Posts Tagged ‘Czech Republic’

Czechs will have to shift from Becherovka and Slivovice to Rum

December 16, 2016


There is hope for international debt resolution by good old-fashioned barter.

It would not be possible to wean the Czechs away from beer. And I rather like Slivovice. The only alternative left for Cuba is to run a marketing campaign in the Czech Republic to get people to shift from Becherovka to Rum.

That should not be impossible.

The problem for the Greeks to use a similar method would be that brainwashing would be needed for anyone to like ouzo.



Cuba has come up with an unusual way to repay its multimillion dollar debt to the Czech Republic – bottles of its famous rum, officials in Prague say. The Czech finance ministry said Havana had raised this possibility during recent negotiations on the issue.

Cuba owes the Czech authorities $276m (£222m), and if the offer is accepted the Czechs would have enough Cuban rum for more than a century.

However, Prague said it preferred to get at least some of the money in cash.

Havana’s debt dates back from the Cold War era – when Cuba and what was at the time Czechoslovakia were part of the communist bloc. Cuba now does not have much money but it does have lots of rum – hence this unusual proposal, says the BBC’s Rob Cameron in Prague.

The Czech finance ministry said repayment was possible either with rum or pharmaceutical drugs.


Many, many years ago I remember a deal where we accepted that power plant equipment would be paid for with cotton. But that deal went very sour. If of only we had accepted banana liquor instead of cotton.


Czechs jump off the renewables train to nowhere

July 30, 2013

From Power Engineering:

The Czech Republic’s government has voted to end support for renewable power generation in a bid to reduce rising consumer electricity bills.

The law proposes to stop subsidies for new projects and goes in to effect from 2014.

Subsidies for renewable-power sources have raised prices for Czech energy users in the past three years as the cost is passed on through customer bills.

Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok said in the statement, that rising electricity prices “threatens the competitiveness of our industry and raises consumers’ uncertainty about power prices.”

Only hydro, wind and biomass power plants that got construction permits in 2013 will be eligible for support if they’re completed before the end of 2014, the statement said.

Václav Havel – RIP

December 18, 2011


Václav Havel, the Czech Republic’s first president after the Velvet Revolution against communist rule, has died at the age of 75. As president, he presided over Czechoslovakia’s transition to democracy and a free-market economy. He oversaw its peaceful 1993 split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Havel first came to international fame as a dissident playwright in the 1970s through his involvement with the human rights manifesto Charter 77.

.. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter: “Vaclav Havel was one of the greatest Europeans of our age. His voice for freedom paved (the) way for a Europe whole and free.”

In the early 1990’s I was once trying to sell a district-heating and power plant to be built in Ostrava in the then Czechoslavakia. Eventually the project did not go forward with the split in 1993 into Slovakia and the Czech Republic but I had the opportunity (and the privilege) to once present the project to President Vaclav Havel. He was a playwright by profession but his questions were pointed and precise. I found him remarkably sharp and capable in grasping the finer points in technical and economic arguments.

The Charter 77 declaration is here: Charter 77 declaration

Bulgaria: Arch-Rival Klaus: Havel and I Had Fruitful Disputes

Czeck President Vaclav Klaus (L) as he succeeds outgoing President Vaclav Havel (R) in 2003. SNA File photo

SNA: Havel passed away on Sunday after a protracted respiratory disease, just after turning 75 October 5.

“It was Havel who invited me to the emerging Civic Forum,” said Klaus in an official address Sunday, referring to the platform that led then-Czechoslovakia to democratization away from the communist regime.

The two Vaclavs went on to become arch-rivals in their visions for the development of the Czech Republic.


Plagiarising politicians and weekend Doctorates in the Czech Republic

November 4, 2011

The status conferred by academic titles in the Czech Republic is almost as strong as in Germany. Whereas in Germany it is the title of “Doctor” which is most sought after by politicians – as a stamp of public acknowledgement that one is a “deep thinker” – even a Masters degree in the Czech Republic can lead to the title  Pani magistra” or literally “Mrs Master’s degree holder.

Petty politicians appending academic titles to enhance their electoral chances is not of course so uncommon. What is surprising for me is that Prague and its citizens, who I think are extremely sophisticated and discerning in matters academic and who have a strong sense of the long academic traditions of the city, would be taken in by such nonsense.

And the mass-production of fake doctorates  by the law faculty of the University of West Bohemia (ZČU) in Plzeň  led to over 300,000 degree awards being audited in 2009! This even led to a Wikileaks cable from the US Embassy in Prague ( Wikileaks id #233660) in November 2009 about the scandal and reporting:

A joke is making the rounds: “What are you doing this weekend?” Answer: “Getting a law degree.”

Czech position  now reports that yet another politician is accused of plagiarism – this time for a Master’s thesis.

Prague district mayor ‘plagiarized’ his master’s thesis

… Two prominent academics who separately examined the master’s thesis of Prague 11 mayor Dalibor Mlejnský (Civic Democrats, ODS), due to suspicions of plagiarism, say the majority of the paper was indeed copied verbatim — and almost completely lacked citation. Mlejnský’s thesis titled “The History of Charles University” was lifted from two books (Jacques LeGoff’s “Intellectuals in the Middle Ages” and, more obviously, volumes of “The History of Charles University” by various scholars over the centuries, according to the two academics, who had been asked by the state broadcaster to make the expert assessments.


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