The number of deaths on the roads in the Czech Republic increased for the second year running in 2015. Altogether there were 669 fatalities, 40 more than in 2014. The worst months for deaths were June and September, which each claimed 80 lives. The trend from 2008 had been for a falling number of road fatalities in the Czech Republic but that was already reversed in 2014 when there were 46 more killed than in the previous year.
Earnings from truck and bus tolls on Czech motorways rose to a record 9.7 billion crowns in 2015. That total is an 11.7 percent advance on 2014. The increase is partly due to the increased amount of traffic on roads caused by economic recovery as well as the hike in toll charges from the start of 2015. In its 15 years of existence the Czech road tolls system has raised around 68 billion crowns in revenues.
Nine items have been added to the list of Czech national treasures from the start of 2016. The list includes the Stará Boleslav Palladium, a relief of the Madonna and Child which according to one version was brought to Bohemia by the saints Cyril and Methodius. Other items added to the list are the Madonna from Veveří, a gothic picture of the mother and child, and the Vyšší Brod cycle, a series of nine gothic religions paintings showing scenes from the Passion. There are around 300 items designated as national treasures. The latest additions were agreed by the government in mid-2015.
A 40 –year-old Czech skier died in the Austrian Alps on Thursday. The Czech first collided with an 18-year-old German skier and then collided with a snow gun. He died of his injuries at the scene. It is not clear whether the Czech skier was wearing a helmet. Austrian police are investigating the case.
One of the biggest commemorations in the Czech Republic for 2016 will the 700th anniversary of the birth of Karel IV, or Charles IV, the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor. He was born on May 14. Karel made Prague the capital of his empire and was the founder of a series of institutions and landmarks which exist to this day. A major exhibition of the Czech crown jewels is planned at Prague Castle with the National Gallery also planning to show around 200 exhibits relating to the life and achievements of the king.
New Year’s celebrations passed off without any deaths and without major incidents in the Czech capital Prague and across the country. Police reported fewer revellers in the centre of Prague, especially on Wenceslas Square. An ambulance there treated dozens of mostly alcohol related injuries. Few injuries and incidents from fireworks were reported, though 18 people had to be evacuated from a house in Semily after it is thought to have been set alight by a firework.
In ice hockey, at the Under 20 world championships hosted by Finland, the Czech team lost against Finland 4:5 in a dramatic encounter on Thursday night. The loss means the Czechs ended third in their group and will face the US in the series of quarterfinals to be played on Saturday. Czech coach Jakub Petr pointed out the strength of the Finns on power plays with two of their five goals coming when they had a numerical advantage on the ice.
Twenty people, including one woman, braved the waters of the Morava river near Hodonin for the traditional New Years cross-border swim to Slovakia and back, the ctk news agency reported.The temperature of the water was 3.5 degrees C. ,the temperature of the air was below zero.The popular event, held on December 31st, attracted 550 onlookers.
One of the last surviving Czechoslovak WWII veterans, Brigadier General Alexander Beer died on Thursday at the age of 98, the ctk news agency reported citing Defense Minister Martin Stropnický. Brigadier General Beer fought in the Czechoslovak unit on the Eastern front during World War Two, where he was severely wounded. In 2012 he received the highest Czech state distinction – the Order of the White Lion from then president Vaclav Klaus.
Czechs are not big spenders on New Years Eve, according to the results of a poll conducted by CSOB bank. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they spent under 500 crowns on food and drink for the New Year’s table and only 12 percent said their expenditures reached 1,000 crowns. Czechs traditionally eat a wide variety of open-faced sandwiches on New Year’s Eve accompanied by sparkling wine.