Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has suggested that part of excise tax revenues from alcohol and tobacco could in the future go into a special fund run by the Health Ministry to be used for investment in hospitals. One reason, the prime minister said, was an expected drop in the future in EU funds. The prime minister made clear he wanted to open the issue of how best to invest in the health sector ahead of this year's parliamentary elections.
Seventeen-year-old Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva defended her European title and set a new world record at the European Championships in Ostrava on Friday, defeating the previous record set by Yuna Kim from the 2010 Olympics. Medvedeva tallied 229.71 points for the triumph; NBC News described the champion as "looking like the most dominant women's skater in 30 years". In the competition, Czech skater Michaela Lucie Hanzlíková finished outside the top ten.
More than a dozen volunteers set out on Saturday to look for a 12-year-old girl who went missing some two weeks ago in Ústí nad Labem. The group, organized by former actress Michaela Kudláčková, aimed to search a forested area called Střížovický vrch, located not far from the child's home. A friend of the missing girl is also involved, helping search parts of the area both knew well. The search was organized on facebook and had not been coordinated with the police, police spokeswoman Veronika Hyšplerová said.
Prague Castle has welcomed the executive decision by US President Donald Trump to implement a 120-day ban on the entry of refugees; Jiři Ovčáček, the spokesman for Czech President Miloš Zeman, made a statement on twitter confirming his boss's support for the move. He said that Mr Trump, as well as the Czech president, were doing the opposite of what the "EU elites" were doing (in his view, protecting their citizens). The strict measures by the new US president, which include an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria, have come under heavy criticism from numerous aid organizations; the UN Refugee Agency has stated that the need to help refugees has never been greater.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has stated that unless the European Union begins working intensively on forming its own military forces and begins working on common foreign policy goals and security, it will struggle to retain influence on the international scene. Relying on so-called soft power was no longer be enough, he added, as evidenced by the fact that the EU was not invited to take part in talks Astana, Kazakhstan to try and help resolve the conflict in war-torn Syria. Many EU member states are also members of NATO, committed to coming to each other's aid under Article 5. But there has been criticism that some members have not paid their fair share, not least from the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Fire crews from around the metropolis were called to a fire at the Exhibition Centre in Prague’s Letňany district shortly before midday on Friday. The fire was reportedly caused by the explosion of two pressure cylinders in storage. Two people suffered burns and were transported to Prague’s Vinohrady hospital. Around 200 people living in the vicinity were evacuated. Preliminary damage estimates put the damage at one million crowns.
The Czech National Bank posted a profit of 46.5 billion crowns in 2016, the ctk news agency reports. In the preceding year it posted a loss of 549 billion crowns. Last year’s profit was driven largely by sound management of the bank’s foreign currency reserves, the bank said in a statement. The bank’s main goal is not to create profit, but to supervise other banks and maintain financial stability.
The Czech Trade Inspection authority has slapped a restaurant owner with a 60.000 crown fine for featuring anti-immigrant sentiments on the restaurants web page. It is the second time the pizza-house has been fined for the same transgression. Last year it was fined 30,000 crowns, which was eventually lowered to 25,000, for putting “we do not cook for immigrants” and Stop Islam statements on its website. The restaurant owner may still appeal the decision.