Another Romany/Gypsy Attacked

16. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

A new attack against a Romany family's home was reported Monday by the Czech public television news. A Molotov cocktail was thrown inside the house of a Gypsy family in Ostrava, almost victimizing the family's 14 year old daughter. She managed to water down the bottle and nobody was hurt. In 2009 a 2 year old Romany girl was severely burned in almost all her body after a similar racially motivated attack. She spent 7 months interned in a hospital, going through dozens of operations and constant pain. There has been a renewed anti-Gypsy wave in the Czech Republic, propelled by economic frustrations (Romany families are accused by haters of milking the State for social benefits and of being chronicle pet criminals).

Only Czech Police Sees No Racial Motive Behind Attack on Gypsies

16. 3. 2010 / Ladislav Žák

The statement by the Czech Police that there is nothing there is no evidence that the Molotov cocktail thrown into a Gypsy family's home Saturday, falling in a room where a 14 year old Romany girl was sleeping, was an act of extremism, which is how a racially motivated would be officially categorized, is making me wonder if it is just me, or the world has gone mad?

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Who Are You, Actually, Mr. Pernes?

16. 3. 2010 / Petr Jánský

On the 4th of March there was a full page interview on daily Mladá Fronta Dnes with [historian and head of the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR)] Jiří Pernes, who has been recently been witch-hunted by the media for having studied at a communist school: "I am Not a Communist or Leftist".

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Darker Side of Prague

15. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

The most touristic and important street in Prague, Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí), changes color every evening. With the dark, come the Nigerians. They are a group of about 600 who "work" hunting drunk foreign visitors, trying to convince them to go to a nearby cabaret/brothel. Prague's center is packed with casinos and go-go girl places, thanks to the traditional Czech liberalism towards prostitution and quiet drug use.

Where the Czech Roma come from?

15. 3. 2010

The majority of Czech Romanies were killed in the Holocaust. Many of them moved through two camps set up by Czechs (independent from the Germans). Czechs never took responsibility for the atrocities committed against Czech citizens of Roma and Sinti origin in their land. The vast majority of Roma who live in the Czech Republic today are descended from the Slovak Roma branch.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009, issued by China

17. 3. 2010

China's Information Office of the State Council published a report titled "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009" yesterday. The full text of China's State Council assessment of U.S. human rights violations as published in Xinhuanews follows.

The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009 on March 11, 2010, posing as "the world judge of human rights" again. As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China, but turn a blind eye to, or dodge and even cover up rampant human rights abuses on its own territory. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States.


Euro? Not Before 2015...

15. 3. 2010

Czech Finance Minister Eduard Janota said the earliest date for the adoption of the euro by the country is 2015. Before it lowers the public finances' deficit to less than 3 percent of the country's GDP, Czech Republic cannot even start the process for being accepted in the eurozone. In 2009 the budget deficit went to 6.6 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), but the Finance Ministry estimates a drop to 5.3 percent. The overall deficit of Czech public finances for 2010 is estimated to be about 160 billion Czech crowns.

What is happening in the Czech Statistical Office?

12. 3. 2010 / Štěpán Kotrba

The Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) is having an unlucky week. On Monday the data regarding industrial output and construction progress was made public. The report was peculiarly poor, though. That was because it didn't contain the data about the development of each industrial sector. The next day an announcement could be found on the Czech Statistical Office's webpage, explaining that this was because of technical reasons, which they were investigating.

Czechs Still in the EU Outskirts?

12. 3. 2010 / Daniel Strož

I don't want to be so pretentious as to say that it was because of my articles on Britský Listy that helped move the current political activity against the systematic bullying of Czech citizens crossing the borders of Germany and Austria.

Important is that, after the unsuccessful attempts by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Kohout, who too easily got satisfied with the declaration of his German counterpart, Quido Westerwell ("In no way we intend to discriminate against the citizens of such a wonderful country as is the Czech Republic", or the Salomon-like "we are not breaking the letter of the Shengen Agreements, but in many cases it may happen that its spirit is not being fully respected"), other of our country's politicians started to fulfill their obligations. They are in politics exactly so that they can defend their people not only against internal, but also external wrongdoings.


New Doctors Leaving Czech Republic for Better Conditions

11. 3. 2010

Last year, immediately after finishing their university courses, 60 out of the 780 new doctors went abroad to work for better wages. Hundreds of soon-to-be doctors are planning a protest meeting in Prague this Saturday, and hope to discuss directly with the Health Minister, Dana Jurásková, who promised to come to the event. One of their main complaints is that, as students, they have to do the so-called residency time in hospitals and clinics, but that they are seldom able to do it for more than a couple of hours per week, getting paid such low wages that it is impossible to survive with dignity from them. Many hospitals take advantage of the money they get paid by the State to take in the Medicine students for residency stints, but they misuse their cheap labour. Some members of a Facebook group that unites over a thousand young doctors are asking for a general resignation: they want to make themselves heard by quitting en masse their residency jobs. Their gains of 2,600 Czech crowns per month (plus the State aid of about 8 thousand) are lower than those of an illiterate construction worker.


Czechs are Champions in Illegal Methamphetamine Laboratories

10. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

340 illegal methamphetamine laboratories were uncovered in the Czech Republic last year, the highest number in any EU country. Crystal meth has become a serious problem in the United States and some studies show that the drug made its way to America from gay tourists in the 1990s, who in turn got to what is called Pervitin in Czech Republic from local male prostitutes, a group among which the drug is widespread. Pervitin, or piko, as it is nicknamed, was widely used by the Axis forces during the Second World War to keep soldiers awake. The drug was later forbidden, but stayed alive in the underground in Czechoslovakia. It is the most widely consumed illegal drug in the country (considering that cannabis use is regulated, but legal). Its production is made easy by the over-the-counter sale of medicine containing pseudo-ephedrine, a crucial substance for the production of metamphetamine, found in common headache pills like Paralen.


Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 9.9 percent

9. 3. 2010

Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 9.9 percent in February, hitting a five-year high. The rate rose from 7.4 percent in February last year. Over 500,000 people are currently looking for jobs. In November 2008, just before the global economic crisis hit the country, the unemployment was at 5.3 percent.

Czech State stops extending work permits for foreigners

9. 3. 2010 / Milan Daniel

The author reveals a decision to not prolong the working visas of citizens of other countries who have been working in the Czech Republic -- a measure aimed at helping to ease the current unemployment rate of around 10 percent. In theory, up to 65 thousand foreigners could be affected. Just in the Pardubice region it could touch about 3 thousand workers. Petr Klimpl, director of the Pardubice Work Bureau, warns that some half of those workers -- mostly Ukrainians -- actually will not be affected by the decision, because they are part of areas not affected by the measure.

A full Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Benefits should go only to those railway workers who deserve it

9. 3. 2010 / Boris Cvek

Boris Cvek says he didn't want to write about it, but after reading a flyer from the Railway Workers' Union, while waiting for a train in Krnov, that said they would be striking in the name of all workers, then he changed his mind. "Why does anyone force upon me their position about the benefits and why exactly the railway workers?", he asked himself. "What is their concern over my benefits or mine over theirs?"

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Young Gypsies about to enter the university, but cannot enter disco

9. 3. 2010 / Kateřina Švidrnochová

In a text extracted from Romano Hangos- -- Kateřina Švidrnochová tells us about a yearly meeting that happened on the second week of February -- promoted by NGO Slovo 21 (that congregates foreigners in Czech Republic) -- of Roma/Gypsy students who wish to enter the university. Twenty-two students came, mostly from Brno, Pardubice and Prague. During the weekend they went through a series of tests that should show their personal and educational expectations.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

No, it is not understandable, it is against the law!

9. 3. 2010 / Jan Čulík

The Editor-in-Chief argues against some words written by author Kateřina Švidrnochová in her article "Young Gypsies about to enter university, but cannot enter disco". He opposes her assertion that "it is understandable that the owner of some business has the right to choose who he or she wants as clients, the same way as we choose the people whom we invite home for a visit", calling her position "unbelievable". Čulík says that this is once again evidence of either an amazing lack of consciousness from Czechs who dedicate themselves to Roma-Gypsy issues, or downright racism.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE


Foreigners in the Czech Republic:

9. 3. 2010

Foreigners in Czech Republic: according Czech Ministry of Interior's data from October 2009, there were 436,116 foreigners living legally in the Czech territory. Ukrainians made up a total of 132,481 formally working in the country, followed in number by Slovaks (75,210), Vietnamese (61,102), Russians (29,976), Polish (19,790), Germans (14,156), Moldovans (10,315), Bulgarians (6,346), Mongolians (5,924), Americans (5,803), Chinese (5,314), British (4,461), Belarusians (4,441), Serbians (4,098), Romanians (4,021), Kazakhs (3,896), Austrians (3,114), Italians (2,580), Dutch (2,553), French (2,356), Croatians (2,351), Bosnians (2,240), Armenians (2,021), Uzbeks (1,969), Macedonians (1,787) and Japanese nationals (1,581).

Modern Turkish Women Fighting For Their Rights For Freedom Of Religious Beliefs

10. 3. 2010 / Radka Svačinková

In what terms and ways is it possible in the Turkish society to accept a concept of a modern educated Turkish woman using a headscarf? Is a headscarf considered to be a symbol of a political-religious fight against the established Kemalist ideology enforced by the Kemalist members of the government and the army which supports the secular aspect of the country? Is a woman wearing a headscarf a priori submissive and fogyish as opponents to headscarf-covered women argue? And how educated and politically and civilly active women actually wearing a headscarf respond to this stereotype?

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

How Long Will Czechs Accept This?

9. 3. 2010 / Daniel Strož

Inspiration for the title of this article came from the last sentence in Jan Čulík's piece about gas prices going down in Britain, while going up in the Czech Republic. Consumers there lately pay up to seven percent less than here. "How long will Czechs accept this?", Čulík asked and it occurred to me that that question actually applies to a lot more than Czech citizens realize. And that it has to be mainly up to us, Czechs ourselves, the task of, with no further postponement, find the answers.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE


Czech TU leader attacks homosexuals

8. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

Czech Trade union leader Jaromír Dušek provoked outrage after telling newspaper Lidove Noviny that the transport sector was run by a mafia of homosexuals. He claimed that gays have a conspiracy to run the transport system, with directors intermingling with fellow homosexual members of government. He refused to apologize and was criticized by Prime Minister Jan Fischer, who together with the Transport Minister and a series of political figures declared they no longer consider Mr Dušek a partner for negotiation. The leadership of Czech Trade unions invited him for a meeting on Monday, to explain his words.


8. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

A generation that feels like home or were born in the Czech Republic, but educated with a so-called Asian work ethics. They are dedicated to their studies and shall be the same when adults in their work. Will there be an "Obama" named Nguyen in Czech Republic 15 years from now?


Are TU leaders entitled to attack homosexuals?

8. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

Context: Trade union leader Jaromír Dušek dropped a bom at the Czech political scene after telling a newspaper that the transport sector is run by a clique of homosexuals, who supposedly have a tight grip on decision-making and sexually-equals in the government. He refused to apologize for the remarks despite coming under severe criticism, including from Prime Minister Jan Fischer.

Question of the day: "What do you think of the Trade Union Boss' remarks about homosexuals?"


Miloš Zeman

8. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

Miloš Zeman, former Czech prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats (ČSSD), retired from politics after a failed presidential bid, recently announced his political comeback and in October 2009 founded the Party of Citizens' Rights (SPO).

Czech Contact Lenses

8. 3. 2010 / Miroslav Holub

When I first came to New York I often mentioned a curiosity I myself had no idea about until I met one of those foreigners who come to Prague and become poets just because they can get stoned at the Charles Bridge without being bothered by our sluggish police: contact lenses are a Czech invention!


Should Muslims build a mosque in Brno?

8. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

Context: The two-thousand Muslim community in Brno would like to expand their space by building a second, larger mosque. But many in the area and in the political arena are fiercely opposed.

Question of the day: "What do you think about Muslims wanting to build a new mosque in Brno?"

Too Gypsy for Czech Roma NGOs?

3. 3. 2010 / Jan Čulík

This short film by Dominika Švecová was done two years ago as a student work for a Edinburgh College of Art's Film School class. Originally it was not supposed to be longer than three minutes, but in the end it became a six-minute, deeply empathetic, slightly ironic, although sympathizing with, in an almost heroic portrait of Iveta, a Gypsy 40 years old dominant mother and her Slovak-Roma family, which nowadays live in Scotland's Glasgow.

I like how this film successfully seizes, in a clever short way, the humanity of the persons it covers, showing, with understanding, how much we have together with them.

This document was chosen for last year's "Scottish shorts" at the prestigious Edinburgh International Film Festival. The audience in the full movie theatre audibly reacted to some of the scenes, sometimes laughing at what they were seeing.

A note from Dominika's tutors from the Edinburgh College of Art caught me: "In this film is, among other things, how those Roma people are proud about themselves, for how they are in a much better situation than in their homeland, Slovakia" (Yes, in Slovakia the whole family regularly starved, while after coming to Scotland the children had problems ingesting food, because they thew up all the time, taking a couple of weeks until they could eat normally.) "At the same time they are unbelievably poor", she added.

The short film was offered to some Roma rights NGOs in the Czech Republic, they declined -- supposedly it is "too Gyspsy". Basically it seems that for pro-Roma organizations an authentic protrait of a Gypsy family is acceptable and welcome only if it shows them acting like white caucasian Czechs... :)


88-year-old communist prosecutor will be amnestied?

2. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

A District Court in the Western Bohemian city of Hradec Králové ruled last week in a closed hearing that amnesties given in previous years apply to Czech Republic's oldest prisoner, Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, the 88-year-old former communist prosecutor that was imprisoned in 2009 for the judicial murder at the Stalinist show trial of Milada Horáková, a famous and respected politician executed by the Communist regime in 1950. The verdict was appealed against and will be examined by the Supreme Court, besides also being reviewed by the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Requiem Mass for Karel Kryl

2. 3. 2010

Saturday, March 6th, at 18:00 in the Saint Marketa basilica (Břevnov Monastery) in Prague will be celebrated a Requiem Mass on the occasion of the 16th anniversary since the death of Czech dissident singer and songwriter Karel Kryl.

Jan Paul's Monitor:

I want to step out from my shadow

2. 3. 2010 / Jan Paul

For quite some time now a dark haired boy rides his one-wheel Circus'-type unicycle from Prague's Žižkov quarter down towards the Center's Na Poříčí street, mixing up with the the pedestrians, leaping over stairs while passers-by turn around, checking him out.


Czech Transport Unions plan a strike

1. 3. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

Transport unions warned that they are planning a series of strikes if tax changes reducing employee benefits are not modified by Parliament. The head of the Czech Transport Workers' Union Luboš Pomajbík said he had the full support of other union members. Right wing Civic Democrats Party (ODS) accuses the Social Democrats (ČSSD) of inciting the strike for electioneering purposes.

Martin Myant: The future of the Czech economy doesn't need to be bleak

26. 2. 2010

◄ An interview with Professor Martin Myant on the Czech economy

We have recorded a series of informative interviews in English on Czech history, literature and politics for Humbox, the British academic repository of cultural and political resources about European countries. Above, Professor Martin Myant of University of the West of Scotland, speaks about the Czech economy since 1989.

An interview on Czech history is HERE

an interview on Czech 20th century literature is HERE
an interview on 19th century Czech literature is HERE


Has the Czech Science Academy succumbed to the government's pressure?

24. 2. 2010 / Štěpán Kotrba

The Governing Body of the Czech Academy of Sciences decided to NOT allow Norman Finkelstein and other lectors to lead the Seminar "Current Situation and Possibilities for Solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Goldstone's UN Report about Gaza", which was supposed to have happened at the building of that institution on Narodni street, n. 3, in Prague this February 23rd (2010) from 10am, organized by the Center for Global Studies, a cooperative work of the Czech Philosophy Institute and the Prague's Charles University. The news of the cancelation reached the Seminar's guests during the previous day's afternoon. Organizers are still "trying to find out about the not yet confirmed information, why the seminar would have been cancelled".

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK on Britske listy  HERE

We will have ethnic conflicts in Czech Republic

24. 2. 2010 / Štěpán Steiger

Attention, this is not some conspiracy theory - even if only a few people know about it. Concretelly, two female and four male members of the Czech Parlament, as well as also members of the organizational committee in the lowe House, which approved the trip of this group of six. Where to? Well, to Peru, because there, in that official visit, this delegation will find out how to overcome ethnic conflicts.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK  in Britske listy  HERE

Problems of Czech citizens on the border with Germany or are we not part of Schengen?

24. 2. 2010 / Daniel Strož

The Czech public are more and more worried about the way in which many Czech citizens have been treated for already quite some time not only at the Czech-Bavaria and Czech-Saxon borders, but in the end even after entering dozens of kilometers into the German territory. They happen very often and mainly without any reason disrupting the well-being of Czechs through controlling steps and it does not depend on whether we are travelling by public transportation or by own private means, in own car. Controls on top of it are mostly not performed by uniformed policemen or customs inspector, but largely by men in civil clothes, without whatever evident label or indicative of being the authorized person for that.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK on Britske listy  HERE

The Impenetrable Walls of a Shameful Silence - Our media ad usum delphini?

24. 2. 2010 / Karel Dolejší

During Norman Finkelstein's visit to Prague I expected all kinds of things: hysterical campaigns against him and the event, accusations of supposed connections with the Neo-Nazis, the juggling with the mandatory deference towards the victims of concentration camps, which won't allow the delivery of critical words about the subject even in a thousand years. But that other than an awkward interview for mainstream television I would see literally nothing - really nothing -, well, that I was not ready for. I'm actually in a way glad for the outcome of it all, though: it shows everyone who wants to see, clearly and above all doubt, that the Czech mainstream media is not at all here to inform the public about the important and relevant affairs, but to manipulate and entertain with celebrity scandals, while in fact extracting us out of the real world.

Czech Telegraph

24. 2. 2010 / Fabiano Golgo

The Defence Committee from the Czech lower house of Parliament opposed a plan to increase the number of Czech soldiers in Afghanistan. The government wants to send 55 more troops to the over 500 Czech soldiers already there. 

The Czech army spent CZK 8 billion on weapons and airplanes without having launched tenders for the contracts. The MPI Group, owned by a friend of Defence Minister Martin Barták, supplied the army with ammunition for almost CZK 1 billion.

Nearly 10 percent of agricultural land in the Czech Republic is now used for organic farming. Around 400,000 hectares are practicing organic farming, 2,700 farms are using those ecofriendly techniques, in a year-on-year increase of about 20 percent.

The famous auction site eBay launched a Czech version (, but their PayPal system will not be available in Czech until the end of March. 

Czech Republic's Health Minister announced he is reducing an order for swine flu vaccine shots to 700,000 because not as many people as expected want to get vaccinated. The initial plan was to vaccinate about 1 million people.

Insider's Info: Rebel (paradoxically for being an Orthodox Constitutional and Tax Conservative) Republican former White House contender, Ron Paul, coming to Vienna in May for a seminar about his belief that the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes should be forgotten and substituted for those of the Austrian School (Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Carl Menger, Israel Kirzner, among others)...

Czechs Flooding Polish Pharmacies to Acquire Pseudoephedrine Drugs

24. 2. 2010

Czechs are even more often buying at Polish pharmacies, even if it is more expensive. That has been happening because it is still possible to buy certain pills that contain the pseudoephedrine needed to produce some narcotics, pills which can be bought in the Czech Republic only with a doctor's prescription, Ewa Furtak wrote for newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. The news first appeared on Głos Ludu, a Polish publication in Czech Republic and with reference to the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza also daily newspaper Britské listy.

Czech electricity supplier blackmails consumers using a combat unit

2. 2. 2010

ČEZ, the monopoly supplier of electricity in the Czech Republic, uses a "special forces" combat unit to take action against those Czech citizens who use electricity without paying for it.

The Czech police department for dealing with organised crime has now charged 32 members of the ČEZ combat unit with the offence of illegally entering private property and forcing non-payers of electricity bills to pay high financial sums for their "illegal consumption of energy". The targeted citizens were placed under strong psychological pressure. They were blackmailed by the members of the combat unit to sign documents admitting their debts to ČEZ.

One video made by ČEZ records a visit of the members of the combat unit at a man's property in the town of Poděbrady, in Central Bohemia, which ended in the man committing suicide.

The global economic crisis and the future of "remainder democracy"

2. 2. 2010 / Karel Dolejší

I don't deny that in the First World there are still considerable personal liberties and people are being treated according to the law and decently while this isn't the case in the Second and in the Third World. But these liberties are no longer supported by an economic and political system in which people live, and so they stand on very thin ice which can give way during the first chaotic or psychotic social situation.

Egon Bondy, Neuspořádaná samomluva (A disorderly monologue), Brno, L. Marek 2002, p. 102

The editorial in the London Times on 1st February, entitled "Which Capitalism?" points out that over the past fifty years, the image of the world has turned upside down.

There is no difference between current Czech politicians and the politicians of the communist era, says an opinion poll

27. 1. 2010

According to an opinion poll carried out by the Prague-based STEM polling agency in January 2010, 84 per cent of the Czechs are convinced that the privileges enjoyed by current Czech politicians are the same as the privileges that used to be enjoyed by the politicians of the former communist regime in Czechoslovakia. 87 per cent of the Czechs feel that Czech government and Czech politicians do not take citizen's views into consideration when making decisions.

Only 20 per cent of the Czechs believe that current Czech politicians are more honest than the representatives of the former communist regime. 40 per cent of the Czech voters strongly believe that current Czech politicians are less honest than the politicians in the communist era.

The opinion poll was carried out by STEM between 2nd and 11th January, 2010. 1297 individuals were interviewed.

Source in Czech HERE

What is the Czech Republic about?

25. 1. 2010 / Jan Čulík

On the November 2009 anniversary of the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, the Czechs were subjected to saturation coverage of the events of twenty years before. Media celebrations of the `1989 Glorious Revolution' presented the stereotype of `heroes of the Revolution' courageously defeating the `monster of communism', in a way that recalled the ideological and dogmatic style of political celebrations during the communist regime.

Originally published in The Edinburgh Review, January 2010..

Prostitution and human trafficking in the Czech Republic?

20. 1. 2010 / Karel Dolejší

BBC 3 has broadcast a one-hour documentary by Simon Boazman Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets. The programme deals with trips of British men to Prague for paid sex. The Czech Republic was presented in the BBC documentary as a transit country for the international trafficking in women. This is a gross distortion of facts, says Irena Konečná, the director of the Prague-based La Strada organisation which systematically analyses the problems of human trafficking and prostitution in Central Europe.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

The Czech Republic as a Paedophile Paradise

2. 9. 2009 / Věra Říhová

Sexologists have filed a study on the sexual behaviour of Czechs, which shows that today's younger generation is less promiscuous than their parents` generation and that they are not rushing into their first sexual experience. The results of the study were revealed on television and in the press. At first glance the study looks good for Czechs, even sexologist Petr Weiss is speaking about a sexual counter-revolution amongst young people.

