The foreign ministry said that the last Czechs waiting to be evacuated from Libya left the strife torn country on Sunday. The last contingent included staff from the embassy in Tripoli which was closed as of Sunday. Czechs were evacuated through a mix of regular and special flights out of the country. The foreign ministry called on all Czech citizens to leave the country on Saturday due to the worsening security situation, primarily in Tripoli. Some Czechs with family in the country are believed to be staying on.
The head of the Czech archaeological mission in Egypt, Miroslav Bárta, was due on Monday to return to Cairo for talks with officials responsible for national monuments. Mr. Bárta is hoping to be able to visit the site of Czech excavations at Abusir outside Cairo to assess damage done during recent disturbances. The site, where Czech archaeologists have worked for around 50 years, is currently under military guard. Spring excavations at the site have already been delayed.
Legendary Czech film director Otakar Vávra celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday. He was born on February 28, 1911 in Hradec Králové, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He directed his first feature film in 1937 with his film a year later, The Virgins' Club, winning a Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. He continued making films during the Nazi occupation and after the Communists seized power in 1948. In the 1950’s he helped found the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), where he taught for over five decades. Many of his students were in the forefront of the Czech new wave. Some of his best films were judged to have been shot in the 1960’s.
The Prague-based Franz Kafka Association has called on the Ministry of Culture and other personalities not to miss the chance of buying letters written by the author when they come up in auction in April. Around 100 examples of letters and other correspondence between the Czech-born writer in German and his sister, Ottla, are due to be auctioned in Berlin. The society points out that apart from a few official documents, there are no documents in Franz Kaftka’s hand in the Czech Republic. The correspondence up for auction is expected to command a price of around 500,000 euros. Ottla, the youngest of Kafka’s sisters was also the family member he felt closest to. She perished in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in 1942.
President Václav Klaus has intervened in a row over the possible appointment of a new deputy minister at the ministry of education. Ladislav Bátora had been tipped to fill a vacant post in the ministry but the appointment ran into problems when it was revealed that he had been a candidate for the extremist National Party. President Klaus described the reaction as a “dictatorship of political correctness.” Mr. Bátora, a critic of the European Union and multiculturism, is reported to be close to some of the president’s aides. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said the president was offering his personal opinion and that was all it was.
Nineteen towns and local councils have tabled proposals for funding aimed at tackling the creation of ghettos of Roma citizens. The proposals have been submitted to the government agency for integration of the Roma. At least seven proposals should win financing with the winners chosen in April. Last year the Czech government earmarked 11.4 million crowns to such projects with a further 16 million crowns coming from European funds. Projects covered 23 localities. Funding allows integration specialists to have input into local policies that could help encourage Roma to integrate in local communities and local communities to accept them.
Health Minister Leoš Heger on Monday agreed with the association representing nursing sisters about increasing their health care responsibilities. The two sides are due to sign a memorandum covering higher pay for sisters next week. Nursing sisters have not put a figure on how much extra pay they are seeking in the wake of a pay hike for hospital doctors. The doctors will get immediate rises of between 5,000-8,000 crowns in March as part of a wider deal aimed at preventing 3,800 out of around 20,000 hospital doctors from resigning.
Czechs have the lowest trust in their government's ability to cope with the world economic crisis, according to a poll conducted for the European Union. The poll by the Eurobarometer agency showed up to 80 percent of Czechs are convinced that reforms are needed. But in spite of measures already taken and promised, only 17 percent of Czech respondents consider the economic situation to be good. Most are also critical of the performance of the centre-right coalition made up of the Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09 and Public Affairs (VV). Only 6.0 percent of people believe the government can deal with the crisis in the best way, three times less than the EU average.
Czech farmers more than doubled their overall profits last year compared with 2009 according to preliminary figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. Estimated profit rose to 6.2 billion crowns, up 3.6 billion compared with 2009. Agricultural turnover rose by 0.8 billion to 98.5 billion. The biggest rise in profit came from crops, in part as a result of the sharp rise in cereal prices, but profits from livestock production fell slightly. The jump in profits exceeded expectations of the main farmers’ lobby.
There were mixed fortunes for the Czechs playing in the final of England’s Carling Cup, formerly the League Cup, on Sunday. The result was a surprise upset with Birmingham City beating fancied Arsenal 2:1. Birmingham’s line up included Czech defender Martin Jiránek. But that result meant disappointment for Czech and substitute Arsenal captain Tomáš Rosický. Birmingham has not won a trophy since 1963.
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