Daily news summary

Czech scientists, firms to join Chinese space mission eXTP

Czech scientists and companies will join a Chinese mission in space to study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism.

Czech participation in the preparatory phase of the enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission (eXTP) will be supported by the Ministry of Education via a CZK 12.65 million contribution to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Prodex programme.

The team comprises scientists from the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Silesian University in Opava in cooperation with Czech industry.

They will help design and build precision Detector and Collimator Frames to measure x-rays from the closest black holes and neutron stars.

China’s eXTP mission is due to launch no later than 2027.

Czech linguist: Half of ‘Henry VIII’ not written by Shakespeare

Half of the famous play Henry VIII was not written by William Shakespeare but by a contemporary English playwright, according to analysis by a linguist from the Academy of Sciences.

A 19th-century British scholar named James Spedding was the first to formally posit that Shakespeare’s peer John Fletcher wrote several scenes, based on the rhythm of the verses.

Czech researcher Petr Plecháč used a machine learning system that he developed to analyse which portions of Henry VIII were likely written by Fletcher.

His approach trained an algorithm to recognise word choices and rhythms of both Shakespeare and Fletcher plays from the time, and used a “rolling window” technique to study those styles.

District hospitals want government to ease process of hiring Ukrainians

District hospitals are calling on the government to speed up the process under which doctors and nurses from Ukraine acquire the necessary documentation to work in the Czech Republic, Czech Television reported on Monday.

Ukrainian medics have been encouraged to find jobs in this country for four years under a government scheme entitled “Ukraine” aimed at resolving a shortage of local doctors and nurses.

District hospitals in particular find it hard to make hires, Czech Television said. The head of one such facility told the station its administrators did not want to have to wait a year to be able to take on a doctor or nurse that they require.

Environmentalists storm Czech coal producer’s headquarters

A dozen environmental activists stormed the corporate headquarters of northern Bohemian coal producer Severní energetická on Monday.

Before being arrested, the activists hung a banner on the building’s facade calling for an end to all coal mining operations in the area.

Severní energetická has been the target of several protests in recent years. Environmentalists object to its open pit mining and operation of the Chvaletice coal-fired power plant.

Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan to receive Bronze Star in memoriam

A Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan last year will receive in memoriam the Bronze Star Medal, a U.S. decoration for meritorious service in a combat zone.

Corporal Tomáš Procházka, a specialist in training dogs, was shot dead in October 2018 while returning from a routine mission outside his base in Herat Province.

A U.S. Embassy official will present the posthumous award at a ceremony on Friday also attended by Czech Army chief of staff General Aleš Opata.

Oil slick appears on Vltava River near Prague-Smíchov

An oil slick that appeared Tuesday on the Vltava River in Prague reportedly stemmed from a leak in a moored “botel” – a hotel fashioned from a decommissioned boat.

Firefighters were called in to clean up the oil slick near Palacký Bridge on the river bank by the Czech capital’s Smichov district.

Christmas tree destined for Prague’s Old Town market felled in Liberec

A Norway spruce destined for the Christmas market in Prague’s Old Town was felled on Sunday and is slowing making its way by special transport from the Liberec region to the Czech capital.

The 55-year-old tree was chosen from dozens of contenders to be the centrepiece of the traditional yuletide market. When felled, the spruce stood 29 metres high and 5.5 metres wide, and weighed nearly nine tons.

People can follow the tree’s journey on the website sledujstromek.cz. The lighting ceremony takes place on Saturday, November 30, at 16:30.

Pardubice University staging photo exhibit dedicated to Olga Havlová

The University of Pardubice on Tuesday opens an exhibition of photos taken of Olga Havlová, the first post-communist first lady of Czechoslovakia.

The exhibition, which runs until January 6, is part of a series of events marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, is dedicated to her charitable work.

It includes works taken by well-known Czech photographers such as Ondřej Němec, Bohdan Holomíček, Přemysl Fialka, Gabriela Čapková and Zdeněk Chrapek.

Olga Havlová founded the Committee of Good Will, one of the first charities established in democratic Czechoslovakia, in 1990 along with fellow Charter 77 signatories. She died of cancer in January 1996.

Auditors find errors in ministry’s 2018 financial statement

The Supreme Audit Office has uncovered errors amounting to CZK 2.7 billion in the Ministry of Culture’s financial statement for 2018, a spokesperson for the former said on Monday. The ministry reported some expenses incorrectly while its data regarding the implementation of the state budget was CZK 0.8 billion out, the auditors said.

The Supreme Audit Office said the Ministry of Culture had, for instance, wrongly listed expenditures for renovations to the National Museum and State Opera as being for their regular operation.

Confidence in Czech economy at lowest level since summer 2014

Confidence in the economy is at the lowest level since summer 2014, according to Czech Statistics Office data released on Monday.

The composite confidence indicator stood at 93.3 points in November, down 0.3 percentage points from the previous month, while the business confidence index stood at 91.5 points, down 0.1 pp.

The business confidence index reached an all-time high of 106.60 points in February 2007 and a record low of 69.10 points in March 1999.

Weather outlook

Fog and light rain is in the forecast on Tuesday morning for much of the country. The skies are expected to clear in the afternoon. Average daytime highs should range from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius.