Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is attending an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday focused on plans to combat global warming. European heads of state are set to debate ways for the 28-nation bloc to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Mr Babiš said ahead of the summit that the Czech Republic was also committed to carbon neutrality, but it won’t be able to reach it without nuclear energy and called on Brussels not to exclude nuclear energy from its sustainable finance classification scheme.
He also pointed out the "astronomical costs" of a conversion to carbon neutrality, evaluating them at 26 billion euros. EU leaders will also discuss their long-term budget plans, economic developments and Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Czech Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar is due to sign a deal on the purchase of twelve US helicopters for the Czech Army with his US counterpart Mark Esper in Washington on Thursday.
The ministry has agreed to buy eight utility UH-1Y Venom helicopters and four AH-1Z attacks Viper helicopters from US company Bell for CZK 14.6 billion. They are due for delivery in 2023.
According to the Czech army chief of staff, Aleš Opata, the purchase is a step into the 21st century for the Czech Army. He also said he expected the helicopters to be used in military missions, as soon as the military personnel are trained to use them.
The Prague City Hall assembly on Thursday approved the signing of a sister-city agreement with the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. According to Prague mayor Zdeněk Hřib, the agreement should be apolitical and cover cooperation in the business and cultural spheres.
Prague City Hall in October terminated its sister-city agreement with Beijing after the Chinese capital refused to let Prague remove a clause saying it respected the policy of One China.
The population of the Czech Republic grew by more than 30,000 over the first nine months of this year to 10.69 million, the Czech Statistics Office announced on Thursday. As in recent years, the numbers were driven by immigration, mainly from Ukraine and Slovakia.
More people were born than died during the first nine months of 2019, but both of the figures were lower than in the same period last year.
The number of Prague citizens increased by 10.056 to 1.319 million.
Minimum respectable salary in the Czech Republic, which would cover the basic needs, as well as entertainment and small-time savings, is CZK 31,463, according to experts from Czech Sociological Institute and Fridrich Ebert Foundation. In Prague, the sum is CZK 36, 850, due to higher costs of living.
The average gross monthly salary in the Czech Republic reached CZK 33,697 in the third quarter of 2019. However, 50 percent of Czechs earn less than CZK 29,549, including people with a university education, such as teachers, social workers or professional musicians.
Czechs are spending increasing amounts of money on Christmas, according to a survey carried out by the agency Nielsen Admosphere, presented on Thursday.
The average amount Czechs will spend on Christmas shopping is CZK 12,297, which is CZK 1,310 more than last year.
While in 2016, the average amount Czechs spent on Christmas gifts amounted to CZK 4,500, last year it exceeded CZK 6,000 and this year it reached CZK 7,046.
Friday is expected to be mostly overcast with daytime temperatures ranging between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.
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