Daily news summary

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Prague mayor: Light show would be more economical than New Year’s fireworks

The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, says the cost of a traditional municipal fireworks display on New Year’s Day – CZK 1.7 million not including VAT – was too high. In an interview with Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál station, the Pirate Party politician said next year fireworks could be replaced by something else, such as a light show.

Mr. Hřib said many European cities were moving away from classic fireworks displays. This year’s New Year’s fireworks in Prague referenced the fact that this year the Czech Republic will be marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Police suspend investigation into EU subsidies fraud at Ministry of Regional Development

According to newspaper Lidové noviny, the Czech police have suspended their investigation of a 2013 computer system tender at the Ministry of Regional Development, which Ministry of Finance auditors had judged to be in violation of government guidelines.

The investigation was launched three-and-a-half-years ago after a Ministry of Finance audit pointed out a lack of transparency in the evaluation of proposals. A spokesperson for the ministry told Lidové noviny that the three-and-a-half-year investigation had cost the state CZK 820 million in potential funding, because the European Union had refused to cover the costs until case was finished.

Nominees for Czech Film Critic’s Awards announced

The nominations have been announced for the ninth annual Czech Film Critics’ Awards to be presented on February 2 at Prague’s Archa Theatre. Director Robert Sedláček’s film Jan Palach about the student who took his own life in protest of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia received six nominations.

Adam Sedlák’s directorial debut Domestique, a claustrophobic drama about a couple’s breakdown, is nominated for four awards.

Last year hottest on Czech territory since 1961

2018 was the hottest year on the territory of today’s Czech Republic since 1961. According to freshly released data from the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute, the average daily temperature last year was 9.6 degrees Celsius. That was 1.7 degrees Celsius higher than the long-term average.

With the exception of February and March, above-average temperatures were recorded on Czech territory every month last year. April and May saw particularly high temperatures, with both the warmest since 1961.

Deadly African disease causes sharp decline of blackbirds

The common blackbird has disappeared from about 50 percent of Czech gardens, following the outbreak of a dangerous mosquito-carried African bird disease in the summer of last year, the Czech Union for Nature Conservation said on Thursday.

The blackbird, which used to be the country’s most common garden species, has become nearly extinct in Prague and Central Bohemia after being hit by the Usutu virus. The disease, which can also be transmitted to other bird species, was first detected in the country in 2011.

Czech David Pastrňák to be part of 2019 NHL All-Star team

The Boston Bruins’ forward David Pastrňák has been included in the 2019 NHL All-Star team. It is the first All-Star Game selection for the 22-year-old Czech, who currently leads the Bruins in scoring with 24 goals and 26 assists. The last Czech to receive this honour was Jaromír Jágr in 2016. The game is set to take place on January 26 in San Jose.

Weather

Friday is expected to be overcast with occasional snowfall and daytime highs ranging between minus 3 and 0 degrees Celsius.