In Business News this week: GDP growth slows, but remains above 6 percent; the giant Czech anti-virus company Grisoft buys a US company providing protection from dangerous web sites; US private equity firm Warburg Pincus acquires the second most popular Czech web portal; Ikea significantly increases its sales in the Czech Republic; bakery chain Paneria is set to expand to 30 outlets; and Prima TV sells a serial to a Czech-language broadcaster in the US.
Some time ago, several Czech newspapers and magazines started including film DVDs in their editions, following the example of various foreign publications.Earlier this year, the daily Lidove Noviny released ‘The Shop on the Main Street’, the first Czechoslovak Academy Award winning movie that I have since seen many times over. A brilliant psychological study, shot in 1965, the film is set in a small Slovak town during the Second World War and offers a thrilling yet chillingly calm view of the Holocaust. Another Czech newspaper, Mlada Fronta Dnes,
Cash-strapped Czech filmmakers have found a new source of income for at least the next three years. Last Thursday, President Klaus signed a so-called digital amendment, which will secure income from advertisements shown on Czech public television. The subsidies will be available until analogue broadcasting is switched off, which is going to happen in October 2010. Altogether they should amount to at least 425 million crowns (24 million US dollars). I spoke to Tomas Baldynsky from the State Fund for Support and Development of Cinematography and
Jaroslav Jezek, who died in wartime exile in New York at the age of just 35, is one of the legends of twentieth century Czech music. He is best known for the songs he composed for the famous pre-war satirical cabaret, the Liberated Theatre, and he was also one of the pioneers of Czech jazz, fearlessly crossing the borders between popular and classical music. In November 1934, the young composer – he was 28 at the time - came into the radio and talked about jazz.
In the 1930s Prague was a modern city, with a passion for innovation. New buildings were springing up, celebrating the technology of steel, chrome and glass, jazz and swing were playing on the radio, and despite the impact of the world economic crisis, the Czech love of the motor-car was growing fast. One of the gems in our pre-war archives is a report from 1st January 1936 on the city's first traffic light. The intrepid reporter is standing at a busy Prague crossroads, and we hear the traffic roaring around him.
News reporters at Czech Television are demanding an apology from the prime minister for saying that their reports were manipulative and biased. The news staff of Czech TV on Monday slammed the station's general director Jiri Janecek for not coming out in their defense and said that the accusations were so serious that Prime Minister Topolanek should either prove his claim or publicly apologize. They also want an apology from the outgoing deputy prime minister Jiri Cunek who accused them of buying information from the police and the state attorney's office. The accusations were made during heated debates relating to the case of Mr Cunek, who was forced to announce his resignation after Czech TV said it had proof that he had abused the country's welfare system.
Recently I had the pleasure of running into Gene Deitch, an 80-something American animator who has been living in Prague for over four decades now. The conversation turned to a documentary film we'd both seen about an obsessive collector of 1920s and 30s jazz and blues 78 records and Mr Deitch said, that's my kind of music, that's what I listen to all day long - on the web. That got us both rhapsodising about the multifarious joys of internet radio, though I am not sure if radio is the right word any more.
Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born
Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek has said he will sue Czech Television for claiming that back in 1997 he and his family had drawn welfare benefits at a time when he was making millions of crowns. The country's public broadcaster said on Monday it had certificates to prove that Mr. Cunek drew social benefits and housing allowances from the state at a time when he deposited 3.5 million crowns (close to 190,000 US dollars) into three different bank accounts. Mr. Cunek told journalists that all he had received from the state were birth and child allowances, both across-the-board benefits any parent is entitled to. However the daily Pravo on Tuesday published a copy of a certificate allegedly proving that the state provided Jiri Cunek with both a housing allowance and social benefits in 1997. Since entering high politics Mr. Cunek has been dogged by scandal. In February of this year the police accused him of corruption but the prosecution was halted due to a lack of evidence.
Starting next Thursday, our colleague David Vaughan will be introducing new series entitled From the Archives. As the name suggest he'll be dusting off some of the many unique recordings to be found in the archives of the Czech Radio. I asked David what drew him to explore the archives in the first place.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Czech agencies smash spy ring operated by “very aggressive” Russians
Prague City Hall terminates memorandum with e-scooter operator Lime
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home