Final Word from Monday, September 20, 2004





Our reporter crashed the Thomas Bata 90th birthday celebration on Fri., which MFD called the biggest social event in two years. Bata was in great form and must have shaken at least 200 hands and endured more than 1,000 clicks and flashes by photographers. Václav Klaus gave one of his most touching speeches ever and was met by resounding applause. Klaus also made a point of getting up from the head table to greet ex-Premier Miloš Zeman and ex-President Václav Havel. Eva Urbanová, a world-class soprano, reduced the crowd to tears with an opera aria from Antonín Dvořák's "Rusalka." Premier Stanislav Gross missed the singing. He showed up early to shake Bata's hand but slipped out before the dinner began, complaining of a sore throat. He's gotten quite a reputation for being a party animal, but Bata could teach him a thing or two about how to pace himself.

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