• 02/04/2023

    The rules for regulating the sale of the addictive substance commonly known as kratom are now being finalised, Czech Television reported on Saturday. The new legislation is mainly intended to ban sales of the substance to people under the age of eighteen. At the moment, selling kratom is still unrestricted in Czechia and so it is freely available in shops and vending machines, which are often near schools. According to addictologists, it can often cause addiction in children as well as adults.

    Kratom is a herbal leaf from a tree of the Rubiaceae (coffee) family, whose crushed leaves are used as an alternative medicine or recreational drug, and whose risks are being increasingly debated by experts.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/04/2023

    Singer and actress Naďa Urbanková has died at the age of 83. She passed away on Friday evening of complications from cancer and a recent bout of Covid-19, her daughter, Jana Fabiánová, announced on Facebook on Saturday.

    Ms Urbanková had a long and storied career which included winning five Golden Nightingale awards, the third most of any female singer after Hana Zagorová and Lucie Bílá. She performed in the famous Semafor theatre in the 1960s and appeared in several films, including the acclaimed musical If a Thousand Clarinets (Kdyby tisíc klarinetů) and the Oscar-winning Closely Watched Trains. She later collaborated with Jiří Brabec and the Country Beat group, performing at Wembley in London and in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/04/2023

    Tens of thousands of people in Czechia were without electricity on Saturday due to trees falling on power lines as a result of the strong winds and snow. The worst-hit area was the Moravian-Silesian Region, but the Hradec Králové, Central Bohemian, Liberec and Ústí nad Labem Regions were also affected, among others. The number of households without power was down to about 15,000 by the afternoon.

    The ČEZ energy group, the largest provider of electricity in Czechia, announced over 130 high voltage failures and dozens more low voltage failures due to trees falling on power lines.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    Saturday is expected to be overcast with daytime temperatures between -3 and 1 degrees Celsius. Strong winds as well as snow and/or rain are likely to continue throughout Czechia until Saturday afternoon.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    President Miloš Zeman will meet with his successor Petr Pavel on the morning of Monday, February 13 at the presidential chateau in Lány, Mr Pavel said on Friday at a press conference. He further stated that he was the one to suggest a date to the incumbent head of state and that President Zeman accepted. The president's spokesperson, Jiří Ovčáček, has confirmed the date on his Twitter account.

    There had previously been some uncertainty over whether the two would meet before the president-elect's inauguration, with Mr Pavel saying that he expected the current head of state to be the one to initiate such a meeting and that he saw no reason to request one himself.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský is due to fly to North Macedonia on Monday. He will meet with his counterpart Bujar Osmani and other representatives of the country. On the agenda is the development of mutual relations and the integration of North Macedonia into the EU, among other topics.

    During the Czech presidency of the EU Council in the second half of last year, EU accession talks began with Albania and North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina also succeeded in gaining candidate status.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    The new American ambassador to the Czech Republic, Bijan Sabet, has arrived in Prague and is getting his office ready. A video published on Twitter where he introduces himself and says he is "ready to work" shows photo frames, a camera, and a dog bed being unpacked and arranged in his office.

    Mr Sabet is the first US ambassador to the Czech Republic after a two-year period without one. Stephen King was the previous ambassador.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    After months of negotiations, the five parties which won last September's municipal elections in Prague have finalised their coalition agreement. It should be approved and signed by the respective parties next week before their meeting on February 16, when they intend to formally elect the new city government headed by Bohuslav Svoboda as the new mayor.

    The five-party coalition consisting of the Pirate Party, the Mayors and Independents, and Together, itself a coalition consisting of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and the Christian Democrats, won a comfortable majority in Prague in the municipal elections in September, but since then have been embroiled in complex negotiations.

    Some headway was finally made in mid-January when Together offered for the Pirates and the Mayors and Independents to have a combined majority in the council, and further progress was made when the Pirates withdrew from the alliance they had previously established with Praha Sobě. In the meantime, the incumbent mayor Zdeněk Hřib has remained in office as caretaker.

    Negotiations on the new leadership of Prague have lasted more than four months, the longest since the creation of the Czech Republic as an independent state.

    Author: Anna Fodor
  • 02/03/2023

    The Czech National Bank has revised its forecast for this year’s public finance deficit. The bank now expects a deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP. In its previous prediction published in the autumn, it expected the deficit to be 3.8 percent of GDP.

    Last year, the public sector ended with a deficit of 3.9 percent of GDP, according to a table of key macroeconomic indicators published on Friday as part of the current monetary policy report. The full report will be published next week.

    Author: Ruth Fraňková
  • 02/03/2023

    Fresh snow and strong winds continue to complicate traffic around the country on Friday, and police have had to close a number of small roads. According to meteorologists, the windy weather with the risk of snow drifts will last at least until Saturday morning. Traffic police have warned drivers heading for the mountain regions to exercise caution and not set out without winter gear.

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