IRRESPONSIBLE OPTIMISTS? The state of economy is likely to occupy the media's headlines a great deal.
Now, the Czech Republic has been hit sorely by the global crunch, with thousands losing their jobs and some even illusions. And yet, there are optimists who dare say the economic crisis could go as unexpectedly as it came.
"When the economy falls so quickly, it's an indication that the problems came from the outside," says Lubomír Lízal, an expert at the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Lízal says the Czech industry was without problems until September. Trouble only started when demand for Czech exports fell.
The Czech Republic relies on exports more than other countries. Export constitutes four-fifths of the country's economic production.
According to sceptics, foreign companies are afraid to invest in central and eastern Europe because they consider this region unstable. This doesn't need to end with the fall of the crown, the złoty or the forint, western companies can also withdraw their investments into local firms.
Optimists say the crown can help cushion the impact of the cisis and the Czechs will be able to cope better with the crisis than the Slovaks, who lost this advantage in January with adopting euro. Whose side to take, that is the question.
EXEMPLARY BOSS, PRAISED BY TRADE UNIONS. Bossed do not often get praised by trade unions. This one does.
Pavel Juříček, the general director and owner of the company Brano Group, which has almost 2,500 employees, has started paying himself a minimum wage because of the current economic situation.
Trade unions treasure Juříček's step and hope that others may follow suit.
The fifty-one-year-old man, who won the prestigious title Entrepreneur of 2006 for directing a company with more than a billion of authorised capital, will start receiving a gross wage of CZK 8,000 a month.
ATTACHED TO EUROPE. Majority of the citizens in the Czech Republic feel European and are content with the country's EU membership, according to the poll conducted by polling agency STEM.
In general, around 76 percent of Czechs feel attached to Europe. These are mostly people of younger age, with higher education and surprisingly, right-wing leaning.
TRACKING DOWN UNKNOWN HEROES. The Jewish Museum in Prague decided to track down names and lives of people whose portraits have been preserved in hundreds of photos dating back to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and stored in the Museum.
The pictures document lives and activities of the Jewish community members under the occupation forces' administration during the World War II. Now the Museum is asking public to help find these people. Have a look at the photogallery of the pictures. You never know.
CZECHS GET MORE THAN THEY GIVE. Last year was rather generous for the Czech Republic in terms of the EU funds.
The country has "earned" by CZK 22.9 billion more than it put in. The Czech Republic delievered CZK 35.4 billion tothe EU and received CZK 58.3 billion.
Since its accession to the EU in 2004, it is the best result for Czechs, according to the Ministry of Finances. In 2007, the Czech Republic received around CZK 12 billion.
BIDDING FAREWELL. International cultural and spiritual centre Prague Crossroads (Pražská křižovatka) saw hundreds of people come to bid farewell to late Jan Kaplický.
Among those who came to pay homage to Jan Kaplický were Social Democrats' chairman Jiří Paroubek and his rife Petra, former minister Jiří Dienstbier, Czech-born architect Eva Jiřičná, singer and the architect's friend Pavel Bobek and plenty others.
Former president Václav Havel wrote a letter to Kaplický's daughter Johanka.
She was born on the same day Kaplický died and Havel was taken to hospital a few days before that.
"I wish you not to have to face narrow-mindedness more than it would be necessary in your life," says Václav Havel in his letter to a few weeks' old Johanka. The letter was read by his wife Dagmar Havlová.
KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR. Following two weeks of hospitalization, former president Václav Havel was finally released from hospital.
Václav Havel was taken to Prague's Motol hospital January 13 with severe breathing problems. He underwent a minor surgery. His condition was stable at first but later grave serious.
This time the doctors admitted that it was very serious and Havel himself confessed in a letter addressed to late Kaplický's daughter Johanka that he was knocking on heaven's door.
CZECH LIONS TO BE AWARDED SOON. Has it ever crossed your mind why one of the Czech state symbols is a lion when lions live only in zoos in this country? Well, now there is a film award named exactly after the king of the jungle. And it is coming soon.
The Karamazovs, Tobruk and Country Teacher are the three Czech films that have been shortlisted for the highest award of achievement in film awarded in the Czech Republic. The Czech Lion award is the country's version of the Oscars and will be announced on March 7.
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