A third person has died from flu in the Central Vysočina region. A 75 year old woman from the Jihlava area died from the flu on Monday, according to local health authorities. Two men died during the previous week. Four out of five major hospitals in the region have closed their doors visitors due to fears that patients are more vulnerable to the outbreak. As well as the Vysočina region, the Olomouc area has also won of the worst affected by the outbreak which health officials have described as bordering on an epidemic.
Around 1.9 billion crowns (around 70 million euros) still lies unclaimed on anonymous accounts of one of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks, Česká Spořitelna, with two days left to claim it. The bank is closing the accounts, which ceased to be valid in 1992 due to fears of their abuse in money laundering, at the end of the year. The sum left over will be transferred to a charitable foundation by the bank.
A poll by the Median agency for Czech Radio shows strengthened support for the direct election of the head of state, the president. Support for direct presidential elections has jumped to 84 percent of those questioned in the latest poll. That compares with 78 percent when a similar poll was held in April last year. Sitting head of state Miloš Zeman is expected to declare during the first half of next year whether he will stand again to be president in elections due to take place at the start of 2018. Zeman was the first president to be elected directly.
Crime is expected to fall for the third year in a row in 2016 unless there is a unexpected surge at the end of the year. Figures for the first 11 months of the year show the total number of recorded crimes at 204,000 compared with the total of 230,000 for the same period in 2015. Violent crimes, theft, and robbery are all down to December. The number of murders is down by 15 on the first 11 months of 2015 at 127. Violent crimes are down to 13400 from 14600.
Czech football manager František Straka has a new managerial contract with the Egyptian club Ismaily. The contract with the mid-table first division club is for 18 months. Straka has been without a managerial job since being sacked by Slovak club Slovan Bratislava in October 2014. He previously managed a series of clubs, including Prague rivals Sparta and Slavia, and had a series of foreign engagements. He is known for his ebullient approach to the game and management.
A Czech business billionaire is seeking to revive the ODA political party, which existed as a small but influential right of centre party in the 19990s, the server Seznam reports. Pavel Sehnal has bought up the rights to the ODA name. He plans to explain his political ambitions in a press conference in the second half of January, the server said. Sehnal owns the SP Group, which includes the Slavia insurance group and a real estate business. ODA was a permanent fixture of government coalitions in the 1990s, it lost influence after scandals surrounding its financing at the end of the decade.
Police are investigating the suspicious deaths of two rare sea eagles in the West Bohemian region near the border with Germany. The dead eagles were found within a week of each other in the Tachov region, the last on December 25, with police now suspecting poison might have been used. The bodies have been sent for tests. The first instance did not raise suspicions since the eagle and a dead fox were found beside each other with the possibility raised that neither survived a fight between them. The rare eagles are known to have bred for more than a decade in the region surrounding the border town of Rozvadov.
The Czech branch of the international consultancy Deloitte expects Czech exports next year to rise by around 6.0 percent. A crucial factor, according to the study, is the expected end of the low crown policy which the Czech National Bank says could happen at the earliest from the middle of 2017. Exporters will then probably be faced with an appreciating and fluctuating local currency. Around 84 percent of Czech export currently head to EU countries with companies facing the challenge of boosting sales in the rest of the world where the prospects could be better, the report says.
A 17-strong team of scientists has left from Brno’s Masaryk University for the Mendel Antarctic research station on James Ross Island. The Czech scientific mission on the island has for several years been studying ice formation and wildlife with regard to climate change. The team will this time round focus on a broader spectrum of plants and microorganisms on the island after previously studying them at selected locations only.
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