Most ski resorts in the Czech Republic will remain closed over the Christmas period due to a lack of snow. Only about dozen ski centres, mainly in the Krkonoše and Jeseníky mountains, are currently open thanks to artificial snow, but they will probably be forced to close down as well, since the unseasonably warm wather is likely to continue in the next few days.
People in the Czech Republic made 42.7 million calls from their mobile phones on Christmas Eve, the Czech News Agency wrote on Friday, citing data released by mobile phone operators. It is about three percent less than last year, which saw a record of 44 million calls for one day. The number of text messages sent over Christmas Eve went down for the second consecutive year to 74.3 million, while the number of MMSes saw a record of 1.17 million.
Around a hundred people gathered at Prague's Vyšehrad cemetery on Friday to pay tribute to Karel Čapek, one of the greatest Czech writers of the 20th century. The annual meeting at the writer's graveside, which takes place on the occassion of his death on December 25, 1938, is organised by the Brothers Čapek Society. Karel Čapek is probably best known for his science-fiction novels, debating the ethicalaspect of human inventions. According to one of the participants of the meeting, screenwriter Vladimír Kučera, Čapek's thoughts remain valid to this day.
The Head of Czech Roman Catholic Church, Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, hosted traditional Christmas lunch for the homeless and the poor. The lunch was served at the Archbishop Palace, at the Franciscan monastery at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows and the Capuchin monastery in Prague’s Hradčany district on Friday. The menu included beef stock with liver dumplings, roast duck and beef in cream sauce, and Christmas cookies. Every guest also received a small gift. Some 380 people arrived for the lunch, whose tradition was established 16 years ago by the Saint Edigio community.
Three people died in an explosion and a subsequent fire that broke out in a family house in České Budějovice, South Bohemia, on Christmas Eve. Fire-fighter units were called to the blaze at around 12 a.m. on Thursday, pulling out bodies of a middle aged man and woman and a body of a child. Police, which have not yet confirmed the identity of the victims, are now investigating the cause of the fire. The remnants of the house will have to be demolished due to safety reasons.
Record temperatures for Christmas Eve were registered in several parts of the Czech Republic due to the unseasonably warm weather, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reported. Record highs for December 24 were seen at a number of measuring stations in South Bohemia and in the Vysočina region. The highest temperature, 11.6 degrees Celsius, was recorded at Husinec near Prachatice. Meteorologists predict that the entire month of December should bring above average temperatures.
Politicians were handing out free fish soup in the centre of Prague on Christmas Eve. Scores of people formed a long queue on the city's Old Town Square to receive the soup from Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová, dressed in a chef's apron, who was assisted by ANO Party leader and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and other councilors. Some three thousand portions of the soup, which for many Czechs is the first course of Christmas dinner, were prepared this year. Several other districts of Prague, including Vršovice, also joined the tradition this year.
Record highs for this date were registered at seven measuring stations (operating for more than 100 years) in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The highest daily temperature was 15.1 degrees Celsius in the area of Bruntál, the Hydrometeorological Institute reported. Prague’s Clementinum said that a record lasting 220 years in Prague had been broken.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has tweeted he spoke with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday to smooth over a row between Athens and Prague over recent comments made by the country’s president, Miloš Zeman. Greece recalled its ambassador earlier this week after Mr Zeman said that the Czech Republic should only adopt the euro once Greece’s involvement in the single European currency was clarified. The president also indicated that he had been disappointed that Greece had not exited the Eurozone and expressed fears that Czech taxpayers could end up paying Greece’s debts. In his statement, Foreign Minister Zaorálek said the conversation with his counterpart was amicable and said he and Mr Kotzias agreed to intensify contact as Europe dealt with key issues. He also extended an invitation to the Greek foreign minister to come to Prague. Greek’s ambassador will reportedly return after the holidays.
Deputy Green Party leader and mayor of Prague 4 Petr Štepańek has confirmed he will run for the post of party leader at the Greens’ leadership congress to be held at the end of January. He said his main aim as potential chairman would be to lead to the Greens to a successful result in the communal elections next autumn and in the national election in 2017. The current chairwoman of the party, Jana Drápalová, has not made an announcement confirming whether she intends to run again.
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