The 2008-2009 season in Czech football’s Gambrinus League got underway on Saturday. Among the results on day one, title favourites Sparta Prague, captained by new signing Patrik Berger, beat Mladá Boleslav 1:0, while last season’s top scorer Václav Svěrkoš got the only goal in Baník Ostrava’s victory over Kladno.
There are plans to make a feature film about the controversial Christian Democrats leader and deputy prime minister Jiří Čunek. The movie will be directed by Robert Sedláček, who is best known for the 2006 picture Rules of Lies. While the lead role has yet to be filled, the director told the idnes.cz website that the part of Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg would be played by the Slovak actor and director Martin Huba. Minister Schwarzenberg had at one point seemed ready to quit the cabinet if Mr Čunek remained in government. The latter has been the subject of financial scandals and also made headlines over evidently racist comments he made about the Czech Republic’s Roma minority.
The musician Michael Kocáb has confirmed he is going to stand for the Green Party in elections to the Senate this autumn. However, he said he would withdraw his candidature if the Greens moved to the left under Dana Kuchtová, who is set to challenge chairman Martin Bursík for the leadership next month. Mr Kocáb, who leads the rock group Pražský výběr, played a leading role in the Velvet Revolution and was a Civic Forum deputy. He oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia and was an advisor to Václav Havel during Mr Havel’s presidency.
The 34th Uherské Hradiště Film School came to end in the south Moravian town on Sunday. Nearly 400 short and feature length films were shown over a week and a half. Among the guests this year were the great Czech director Jan Švankmajer, Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko and the writer Pavel Kohout. Accompanying events such as lectures and rock concerts were also held at the film school, which this year was under new management.
A notorious neo-Nazi book cannot be banned in the Czech Republic, the website tyden.cz reported. The Czech police commissioned a legal analysis of The Turner Diaries after it was published in Czech for the first time earlier this year. The report states that no crime was committed in connection with the publication of the so-called “neo-Nazi bible”, a spokesperson for the Prague police told tyden.cz. Police are not satisfied with its findings and have now requested a second analysis. The Turner Diaries, which describes an Aryan revolution that leads to the extermination of the world’s non-white peoples, is banned in other European states.
Czechs have around CZK 60 billion (USD 3.9 billion) in cash in their homes, according to a study by the Czech Statistical Office. The average Czech has around CZK 6,000 in cash, the report said. The figures represent an estimated fifty percent increase on those for 2006. The increase has been attributed to very low interest rates on money held in bank accounts.
Around 400 people attended a neo-Nazi rock concert at Ochoz near Brno on
Saturday evening. The event was monitored by hundreds of police officers.
One of the organisers said the attentions of the state and the media had
put off some would-be attendees, while most of the far-right rock groups
slated to play at the outdoor concert also pulled out. Another such event
is planned for the Pardubice area in east Bohemia the weekend after next.
Experts on extremism have told the Czech Press Agency they believe the Czech far right is planning to try to enter politics at the national level. The neo-Nazis long-term strategy involves a concerted effort to not break the law in order to gain broader support with an eye to eventually entering Parliament, a member of the Czech Helsinki Committee said. The Interior Ministry recently said it would put more energy into monitoring far-right groups.
Tributes have been paid to the late drummer with the band Chinaski at the Sázavafest music festival in central Bohemia. Anna K, members of Monkey Business, Jan Budář and Ivan Hlas performed songs written by Pavel Grohman, who died recently in a motorbike accident. Chinaski, one of the Czech Republic’s most popular groups, had been due to play at Sázavafest on Friday evening.
Business inspectors have carried out a large-scale raid on a market in the Moravian capital Brno. Over a million crowns worth of fake branded good have been uncovered at the market on the city’s Olomoucká St in an operation involving over 200 people, including police and customs officers. Several foreign nationals were arrested in the weekend’s inspection, which uncovered a factory producing counterfeit goods. The raid – described by a business inspectorate official as the biggest for at least a year – is set to continue over the whole weekend.
The Archive of the Security Forces has released the communist-era military counter-intelligence file of a so-called “confidant” who is now one of the most senior Czech soldiers. The file of Brigadier General Miroslav Bálint, currently deputy of the Czech army’s chief of staff, was posted on the archive’s website on Friday. However the officer, who is 53, has issued a statement saying he never knowingly co-operated with the military counter-intelligence services. Similar files relating to a number of Czech MPs have recently appeared on the internet. However, the head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes says it appears none of those listed as “confidants” actually collaborated.