The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has issued a black ice alert for almost the entire territory of the Czech Republic, caused by rising temperatures. The warning is in place from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. Temperatures are expected to dip below zero into the weekend with rainfall gradually replaced by snow.
Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková placed seven in the annual rankings of the world's best athletes, put together by US magazine Track and Field News. The two-time Olympic champion and world record-holder in the women’s javelin returned this year from maternity leave, securing gold at the European Athletics Championships. The Athlete of the Year rankings are topped by French pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and Polish hammer-thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.
The first babies of 2015 came into the world roughly a minute past midnight. A baby girl was born in Prague and a baby boy in the town of Klatovy in West Bohemia. Many regions have greeted their first newborns within the first hours after midnigt. The region of Liberec had to wait for the longest: its the first baby was born only at 10:30 a.m. Many moms strive to give birth in the first minutes of the new year, hoping for publicity and presents for their kids.
The Czech Ministry of Defence has sent cold-weather gear to the Ukrainian army, the ministry announced on its website. The donation consists of 10,000 items from surplus military stocks which are no longer needed by the Czech Army, such as winter coats, boots and earflap caps. The contract was signed by Jan Jireš, director at the ministry's Department of Defense politics and strategy on December 30, 2014. The financial value of the donation has not been specified.
Air pollution in the region of Moravia-Silesia, in the north-east of the country, improved on Thursday, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reports. Only two out of 16 monitoring stations, in Český Těšín and Orlová, are registering values below permitted levels. Meteorologists expect the situation will not be changing in the coming days. The Moravia-Silesia region is one of the most polluted in the country, with heavy industry, traffic and coal heating among the major factors.
The West Bohemian city of Pilsen has become one of the two European cities of culture for 2015, along with Belgium's Mons. The opening ceremony will take place on January 17. As part of the programme, the city will offer more than 600 events, such as the festival of new circus or the exhibition of the famous illustrator and puppet maker Jiří Trnka. The city has also constructed some new venues, such as the European house of culture, Světovar, for the event. The project, whose budget is around 430 million crowns, will end on December 12.
Emergency services and police in the Czech Republic received some 3500 calls on New Year's Eve, most of them in Prague, the czech news agency reports. Emergency workers in the capital were called to over 300 incidents, most of them ivolving people injured by fireworks. Fire services around the country also responded to a hightened number of calls,about twice as many as usual. Most fires in Prague involved rubbish bins and greenery lit by fireworks.
Hundreds of young Christians from around the world are in Prague for a five day ecumenical meeting of the Taizé Community initiated by Brother Roger at the end of the 1970s. Their meeting in Prague, from December 29 until January 2, is devoted to joint prayers, reflection and communion. The young Christians who have come to Prague are being hosted by local church communities in and around the Czech capital. The highlight of their stay will be a joint prayer in Prague’s historic St. Vitus Cathedral at 7pm on New Year’s Day.
Traffic police have warned drivers about restrictions in the city center on New Year’s Day in connection with the fireworks display scheduled for 6pm. Due to the vast number of people who are expected to turn up for the event the police will stop traffic along the Edvard Beneš embankment, the Smetana embankment and the Čechov, Mánes and Štefanik bridges for the duration of the event. Traffic along Letná plain where the fireworks display is taking place will also be stopped –including public transport.