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Prague tops Mercer quality of life rankings in CEE, places 69th globally

The Czech capital offers the best quality of life among the cities of the former Eastern bloc, according to the latest survey by the US consultancy Mercer.

Globally, Prague ranked 69th, ahead of the capitals of its central European neighbours Budapest (76th), Bratislava (80th) and Warsaw (82nd). Also making the top 100 from the bloc were Ljubljana (74th), Riga (90th) and Zagreb (98th).

European cities continue to have the highest quality of living in the world, according to Mercer, with Vienna (1st), Zurich (2nd) and Munich (3rd) ranking first, second and third globally, though the German city shared the honour with Vancouver and Auckland.

Minsk (188th), Tirana (175th) and St. Petersburg (174th) remained the lowest ranking cities in Europe this year, while Sarajevo (156th) rose three places due to a fall in reported crime.

Some 1,350 people sought asylum in Czechia in 2018

A total of 1,350 people applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year, according to figures released by the European Union’s statistics office on Thursday.

Ukrainians traditionally made the most asylum requests, followed by Cubans and Georgians.

The overall number of people seeking asylum in the European Union dropped by 11 percent year-on-year to 580,000. Most of the asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Civic Democrats call on MP Václav Klaus, Jr. to leave caucus

The opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) have called on MP Václav Klaus, Jr. to leave the parliamentary caucus, saying his remarks are damaging the party’s reputation.

On Tuesday, Mr Klaus likened the transposition of European Union directives, most recently the GDPR, to the deportation of Jews imposed by the Nazis during the war.

After protests from several parties, Civic Democrat leader Petr Fiala apologised for the “unfortunate comparison”.

Mr Klaus, the son of the former Czech president, has said he will not leave the Civic Democrats voluntarily.

Czech gaming industry revenues reached three billion crowns in 2018

The Czech video gaming industry increased its revenues by 34 percent last year to three billion crowns, the Czech Game Developers Association reported on Thursday.

Czech game developers brought out 31 new titles in 2018, mostly for PCs and consoles. One of the most successful ones was a virtual reality gamed called Beat Sabre, released by Czech indie studio Hyperbolic Magnetism.

There are currently around 75 companies developing video games in the Czech Republic, employing some 1500 developers.

State forestry firm counts costs of damage caused by windstorm

The state forestry company Lesy ČR said that around million cubic metres of timber were damaged by the windstorm Eberhard that swept through Europe on Sunday.

Damaged trees represent around eight percent of the annual quota of felled trees with damages estimated at half a billion crowns.

The biggest calamity in the state-owned forests so far was caused by hurricane Kyrill in 2007, which devastated more than six million cubic metres of timber.

Choreographer Jiří Kilián inducted to French Academy of Fine Arts

Czech choreographer and former dancer Jiří Kylián was inducted to the prestigious French Academy of Fine Arts at a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday.

Kylián, who is 71, is only the third Czech to become a member of the Academy since its founding in 1816, along with musician Antonín Rejcha and painter Václav Brožík.

The great Czech choreographer is perhaps best known for his work with the Nederlands Dans Theatre in The Hague. As its artistic director, he created over 50 works for the company.

Weather

Friday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with occasional showers towards the evening. Daytime highs will range between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.