The Czech brewer Budvar last year exported almost 600,000 hectolitres, the greatest amount in the company’s 112-year history. A Budvar representative said exports had increased by nearly 6 percent in 2007. The south Bohemia brewer saw a hike in sales in Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Russia and exported its lager to states such as South Korea, Brazil and Albania for the first time. It now sells its beer in over 50 states around the world. Budvar is one of the Czech Republic’s three largest brewers, alongside Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen.
The leader of the Green Party Martin Bursík has apologised for an email he accidentally sent to Olga Zubová in which he referred to the Green MP as a “cow”. Ms Zubová’s failure to attend a second presidential vote recently made it easier for Václav Klaus to win re-election; she said she was ill, though Mr Bursík and other senior Greens questioned her behaviour. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the party’s leader apologised for the email, saying it was a mistake made under pressure.
The most productive Czech ice hockey player in the NHL this season Václav Prospal has left Tampa Bay Lightning for the Philadelphia Flyers. The move means the forward returns after a decade to the club where he was drafted back in 1993. Prospal, who is 33, is a two-time world champion with the Czech national team.
An expert group on sexual minorities working under the minister for human rights and minorities, Džamila Stehlíková, has proposed a number of changes to Czech law, including a provision to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, Lidové noviny reported. The expert group’s proposals, which have been posted on the internet, also include widow’s and widower’s pensions for the surviving partner in registered homosexual couples. Same-sex registered partnerships were introduced in the Czech Republic in July 2006.
The Czech prime minister expects that the Czech Republic will sign an agreement with the United States on the building of a US radar base in central Bohemia around the time of a NATO summit in Bucharest at the beginning of April. Mr Topolánek made the comments on his way to Washington. He said discussions in the US capital would take in how the US anti-missile system would be linked to NATO structures and Russia’s opposition to the plan. The Czech side is also demanding that its scientists are given a role in anti-missile research and development. Prime Minister Topolánek is set to hold talks with President George Bush on Wednesday.
The Czech internet search websites Centrum.cz and Atlas.cz are to merge under a deal announced on Tuesday. Atlas is being bought by NetCentrum, which is owned by the American private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The new group should have combined user numbers of over 4 million and be a strong competitor to the biggest search site Seznam.cz, which has around 4.5 million users. Centrum and Atlas will maintain their names and current forms.
The new Czech ambassador to Belgrade says the Czech president, Václav Klaus, is prepared to visit Serbia in the near future. Hana Hubáčková, who takes office in Belgrade next month, made the statement after meeting Mr Klaus in Prague on Tuesday. The Czech president has expressed fears over developments in Kosovo, which recently ceded unilaterally from the former Yugoslav state. Mr Klaus said he understood the frustration and disappointment of Serbs, adding that the cession of Kosovo could have consequences for other countries in Europe and around the world. The Czech Republic has not yet recognised the independence of Kosovo; the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said it would do so when the time was right.
Several events are taking place across the Czech Republic on Monday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Communist coup of 1948. President Václav Klaus and the head of the Association of Political Prisoners Naděžda Kavalírová are due to attend a gathering at Prague Castle on Monday evening. A memorial event has been held at the Czech Senate, while an academic conference on the subject is being opened by the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek. On February 25 1948 the Communists seized power in post-war Czechoslovakia in a bloodless coup. In the period of Communist rule from 1948 to 1989, over 262,000 political prisoners were jailed or sent to labour camps, where thousands perished. A further 241 people were executed, having been found guilty of performing ‘anti-communist acts’.
The Czech Republic has not been implementing EU directives into its statute books on time and may face court proceedings and fines by the European Commission, the daily Právo reported. The Czech Republic, which is reportedly lagging behind all other EU countries in this respect, has yet to implement 55 directives on the EU internal market. The country has been having trouble meeting the deadlines for several years, with the biggest delay in health care. The Finance Ministry has dismissed the criticism, claiming that the Czech Republic is no worse than most other EU countries in this regard.
The Czech musician Markéta Irglová and her Irish partner Glen Hansard have won an Academy Award for best original song for Falling Slowly from the low-budget film Once, in which both starred. There was loud cheering at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, when Irglová, collecting the award, told the audience that the song’s success was “proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible”. Hers was not the only Czech success at the 80th Oscars ceremony: The Counterfeiters, based on a book by 90-year-old Prague resident Adolf Burger, took the award for best foreign language film.
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