The Czech Consoli-
dation Agency, also known as Czech Corruption, began the sale of the last big block of debts in its history. Steam locomotives raced on a double-track railway line from Brno to Zastávka. The phenomenal athlete, javelin thrower Jan Železný (40), ended his sports career at an exhibition in Mladá Boleslav with a long throw of 82.16 meters. Newspapers reported a coup in Thailand.
“It’s not a catastrophe yet, but it is a serious warning,” said European Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaité, referring to Brussels’ plea to Prague to draw more EU funds, of which it has tapped only EUR 500 million of an allocated EUR 2.5 billion, due to a dearth of interesting and comprehensible projects. The presidents of the four Vysegrad countries met in Lány, the presidential chateau. Liptál u Vsetína was named Village of the Year. Premier Mirek Topolánek agreed with Czech National Bank Governer Zdeňek Tůma that in light of Czech credit debt, it is necessary to defer the adoption of the euro, and thus the stringent EU budget rules, indefinitely. The Ministry for Regional Development announced plans to reduce state spending by gradually phasing out the interest-free loans to young people for apartments introduced by the previous government. News agencies published photos of the uprising during which residents of the Hungarian metropolis Budapest occupied the state television building for a night during violent unrest triggered by the ailing economy; two hundred people, including a hundred police officers, were seriously injured during the demonstrations. The Czech Republic’s Car Free Day happened without much interest from drivers. “There are notices from most reporters, it’s tough to add up because they’re missing the legal requisites – often there’s just a handwritten note saying ‘I give my notice,’ like a demonstration. We’ll deal with it on Monday; I can’t predict how many people are staying,”Respekt’s strategic director Miloš Čermák told Lidové noviny after all but two of the weekly’s staff members gave notice in protest against his attempt to dismiss editor-in-chief Marek Švehla and take over his job. Inspectors found combat gases in a secret warehouse for dangerous chemicals discovered by police in Chvaletice last summer. A price war broke out between the bus companies Student Agency and EuroLines with offers of one-hundred-crown tickets to some European cities. Cambodia’s new king Norodom Sihamoni visited the Czech Republic. Four passengers died and 45 were injured when a Czech tourist bus crashed in Austria. Former Technické služby director Pavel Slíva shot dead Havířov’s deputy mayor Martin Balšán (Social Democratic Party) and Technické služby’s lawyer Ivana Kabzanová, then shot and killed himself. The Defense Ministry refused to fulfill a court order to pay four million in damages to its stewardess Marcela Hubeňáková (27), whose pelvis was crushed five years ago by the landing gear of a falling military helicopter, causing serious injury to her abdomen. “We’ll appeal, because although that woman arrived in court in a wheelchair, she gets around with crutches so she is not entirely immobile,” said the ministry’s lawyers, explaining their reluctance to compensate the former military member. “I doubt those clerks could imagine even for a moment what I’ve been going through the past five years – that I won’t be able to have children, that my husband and I haven’t had any intimate relations the whole time, that I can not get anywhere without a special car and a wheelchair, that we have to convert our whole apartment so I can live there…; all that takes money – and I don’t want to live the rest of my life looking out the window. I’m young and I still want to be useful to people,” said Hubeňáková, commenting on the lawyer’s analysis; the helicopter crash was caused by negligence when ministry employees forgot to pump enough fuel into the tank. Two twenty-year-old men from Brno stopped and overpowered a mugger who had just hit an older woman and stole her purse in a Brno suburb. In an attempt to prevent corruption, the cabinet issued a decree rejecting biofuel subsidies. Tomáš Baťa Jr. celebrated his 92nd birthday in the White Carpathian wilderness. A new survey revealed that Czechs work much less than previously believed. Prague City Hall decided to erect a statue of Sigmund Freud on Kozí placek. A packed Sazka Arena gave the Alexandrov Song & Dance Ensemble a standing ovation.