Daily news summary


Prague orchestras hosting Notre-Dame benefit concert on Tuesday night

The Czech Republic’s top orchestras are staging a benefit concert in Prague on Tuesday evening to aid in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral, which went up in flames a week before Easter.

The programme consists of Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, under the baton of Tomáš Netopil, principle guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Also taking part are the Czech Radio symphony orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, and ensembles of the National Theatre and State Opera.

The concert at the Rudolfinum begins at 9:10 p.m. local time. It will be simulcast on the public television station ČT Art and Český rozhlas Vltava.

State agencies CzechInvest, CzechTrade have de facto merged, Industry Minister says

The planned merger of state agencies CzechInvest and CzechTrade is nearly complete, Minister of Industry Marta Nováková told a news conference on Tuesday. The process should be finalised when the agencies move to a new joint location, she said.

Two weeks earlier, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said state agencies should merge in order to create a more effective umbrella groups promoting the country’s interests.

Nováková said the CzechInvest/CzechTrade merger had already saved some 70 million crowns. Currently, there are about 50 CzechTrade offices, half of which are located in embassies abroad.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed a reorganisation giving it control over CzechTrade, CzechInvest, the Czech Development Agency, Czech Centers and CzechTourism.

Prague councillors to form Karlovo náměstí renewal committee

Prague City Hall councillors have agreed to establish a committee of experts this month to oversee the renovation of Karlovo náměstí, one of the largest squares in Europe.

Initial plans include adding more walking paths, greenery and a playground to the site, which when founded by Charles IV in the 14th century was the largest town square in medieval Europe.

The Karlovo Náměstí Renewal Committee will include city and district representatives, conservationists, architects and urban planners. Work is set to begin in about five years.

Czech, Serbian foreign ministers to discuss bilateral trade, EU enlargement

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is due on Tuesday to discuss the prospects of Serbia entering the European Union with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dačić.

The Czech Republic has been a vocal supporter of EU enlargement to the Western Balkan countries, including Serbia.

Dačić is wrapping up a two-day visit to the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

He and Petříček and are also expected to discuss steps to boost bilateral trade and investment and possible cooperation in the energy and natural resources sectors.

Academia Film Olomouc festival underway, Richard Dawkins among guest speakers

Academia Film Olomouc, an annual international science documentary film festival held under the patronage of Palacký University, gets underway on Tuesday.

The festival focuses on science and educational films from a wide range of academic fields, technology and the arts. The year’s umbrella theme is "myths".

Among the guest speakers are former Czech astronaut Vladimír Remek and the English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

So far more than 3,000 people have been accredited for the festival, organisers said.

Waste Act short on specifics for phasing out landfills, critics say

Environmental and business groups have criticised the forthcoming Act on Waste and related legislation for allegedly failing to address the final use of waste and recycling issues according to EU targets.

Representatives of employers’ unions and municipalities say the Act on Waste foresees moving away from using landfills to deposit garbage but falls short in laying out how this should be achieved.

Among other things, the Waste Act envisages a gradual increase in the fee for landfilling of usable waste; in 2029 it should reach CZK 1,850 per tonne. Currently, it is 500 crowns per tonne. Newly, it would only allow 10 percent of municipal waste to be landfilled.

Easter Monday forest fire near Pilsen extinguished, drought likely a factor

A forest fire north of Pilsen that broke out on Easter Monday afternoon spread to an area of about six hectares before it was brought under control, causing nearly CZK 1 million in damage.

It took dozens of firefighters several hours to extinguish the fire, the cause of which has not yet been determined.

Meteorologists warn that prolonged drought has increased the risk of forest fires and many regions, including Prague, have announced bans on making campfires.

Czechs mark World Book Day

Publishers, booksellers and librarians have planned dozens of events to mark World Book Day on April 23rd. On the day itself and throughout most of the week people can attend book launches, seminars and book readings at bookstores and libraries around the country. World Book Day designated by UNESCO is a worldwide celebration of books and reading, marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

Weather outlook

Wednesday should be partly cloudy throughout the country with average daytime highs of between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius. The outlook for Thursday is much the same.