- Residents in Prague were able to choose from dozens of traditional midnight masses to attend on Christmas Eve.
- A total of 22 children were abandoned in ‘baby boxes’ in 2011.
- Two people died in fires in the Czech Republic on Saturday.
- A majority of homes in the town of Uherské Hradiště were left without water leading up to Christmas Eve.
- A board game set in Brno, designed by two former students, has proven to be something of a Christmas ‘hit’.
Czechs, foreign nationals attend midnight masses
Czechs and foreign nationals were able to visit traditional midnight masses on Christmas Eve at dozens of Catholic churches in the Czech capital. Some of the services were held in Italian, French and Vietnamese. Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, primate of the Czech Catholic Church, celebrated midnight mass at St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle and Bishop Václav Malý, a former dissident, led the mass at St Wenceslas Church in the Smíchov district. In some churches, ‘midnight’ masses were in fact not held at 12 am but several hours earlier.
Baby box system saves 22 lives
A total of 22 children were abandoned in ‘baby boxes’ in 2011 – special monitored facilities that were first introduced in the country in 2005. The system serves to save newborns unwanted by their mothers. Overall, since its implementation, 62 babies were left. A total of 47 of the ‘boxes’ are in operation at medical facilities around the country.
Mothers leaving their newborn can do so anonymously, safely placing the baby in the heated and monitored compartment, which immediately alerts personnel. An overwhelming majority of Czechs (96 percent according to STEM) consider the system a valuable one that helps save children from ending up far worse. But earlier this year, baby boxes were criticized by the U.N. which charged that they violated the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and recommended they be abolished.
Two people die of asphyxiation in Christmas Eve fires
Firefighters responded numerous fires around the country on Saturday two of which ended tragically. In one of the incidents, a 45-year-old man died of asphyxiation, while in another, residents in an apartment building in the east of the country, where a range hood caught fire, were luckier. They were able to put out the fire themselves even before rescue crews arrived. But in a third incident a woman also died after of asphyxiation.
In all, firefighters were called to 53 incidents on Christmas Eve.
Uherské Hradiště left without water ahead of Christmas Eve
A majority of homes in the town of Uherské Hradiště were left without water for much of Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve, after a water main reportedly broke beneath the town’s main road shortly after 12 pm. Repair teams worked until evening to restore water to at least parts of the town. Portable tanks with drinkable water were set-up in areas where service could not be restored.
Inflatable hall – providing additional shelter for the homeless – may soon go up
A sponsor has donated an inflatable building to Prague City Hall capable of providing shelter for up to 120 people who are on the street with nowhere to go, Deputy Prague Mayor Ivan Kabický has said. The deputy mayor made clear the building could soon go up as freezing temperatures hit the country. But ‘where’ remains uncertain: the city has not yet designated a suitable space. Mr Kabický revealed that two sites near the city centre - owned by City Hall - were under consideration but he did not discuss additional details. There are an estimated 4,000 homeless people in the Czech capital, many of whom can not be properly provided for, the Salvation Army suggests, saying there was roughly one bed for every five people.
Krušné Mountains see fresh snowfall, snowdrifts
Snowdrifts blocked a five-kilometre section of road in the Krušné Mountains in the Ústí area on Saturday between the villages of Kryštofovy Hamry and Výsluní; an additional seven kilometer stretch was also blocked between Loučna and Chomutov but local snow removal was able to clear the drifts by the afternoon. The Krušné Mountains have gotten about ten centimeters of new snow; strong winds have snapped trees in places.
idnes: former students design Brno-themed game
The Czech news website idnes has reported that two former fellow students in Brno scored a minor hit this Christmas season with a board game set in the Czech Republic’s second-largest city. According to the site, the two set out a year ago to design a game loosely inspired by the well-known title Scotland Yard (from 1983, in which players take the roles of investigators trying to the capture a hidden fugitive). According to idnes, the Czech board game (called Šalingrad) was released in a limited run of 300 copies and has almost sold out on the internet as well as at two local shops.
By comparison, a number of professional board game designers in the Czech Republic have made their names internationally in recent years in hobby gaming, most notably Vladimír Chvátil (Prophesy, Mage Knight) and Vladimír Suchý (Last Will).
Cloudy conditions and rain are expected into the new week: daytime temperatures should range between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.