The Czech Christmas Mass was performed for the 17th year in succession at
Prague’s busy Main Train Station on Saturday afternoon. Musicians and
choir members were joined by scores of members of the public in a rendition
of the pastoral mass by composer Jan Jakub Ryba.
Dozens of choristers were conducted by the organiser of the pre-Christmas event, Lukáš Prchal. The composition, known colloquially as “Rybovka”, was also performed with public participation on Kampa, beneath Prague’s Charles Bridge.
The number of Ukrainian citizens applying for permits to work in the Czech
Republic is continuing to rise, novinky.cz reported on Saturday. While two
years ago the figure was around 170 a month, it has now reached 1,000 a
month, the news site said.
With a very high number of jobs unfilled in the Czech Republic, employers have expressed great interest in hiring Ukrainians through a government scheme named Ukraine Regime. The initial intention was to bring in 3,800 a year. However, the total number of applicants over this year and 2016 has been more than 10,000.
The increased interest has put a strain on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior, which oversee the scheme, novinky.cz said. Whereas applications were dealt with within a week in August 2016 that process now takes 114 days.
Thousands of ducklings were burned to death in a fire at an agricultural
facility in Hlušice, East Bohemia on Friday night. Around 3,500 birds died
in the blaze, which occurred in a hall measuring about 50 by 20 metres.
The causes of the fire are being investigated, a spokesperson for the local fire service told the Czech News Agency.
Imported fir trees from Poland are taking an increasing share of the
Christmas tree market in the Czech Republic, forcing prices down, iDnes.cz
A representative of the Association of Christmas Tree Cultivators told the news website that large growers from Denmark had established new plantations in Poland some years back and the trees were now ready for sale.
Firs have long been the most popular Christmas trees in the Czech Republic, winning out over spruce and pine trees. However, if Czechs are keen to buy local the latter should be easier to find, iDnes.said.
A new ferry went into operation on Saturday at the spot in Prague where a
footbridge collapsed earlier this month. The small ferry, which is free of
charge, runs from the island Císařský ostrov to Troja, the location of
Four people were injured, two seriously, when the footbridge collapsed three weeks ago. The causes of the collapse are still being investigated.
The Prague authorities are planning to replace the structure with a new bridge.
The European Commission has called on the Czech Republic to exclude
expenditures from the controversial Stork’s Nest project from an EU
programme for the Central Bohemia region. The Czech Ministry of Finance
says it will decide on the matter within two months. However, the
commission said on Friday that the Czech Republic would not be seeking the
sum in question from the EU. This would mean that the Czech state would end
up paying the CZK 50 million.
Eleven people were charged with the abuse of EU funds in connection with the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex. They include now-prime minister Andrej Babiš and his senior ANO colleague Jaroslav Faltýnek.
The pair have parliamentary immunity after being elected in October and the Czech lower house is to decide on whether to allow them to face trial in connection with the matter. They deny any wrongdoing.
The government has replaced most of the members of the Czech Railways’
Steering Committee and one of the seven members of the Board of Directors
of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, according to a press release
from the Ministry of Transport released on Friday.
Deputy Transport Minister Ladislav Němec has been newly appointed to both of the bodies. The Board of Directors of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, among other things, appoints the members of the organisation, including its Chief Executive Officer.
Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš is scheduled to visit Slovakia
on January 5, ahead of the confidence vote on his minority cabinet in the
Chamber of Deputies, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday.
Later in January, the Prime Minister will visit Bulgaria, which is going to preside over the European Union as of January next year.
Mr Babiš is also negotiating with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and wants to meet with the political leaders from Austria, which will take over the EU presidency in July next year.