A group of professional betters on the night from Monday to Tuesday won 500 million Czech crowns using a combination that according to them is unusual but not illegal. The group bet on a goal to fall in an NHL game, the odds of this happening were 2.7:1. The professionals placed low bets of only five Czech crowns but repeated the bet many times on the same ticket, so that the actual amount they bet for was much higher. Should the national gaming association decide that the system of betting the group used is legal, the gamblers could win 500 million Czech crowns.
In an exclusive interview that will be published in Wednesday’s edition of the Czech daily newspaper Právo, President Václav Klaus talks about Jan Fischer’s government, the financial crisis and his plans for the holidays. He said that the high approval ratings of Fischer’s government are partly due to the fact that it doesn’t make any unpopular decisions. Mr. Klaus added that the indecisiveness of Czech voters was a new phenomenon. The president did not specify a statement he had made earlier about the fact that he was considering staying in politics in a different role after the end of his presidential mandate in 2013.
Meteorologists have issued a warning of widespread icy roads across the Czech Republic in the next few days. The warning is effective from Tuesday until Christmas Day. The problem will occur because of precipitation, which is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, hitting frozen ground. In Moravia, traffic conditions will be worsened by high wind expected to reach speeds of 55 to 90 km/h.
The famous Prague theater Semafor will launch a new website on the occasion of its 50th birthday. The website will inform visitors about the theater’s program, repertoire, actors, history and much more. Visitors to the website will also be able to buy prints, books and DVDs linked to the theater online.
International ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Monday affirmed the Czech Republic's foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings and said the outlook for the Czech economy was stable. Standard & Poor's said the credit ratings on the Czech Republic are supported by the country's diversified and competitive economy, and moderate though rising government debt burden. The foreign currency rating was kept at A/A-1 and local currency at A+/A-1. The agency warned however that the Czech Republic's main credit problem was “the absence of a political consensus in favour of undertaking deeper fiscal reform” and said it could downgrade its ratings if public finances deteriorate.
Canada has started issuing tourist visas at its embassy in Prague, in an effort to alleviate tension over the reintroduction of visas for Czech nationals in mid-July. Ottawa reintroduced visas over the high number of mainly Romany asylum seekers, and since there is no Canadian consulate in the Czech capital Czechs were forced to travel to Vienna for a visa. Czech officials have welcomed the move but said they would continue to push for the re-introduction of visa-free travel between the two countries. The Czech Republic blames Canada’s benevolent asylum system for the flow of refugees and as an EU member state has put pressure on Brussels to effect a reciprocal measure.
An Interior Ministry report says the need to pass a Czech language test has reduced the number of foreigners who apply for permanent residence in the Czech Republic. The report, which was presented to the cabinet on Monday, says that hundreds of applicants who fulfill all the other criteria don’t turn up for the exam because of poor language skills. Since the compulsory language test was introduced a year ago, 3,800 applicants have turned up for it, with an 80 percent success rate. Czech is generally perceived as a very difficult language, especially for people who are not of Slav origin. Examiners say there have been attempts to bribe them and some foreigners even sent a double.
The government is reviewing the planned closure of the Czech embassy in
Brazil and the Czech consulate in Sydney, Prime Minister Jan Fischer told
journalists after Monday’s cabinet meeting. Mr. Fisher said the cabinet
needed more time to assess the situation and weigh the options.
The government came under fire earlier this year after announcing plans to close down a number of embassies because of the recession. The embassies slated for closure are in Angola, Zimbabwe, Columbia, Canada and Brazil as well as the Czech consulate in Sydney, Australia. The planned move has evoked a wave of protests from people who would be inconvenienced by the decision and there has also been criticism from the foreign affairs committee in Parliament which said it had not been consulted on the matter.
The Czech gas company Česká plynarenská will start building a gas pipeline to Austria in the spring, the business weekly Euro wrote in its latest issue out on Monday. The completion of the pipeline, which should be called Mozart, is scheduled for 2013. Česká plynárenská, which imports Norwegian gas to the Czech Republic, wants to build gas storage tanks with a capacity of 400 to 500 million cubic meters and connect them to Austrian gas pipeline West-Austria-Gasleitung owned by the OMV concern.
The Czech government on Monday approved a scheme to co-subsidize fruits
and vegetables for primary school children within a broader effort to
combat problems with obesity. According to the results of a European survey
Czech children are the ninth fattest on the continent. Experts blame this
on below-standard-nutrition in schools and a lack of physical activity. The
free fruit-and-veg scheme for school children is voluntary and will be
financed in part from EU funds, in part from a 20 million government
subsidy. The government is also subsidizing milk for school children, but
only about half of the country’s primary schools have requested it.
Teachers at a loss over some kids view that communism was “fine” A team of specialists from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes which cooperates with schools on projects and lectures relating to the country’s communist history said that many teachers they had worked with were at a loss over how to deal with some kids’ belief that communism was “ok” or “fine”. The head of the team, Jaroslav Pinkas said schoolchildren picked up this view from their parents and admitted that teachers were in a difficult position correcting it. He said the team’s advice was to deliver the facts and call on specialists for help. Some schools are inviting communist prisoners to visit classrooms and talk about their past.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott