The traditional New Year fireworks display in Prague will take place at 6pm
on January 1st, kicking off a year packed with anniversary events in the
Czech Republic. The display be a celebration of the centenary since the
birth of independent Czechoslovakia and 25 years since the birth of the
It will be dominated by the national red, white and blue colours. People should get a good view of it from the Dvorak embankment and the Mánes, Čechov and Štefánik bridges. The show was moved from midnight to the first day of the year so that it can be enjoyed by families with children.
A wide variety of events have been planned in celebration of the New Year.
Amateurs and professional runners will be able to take part in the
traditional midnight race starting ten minutes to midnight on December 31st
in Lužiny’s Central Park and ending in the New Year. The track is four
kilometres long along an asphalt track. All runners who finish the race get
a remembrance medal.
Meanwhile the Club of Hardy Men and Women will welcome the New Year with a Polar Bear dip in Svitava River. Public events in South Bohemia include bread baking and a ride on a steam-powered train.
Close to half of Czechs would like to see the law forcing shops to close on
selected holidays scrapped. According to a poll conducted for Czech Radio
by the Median agency 48 percent of respondents find the legislation
unnecessarily restrictive and would like to see it scrapped. 49 percent say
they are not inconvenienced by it.
In line with the law shops of over 200 square metres must close their doors over the Christmas holidays. They must close by midday on December 31st and remain closed on January 1st.
The Church of St. Václav in Sázovice, in the Zlín region, has been listed as one of the top ten architectural projects of 2017 by Azure Magazine. The circular building inspired by Roman architecture was designed by Štěpán Atelier in Brno. It is a unique construction in the region. Among the other top ten architectural projects listed this year are the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and Apple Store in Chicago.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who has failed to secure support for his
minority government in the lower house, may be able to rely on backing from
the Social Democrats and Communists in a second attempt to form a
government, the news site Novinky.cz reported.
According to the news site the Social Democratic Party is increasingly divided on whether to support a Babiš cabinet and members in favour are pushing for a party referendum on the issue. With support from the two parties Babiš’ cabinet would have 108 votes in the lower house. He told the server he was ready to negotiate with the Social Democrats on the conditions for their backing.
The Communists have already indicated they would be ready to back a Babiš government under certain conditions. A vote of confidence in the present government is due to be held on January 10th.
The new government of Andrej Babiš, which is making far reaching changes
in the administration of individual ministries, wants to radically change
the procedural working order of the government and strengthen the position
of the prime minister in decision-making.
According to the changes proposed by Justice Minister and head of the government’s Legislative Council Robert Pelikán fewer people would be allowed to sit in on government meetings and changes of a non-legislative character would be consulted with fewer institutions. Press releases, now issued after every cabinet meeting, would no longer be the rule.
According to Justice Minister Pelikán the new regulations should boost the speed and efficiency of government decision-making.
A Swiss court has upheld a compliant from the Czech state over the fact
that it was not allowed to participate in the 2013 court case relating to
the fraudulent privatization of the Czech Republic’s largest coal mining
company Mostecka Uhelna(MUS) as a damaged party. The Czech finance ministry
has said it will seek compensation.
The case was tried in Switzerland after Swiss investigators assembled enough evidence on the case to be able to prosecute. The company’s managers received prison sentences from 16 months to 4 years. The damage incurred to the Czech Republic has been estimated at around two billion crowns.
Interior Minister Lubomir Metnar has slammed the leader of the Freedom and
Direct Democracy Party Tomio Okamura for saying that the security situation
in the country had worsened and there was now an increased threat of
terrorist attacks in the Czech Republic. Mr. Okamura, who is deputy chair
of the lower house, made the statement in a video released on the party’s
web page. He pointed to the appearance of new cement blocks around
Prague’s main squares and shopping centres.
Minister Metnar said Okamura was spreading disinformation and sharply dismissed the notion that the security situation had worsened. The country remains on a grade 1 security alert and the measures taken are standard measures during the holiday season, the minister said.