Daily news summary
Writer and ex-political prisoner Jiří Stránský dies at 87
The writer Jiří Stránský died on Wednesday at the age of 87. Mr. Stránský spent almost a decade in Communist labour camps as a political prisoner after being found guilty of “treason” in the hard-line 1950s. He put those experiences into his writings, some of which he also adapted for the screen.
In the 1990s Jiří Stránský became president of the Czech PEN Club. He was also a life-long devotee of the scouting movement and shared his experiences in talks with young people.
Outgoing Slovak president visits Prague on his last foreign trip
Outgoing Slovak President Andrej Kiska has arrived in the Czech Republic for his final foreign trip as head of state. He was received by Czech president Miloš Zeman at Lány Chateau on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Kiska steps down in mid-June to be succeeded by Zuzana Čaputová. The first official visit of the newly elected Slovak president, who will be sworn in on June 15, will also lead to the Czech Republic.
Number of Czech smokers down since smoking ban
The anti-smoking bill, which came into effect in the Czech Republic two years ago, has had a positive effect on people’s health, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch told reporters on Thursday.
Since June 2017, when smoking in pubs, restaurants and other facilities was strictly banned, there were fewer people hospitalised with heart attacks or asthma. Experts say the effect of the ban on cancer can be assessed in about ten years’ time.
The National Public Health Institute’s data show that the number of smokers in the 15 to 19 age group dropped by 15 percent between 2017 and 2018. There has also been a drop in the number of young people aged 15 to 24 who start smoking.
Study: Czech power plant’s exemption from EU norms would lead to premature deaths
The exemption of the Czech coal power plant Chvaletice in north-east Bohemia from EU norms would result in 196 premature deaths over a ten-year period, suggests a report commissioned by the Czech branch of the environmental organisation Greenpeace.
Under the new rules approved by EU member states, which will come into force in 2021, power plants in the EU will have to significantly cut the amount of pollutants. The company Sev.en Energy, which operates the Chvaletice power plant, has asked for an eight-year exemption from the norms, arguing that lowering emissions would require inadequate expenses.
Czechs spent over CZK 152 billion on betting last year
Czechs spent a record sum on betting last year, placing bets worth 249.5 billion crowns. That’s a rise of just over 11 percent on the previous year. Winnings paid out from bets came to over 218 billion crowns, an increase of 18.4 percent.
According to the Czech Ministry of Finance, the number of casinos and gaming-machine bars has dropped to roughly 1,800 following the introduction of the new legislation and statutes.
No last trophy for Čech as Arsenal lose Europa League final
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech lost the final game of his career on Wednesday night when his club Arsenal were beaten 4:1 in the final of the Europa League by his former team Chelsea. The 37-year-old made a couple of important saves when Arsenal were still in with a chance and was seen by many as their best performer.
Čech holds the record for number of international caps with the Czech Republic and collected numerous trophies and set goalkeeping records during a very successful period at Chelsea.
Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered rain showers and daytime highs ranging between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.