A number of renovation projects are planned for Prague Castle, one of the
city’s most visited landmarks, the Prague Castle Administration spokesman
told the Czech News Agency on Saturday.
The administration is set to renovate the façade and roof of the left wing of the New Royal Palace and the residence in the Royal Garden. Works will also continue on the Renaissance building of the Supreme Burgrave’s House.
The overall cost of the repairs at Prague castle next year is expected to exceed 300 million crowns. Most of the expenses, around 75 million crowns, will be used to repair the interiors of the residence in the Royal Garden, where the presidents of Czechoslovakia once lived.
Skiing season was launched in the country’s biggest ski centre in Špindlerův Mlýn in the Krkonoše Mountains on Saturday. According to ski-operators, there are around 40 centimeters of artificial snow on the slopes. Several ski centers around the country have been open since last weekend. The cross-country ski trails in the country remain closed due to lack of snow.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has issued a warning against high
winds with a force of up to 70 km an hour for most parts of the Czech
Republic. The warning is valid until 16 pm on Sunday.
The authorities have advised people to secure their windows and garden furniture and avoid trees and older buildings as their roofs could be ripped off. Drivers have been warned to exercise extreme caution and mountain rescue services have advised people against mountain hiking during the weekend.
USAID: public image of Czech NGO sector deteriorating
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ranked the Czech Republic third among post-communist nations in the sustainability of the civil society sector for 2017, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday.
The USAID annual report compares the situation in 24 former Eastern bloc countries, focusing on the legal environment, financial background of the NGOs, their organisation, implementation of interests, provision of services, infrastructure and public image.
It suggests that the overall sustainability of Czech NGO sector remained unchanged. However, the sector’s public image deteriorated as the current government portrayed it as unreliable and incompetent, which resulted in growing public distrust in NGOs.
The report also says that governments expressing hostility to established democratic norms, practices, and institutions are increasingly common in Central and Eastern European countries.
Prague’s public prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová has initiated a check on a
state attorney who is investigating the so-called Stork’s Nest case over
the abuse of EU subsidies, in which Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and other
could face prosecution.
According to Czech Radio, Ms Bradáčová began questioning the work of state attorney Jaroslav Šaroch on the case already last year due to slow pace of work, among other alleged shortcomings.
In May this year, Mr Šaroch rejected a petition from Mr. Babiš and six others facing fraud charges, who argued that the case against them was unfounded.
But while rejected their claim, Mr Šaroch also said that the police investigators’ conclusions were incomplete and not entirely credible.
Mr Babiš was formally charged in October 2017 with fraud in the case, which involves a 2 million euro subsidy to the Stork’s Nest complex a decade ago.
Michal Koudelka, head of the national counterintelligence service BIS, has
rejected an assertion by President Miloš Zeman that the organisation has
failed to catch any spies or present hard evidence of Russian and Chinese
BIS its annual report issued on Monday that spies from those countries are increasingly active in the Czech Republic, working under diplomatic cover, and engaged in spreading disinformation and economic espionage.
The Czech president said BIS presented no proof of this and furthermore had failed to uncover any Islamic terrorists on Czech territory although the police’s national organised crime unit and others had asserted their existence.
Koudelka said in a published statement on Friday that Zeman’s comments were “unfortunate”. The BIS has had a successful year, and, among other things, helped expose and dismantle a Russian intelligence service operating here.
The country’s interior minister, Jan Hamáček, has also rejected the president’s characterisation, heaping praise on the BIS.
Czech industrial production grew by 6.7 percent year on year in October,
after somewhat weaker performance in recent months, data from the Czech
Statistical Office show.
New orders reached double digit growth, suggesting that recent weakness could be related to one-offs.
Manufacturing grew by 7.7 percent, supported by strong automobile production, up 8.8 percent in annual terms after falling in the previous two months.
The number of drug overdoses has been rising steadily along with the use of
opioids, according to the latest annual report by the National Monitoring
Centre for Drugs and Addiction. Last year, 42 people died from drug
overdoses, up from 32 the year before, it says.
Meanwhile, large-scale production of a form of crystal meth known locally as pervitin has moved from the Czech Republic to Poland, but also to Germany and the Netherlands, according to the annual drug report.
The centre also notes a rise in addiction to opioids prescribed for relieving chronic pain. It estimates there are now 35,000 pervitin addicts and 13,000 people addicted to opioids, or about 1,000 more addicts in total.
A Charles University vice-rector is being investigated for plagiarism
following a complaint by several graduate students, the investigative
weekly Respekt reports.
The students charge that Prof. Martin Kovář, who heads the Institute of World History at the university’s philosophical faculty, drew heavily on the work of the late British historian Barry Coward without proper citation.
Specifically, they say that Kovář’s book on the history of Stuart England copies the thematic structure of Coward’s book on the subject, uses passages from it and cites many of the same original sources yet is passed off as stemming from original research.
The doctoral students point to similar problems in two other books by Kovář, who rejects the charges.
This year two government ministers were forced to resign over accusations of plagiarism: Taťána Malá (ANO), who briefly served as Minister of Justice, and Petr Krčál (Social Democrats), who served as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.