Czech Republic

One way to fight corruption

The old saying goes that sunlight is the best disinfectant when it comes to corruption…well the next logical step would be a tour surely?

Like many of his law-abiding compatriots, Petr Sourek resents how corruption rewards cheating and is a drag on economic growth. But unlike others he decided to try and profit—legally—from the Czech Republic’s sleazy intersection of business and politics.

In 2011 he created Corrupt Tour, a company that offers a series of sightseeing tours that highlight, and mock, some of Prague’s most outrageous corruption scandals in the post-communist era.

“We wanted to reverse the usual order of things,” he says. “Corruption basically feeds on business so we decided to start a business that feeds on corruption.”

The 38-year-old Sourek studied philosophy and the classics (Latin and Greek) at university. Something of a dabbler, he ticks off a litany of work—freelance writer, lecturer, translator and art director among them.  Read more »

How is that Global Warming Feeling in Europe?

A reader emails:

This week temperatures in the Czech Republic were the lowest in 130 years. The Prague Daily Monitor for 25 March reports:

“yesterday’s morning temperatures were record low also at some stations where temperature has been daily measured for over 100 years”

They quote previous lows as being in 1883, some 130 years ago.

I can tell you it is Bloody Cold in Europe. No Global Warming here.

The Prague Daily Monitor goes further:  Read more »

There is hope for Tame Iti yet

Tame Iti has dropped off the political radar while he cools his heels in prison.

However with the Czech elections coming up there is someone standing who make Tame Iti and his facial tattoos look all girly. He has tattoos on 90% of his body:

cb_vladimir_franz_czech_presidential_race_lpl_130109_wg

He’s tattooed from head to toe, a warrior-like mix of blue, green and red.

He’s also running in a surprising third place ahead of this week’s Czech presidential elections.

Vladimir Franz, an opera composer and painter, seems the most unlikely of candidates for a prestigious post previously held by beloved playwright-dissident Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, a professor credited with plotting the economic transition from communism to a free market.  Read more »

Pssst, I have a bridge for sale

ᔄ The Telegraph

Someone out there has a bridge for sale…true they do…perhaps a NZ First member will buy it:

Metal thieves in the Czech Republic dismantled an entire 10-ton bridge and more than 650ft of track.

The gang reportedly arrived at a depot in Slavkov, in the east of the country, with forged paperwork claiming that the footbridge over the disused railway track had to come down.

A Railways spokesman, Pavel Halla, said the cost of the theft was worth millions.

“The thieves said they had been hired to demolish the bridge, and remove the unwanted railway track to make way for a new cycle route,” he said.

“It was only after they had gone that checks were made and we realised we’d been had. The cost of replacing the bridge will run into millions.”

Scrap metal theft has can cost millions to the victims.

Tagged:

Vaclav Havel 1936-2011

Vaclav Havel has died:

Vaclav Havel, the playwright turned dissident who led Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, died on Sunday at the age of 75 after years of battling ill health.

“Today Vaclav Havel has left us,” said Sabina Tancevova, the former Czech president’s secretary, in a brief statement.

Mr Havel’s wife Dagmara was present when he died in his sleep at his weekend home in the north of the country.

Once a chain smoker, Mr Havel had suffered from respiratory and heart problems for years, but his health had declined recently to such an extent that public appearances became rare. He was last seen earlier this month, gaunt, frail and in a wheelchair meeting the Dalia Lama.

The Czech government will meet in an extraordinary session on Monday, and is expected to declare an official state of mourning. At Prague Castle, Mr Havel’s seat during his years as president, the Czech flag flew at half mast in respect for a man revered as the father of the modern state and an incorruptible force, always willing to defend human dignity.

At memorials to the 1989 revolution, well-wishers, some in tears, gathered to lay flowers and light candles.

A shy and softly spoken intellectual, Mr Havel became the figurehead of Czechoslovakia’s revolution after years of battling the communist establishment as a dissident, during which he was jailed three times.

His uncompromising stance on human rights and the need for peace helped to characterise the bloodless Velvet Revolution that swept away the mighty edifice of communist rule in Czechoslovakia in just a few dizzying days in November, 1989.

“Europe owes Vaclav Havel a profound debt,” said David Cameron, as tributes to the Czech statesman poured in from around the world. “Today his voice has fallen silent.”

Palming a pen

via BBC

A video of the Czech president pocketing a ceremonial pen on a state visit to Chile has become an YouTube hit, attracting 1.5 million views.

The clip shows Vaclav Klaus admiring the jewel-encrusted pen at a news conference with the Chilean president, before discreetly stashing it away.

Chilean officials say that their visitors are free to take the pens after official signing ceremonies.

However the clip has caused an embarrassing media stir for the leader.

Czech TV broadcast the video with red circles and arrows highlighting the pen, which was then posted online with a “crime scene” soundtrack.

I wonder if McCully has ever palmed a pen?