Manufacture of this year’s Czech Lion awards commenced in Nižbor glassworks. The cabinet decided that young Czech married couples would receive advantageous 150,000-crown loans to renovate their apartments or homes. In voter preference polls, ČSSD (Czech Social Democratic Party) caught up with front-runner ODS (Civic Democratic Party). Prague Ruzyně Airport opened a new check-in hall. The European Parliament rejected passage of the recently negotiated EU budget for 2007–2013.
“It’s a vulgar and low-down political attack,” shadow foreign minister and Euro-parliamentarian Jan Zahradil (ODS) said in reference to comments by vice chairman of the government’s Council for Roma Community Affairs Karel Holomek, who criticized President Václav Klaus, Czech Euro-parliamentarians from ODS, and the Communist Party for their assiduous denial of the holocaust and their statements that Czech Romas went to concentration camps in the Czech Republic during WWII because they did not want to work, and hundreds died in them, for – as President Klaus proclaimed – “they simply contracted typhus.” Klaus’ extremist position to Final Solution victims was also condemned by former President Václav Havel. Smog descended on the Czech Republic again like in the old days. After diving headfirst into a glass bus shelter, eight startled waxwings perished in Pilsen. “As direct-proximity neighbors we would expect prompt and complete information,” remarked Saxon Environment Minister Stanislaw Tillich after a cyanide leak from Draslovka Kolín caused widespread poisoning of the Elbe River, which the Czech authorities announced a week after the fact. Enrolment for children entering first-grade and nursery schools began. Czech society commemorated the anniversary of the death of Jan Palach, who lit himself on fire and burned to death in Prague in an attempt to rouse the populace from its ignominious retreat from the ideals of liberty and freedom and plummet into the bondage of the normalization. Luisa Abrahams died in England. Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek visited India and offered Indian politicians supplies of Czech arms for the Indian Army. A snowboarder died after a fall on a slope in the Jeseník Mountains. Snow dusted the country. Police radars on snow-covered highways and roads revealed that most Czech drivers do not adjust their speed according to the conditions of the surfaces they drive on; ninety drivers traveling at speeds exceeding 200 km/hr and another 2,500 driving over 130 km/hr passed a radar located on the icy, snow-covered Brno-Olomouc highway in a period of ten hours, while the number of accidents on this icy Wednesday hit a record of 997 – twice as many as usual. Germany and Austria let it be known that they would not allow Czechs to work on their territories until 2009 at the earliest. A homeless person froze to death in Mníšek. Conservationists warned citizens not to – if they find any – bring prematurely awakened hedgehogs and bats into their homes because they could cause more harm than benefit. PPF came out with a proposal to buy Setuza. The Commercial Inspection warned tourists and Prague residents that waiters in the Czech capital’s restaurants and pubs steal like magpies. “The driver was probably going fast and hit the brakes just in front of the crossing pedestrian, who gave a start, had to jump out of the way, whereupon an argument ensued, then a shoving match, and in the end a fight; when the ambulance took the driver for treatment, a lot of blood was left on the sidewalk,” a police spokesperson described an incident in which a young, angry pedestrian battered a reckless driver in Pilsen. The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting raised the Czech Television Director’s salary from 115 to 140 thousand crowns per month. Beer exports shot up. Due to relations with shady business people and suspicions of money-laundering through questionable cocoa trading in Africa, longtime ČSSD deputy Michal Kraus resigned from all his political functions and mandates, and the police began investigating his business activities. The Medical Chamber announced it would declare a one-day strike of Czech pharmacists on January 30th to protest reduced profit margins on medicines. Former border guard Andrej Terela was sentenced to 14 years in prison for shooting a young man from East Germany to death in 1977 who tried to cross the iron curtain near the Czech village Rybník and thereby escape from communism to the free world in the West. A group of Czech speleologists discovered in Iran the world’s longest salt cave. Fire destroyed a wooden toy factory in Vysoké Veseli. Newspapers reported that the launch of the space probe New Horizons, which is meant to set out on a nine-year, 5.5-billion-km-long journey through space to Pluto, would be postponed due to a power outage in the USA. Meteorologists forecasted that the warmer weather hovering around 0° C would end soon and be superseded by a severe freeze.