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Last week26. 12. 20055 minut

Last week 52/2005

Winter began. In most Czech households, Ježíšek distributed gifts. In Prague, another – the fourth this year – homeless person froze to death.

Autor fotografie: Pavel Reisenauer • Autor: Respekt
Autor fotografie: Pavel Reisenauer
Autor fotografie: Pavel Reisenauer • Autor: Respekt

Winter began. In most Czech households, Ježíšek distributed gifts. In Prague, another – the fourth this year – homeless person froze to death. Members of parliament passed a series of laws changing the domestic “social safety net” into a “social relief trampoline,” which should motivate the unemployed to search for jobs and halt the ongoing disintegration of the family. A fire broke out in Gumotex Břeclav. A new section of the D 11 highway between Dobšice and Chýšť was opened in a ceremony attended by Transport Minister Milan Šimonovský.

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Inzerce Budvar
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The European Commission approved the Austrian company OMV’s takeover of the Czech filling station network Aral. Unexpected snowfall took fabulous Czech drivers by surprise with unanticipated worsening road conditions: 1890 car accidents with eleven casualties in a single day set a record for the winding-down year 2005. “The Prague-Brno highway is becoming a trap” wrote Mladá fronta DNES commenting on the fact that in snowstorms and slippery roads it is necessary to ease up on the accelerator, drive carefully, and even look in the rearview mirrors from time to time. The film studios in Hostivař announced they intend to become an “advertising Mecca” in the future. Jaromír Jágr was named sportsman of the year. Rejecting Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda’s request and guarantees, Russian authorities decided that the Czech humanitarian organization People in Need can not operate on the territory of the Russian Federation due to suspicions it supports Chechen rebels. The German postal service acquired a Czech courier service. The Office for the Documentation and Investigation of Crimes of Communism closed its investigation of the 1957 assassination of the Strassbourg Prefect André Trémeaud, by which Czech agents of the Communist intelligence agency hoped to halt the imminent convergence of western European countries in the former European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor to the European Union. The author of an anonymous letter to senators Marin Mejstřík and Jaromír Štětin promised them “a bullet in the back” for advocating a ban on promoting Communism and Nazism in the Czech lands. Anti-Nazi and anti-Communism resistance movement hero General Rudolf Pernický died at the age of 90 at the Prague Military Hospital. “If the mayor really does meet with them, it will legitimize anti-Semitic and racist groups – and if he wants to hear their proposals of what to do with Romas, it’s a dangerous precedent,” Federation of Jewish Religious Communities member Tomáš Kraus said commenting on the decision of Orlová Mayor Vladimír Faran (KSČM – Communisty Party of Bohemia and Moravia) to sit down at the negotiating table with members of the extremist, neo-fascist organization National Opposition, which recently established a “home defense” militia against the Roma in Orlová. “They aren’t extremists – I’ll listen to them to see if they propose any effective solutions to the unsatisfactory situation with the Roma, and if they impose some conditions on me, I’ll run with them,” said Mayor Faran in response to Kraus’s criticism. A falling spruce tree killed a tree feller in Sklené nad Oslavou. Tarock players ended the season. Under the leadership of former Justice Minister Pavel Rychetský, the Constitutional Court called people trading in Czechia with the goal of turning a profit “speculators” and ruled that valid laws may not apply to them in some cases due to this “immoral behavior” – for example, that, unlike “rightful heirs,” they can not use their purchased restitution claims to request that the state turn over land that was stolen in the past. One-thousand-seven-hundred police officials came to Prague’s Congress Center to attend their first ever assembly. The companies General Dynamics and Steyr announced their intention to withdraw from the competition for a billion-crown contract for transporters for the Czech Army, as they feel the government tender lacks transparency and that, in light of price changes occurring after the bids were opened, it was probably rigged beforehand. The antimonopoly office suspended the outcome of the government’s billion-crown tender for introducing highway tolls in the Czech Republic until a review is completed; because the transport ministry did not let most of the companies interested in the contract participate in the tender due to a formal mistake, the rejected companies called the tender a sham and corruption of unprecedented proportions. In its annual report on the state of the world, the American human rights organization Freedom House called the Czech Republic a “free, but highly corrupt” country. A Prague court sentenced to eight years in prison a person who for fun lit on fire – and seriously injured – a homeless person in a night tram last summer. Glow-in-the-dark roses arrived on the market from the Netherlands. After five years in the red, the Czech National Bank vaulted to making a moderate profit. Winnie the Poo celebrated his eightieth birthday.


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