Remembering Our Mothers (Na památku našich matek)

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Today is Mother’s Day and many of us visit our mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers … to spend more precious time with them and celebrate their motherhood before these moments only become distant memories. Jana Reichova, a well known Czech author of articles in the magazine Pozitivni Noviny that lives in Australia, wrote a touching story about her mother. We believe it still applies to many of us around the world:

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Lincoln Nebraska Has a New Czech-Slovak Queen (Lincoln Nebraska má novou Česko-Slovenskou královnu)

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About a month ago we had an opportunity to meet Stefanie Vocasek. She is a young woman of Czech origin, who was born in the United States and knows a lot about her Czech heritage. Stefanie is 22 years old and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is not only a student, but also has two jobs to support her independent and fascinating life. On top of that she just started making appearances at local elementary schools and events speaking about her Czech heritage. She has recently become the Czech-Slovak Queen of Lincoln and we were thrilled to find out more about her and how the Queen selection process works. We also wanted to find out how she was able to learn about Czech heritage so remote from the country her ancestors came from.

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A Magazine Connecting Czechs around the World (Časopis, který spojuje Čechy ve světě)

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Exactly 20 years ago, Eva Střížovská came up with a great idea that led her to the foundation of a magazine called Český dialog (Czech Dialogue). During that time Czechoslovakia became free of communism right after the Velvet Revolution. The country was going through major changes and its citizens were finally free to travel to almost any country in the world. As Czechs were able to travel abroad, the Czech emigrants had a chance to travel back to their home country. Here the magazine served its great purpose to help people to overcome barriers and differences between the Czechs at home and their countrymen that were artificially created by the Communists. Over the years, the magazine became very popular and it not only helped to overcome these differences, but it also led to foundation of the International Czech Club connecting Czechs around the world through cultural events, discussions, meetings and much more.

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Are Czechs Xenophobes? (Jsou Češi xenofobi?)

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Today we came across an article in the Prague Daily Monitor (PDM) named “Half of Czechs say there are too many foreigners in ČR. ” The title immediately caught our attention. Today, there are almost 2 million Czechs living abroad. The largest numbers of Czechs live in the USA, the country of people from around of world that has for hundreds of years accepted people from many countries. On the other hand, the Czech Republic is still mostly composed of Czechs (about 94%), followed by Slovaks, Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, etc. The influx of immigrants for 2009 is estimated to be about 1 per 1000 people = 10,200 foreigners. During communism, there was a very minor foreign immigration to the Czech Republic. Did the recently growing numbers of immigrants create a resistance to other cultures?

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New Web-Based Community for Foreigners in Brno (Nové Internetové Stránky pro Cizince v Brně)

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As we, Czechs living in the USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc. , are trying to assimilate in a new country, the expats in the Czech Republic are doing exactly the same. Today, English is spoken in many countries or it is taught as a second language. For example, 89% of students in the European Union learn English as their second language. We can’t say the same about the Czech language. It is not only rarely taught in Europe and other foreign counties, but it is also one of the hardest languages to learn. If we add our culture, customs, and traditions to this learning experience, we can talk about enormous culture shock and a tough life in the Czech Republic for any foreigner from around the world. Luckily, there are online resources to help others to learn about the country and life in the Czech Republic. The new Brno ExPats Forum does exactly that and it was created by two expats living and working in Brno.

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Mobile Technology to Improve Tourism and Travel (Mobilní Technologie pro Zlepšení Cestovního Ruchu a Cestování)

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The Czech Republic is very advanced when it comes to mobile technology, and cell phones are more popular than ever. The extensive usage of mobile phones is not surprising at all since you can do much more with them than just make a phone call. Major cities are using mobile technology to inform local residents and tourists about upcoming events and as a single user you can send SMS messages to purchase transportation tickets, pay for parking, or cultural events. These new services will make it easier for you when travelling without cash or a tour guide.

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Politicians, Scandals, and Charities (Politici, Skandály a Charita)

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You would never think that politicians and scandals would be found in the same sentence as charity but actually that very thing occurred in the following event. It all started three years ago when Miroslav Macek slapped David Rath’s head from behind at a Dentists’ Chamber conference. The fact that the whole act was caught on cameras makes it quite embarrassing; especially, since it happened just two weeks before parliamentary elections. The whole incident was resolved in court and a penalty for the act raised a large amount of money that actually aided several children from a local foster home.

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Do You Celebrate IWD? (Slavíte MDŽ?)

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March 8th can be remembered differently amongst Czechs and Slovaks at home or abroad. This day used to be known as International Woman’s Day (IWD). It started as a political event and later it was mostly associated with the communist regime and red carnations. This holiday is similar to Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day. It disappeared from our calendars for a while, but now it is back to bring awareness of the struggles and achievements of women around the world. Will you be one of people, who celebrate this day?

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Search Safely At Seznam.cz (Vyhledávejte Bezpečně Na Seznamu)

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The most frequently used search engine in the Czech Republic is Seznam.cz. According to Navrcholu.cz, it currently shares about 60% of domestic searches.  Google.cz is closely following with about 30% of search usage. It may also be one of the reasons why Seznam decided to make a wise change to its searches by announcing a safe filter to remove all inappropriate search results. Now you can search for text and photos that used to be hard to find amongst other undesirable results.

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Democracy in the Czech Republic Improved but Worsened in Slovakia (Demokracie v České Republice se Zlepšila ale na Slovensku se Zhoršila)

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How would you rate democracy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on a scale from 1 to 10? The question is not that easy and it requires consideration of many variables and a large pool of data. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has completed such study and according to their results, the Czech Republic showed a slight improvement in the EIU Index of Democracy in 2008. On the other hand, Slovakia’s index declined, compared to last year’s study results. The study was done in 167 countries and focused on the electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. Based on the total ranking numbers from all five categories, the Czech Republic fell in the full democracy range, whereas Slovakia fitted into the flawed democracies range.

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Czechs Bring 20% of Internet to Its Knees (Češi Položili 20 Procent Internetu na Lopatky)

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Where does the Internet start and where does it end? The Internet is as mysterious to some as the Universe. As a single user, you can’t tell how many people are using it, where they live, or what they are using it for. You just know they are out there. If you work for an Internet service provider company, chances are you already know much more about how the Internet works than most. Moreover, you could take control over the Internet and maybe prevent others from accessing it. This actually happened in one small Czech company and a tiny mistake blocked interned access to one fifth of its users around the whole world.

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Silence in Prague “Illuminates” the Vltava River (Ticho v Praze “Osvětluje” Vltavu)

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The title probably does not make sense to all of you that did not hear about the project “Transparency 2009.” This project started in the beginning of January and it will last throughout the Czech Presidency over the EU. The light creations introduce new visions and ideas of six different artists from different countries. The fifth exhibition by Ulla Rauter just started and illuminates the Vltava River every night after midnight. To us, this is the most interesting exhibit out of all five already displayed and it can really bring peace to your mind through the creative idea behind it.

 

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