A Czech version of this article is HERE

Planet Earth, PLC

19. 12. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

Two years ago, during the climatic conference in Bali, a plan to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol was approved. One of the main flaws of the Kyoto protocol was the fact that the quickly industrialising countries in the former colonial sphere of the West were not included amongst those states who were obliged to limit their emissions. The other main flaw was the fact that many countries, for instance the USA, until recently the largest world polluter, stood outside the Kyoto process for many years and basically blocked it (until Russia joined the Kyoto protocol in 2004).

Prague firm BNV Consulting talks of sacking employees in its Christmas party invitation

8. 12. 2009

Prague firm BNV Consulting has included a comic in its Christmas party invitation in which two of its employees apologise for being late coming to the party because "they still needed to carry out the sackings in Dopravní podnik, the Prague Transport Authority".

The comic also features one of the sacked employees of the Prague Transport Authority. He says: "Thank you for inviting me to your party. Even though I have just lost my job, you are great, mates!" He tries to embrace the woman director of BNV Consulting, who reacts with disgust and irony: "Huh! This is what I call a satisfied customer!"

Employees in the Hyundai plant in the Czech Republic strike against inhuman working conditions

4. 12. 2009 / Aleš Uhlíř

Employees of the Hyundai car factory in Nošovice, near Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, went on an unofficial strike on Wednesday 2nd December, 2009. They can no longer stand what they allege are inhuman working conditions in the car factory. The inhuman conditions are caused by the Czech middle management, not by the South Korean owners, say observers.

Working at Hyundai in Nošovice is "modern slavery. It is like in a labour camp here," said former employee Ondřej Franěk to the local newspaper

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Jan Fischer, Head of Czech caretaker government, commits the Czech Republic to the US missile base system without having a political mandate

23. 10. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

The Czech Republic does not have an elected government at the moment. The general election will take place in the spring of 2010. Since the Czech government fell this spring, the country has been ruled by a non-elected caretaker government of Jan Fischer.

Today, 23rd October 2009, Jan Fischer has lost the moral right to represent the Czech Republic as Prime Minister, argues Karel Dolejší. He became the Prime Minister of the caretaker government after the fall of the previous government of Mirek Topolánek. Topolánek was deposed in the spring of 2009 primarily so that he could not push through two agreements dealing with the US missile defence which he had negotiated with the US government of George Bush in spite of the fact that two thirds of the Czech citizens are opposed to the project.

A Czech version of this article in CLICK HERE

Ne Základnám and Moving the Goalposts

13. 10. 2009 / Sam Graeme Beaton

As a supporter of the Ne Základnám (No Bases) initiative during my brief stay in the Czech Republic this year, I have been reading with interest the ongoing debate that has featured in Britské listy concerning the effectiveness of the organisation in achieving its aims and broadening out of the `Czech Sphere' into the international community.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Moscow asks for clarification of the new anti-missile defence configuration

12. 10. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

During the three-day visit of the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russia three topics are on the agenda: The coordination of both countries'approach to the Iranian nuclear programme, a new treaty on strategic nuclear missiles, which should be signed before the end of this year, and the issue of the new configuration of the US anti-missile system in Europe.

A Czech version of this article is available in CLICK HERE

Prague firm humiliates Romanies

9. 10. 2009

Romany workmen from Slovakia, repairing pavements in the centre of Prague, are wearing yellow T-shirts with the inscription "I should have worked harder at school" implying that the job they are doing is socially inferior.

The T-shirts are a part of a commercial advertising campaign by the server, which emphasises the importance of education. The T-shirts were given to the employees by the Šlehofer company. The workmen agreed to put them on in return for beer and cigarettes. They do not think it is humiliating to wear these T-shirts.

"They don't mind, they are not particularly intelligent, anyway," says the employer of the workmen Frantisek Šlehofer.

Further information in Czech (with a picture) HERE


Obama's new anti-missile project will destabilise the international security system

19. 9. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

Obama's New Missile Defense Plan says expressly that in its projected fourth stage of development, around 2020, the Missile Defence System will be capable, as a result of the use of the SM-3 Block IIB missile interceptors, of controlling better the threat of short and intermediate range missiles as well as the future potential threat of intercontinental missiles, aimed against the United States (underlined by KD).

In this connection it is necessary to remind ourselves of the main Russian objection to the original US missile defence project for Europe, supported by George Bush. The Russians have always been afraid that Bush's missile defence shield would neutralise the Russian strategic deterrent because it would be capable of shooting down intercontinental missiles launched from the Russian territory.

The United States "to scrap the East European anti-missile project"

17. 9. 2009 / Jan Čulík

Barack Obama's government has indicated that it will scrap the "Star Wars" anti-missile project for Eastern Europe, since the threat of long-range missiles from Iran is now deemed to be small. The US government is however leaving open the option to re-activate the project, should the threat of Iranian long-range missiles against Europe become real.

