A four-star hotel opened at Prague’s landmark Dancing House building on Tuesday. Most guests at the city’s best-known building of the post-1989 era can enjoy views of Prague Castle from the two-storey part of the structure that has been converted into the hotel. One of the investors in the project, former soccer star Vladimír Šmicer, said the hotel might be expanded in a couple of years if the venture proves a success. The Dancing House was designed by Frank Gehry and local architect Vlado Milunic and was opened in 1996.
Young people in the Czech Republic drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and take drugs less than they did five years ago, according a Europe-wide study. However, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs still found that Czech 16-year-olds have more experience with such habits than average Europeans of their age. While 8.2 percent of Czech teens smoked in 2011, last year the number had fallen to 4.5 percent.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says he would vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump in November’s US presidential election if he had American citizenship. Speaking to iDnes.cz, Mr. Zeman said if elected Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton would follow the unsuccessful policies of President Obama. Mr. Obama has managed to unsettle the entire Middle East, the Czech head of state told the news website. Mr. Zeman compared Mr. Trump to Ronald Reagan, who he said had initially been ridiculed as a “dumb actor” but went on to become one of the greatest US presidents.
From next year car drivers in the Czech Republic will not need motorway vignettes to use certain sections of motorway, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, announced on Tuesday. The 11 sections of motorway set to become free to use are mainly on the outskirts of cities such as Prague, Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem. Mr. Ťok said his ministry was unlikely to see much of a falloff in revenues thanks to the change, which he said was intended to help local drivers who at present do not use the sections of motorway concerned.
The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, says he expects the coalition government to approve next year’s budget on Wednesday. Mr. Babiš said he would discuss outstanding questions at a meeting of government leaders prior to a cabinet session. The ANO chief told reporters on Tuesday that the budget deficit for 2017 should remain at CZK 60 billion. Mr. Babiš said agreement still had to reached with the Ministry of the Interior, which is controlled by the Social Democrats and is seeking extra funding for the police to combat terrorism, and the Ministry of Regional Development, which is controlled by his party.
Speaking at the United Nations in New York, the Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, called for efforts to address the causes of migration in refugees’ countries of origin. At a one-day summit focused on refugees and migrants, Mr. Zaorálek said states should work to ensure that citizens had such dignified living conditions that they would have no need to move. The Czech foreign policy chief also said that there was a clear threat of infiltration of migration flows by violent extremists that needed to be thoroughly addressed; the protection of migrants and refugees has to be balanced with the rights of receiving countries to ensure security, Mr. Zaorálek said.
The Czech Republic’s foreign debt increased by CZK 133 billion in the second quarter of this year to reach CZK 3.353 trillion, according to figures just released by the Czech National Bank. The country’s foreign debt is equivalent to 72 percent of its gross domestic product. The Czech Republic’s foreign debt exceeded the CZK 3 trillion mark for the first time last year. It crossed the CZK 2 trillion line in 2010, six years after reaching CZK 1 trillion for the first time.
The Czech cyclist Leopold König has announced that he will return to Germany’s Bora, for which he will be team leader in the 2017 Tour de France, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. There had been speculation during this year’s Tour de France that the Czech would rejoin Bora (formerly known as NetApp-Endura), which has also made other significant reinforcements ahead of next season. König, who is 28, signed on with the world’s wealthiest cycling stable Team Sky in 2015.
The Czech national hockey team lost their second-straight game at the World Cup of Hockey, outplayed by Team Europe who won 3-2 in overtime. A brave effort by goalie Petr Mrázek, who stopped 38 shots, saw the team at least salvage a point. The Czechs, with a single point, will need favorable results from other teams to have a chance at a tie-breaker to advance. They play the United States on Thursday.
Members of the Russian dissident art group Voina (War) Oleg Vorotnikov, his wife Natalya Sokol and their daughter were detained in Prague on September 18, the Russian service of Radio Europe/Radio Liberty reported Monday. According to RFE/RL, Ms Sokol and her daughter were released but Mr Vorotnikov remains in custody and could reportedly face extradition to Russia. The Czech authorities did not immediately comment. Mr Vorotnikov and his wife left Russia in 2011 and have applied, but failed to receive, political asylum in a number of European countries. Both are reportedly wanted by the Russian authorities for apparent 'hooliganism'. The highly political Voina street-art group became famous internationally for statements like painting a giant phallus on a drawbridge facing the St. Petersburg headquarters of the Federal Security Service or, in another event, for overturning a police car on the pretense of "searching" for a child's lost ball.