Deputies approved the new criminal law. The Czech Republic bitterly objected to a British proposal to slash the European Union’s budget in items appropriated for development aid to new members. George Best died. The ministry of the environment gave its approval to build a nuclear fuel storage facility at Temelin nuclear power plant. The average wage rose to 18,883 crowns a month. Meteorologists announced that the current nighttime frosts will continue, but because St. Catherine’s Day was icy, they can’t rule out that Christmas will not be muddy.
Monacan Prince Albert II watched the Slavia vs. AS Monaco football match in Prague. Thirty thousand labor union members demonstrated in Prague for speedier passage of the Labor Code, which employers are not pleased with because they believe it gives labor unions too much power to influence the fate of companies but no increased dose of responsibility. “They are very tolerant and considerate – one time, when my wife and I were coming home from work really tired, we stopped at an intersection and fell asleep; we slept for maybe half an hour and nobody even honked at us the whole time, everybody just let us sleep in peace and drove around us with respect,” replied restorer and long-time Swedish immigrant František Mikeš to Mladá fronta DNES’s question: “What are Swedes like?” Three skinheads beat and kicked an African student in Plzeň. Under an onslaught of citizens wanting to exchange their ten-year-old ID cards for free, town hall offices collapsed. The Chotěbor Museum exhibited works by Bohuslav Reynek. A Prague court sentenced businessman Tomáš Pitr to eight years in prison for an eleven-year-old transaction; Pitr was originally acquitted in the same case, but, shortly before the appeals process began, he called – concerning his still unexplained role in the current scandal surrounding the privatization of Unipetrol – Prime Minister Paroubek an “enemy of the state.”
The justice ministry and the Czech Judges Union began manufacturing a computer game that should teach Czechs in an entertaining and intelligible way how the justice system works in democratic Czechia. The express train Pendolino traveled the Prague-Brno route for the first time with passengers. “I’m returning the car to preclude any doubts, even though I know it was always used in accordance with the law, which allows me to use both vehicles, with or without a driver, for private and work purposes,” declared Chamber Vice Chair Miroslava Němcová (ODS) when she – after a few weeks of hesitation – returned one of her work vehicles paid for by the taxpayers after it came to light that the car was being used by her entrepreneurial son for driving to work and for pleasure rides. Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek met in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Newspapers reported that power and water rates would increase by tens of percentage points in January. ČEZ’s management announced that its company earned 14 billion crowns net this year. “Now you don’t have to go far for slot machines – get your own and experience the same excitement in your room,” was the message to children in an advertising campaign launched by the toy store chain Sparky’s, which put training slot machines designed for gamblers over age 3 on the market prior to Christmas. Telecom was given a 205-million-crown penalty by the anti-monopoly authority for abusing its monopoly position on the market. “Don’t refer to deputies like that, Mr. Minister, because you are accountable to them, not them to you,” Chamber Vice Chair Jan Kasal cautioned Health Minister David Rath after he lost self-control and said, referring to opposition deputies calling for his immediate resignation, that “they are acting less dignified than wards of a psychiatric hospital.” A warehouse with goods from Asia burned down in Brno. The crown strengthened against the euro to a record rate of 28.88 to 1. During audits, Commercial Inspection inspectors found that, besides pub owners and merchants, even owners of funeral homes rip customers off: they charge for more expensive coffins and even unrealized stays in freezing boxes, for example. The Catholic Church announced it would no longer ordain homosexuals to the priesthood. For the first time in history, this year’s Brewer of the Year award was given to a woman, Jana Rostová, Brewmaster of the brewery in Velké Březno. Petr Jakeš died. The constitutional court ruled that the Salms would retain ownership of land and fields in Blanensko. Ending this year’s mushroom season, mycologists locked a forest.