Regional development ministry to provide more funds for Mountain Rescue Service The Ministry for Regional Development on Saturday confirmed additional funds for the Czech Mountain Rescue Service by 15 million crowns to 110 million crowns. The Mountain Rescue Service or Hosrká služba, which on Saturday marks 80 years of its existence, planned to reduce some of its services, due to lack of finances. The rescue service currently employs some 70 people; another 380 rescuers work on a volunteer basis.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka repeated his objections to EU sanctions against Russia. Speaking at the meeting of the central executive committee of the Social Democratic Party on Saturday, Mr Sobotka said that toughening economic sanctions against Russia won’t change its attitude towards Ukraine. The prime minister also said it was important that EU takes a unified stance in relation to Russia and prevents the emergence of a new Iron Curtain in the east of Ukraine.
The number of Czechs over the age of 85 almost doubled over the past ten years, according to the figures released by the Czech Statistical Office in Friday. The numbers rose from 90,000 in 2003 to 175,000 in 2013, with women accounting for almost three-quarters of this section of the population. The percentage of elderly people is expected to rise. According to demographic projections there will be at least 214,000 people over the age 85 living in the Czech Republic in six years’ time.
Weather forecasters have warned that flooding may occur in south Moravia on Saturday afternoon as heavy rainfall could cause rivers to rise. The height of major rivers in the region such as the Dyje and Morava as well as smaller streams could rise to the 2nd degree flood alert. Up to 50 mm of precipitations have been registered overnight in Krušné hory in the north-west of the country.
A fire of a textile factory in the town of Těchonín in the region of Ústí nad Orlicí is estimated to have caused over 60 million crowns in damages. The massive fire, which is said to be one of the worst this year, started on Friday afternoon. Eleven fire-fighter units were called to the scene to battle the blaze. The cause of the fire seems to have been a technical defect, but investigation is still underway. The textile factory is owned by a German company Kümpers and employs hundreds of local people.
The US online retailer Amazon officially launched the construction of its distribution centre in Dobrovíz near Prague on Friday. The centre, which should be completed by the end of June 2015, will create some 2,000 jobs. Amazon was originally also planning to build another distribution centre in a Brno industrial zone, but the plans have been rejected by Brno City Hall over zoning issues. The US Internet giant is now looking for other locality in Central and Eastern Europe.
Two drug smugglers from the Czech Republic have been arrested at Lima international airport. The Czechs allegedly had three kilograms of cocaine in their possession, according to the website Tíseň.tv. One of the detained Czechs is Jiří Večeřa, a member of the so-called Berdych gang - the largest organized crime ring in the Czech Republic with links to former elite police officers and is said to have involved dozens of prisoners in jailhouses around the country.
The CEITEC Biotechnological Institute at Masaryk University in Brno opened its new state-of-the-art centre on Friday. The event was attended by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. CEITEC is a scientific centre for basic and applied research in the fields of life sciences, advanced materials and technologies. The research institute was established in 2011 with the aim to attract Czech scientists working abroad to return to the Czech Republic. Another four buildings are to be built on the premises of the research centre next year. The overall cost will amount to 5.2 billion crowns, with 4.4 billion being funded by the European Union.