The US missile defence has become an extremely controversial and divisive issue in internal Central European politics since the time when the Czech-language internet daily Britské listy broke the news in the Czech Republic, in July 2004 HERE, (Britské listy quoted by the Guardian newspaper HERE), that George Bush's government planned to build US military bases in Central Europe and was talking to the Czech government about this.

A night in the police cells in Prague

14. 9. 2009 / Olivie Brabcová

< Olivie Brabcová

I sympathise with squatting because I want the derelict building in Apolinářská Street to become an independent cultural centre, says Prague sociology student Olivie Brabcová (24). Because of this, I have been punished by 14 hours of humiliation by the police.

On Saturday 12th September, people were pushed out by the police from the house in Apolinářská Street to the pavements on the opposite side of the street. Sympathisers with the squatters constantly crossed the street along the zebra crossing, but they didn't bloc the traffic (they allowed a tram to pass through). Later, the street was closed by the police.

Suddenly, everyone was pushed out of the whole street. People were being hit by long police truncheons. The police attacked even those individuals who were sitting in the street. The police also attacked journalists.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

The Czech general election "won't take place until spring 2010"

15. 9. 2009

The early general election in the Czech Republic, which was to take place this autumn, will now probably not take place until the spring of 2010. The Czech Social Democratic Party decided on Tuesday 15th September not to support the motion to disolve parliament. The dissolution of parliament would have made it possible the general election to take place now.

The Social Democrats are afraid that more complaints could be presented to the Czech Constitutional Court, questioning the legality of the decision made by Parliament, which would lead to more delays.

Czech Constitution Court has cancelled the early election

10. 9. 2009

In response to a complaint by Czech Member of Parliament Miloš Melčák, the Czech Constitution Court has abolished the Constitutional Act which had shortened the current Parliament's term of office after a parliamentary vote of non-confidence, in preparation for an early general election which was supposed to have taken place on 9th and 10th October 2009.

It is the first time in Czech legal history that the Constitutional Court has abolished a Constitutional Act which had been adopted by a three-fifth majority of MPs. By doing so, the Constitutional Court has re-asserted its authority over Parliament. It emphasised that it has the right to examine, and, if need, be, to strike off the register even Constitutional Acts, if they are adopted "against the spirit of the Law" by Czech Parliament.

The Act was abolished because it was a retrospective and ad hoc decision, said the Constitutional Court. "Not even lawmakers are free to promulgate "laws" which do not have the required characteristics of a law, said the Constitutional Court.

The Czech Parliament has, in the meantime, been working on re-drafting the Constitution to lead the country out of the constitutional crisis. The re-drafted Constitutoion will probably be approved by Parliament on Friday. This would make it possible for the general election to take place on 6th and 7th November 2009.

Czech Republic infringes the Lisbon Agenda:

International corporations are being subsidised from public resources

7. 9. 2009 / Jan Matonoha

Matěj Šuster of the Prague-based "Liberal Institute" has recently, on the basis of a few titles of my academic articles, courageously rejected the relevance of the whole subject of literary theory. His courage is admirable, and I will try to repay the favour by writing a few impressions regarding the current effort of the Czech authorities to liquidate the Czech Academy of Sciences. I admit that I am not a qualified economist, yet I would like to discuss here what I see as the very strange paradox of economic relations between the private and the public sector in the Czech Republic today.

A Czech version of this article is HERE

Havel, Hegel and New Age philosophy:

Hauser doesn't know what he is talking about

7. 9. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

Michael Hauser finds it important to criticise Václav Havel's philosophical legacy. A criticism of his philosophical argumentation, written by a member of the Czech academic establishment, is surprising. It wouldn't be surprising in the times when Havel held the post of the Czech president and the media were interested in his various whims. But now Havel, the representative of the de-legitimised and moribund tradition of the "Velvet Revolution", is in political retirement. So it is difficult to understand why it is worth while to criticise his ideas. Is Havel well-known these days for anything other than his political influence from behind the scenes, which is based on his private connections?

A Czech version of this article is HERE

Havel, Schwarzenberg and other East European politicians: Why did they write to Obama?

17. 7. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

The sycophantic letter which a group of Central and East European politicians and intellectuals have just sent to Washington is an extremely interesting document. Straight at the beginning, the signatories say that they are greatly indebted to the United States and they want the US government to fulfill certain tasks, especially about European security. The signatories must however be very well aware in what precarious state the American economy finds itself at the moment and that the United States are seriously overstretched in many parts of the world. The signatories also know that the US Defence Department has just requested a temporary increase of the number of servicemen by at least 30 000 men. It is also expected that there will be complications in the relations between the US and Japan.

A Czech version of this article is HERE

Are Brzeziński and Carter "anti-American extremists"?

