The Czech Foreign Ministry has toned down its travel warning for Turkey. The ministry is no longer advising Czechs against travelling to Ankara and Istanbul, although it recommends exercising a high degree of caution. In the case of Ankara the ministry advises putting off all non-essential trips. A warning not to travel to the south-eastern parts of the country remains in place. Tourists visiting other areas have been asked to remain vigilant, avoid large gatherings and crowded places and register with the ministry’s travel data base.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are planning to enter into an agreement on closer cooperation in air defense, the ctk news agency reported on Friday. The two countries already cooperate closely within the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. The proposed bilateral agreement which is to be presented to the Czech government next week, should take this cooperation further, for instance in allowing the air force of the neighbor state to shoot down a hijacked civilian aircraft which terrorists intend to use in an attack.
A survey among teenagers in five Brno primary schools has revealed that a fifth of ninth-graders have either tried or occasionally smoke marijuana. The survey, conducted by the NGO Podané ruce, suggests that children as young as 12 years old start experimenting with the drug. Ten percent of 15-year olds admitted to smoking regularly and 16 percent said that they had repreatedly got drunk in the past.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied claims that Czech journalist and commentator Ondřej Soukup was denied a visa extension by the Moscow authorities in a tit-for-tat move after Prague denied two Russian reporters fresh accreditation earlier this year. In a statement published by the TASS news agency the Russian Foreign Ministry says there is no connection in the above cases. “Russia has certain commitments to its partners within the integrated alliances of which it is part. In reviewing visa applications Russia takes into consideration the views of these partners” the statement said. No further details were provided.
The mayor of Prague 1 wants to ban the sale of alcohol in the night hours in the historic city centre as a way of curbing excessive drinking in the streets at night. Mayor Lomecky says there has been a significant increase in the number of young foreign tourists who get drunk in the streets and cause a disturbance. The ban would not cover restaurants and bars. There is already a ban on drinking in public in the historic city center, but the mayor says the police do not enforce it sufficiently. A police spokeswoman has rejected the claim.
Four Olympic parks are opening to the public on Friday in celebration of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The biggest is located on Lipno Lake in south Bohemia and will offer visitors a multi-media show before opening its attractions to the public. People will be able to try 47 different sports on eight stadiums. The park cost 65 million crowns and, similarly as those in Ostrava, Plzen and Pardubice, will continue to serve the public when the Olympic Games are over.
One of the Czech attractions at the Rio Olympics will be dozens of pairs of electric-powered life-sized legs in memory of the country’s famous long-distance runner Emil Zatopek. The Zatopek legs were created by artist David Černý who drew the crowd at the 2012 Olympics in London with a red double-decker bus that performed push-ups. The flesh-colored legs are all wearing running shorts and black boots in a reference to Zatopek's training regime. They are fixed to walls or suspended from ceilings from the waist, moving at the rate of about one step per second.
President Miloš Zeman, who is in Rio for the opening of the Olympic Games, will meet briefly with French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the event, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the ctk news agency. The meeting is to make up for the French president’s twice cancelled visit to Prague, in late July due to the terrorist attacks in his country. The talks are expected to focus largely on security issues and the fight against terrorism. The Czech president is to return home on Sunday.
Czech President Milos Zeman attended the opening of the Czech Olympic House in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, together with Slovak President Andrej Kiska and Czech Minister for Regional Development Karla Šlechtová. The Olympic house is situated in the Barra da Tijuca residential quarter and will serve as a hub for sportspeople, journalists and fans. The house will also serve PR purposes with an expo showing the products of 50 Czech firms and presenting the Czech Republic as an attractive tourist destination.
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks, Česká Spořitelna, announced on Friday a 12.5 rise in first half net profits to 8.2 billion crowns compared with the first six months of 2015. A major role in the rise was a one off gain from the sale of the bank’s stake in bank card company Visa Europe. Operating profit though fell by 6.1 percent to 10.2 billion crowns. Margins from bank charges and other operations have been squeezed, the bank explained.
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