Daily news summary

Lidice massacre survivor Miloslava Kalibová dies at 96

Miloslava Kalibová, one of the last survivors of the Lidice massacre, has died at the age of 96. As a nineteen- year-old Kalibová saw her father executed by the Nazis and spent almost three years with her mother and sister in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück. She returned to Czechoslovakia after the war.

Through her life Kalibová worked tirelessly to bear witness of the atrocities of the Holocaust, sharing her experience with schoolchildren and adults in numerous lectures and debates.

Seven years ago she and other Lidice survivors met with German president Joachim Gauck. Her funeral will take place on January 7, in Prague’s Motol crematorium.

Pensions to increase in 2020

Pensioners in the Czech Republic will see an increase in their monthly old-age pensions by 6.7 percent on average, which amounts to around 900 crowns, as of January 2020.

The hike is higher by about 200 crowns than the increase that the pension law would normally allow, based on salary growth and inflation. It is the second hike in succession as the government strives to bring pensions faster to a higher level.

The Social Democrats of the ruling coalition, who hold the Labour and Social Affairs portfolio, say they want pensions to reach 50% of the average wage by the end of the government’s term in 2021.

Czechs will have to pay more for spirits and tobacco in 2020

Czechs will have to pay more for spirits and tobacco products in 2020.

Under a tax amendment approved by Parliament in December the excise tax on tobacco and cigarettes will go up by 10 percent in 2020, while that on spirits by 13 percent.

Certain forms of gambling will also see a tax increase from 23 to 25 percent.

While the ministry expects the price of a packet of cigarettes to rise by around five crowns next year, tobacco companies say consumers are likely to pay an extra 12 or 13 crowns.

Benešov hospital fully operational after cyber attack

A hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov which was hit by a cyber-attack on December 11 is once again fully operational. The attack paralyzed the institution for days since staff were unable to use x-rays, ultrasound or laboratory instruments and could not exchange information with other hospitals.

Just last week a similar attack paralyzed the OKD coal mining company which was forced to stop mining in all of its mines for security reasons.

The cabinet is due to debate a proposed amendment to the law on cyber security in the coming days, which would give Military Intelligence broader powers, among others the right to continuously monitor public communications networks.

Czechia no longer offering grants to students from developing countries

The Czech Republic will not be offering grants to students from developing countries next year due to a cut in finances, Czech Radio reported on Monday.

In the years between 2013 and 2019 the country annually financed the studies of 130 students from the developing world at Czech universities, paying them 14 thousand crowns a month in addition to accommodation.

The program is being curtailed after the finance and foreign ministries failed to get an additional 13.5 million crowns to keep it going.

The 112 million earmarked for the project this year will only suffice to allow the students already here to conclude their studies.

Czechia seventh biggest fireworks exporter in the world

The Czech Republic is the seventh biggest exporter of fireworks in the world, according to world business data. The country exports 10 million dollars worth of fireworks annually.

The Netherlands is Europe’s top exporter of fireworks selling 52 million dollars worth of fireworks every year.

The Czech Republic is also one of the most lenient states when it comes to the sale of fireworks.

According to the CTK news agency there are currently 11 e-shops offering F-4 –the most dangerous category of fireworks which should only be handled by professionals.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered rain or snow showers and day temperatures between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius.