A total of 1,475 foreigners applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year, according to figures released by the country’s Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday. The number was 50 lower than for 2015. Continuing a long-term trend, Ukrainian citizens made the most asylum requests, with just over 500. The Iraqis placed second on the list with 158 asylum requests, a jump of 120 on the figure for 2015. However, the government has since abolished a programme bringing Christian Iraqi refugees to the Czech Republic after a number moved on to Germany and others returned home.
Almost half of the wild boar in Bohemia’s Šumava mountains demonstrate excessive levels of radioactivity, according to the head of food safety section at the State Veterinary Administration, Jiří Drápal. The problem is caused by a type of underground mushroom eaten by the boar that is capable of retaining radiation from the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Humans would need to eat around 40 kilogrammes of contaminated meat a year to risk being affected, experts say.
A record 1,344,000 cars were produced in the Czech Republic in 2016, according to figures presented on Tuesday by the president of the country’s Automotive Industry Association, Bohdan Wojnar. The industry’s output last year was 8 percent higher than in 2015 while the biggest local carmaker, Škoda Auto, recorded a 12.5 percent increase in production. The sector is expected to see further, if slower, growth this year.
Events are being held to mark the 310th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The institution was created by an edict of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph 1 on 18 January 1707 with the aim of training engineers. Its establishment will be recalled by cultural events, lectures and other academic gatherings relating to the anniversary. A short film recalling the laying of the foundation of the university’s current campus in Prague 6 was screened on Tuesday.
The police are investigating the collapse of the roof of a sports hall in Česká Třebová in East Bohemia as a case of suspected reckless endangerment through neglect, the Czech News Agency reported. The roof caved in during a floorball game on Saturday. The 80 or so people present managed to escape from the structure and only two minor injuries were recorded. The crime being investigated can carry a sentence of up to eight years in prison, a police spokesperson said.
The Czech women’s tennis number one Karolína Plíšková has progressed smoothly to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. The 24-year-old, who is ranked fifth in the world, overcame Sara Sorribes of Spain 6-2 6-0 at the centre court of the Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday. After reaching the final of the US Open last season Plíšková is being talked up as a possible winner in the first Grand Slam of the year.
Footballer Tomáš Rosický has set a target of being able to play for Sparta Prague in the Europa League first round match against Rostov in mid-February. Rosický joined Sparta in the summer but has only played around 20 minutes following an Achilles heel injury. He says he should be able to rejoin team training around the end of the month. The away leg against Rostov is scheduled for February 16. Rosický also held out the possibility of playing for the national team if needed.
The last man on the moon, US astronaut Eugene Cernan – who never forgot his Czech and Slovak roots – has died at the age of 82. Cernan led the last manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17, in December 1972 and was the last man to stand on the moon. He took a Czechoslovak flag with him and brought back geological samples for Czechoslovakia from the mission but encountered an official cold shoulder from the communist regime when he tried to hand them over on a visit in 1974. Cernan visited Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic several times later and for the last time in 2008. His grandmother’s family came from South Bohemia and emigrated to the US at the start of the 20th century.
The Czech government agreed in principle Monday that wider consultations with local councils take place before choosing a site to store high level nuclear waste. But the government rejected a specific proposal put forward by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which also suggested that the upper house, the Senate, be involved. That idea in particular sparked opposition from other ministries and the government’s own legislative council which warned that dangerous precedents might be set. The industry ministry has now been tasked to create a working group to come up with new ideas by June 2018, after elections to the lower house of parliament scheduled to take place in October this year. The repository site should be selected by 2025 with seven sites now in the shortlist as possible locations.