Sixty-five years ago on August 2, the Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš published the Beneš decrees, one of the most important and most controversial chapters in Czech history. The Beneš decrees declared that German and Hungarian minorities living in Czechoslovakia were to be stripped of their Czechoslovak citizenship if they had acquired German or Hungarian citizenship. Historians believe that those decrees furnished the basis for the expulsion of some three million Germans and 80,000 Hungarians from Czechoslovak lands in the 1940s. After the Velvet Revolution, the Beneš decrees became a frequent topic of discussion in Czech-German and Czech-Austrian relations. In 1997, the Czech Republic and Germany signed the Czech-German declaration of mutual relations. Both countries apologized for the wrong they had done and pledged to respect each others’ legitimacy.
A fourteen-year-old who is believed to have the longest hair in the Czech Republic cut her mane off on Sunday. The girl, whose hair was 135 cm long, had never previously cut her hair. She decided to get a hair cut due to practical reasons: Styling the excessively long hair every morning was very time consuming and washing the hair was quite difficult. The girl’s mother says she had a hard time getting used to the idea of her daughter choosing a shorter hairdo, but in the end was convinced of the decision.
The general director of Czech Television, Jiří Janeček, has dismissed a recent critical statement by Prime Minister Petr Nečas. The prime minister said that the content of Czech Television’s two channels was too heavy on entertainment-oriented formats and did not fulfill the mission of a public television channel. Mr Janeček said on Sunday that following recent changes and restructuring of these channels, he had already been expecting criticism from all sides. He added that any television channel depends on its viewers and that it had to offer programming which they enjoy.
The Czech company LOM Praha has won a NATO public tender worth 250 million Czech crowns to modernize two Hungarian and two Bulgarian helicopters of the type Mi-17. The modernization of one such helicopter takes about six months. Czech Television reported on Sunday that this is the first step toward a complete overhaul of all Russian-built helicopters in use in NATO member states. LOM Praha is the only company in the NATO that has a license to repair helicopters built in Russia, some 200 of which are still in use today. Whether the company will be able to win a tender to repair all of these helicopters is doubtful. Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra has said that the fight for such a tender would be a tough one.
According to experts from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the month of August should bring pleasant summer weather with only a few thunderstorms across the country. A cold front is expected to reach the Czech Republic during the first half of the month. Later, temperatures should remain relatively stable at an average of about 25 degrees Celsius. Some days may see highs of up to 29 degrees Celsius. Skies will be somewhat cloudy.
Ninety-seven people were killed in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic in July. This is the third lowest number of people to die on Czech roads in the month of July for the past twenty years. Police statistics revealed that the first half of the month demanded more victims than the second half. The ninth of July marked a tragic peak in road deaths: twelve people died on Czech streets on that day alone. The year with the highest number of traffic deaths for the month of July was 2003, when 159 people were killed in road accidents.
Former minister of justice Pavel Němec has harshly criticized statements made by his successor regarding the way he ran the ministry. In a program on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr Neměc said that current Minister of Justice Jiři Pospíšil was spreading demagogic lies and added that the minister seemed to have a personal vendetta against him. Mr Pospíšil said a few days ago that he was planning to clear the ministry of structures that had been established during Němec’s mandate, referring to some of its public tenders which had gone to the Mr Němec’s law firm.
An “early warning center” that the United States are planning to build
on Czech territory as part of a NATO missile defense system could be
functional by mid-2011. Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra said in a
program on Czech Television on Sunday that the project will be partly
financed by the government starting in 2012. Local soldiers will be
operating the warning center after being trained by American forces. Mr
Vondra added that while the Czech Republic had its own surveillance and
defense systems for air space, they were not equipped to register activity
in more remote locations such as the Middle East. The United States have
earmarked 38 million Czech crowns or USD 2 million to be put into the
construction of the “early warning center” in 2011 and 2012.
President Barack Obama last year announced the dropping of plans for an American anti-missile shield that would have included a radar base in the Czech Republic.
The Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj is planning to reduce its usage of drinking water by a third by the year 2015. According to a spokesman, the company wants to cut the amount of water used in the production of a liter of beer from 4.3 liters down to 3.5 liters. Long-term, Plzeňský Prazdroj is aiming to use only three liters of water for the production of one liter of beer. The company is planning to achieve water savings without the use of special technology. It has been cutting its use of water since the late 20th century, when an average of ten liters of water was needed for the production of one liter of beer.