The film Protector directed by Marek Najbrt triumphed at the 17th annual Czech Lion Awards picking up six trophies: the coveted award for best Czech film as well as the awards for best screenplay, best direction, best music, best editing and best leading actress. The Czech Film and Television Academy has nominated the film to represent the Czech Republic at the Oscars. Three Seasons in Hell directed by Tomas Mašín collected three awards, for best leading actor (Kryštof Hádek) best camera and best sound. The awards for supporting actor and actress went to Ladislav Chudík and Daniela Kolářová who both appeared in Kawasaki’s Rose directed by Jan Hřebejk. The special award for outstanding contribution to Czech film went to actress Jana Brejchová.
Trade union leader Jaromír Dušek has evoked outrage on the Czech political scene after telling a daily the transport sector was run by a clique of homosexuals. The transport union leader said in an interview for Saturday’s Lidové Noviny that homosexuals had a tight grip on decision-making and had people both in the cabinet and the office of the government. He has refused to apologize for the remarks despite coming under severe criticism from Prime Minister Jan Fischer. Transport Minister Gustav Slámečka accused Mr. Dušek of Nazi rhetoric, while the minister for human rights and minorities, Michael Kocáb, said he was shaken by Mr. Dušek’s stand.
The trade union leader is likely to find himself in growing isolation, both the prime minister and transport minister say they no longer consider him a partner for negotiation and trade unions are preparing a statement to distance themselves from his words.
Czechs have been marking the 160th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia’s co-founder and first president T.G. Masaryk. After a commemorative ceremony at his graveside in Lány on Saturday, the focus on Sunday moved to president Masaryk’s birthplace Hodonín, in south Moravia. The celebrations started at the local railway station on Sunday morning with the arrival of a historic steam-powered train once used by the country’s first president, complete with his original salon car. Outdoor celebrations on the town’s main square saw children release dozens of blue-red-and-white balloons, the Czech Republic’s national colours. Masaryk’s Museum in Hodonín has planned a special evening devoted to the life and legacy of the most respected Czech politician ever.
Earlier this week an exhibition dedicated to Masaryk’s life and work opened at Prague Castle and people also had a chance to visit the Masaryk Library at Prague Castle which is normally closed to the public.
Miloš Zeman who was elected chairman of the newly established Citizens’ Rights Party over the weekend, lost no time in kicking off the party’s election campaign in Prague. The former prime minister, who came out of retirement to give dissatisfied left-wing voters an alternative in May’s general elections, told supporters he knew a way out of the crisis. The party’s policy programme includes cutting costs in state administration, progressive taxation and a tax on luxury goods. Mr. Zeman was out in fighting spirit on Sunday saying his party was being described as a party of dinosaurs and has-beens, but he would show them yet.
Miloš Zeman, who led the Social Democrats to power, served as prime minister between 1998 and 2002, retiring a year later after he lost a bid for the presidency to the current head of state Vaclav Klaus. He was increasingly critical of the Social Democrats in later years and officially left the party in 2007. Some of his former allies have left the Social Democrats to join his Citizens’ Rights Party.
Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek has suggested that companies with a turnover of over 5 billion crowns a year should contribute one percent of their taxable profits to the development of Czech sports and culture. The question of how sports and culture should be financed has divided Czech political parties, although there is general agreement that the present system of funding is inadequate and needs to be amended. The Sazka lottery company, which was established with the aim of funding sports associations from lottery profits, has proved an inadequate source. Some politicians now propose setting up a special sports fund to be financed from the state budget.
The Czech Academy of Design handed out its annual awards for 2009 on Saturday. The prestigious Grand Designer of the year award went to Petr Babák from the designer studio Laboratoř for his work on the interior design of the National Technical Library in Prague. Fashion designer of the year went to Jakub Polanka for his collections Stardust, Re-evolution and Simple. Lucie Koldová was elected newcomer of the year for her furniture collection Home Fitness, while Bára Prášilová picked up the photographer of the year award for a series called Quicksilver Women for Esprit magazine.
Firefighters in the Novojičínsko region in Moravia, have been called to a second fire in a hay storage facility within the space of 48 hours. On Saturday a blaze in a storage facility in Kateřinice destroyed 200 tons of hay, worth close to a million crowns. On Sunday afternoon firefighters were called to a fire in the village Rybí, just ten kilometers away from the first, also in a hay storage facility. Seven firefighter units are on site, trying to contain the blaze. Police in Novy Jicin say they have evidence of arson. An investigation is underway.
Two people were injured when a car crashed into a passing train on a crossing near the town of Okřísky, Moravia early on Sunday. The lights at the crossing were functional and it is not clear why the driver ignored them or even failed to see the approaching train. Both the driver and passenger sustained serious injuries. The accident stopped rail traffic between Brno and Jihlava for more than three hours. Accidents at rail crossings are a major cause for concern in the Czech Republic.
Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štepánek gave the Czech Republic a 3-0 victory over Belgium in Bree on Saturday, beating Steve Darcis and Olivier Rochus 7-6 (7/0), 6-0, 6-3. The Czechs, runners-up in 2009, will face the winners of the delayed Chile-Israel encounter in the quarter-finals.
Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic came a close second in the men's 30km nordic skiing World Cup race in Lahti, Finland on Saturday. He was beaten by France's Maurice Manificat who came home in one hour 11min 44.2seconds. Bauer, just 3.6 seconds behind him said later it had been a fantastic race. Ilia Chernousov of Russia was third.
The coming days are expected to be sunny to partly cloudy with snow in places and day temperatures between 0 and minus 4 degrees Celsius.