18. 7. 2009 / Karel Dolejší

Mirek Topolánek, the head of the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has reacted to the Social Democratic politician Lubomír Zaorálek's criticism of the "letter to Obama", signed by the former Czech President Havel, who now supports ODS, and former Czech government ministers Schwarzenberg and Vondra. Zaorálek warned that in his view, the "letter to Obama" moves the Czech Republic to the margins of the European Union. Prior to that, Jiří Paroubek the head of the Czech Social Democratic Party, criticised the ODS for moving towards the extreme right and asked Topolánek to dissociate himself from "xenophobic, antisemitic and pro-Nazi views held by members of the European Conservative and Reformist faction (ECR) and initiate their expulsion."

A Czech version of this article is HERE

The process which turned Milan Kundera into an informer

8. 6. 2009 / Jakub Češka

This essay is written within the tradition of French structuralism. It has been inspired by the work of Roland Barthes, who more than fifty years began the semiotic analysis of modern myths.

I am going to discuss a mythology which is almost exactly like those that Barthes analysed. I think this is perhaps the only framework for the "scandal", which has been created around Milan Kundera by the Czech newsmagazine Respekt. Roland Barthes (Mythologies , 2004) shows convincingly how persuasive is the labelling which turns the natural into something artificial and which gives the artificial an irresistible polish of "being natural", "self-evident" and hence "inevitable".

This basic characteristic can be applied equally to the denunciatory texts in which their authors construct a narrative on the basis of a single ambiguous clue of doubtful authenticity as to the way in which the material is laid out in the Respekt newsmagazine. The cover features a frowning caricature of the author, over which a headline is superimposed "Milan Kundera's denunciation".

The Czech original of this article is HERE.

Petr Třešňák, Adam Hradilek, "Milan Kundera's denunciation", Respekt magazine HERE

The Crisis of Czech Literature

6. 3. 2009 / Štefan Švec

On 31st March 2008, we published Štefan Švec's seminal article "Krize české literatury", which has provoked a considerable debate in the Czech literary circles.

Jan Čulík's Czech Translation Honours class at Glasgow University has produced an English version of this dynamic and persuasive text. The work on was extremely stimulating both for the teacher and, it would seem, also for the students. The class consisted of several native English speakers and of a number of native Czech speakers. The ability to approach the text in class from the positions of native speakers of English as well as from the position of native speakers of Czech at the same time provided an excellent opportunity to produce a high class translation of an important essay, which we now proudly present to the public.

The authors of the translations are Hannah Dent, Michael Sangster, Andrew Wallace, Kacper Kuznicki, Michal Mráz, Martina Urbanová, Daniela Šebestová, Zuzana Malá, Jitka Rejhonová, Pavla Červená and Petra Procházková.

Štefan Švec, The Crisis of Czech Literature: Some Superficial Marketing Twaddle"HERE

Před rokem, v březnu 2008, jsme vydali zásadní esej od Štefana Švece "Krize české literatury", která vyvolala v českých literárních kruzích velkou kontroverzi. Překladový seminář Jana Čulíka na Glasgow University tento text postupně přeložil do angličtiny. Je to nesmírně dynamický, energicky a inventivně napsaný esej a troufám si říci, že totéž platí o anglickém překladu: vypracoval ho seminář rodilých anglických i českých mluvčích a jejich interakce při práci byla nesmírně inspirující. Autory překladu jsou Hannah Dent, Michael Sangster, Andrew Wallace, Kacper Kuznicki, Michal Mráz, Martina Urbanová, Daniela Šebestová, Zuzana Malá, Jitka Rejhonová, Pavla Červená a Petra Procházková. Blahopřejeme studentům k dokončení vynikajícího příspěvku k zpřístupnění inteligentní české veřejné debaty mezinárodnímu publiku.

Štefan Švec, The Crisis of Czech Literature: Some Superficial Marketing Twaddle"ZDE

Resources in English on Czech literature, film and politicsHERE

Resources in English on Czech film, literature and politics

1. 2. 2009

There is very little detailed information, available on the web in English on various aspects of Czech literature, culture and politics, as well as on the value system of contemporary Czech society. We have thought it useful to bring together on a single web page various articles in English, dealing with various aspects of life in the Czech Republic. Many of these have been written by Jan Čulík, editor of Britské listy, as material for his students at Glasgow University in Scotland.

Na webu je velmi málo podrobnějších informací o české literatuře, kultuře a politice v angličtině. Rozhodli jsme se na jedné internetové stránce dát čtenářům k dispozici soubor článků v angličtině právě na tato témata. Autorem většiny z nich je šéfredaktor Britských listů Jan Čulík; mnohé z nich vznikly jako materiál pro jeho studenty na Glasgow University ve Skotsku.