Daily news summary

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Police out in force for New Year celebrations, video-mapping

Police will be out in force in the Czech capital on Tuesday night to maintain law and order during the New Year celebrations in the city centre. New Year street parties are expected on Wenceslas and Old Town Square where hundreds of people traditionally congregate to see in the New Year.

A heightened police presence can also be expected on January 1st in connection with the New Year’s video-mapping on the building of the National Museum (at 6.15pm, 7.15pm and 8.15pm) as well as the planned fireworks display over Folimanka Park at 6pm.

President Putin wants to see Zeman at V-Day celebrations

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he would welcome the presence of Czech President Miloš Zeman at next year‘s Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. In his New Year’s greetings to the Czech head of state, President Putin wrote that President Zeman’s presence at the end of war celebrations in Moscow would symbolize “friendship and mutual respect between the two nations”.

The message comes in the wake of news that President Miloš Zeman is considering cancelling his planned visit to Russia next year in protest against what he described as Russia’s outrageously insolent reaction to the Czech Parliament’s decision to recognize the day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia as a day of remembrance for those who had been killed by the invading forces.

Moscow said in response to the news that Prague's efforts to return to the 1968 events in order to incorporate them into the current political context, would not contribute to good relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Arriva to be fined for problems in Liberec region

Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Arriva, which secured a contract to operate four express rail lines in the Czech Republic, is to be fined for a series of problems in the Liberec region.

Arriva started operating at the start of December but its trains have been running late and the company also has problems with the check-in system.

The regional management says that unless everything is running smoothly by mid-January at the latest it will consider withdrawing from the contract.

The 45-million-euro contract covers four lines from Prague to the cities of Tanvald, Novy Bor, Rakovnik and Ceske Budejovice.

Under the contract Arriva will operate the lines for three years, with the option to extend the contract by a further two years.

Hundred guests evacuated, no one hurt in hotel fire

More than a hundred people had to be evacuated from Occidental Hotel in Prague 5 on Monday night after a fire broke out in the hotel sauna in the basement.

No one was hurt in the fire, which broke out shortly after 7pm, but smoke filled the garage space and interior of the hotel, necessitating an emergency evacuation.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Three Kings Collection to start on January 1st

January 1st will see the start of the Three Kings Collection, the largest and most successful fund-raiser in the country.

Organized by the Catholic charity Caritas the Three Kings Collection, involves thousands of volunteers, most of them children, taking to the streets dressed as the Three Wise Men, singing carols and asking people to donate money to charity.

24,000 carollers are expected to take part in the charity event this year.

Since the year 2,000 the collection has raised more than 1.1 billion crowns in aid of the needy. It lasts for a fortnight.

US beats Czech team 3:4 in World Junior Hockey Championship

The US beat the Czech Republic 3:4 in overtime in the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ostrava on Monday. The Czechs got one point for the overtime loss, setting up a huge Russia-Germany game on Tuesday. The team is now 3rd in Group B with four points and its place in the quarterfinals remains uncertain.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.