from Italy to Bavaria a month ago and thereby became the first beast of prey of its kind on German soil in 170 years failed to escape the army of hunters on its trail and was shot down;
“Bavarian hunters slay bear-nuisance” – the domestic paper Právo informed its readers. The summer holidays began. Meda Mládková’s Kampa Museum in Prague exhibited works by Joseph Beyus. The Czech Ornithological Society declared the former military area Boletice a significant bird territory of 2006. Former president Václav Havel announced that he intends to spend most of the summer in his cottage – Hrádeček. Ostrava city councilors decided that Multi Development, owned by the American investment company Morgan Stanley, would build a new shopping center in the northern Moravian metropolis. Vladimír Oláh was adopted into the Czech Writers’ Guild and thereby became the first Roma author in the organization. “They didn’t prove themselves too much, people expected more. But the main thing is that nobody has given us a reasonable explanation of why our houses have to be demolished, why more coal mining is necessary,” Horní Jiřetína resident Petr Leichner said in the newspapers, commenting on a proposal by the coal mining company Mostecká uhelná společnost, which offered people in municipalities selected for liquidation by the company in order to mine more brown coal three times the market value of their homes in exchange for voluntary departure. The minimum monthly wage climbed from CZK 7570 to 7955. Ján Langoš’s funeral was held in Bratislava. In a study by the international organization HealthConsumer Powerhouse evaluating user-friendliness and accessibility to European healthcare systems, the Czech Republic ranked twenty-second out of twenty-five countries; the study found that Czech patients have limited access to modern medicines and suffer due to physicians’ lack of communication with them. “The Czech Republic should try to ensure that everyone has the right to life-saving medicines,” said the head of the study Arne Börnberg, commenting on its results; Health Minister David Rath rejected the results as “nonsense.” Leaders of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the Green Party signed a coalition contract. A two-year-old Przewalski mare set off from the Prague Zoo on a nine-thousand-kilometer train journey to Mongolia, where she should be set free in the Gobi Desert to strengthen the gene pool in this rare species’ natural habitat; traveling together with Irena is the European bison cow Prvosenka, who will be released in the Belovezha Virgin Forest in Ukraine. A riveting performance by the Spanish ensemble Campañía nacional de Danza closed the eighteenth annual Tanec Praha dance festival. Media reported that the Chinese had realized the first test-run of a train on the Peking-Lhasa route. “I was not a spy and I am not ashamed of anything in my past, that’s all I’ll say about it,” said Communist Party chairman and potential vice-chairman of the lower house of Parliament Vojtěch Filip, commenting on the discovery of a signed paper from 1986 according to which he undertook to serve as an agent of the communist-era secret police (StB), for whom he subsequently sought further suitable informers. A memorial to eighty-two people murdered while attempting to escape through the Iron Curtain from communist Czechoslovakia was unveiled in Svatý Kříž near Cheb; demonstrating against the monument were roughly twenty former border guards who had shot at people fleeing to freedom back then; to this day nobody has been punished for it. Superman came to the cinemas. Poštovní spořitelna launched a “guerilla marketing” campaign against Česká Spořitelna. Viktor “Forest Killer” Kalivoda, who murdered three randomly chosen passers-by in various forests across the country last year, was definitively sentenced to life in prison by the High Court. Authorities announced that the price of passports would jump from two hundred to six hundred crowns in September. Vesmírna café in Prague’s Ve Smečkách street opened a photography exhibit, “I Live Here – a big album from Lužiny,” which was shot by young mentally handicapped photographer Jiří Švarc and will run for the whole summer. The management of Setuza factory decided to stop producing Pitralon and to plunge exclusively into bioalcohol production. In Sydney, Bohdan Sláma’s film Something Like Happiness was screened and divers discovered during a routine test that the deepest hole in Central Europe – Hranice Chasm near Přerov – is deeper than previously thought.