Welfare spending has risen nearly ten times since 1990, according to government figures released on Monday. In 1990, the Czech government spent around 76.5 billion crowns on unemployment benefits and health and social insurance payments, while in 2009 the figure reached nearly 748 billion crowns. In the same period, the nominal gross national product rose six times – from over 626 billion in 1990 to 3628 billion crowns last year.
In related news, some 70 town halls in Moravia flew Moravian flags on
Monday to commemorate the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius in the Great
Moravian Empire in the 9th century. The towns that have displayed the
Moravian flag include Břeclav, Třebíč, Mikulov and others. The mayor
Mikulov, Rostislav Koštial, told the Czech news agency ČTK the flags are
not meant to foster nationalism or separatism; they should rather remind
people of their traditions and origins.
Moravia, today the eastern part of the Czech Republic, is besides Bohemia and Silesia one of three historic Czech lands. After the destruction of the Great Moravian Empire in the 10th century, it became united of the Kingdom of Bohemia. The Moravian flag, consisting two horizontal gold and of red stripes, was sanctioned in 1848 but has been rarely used since mid-20th century.
The police said 21 people died in accidents on Czech roads over the prolonged weekend. Friday saw more road deaths than any day since the beginning of the year, with eight people killed. Six of those deaths occurred in Central Bohemia, where rescue services in said they were called out to 20 accidents on that day alone. The end of the school year, the last day of which was Wednesday, and the beginning of summer holidays tends to bring with it increased rates of road accidents.
The Czech foreign minister, Jan Kohout, honoured the memory of WWII Czechoslovak armed forces in Cholmondeley, Cheshire, in the United Kingdom, on Monday. There the Czech and Slovak troops began forming on July 7, 1940 to fight against Nazi Germany along with the Allies. The event was attended by several veterans, including 92-year-old general Tomáš Sedláček. Minister Jan Kohout said that the formation of Czechoslovak troops in Great Britain 70 years ago laid the foundations of today’s great relations between the Czech Republic and the UK.
Some 40,000 Czech Catholics attended a mass in Velehrad, southern Moravia,
on Monday, to commemorate Saints Cyril and Methodius. July 5 is a national
holiday in the Czech Republic to honour the legacy of the Greek
missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech lands in 863. The
open-air mass at Vehelehrad, once the seat of the Great Moravian Empire,
was celebrated by the Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka. He masses at
Velehrad had always attracted people longing for freedom.
Saints Cyril and Methodius arrived in Moravia in 863 on a mission from the Byzantine Empire. To spread the Gospel among the Slavs, they created the Cyrillic alphabet and translated the Bible and liturgical books into Slavonic, which at that time had no written form. The two brothers are considered the founders of Slavic literature.
In related news, Tomáš Berdych moved up to world number eight in ATP ranking on Monday, following his run to the Wimbledon final. The 24-year-old player lost to world’s number one, Rafael Nadal, in Sunday’s final but moved from number 13 top his best ATP ranking ever. Czech Petra Kvitová, who lost to Serena Williams in the tournament’s semi-finals, also moved up to world no. 29 in WTA rankings, a jump by 33 spots.
The biggest star among the guests of the 45th Karlovy Vary International
Film Festival, British actor Jude Law, will receive the Festival
President’s Award on Monday. Jude Law will also present his 1999 film,
The Talented Mr Ripley, at the festival.
Mr Law arrived in the west Bohemian spa town late Sunday night. After partying away his first night at Karlovy Vary, Mr Law told reporters on Monday that he would join the cast of Martin Scorsese's latest movie, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Among the guests of this year’s festival, which kicked off on Friday, are Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the Russian film director Nikita Michalkov, and others.
Czech President Václav Klaus congratulated on Monday the newly elected
president of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski. Mr Klaus said he hoped that
under the new head of state, the excellent Czech-Polish relations will
further improve. The Czech president also invited his Polish counterpart
visit the Czech Republic.
The incoming Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, also congratulated the newly elected Polish president, as did the chairwoman of the Czech parliament’s lower house Miroslava Němcová, and the head of Parliament’s upper house, Senator Přemysl Sobotka.
Czech number one Tomáš Berdych said he would not join the Czech Davis Cup team to play the cup’s quarter-finals against Chile. Berdych, who lost to Rafael Nadal at the Wimbledon’s finals on Sunday, said he would not benefit the team, quoting muscle injuries. He will be replaced by Ivo Minář, ranked 225th.