Temperatures in the Czech Republic during the Christmas period should be above the long-term average, according to a regular monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute on Saturday. Daytime highs over the next seven days can reach up to ten degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to drop towards the end of the year, but it should still be relatively warm for the time of year, the forecasters said. The highest levels of precipitation in the next four weeks can be expected during the first week of January.
Three Czech women biathletes finished in the first ten positions in the 10 km World Cup pursuit event in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Saturday. The leading Czech women’s competitor, Gabriela Soukalová, came in the fourth place, followed by Veronika Vítková in the seventh and Eva Puskarčíková in the ninth place. Another Czech, Lucie Charvátová, finished fifteenth. Gabriela Soukalová is now second in the overall World Cup rankings, after being overtaken by Marie Dorin Habert of France.
Czech Army is ready to send some 350 personnel to take part in the Noble Jump NATO rapid reaction force exercise next year, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday, citing Defence Ministry’s overview of the military operations planned for next year. The army also plans to organise two large military training exercises in the Czech Republic, which are to be attended by some 300 foreign soldiers from several NATO countries. Among other plans for next year is a joint V4 military operation Slovak Shield 2016. The complete plan of the Defence Ministry will be discussed at a government meeting on Monday.
Czech MPs are to spend 29.5 million crowns on foreign trips in 2016, which is about the same amount as this year, Czech Radio reported on Saturday. Among the countries to be visited by Czech deputies are Vietnam, Cuba and Japan. Each member of the 17 parliamentary committees will make at least two foreign trips next year. In 2007, the Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution limiting parliamentary committees’ foreign trips to a maximum of three a year, with the exception of the foreign affairs committee.
The Czech police have completed testing of new uniforms and other equipment, the spokeswoman for the Police Presidium, Ivana Nguyenová, told the Czech News Agency on Saturday. The replacement of the equipment,including for instance new summer and winter jackets or sun-glasses, will start next year year and should be completed by the end of 2019. Czech police officers will also get a new insignia; the higher-ranked officers' silver eight-pointed stars will be replaced with five-pointed gold stars, while the lower ranked officers will have three-pointed silver stars. There are about 40,000 policemen serving in the Czech Republic and the whole project is expected to cost some 130 million crowns.
The leading Czech women’s competitor in the biathlon, Gabriela Soukalová, came fifth in the women's 7.5 kilometre sprint in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Friday, and keeps the overall lead in the World Cup. Her compatriot, Veronika Vítková, has narrowly missed out on bronze, with no missings in the shooting range. Another Czech, Veronika Puskarčíková, finished twelfth, reaching the best result of her carreer.
Ĺess than a week before Christmas Eve, Czech girl and boy scouts on Saturday began distributing the Light of Bethlehem around the country. The symbolic Light of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, arrived in the Czech Republic from Vienna last Saturday. On Friday, it was taken to St Vitus Cathedral in Prague where it was blessed by Archbishop Dominik Duka. Scouts are now distributing it by train to all corners of the Czech Republic for people to light their own candles. The tradition of the Light of Bethlehem first appeared in the Czech Republic after the fall of communist regime in 1989.
The State Nuclear Safety Authority has extended the operating license for the first reactor of the Dukovany nuclear power plant until the end of March. The present license expires at the end of this year and the power utility CEZ, which operates the plant, asked the State Nuclear Safety Authority to suspend the administrative proceedings concerning a new license until February 28 because it needs more time to carry out extended checks at the unit. According to the State Nuclear Safety Authority’s head Dana Drábová, the postponement will have no impact on the power plant's operation.
The Social Democratic Party has forged ahead in popularity ratings, gaining an edge over its coalition partner, the ANO Party, for the first time since February 2014. According to a December poll conducted by CVVM, the Social Democrats would now win general elections with 26.5 percent of the vote. ANO is close behind with 26 percent. The Communist Party would place third with 11 percent followed by the Civic Democrats with 8.5 percent and TOP 09 with 8 percent. The only other party to cross the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house are the Christian Democrats who would get 7 percent.
Petr Dohnal has been re-instated head of the Prison Service. Justice Minister Robert Pelikan made the announcement shortly after the Prague Municipal Court ruled invalid Dohnal’s dismissal from office by his then-superior, former justice minister, Helena Válková. Dohnal who was dismissed on the grounds of incompetence, filed a complaint against Válková’s decision saying she had blamed him for mistakes made by the previous management and arguing that his dismissal was unsubstantiated and illegal. His complaint was upheld by the present justice minister, Robert Pelikán.