Daily news summary

Four dead in fire at Prague hotel

Police are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out at Eurostars David hotel in Prague on Saturday. Two people, a young man from Germany and a young woman from South Korea, died in the blaze and another two women succumbed to their injuries in hospital. Nine people were reported injured, among them two firemen. Dozens of others were given medical attention at the site after inhaling the fumes. Forty people were evacuated from the building. Those who escaped without injuries were accommodated at another Eurostars hotel on Narodni trida. Preliminary reports suggest the fire started in the air conditioning circuit.

Second round of presidential elections looks to be extremely tight

Surveys conducted for Czech public television suggests that the second round of presidential elections will be extremely tight. The incumbent president, Miloš Zeman and his challenger academic Jiří Drahoš are running neck and neck, according to polls conducted Median and Kantar TNS.

Judging by the preferences of voters who are decided, Miloš Zeman would get 34.5 percent of the vote and Drahoš 36.5 percent. Among the undecided voters, 11 percent said they are more likely to support Zeman while 8.5 percent would be more inclined to favour Drahoš.

Problem with contract on purchase of mobile radars for Czech army

Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová has acknowledged a problem with a contract on the purchase of eight mobile radars for the Czech army from Israel, prepared by her predecessor in office Martin Stropnicky.

In an debate on commercial TV Prima, Šlechtová said the radars had not been approved by the National Institute for Cyber Security and unless approval was granted the radars could not be linked up to NATO systems and put to effective use.

Šlechtová has commissioned a legal expertise on the matter, saying the contract might need to be reviewed.

Celebratory music compositions to mark centenary of Czechoslovakia’s birth

Brno Contemporary Orchestra has commissioned music compositions from domestic and foreign composers to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia which it will perform in the course of 2018 in the Moravian metropolis.

One concert will be titled From Czechoslovakia while the one featuring the work of foreign composers will be titled For Czechoslovakia. The Czech composers working on the celebratory compositions are Petr Bakla, Marián Lejava and Luboš Mrkvička. The foreign composers involved are American composer Elliot Sharp and Swiss composer Roland Dahinden.

Petr Štěpánek elected leader of Green Party

Petr Štěpánek, biologist and mayor of Prague 4, was elected leader of the Green Party on Saturday. He replaces Matěj Stropnický who resigned in the wake of the party’s poor showing in October’s general elections.

Štěpánek said the Green Party is based on three pillars, environment, social issues and freedom and democracy.

Avalanche alert in Jeseníky and Krkonoše mountains

A third degree avalanche alert has been called in the Jeseníky and Krkonoše mountains following several days of heavy snow. It is the highest avalanche warning this season.

The mountain rescue service says the situation is extremely dangerous since a combination of factors have created a highly unstable layer of snow on many slopes. Skiers have been warned not to take risks or stray from marked trails.

Weather forecast

Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast with more snow and day temperatures between -3 and 1 degrees Celsius. Night time lows could drop to -8 degrees Celsius.