Regions in the Czech Republic recently hit by floods have begun tabulating the damage costs. So far, damage to infrastructure and property across 25 municipalities in Plzeň has been estimated at 47.9 million crowns. The figure, however, is preliminary and appears likely to go up. Municipalities have also begun filing for financial relief so far counting 3.7 million. Beroun, not far from the capital, has been tabulating the damage to roads and bike paths, so far estimated at 30 million crowns. The overall figure for total damages there, however, is expected to increase considerably: between 200 and 300 million. Fifty million crowns, meanwhile, is being drawn by the region of Ústí in north Bohemia to be used for clean-up operations and repairs. The figure is not final: the regional governor pointed out it was around a ‘seventh’ of total funds which will be required.
The Stanley Cup finals begin later on Wednesday, pitting the Boston Bruins (with Czech players David Krejčí and future hall-of-famer Jaromír Jágr) against the Chicago Blackhawks. The first two games take place in the Windy City. The Chicago Blackhawks have Michael Frolík and Michal Rozsíval on their roster, so regardless of which team wins, the feted cup, as is custom, will travel to the Czech Republic later this year. Members of the winning team are each ‘unofficially’ allowed to borrow the trophy for a day.
Almost 50 percent of Czechs have expressed dissatisfaction with Miloš Zeman 100 days into his presidency, according to a new poll by the STEM/MARK agency. The results were released by Czech TV. Respondents graded the head-of-state, the first in the Czech Republic elected directly by the people, in a number of areas. Those who were critical towards the president, for example, found fault with his behaviour at a recent ceremony in which the crown jewels were put on display: three-quarters of those questioned said they did not believe he was ill but under the influence of alcohol. The president on Tuesday denied he had been drunk. Forty-nine percent of those questioned disapprove of the president, while 51 percent are in favour, according to the poll.
The number of inhabitants in the Czech Republic dropped by 3,300 people in the first three months of this year, the Czech Statistical Office revealed Wednesday. According to the bureau, the population number currently stands at 10,512,800; during the three-month period, deaths outnumbered births. Compared to the first quarter in 2012, however, both the birth and mortality rates went down, as did the number of abortions and weddings. By contrast, the number of Czechs getting divorced went up. More than 6,500 marriages ended in divorce, up by 400 cases from a year ago.
The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has lifted the flood warning it issued in the regions of central and south Bohemia, Ústí in north Bohemia) and Plzeň (west Bohemia) on Monday. Three towns still face potential danger from floods: Děčín and Ústí nad Labem, on the Labe River, as well as the UNESCO-listed Český Krumlov in south Bohemia, on the Vltava River, ČTK reported. However, water levels have fallen markedly and heavy precipitation is not expected in the country over the next few days. Extensive floods hit Prague and most regions in Bohemia, the western part of the Czech Republic, last week. The floods claimed lives and saw thousands of people evacuated from their homes.
The Czech Republic’s chances of reaching the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil received a boost on Tuesday, when one of their rivals for second place in Group B suffered a surprise defeat. Denmark’s 0:4 home defeat to the unfancied Armenia means the Czechs are now three points ahead of Denmark and would likely come second – and reach the playoffs – is they beat Malta, Armenia and Bulgaria. Italy top the group and are expected to win an automatic qualification place.
Culture Minister Alena Hanáková (TOP 09-STAN) confirmed on Wednesday that she will step down at the end of June. The embattled minister had faced increasing criticism both from the opposition and expert circles; speculation that she would step down had intensified for some time. The minister told journalists she no longer felt she had the support of her party; she took the decision after meeting earlier with TOP 09 head Karel Schwarzenberg. Jiří Hlaváč, a former dean at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) is being mentioned as a possible successor.
The creator of the country’s annual film industry awards ceremony, Petr Vachler, says he will not hand the rights to the Czech Lions to the Czech Film and Television Academy. Mr. Vachler said the CZK 10 million that the Academy had offered to pay him for the rights over a period of a decade was insufficient. He said he was not fixated on retaining control of the brand and was chiefly concerned with the Czech Lions continuing, adding that he hoped to reach a compromise on the matter.
The prime minister, Petr Nečas, has announced that he is getting divorced from his wife Radka. In a statement, he said that he and his wife had applied to a court to have their marriage dissolved. Mr. Nečas revealed in January that he and his wife, with whom he has four children, were no longer living together.
The state-owned power utility CEZ is to waive three monthly bills for households hit by over half a metre of flooding, its director, Daniel Beneš, said on Tuesday. Homes where flood waters were less than half a metre will not be charged for one month’s power, he said. The prime minister, Petr Nečas, described the gesture as a sign of social responsibility and called on other power suppliers to make a similar gesture.
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