Daily news summary

President praises state of the economy, sceptic on climate change

In his traditional Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman praised the country’s economic successes, citing its stable economic growth, low unemployment, relatively low state debt, growth in salaries and old age pensions. He criticized the country’s slow courts, lengthy administrative procedures and the slow pace of infrastructure construction.

The president took a highly sceptical stand with regard to the ongoing debate on climate change, which he said had taken on the form of a new religion. Zeman said temperatures on Planet Earth had fluctuated for millions of years and he was not convinced that this was due to human activity rather than the forces of Nature. He advised a cautious and rational approach, warning that given the measures discussed, Europe could become an environmental skansen with a low living standard.

Commenting on the anti-government demonstrations that have taken place in recent months, the president pointed out that governments “came and went” as a result of free and democratic elections, where the prime minister’s opponents could voice their stand.

CzechGlobe director says president’s words on climate “irresponsible”

The head of CzechGlobe, the Global Change Research Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Michal Marek has described President Zeman’s statements regarding climate change as “tragic and unacceptable “. He said that the president had made claims which had been refuted many times over long ago, and that attempts to play down mankind‘s responsibility for climate change was extremely irresponsible. He said Europe had a moral responsibility to lead the way by example.

In his Christmas message to the nation, Zeman said temperatures on Planet Earth had fluctuated for millions of years and he was not convinced that this was due to human activity rather than the forces of Nature. He said Europe should be careful in making commitments with regard to carbon neutrality since the impact of such a policy would be an impoverished continent.

OKD company renews mining after cyber-attack

The coal mining company OKD which was hit by a cyber-attack on Monday is renewing operations in all its mines on Friday after the installation of an independent internal computer network.

Coal mining was suspended in the wake of the attack for security reasons, despite the fact that methane detectors remained fully operational.

The OKD company’s computer network was hit just two weeks after a similar attack paralysed a hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov.

Trust in Czech economy sees slight increase in December

Trust in the Czech economy experienced a slight increase in December after a three-month downward trend. According to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office overall trust in the economy grew from 93.3 points in November to 93.8 points in December.

The increase was driven mainly by higher trust among consumers, which reached 104.8 points, but trust among entrepreneurs also saw an increase of 0.1 reaching 91.6 points. November’s figure was the lowest rating since 2014.

Tributes pour in on death of actress Táňa Fischerová

Tributes have been pouring in from members of the cultural sphere on the death of actress and former politician Táňa Fischerová. Ms. Fischerová died on December 25th, at the age of 72.

In addition to being a talented film and theatre actress, Ms. Fischerová engaged in politics after the fall of communism, serving as a parliament deputy from 2002 and 2006 and running in the 2013 presidential elections. She also actively engaged in charity.

Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová said Fischerová had been an exceptional woman; brave, wise and caring.

Record number of people join in annual Polar bear dip

A record number of people took part in the 73rd Alfréd Nikodém Memorial event, an annual swim in the Vltava River on December 26th. The Polar bear dip, which takes place near the National Theatre building in the centre of Prague, has a long tradition: it was established in 1923 by Prague hardy-man Alfréd Nikodém who propagated winter swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle.

This year the 430 participants could take their pick from the main 750 metre race and the less strenuous 300 and 100 metre races. The winner of the main race was Czech long-distance swimmer Lenka Štěrbová. She covered the distance in 9 minutes 12 seconds.

The oldest participant in the event, who did not race, was 89-year-old Božena Černá. The temperature of the water was 5.6. degrees Celsius, the temperature of the air was 4.7.

Weather forecast

Saturday should bring partly cloudy to overcast skies with scattered snow showers and day temperatures between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius.