The city of Prague is tightening security measures in reaction to Monday’s terrorist attack in Berlin. Police have blocked off Pařížská Street, the main entry to the city’s Christmas Market on Old Town Square. They have also installed concrete roadblocks both on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in the centre of the city. Similar measures have been taken elsewhere in the Czech Republic, including Brno, Jihlava, Pilsen, Ostrava and Liberec. Police will also step up their presence in areas with large crowds of people, such as shopping malls and public transport stations.
Czech employees spent on average 95 minutes a day on non-work related activities in December, which is three minutes more than last year and 37 minutes more than in the rest of the year, suggests a study carried out by the agency trueconneXion released on Wednesday. The study suggests that Christmas shopping carried out over the internet and smartphones is the main factor to blame. Martin Hnízdil of truconneXion also says employees spend more time online at the end of the year planning their winter holidays and sending Christmas and New Year greetings.
Czech electricity producer ČEZ is planning a general reconstruction of the country’s biggest hydro power plant Orlik, which is to take place between the years 2017 and 2021. The reconstruction may also include changing of its two Kaplan turbines, Martin Scheirer of ČEZ told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. Orlik is the largest retention reservoir in the Czech Republic and a fundamental part of the so-called Vltava Cascade, a series of dams and reservoirs on the Vltava River.
Some 35 percent of Czechs believe in God, which is a two-percent increase on the previous year, suggest a new poll carried out by the STEM agency. In 1995, when the agency carried out first such poll, some 39 percent of those who took part said they believed in God. According to the survey, some 34 percent of people said they were planning to visit a church during Christmas. However, onl about one tenth of the believers go to church regularly throughout the year. The survey also suggests that women, older people and people living in Moravia are the most religious social group.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has distanced himself from the words of Finance Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš, who said Angela Merkel was to blame for Monday’s terrorist attack in Berlin. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Sobotka said that despite having reservations about Germany’s steps concerning the migrant crisis, it was necessary to look for a joint European solution. He also said there was no reason for Czechs to restrict Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Meteorologist issued a warning over freezing rain and icy conditions across the country on Wednesday morning and lasting for the next few days. Freezing drizzle is expected to complicate the traffic situation mainly in the Vysočina region in the northeast of the country. Some smaller roads had to be closed down due to the danger of falling trees. Authorities appealed to motorists to drive with extreme caution and to find alternatives to heading out onto the road.
The current coalition government has brought the country both economic and political stability in 2016, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Wednesday at a press conference assessing the government’s performance in the past year. According to the prime minister, the government has succeeded in raising living standards, increasing both average and minimum wages and keeping unemployment at record low levels. He also said the cabinet earmarked more money for the intelligence services and increased their staff to make people feel safer. Mr. Sobotka also presented the government’s 10 priorities for the next year, including successful drawing of EU funds, increasing salaries, and new legislation on social housing and non-profit hospitals.
The Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr now has the joint second-highest points tally in the NHL. The forward, who is 44 and first joined the league in 1990, recorded three assists in his Florida Panthers’ 4-3 win over Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday to tie with Mark Messier on 1,887 points. The all-time points record is 2,857 for Wayne Gretzky. Jágr also scored 371 points outside the NHL during spells abroad.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová is feeling good following a surgery to repair damage to her hand caused in a knife attack at her home on Tuesday, her publicist Karel Tejkal said on Wednesday. During an operation lasting nearly four hours doctors sutured tendons in all the fingers and two nerves on her left hand, the one the 26-year-old plays with. Tejkal said she would wear a cast for six to eight weeks and would not be able to bear weight on the hand for another six months. Mr. Tejkal quoted the surgeon as saying Kvitová was young and healthy and there was no reason she couldn’t play again. The two-time Wimbledon winner was attacked in her home by a man who is still being sought by the police.