Daily news summary
Replacement for StB founded 30 years ago Sunday
Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the foundation of a new counterintelligence service to replace notorious Czechoslovkia’s communist-era State Security (StB), which was abolished a day earlier under a Ministry of the Interior order. The new agency was first known as the Office for the Defence of the Constitution and Democracy.
After a change of title in 1990 it was eventually named Bezpečnostní informační služba (BIS, Security Information Service) following the creation of the independent Czech Republic in 1993, BIS wrote on its website.
Draft ministry bill allows facial recognition at sports stadiums
The Czech Ministry of the Interior is preparing new legislation aimed at helping sports clubs ban rowdy fans from entering stadiums, Czech Television reported on Sunday. This includes permitting the use of cameras with facial recognition technology that would catch problem supporters trying to get into arenas.
The draft bill also envisages fines of between CZK 10,000 and CZK 50,000 for the use of pyrotechnics in stadiums, with sanctions doubling in the case of repeat offenses.
The Office for the Protection of Personal Data has expressed reservations over the use of facial recognition technology. The Ministry of the Interior said the misuse of information would be prevented by strict conditions set out in the amendment.
Marked rise seen in electric car users’ consumption of power
Electric car owners consumed considerably more energy from public charging stations in 2019 than in the previous year, the Czech News Agency reported. Market leader CEZ said it had recorded a year-on-year doubling in the amount of power used to fuel electric cars. Its customers “tanked up” on 1963.5 megawatt hours last year, which was the equivalent of the amount of power used by around 600 households.
CEZ said cars had been charged at its stations over 150,000 times in 2019. Three years ago the figure stood at only 36,000.
Masopust season now underway in Czech Republic
Masopust, or carnival, season is now underway in the Czech Republic. Masopust falls between two traditional fasting periods and is connected with feasting and colourful processions of people in costumes in the country’s cities, towns and villages.
The custom, which probably dates back to pre-Christian times on the territory of the Czech lands, begins with Three Kings’ Day on January 6 and concludes on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on February 26.
Unseasonably mild weather set to continue this month
The remainder of February should see a continuation of relatively mild weather for the time of year, the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute said in a regular four-week outlook. Daytime highs in the following week could reach up to 15 degrees Celsius with temperatures only returning to their long-term averages in March, the forecasters said.
Precipitation will also be higher than usual for the time of year throughout the rest of February before returning to typical values after the turn of the month.
Sáblíková breaks own 5000m world record but still comes second
The Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková broke her own world record in the 5,000m at the sport’s world championships in Salt Lake City on Saturday with a new best of 6:41.18. However, the 32-year-old still finished second in the event and immediately lost the record after Natalya Voronina of Russia became the first women to break the 6:40 barrier.
It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Monday, with temperatures of up to 11 degrees Celsius. The entire week is expected to be cloudy, with daytime highs not dropping below 5 degrees Celsius.