The newly appointed Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka is to visit the Vatican on Tuesday where the Pope will present him with a pallium, a vestment symbolizing the jurisdiction delegated to him by the Holy See. The former bishop of Hradec Kralove took over the Prague archdiocese on April 10th, replacing Miloslav Vlk who resigned on the grounds of advanced age. Archbishop Duka is seen as a man of consensus who may improve relations between the Church and state in the largely atheist Czech Republic. In May he put an end to an 18-year-long legal battle with the state over the ownership of St. Vitus Cathedral by withdrawing the Catholic Church’s property claim and accepting a proposal for joint administration.
President Klaus on Sunday denied having pushed the nomination of Civic
Democrat deputy Vlastimil Tlustý for the post of ambassador in Kazachstan.
The allegation appeared in the weekly Respekt which said that the outgoing Foreign Minister Jan Kohout had sought to get the nomination approved by the Fischer cabinet at the direct intervention of the president. Mr. Klaus said on Sunday the weekly’s claim was utter nonsense and he had never made any attempt to meddle in ambassadorial nominations. Who will fill the post of ambassador to Kazachstan has been left to the new government to decide.
Petra Paroubková, the wife of former Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek, who resigned after the party’s poor showing in May’s general elections, has revealed that she is working on a book of political memoirs focusing on behind the scenes practices in Czech politics. Mrs. Paroubková, who works as an interpreter, said on a popular talk show that many politicians, journalists and businessmen had a surprise in store. She admitted that she was writing the book partly for the money it would bring, and also because she felt the public had a right to know what goes on behind the scenes in Czech politics. The book is expected to come out in the early autumn.
The police uncovered over 4,400 illegal migrants on Czech territory in 2009, for the most part Ukranians, Vietnamese and Russians, according to an Interior Ministry report that the cabinet is due to receive on Monday. On the other hand the number of foreigners legally residing in the Czech Republic dropped for the first time since the year 2,000 by over 5,000 people. This is being ascribed to the economic crisis and fewer job opportunities. Seventy-five people were granted political asylum.
Beer producers say that sales of beer on tap in the past three months have dropped as compared to the same period last year due to the cold and rainy weather. Although no official statistics are out yet, some brewers say the drop is likely to be in two-digit numbers. Beer sales usually soar in late March, early April with the opening of outdoor eateries and garden restaurants. These outlets account for a third of overall beer sales.
Kooky the teddy bear, the hero of Jan Svěrák’s animated film which premiered in Prague in late May has sparked a craze for plush Kooky toys. Twenty-five thousand Kooky toys were put on the market within PR and the original toys are now only available through consumer competitions or at the film’s upcoming international premiere at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The CTK news agency reports that home-made Kooky toys are now being sold on the internet for as much as 1,000 crowns. The film’s Oscar-winning director says he doesn’t mind. If Kooky revived the tradition of home-made toys I can only be happy, he told the daily Lidové noviny. The film tells the story of a boy who imagines that his favorite toy, a red teddy bear named Kooky, goes on an adventurous journey after being tossed out by the boy’s mother.
A calf gone missing for three days was found trapped at the bottom of a four-meter deep dry well on Saturday sparking an unusual emergency operation. Firefighters called a vet out to the case before one of them descended to help the trapped animal, strapping it with a wide belt and ropes. After several hours the animal was safely lifted up. It was dehydrated and bruised but otherwise unhurt.
The emerging centre-right coalition is planning to change the system according to which doctors and nurses are paid. It wants to do away with the system of salary brackets which limit the amount that can be paid to a doctor or nurse depending on time served in the profession. In this way older doctors automatically get higher pay than their younger colleagues, regardless of their skills or hours spent at work. The emerging government wants to give hospital heads a free rein in how much they want to pay an employee depending on how valuable they are for the institution. Hospital heads are pleased with the plan, but the Medical Chamber fears this could bring about a drop in salaries for many people in the profession.
Two German supermarket chains have withdrawn rabbit meat imported from the Czech Republic in protest against the conditions in which the animals are bred. The Real and Edeka chains said they had made the move on the grounds of a report about animal cruelty from animal rights’ activists. The Czech firm Rabbit Trhový Štepánov which exported the goods says it has standard breeding conditions and is prepared to take legal steps. It received a GGE export certificate in September of 2009 and has reportedly passed inspection by the regional veterinary authority. The firm claims that the German supermarket chains have come under pressure from German animal rights’ groups and are trying to avoid being linked to a negative campaign in the media.