Czech TV will broadcast the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve live from the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour in Ostrava, a spokeswoman for the public broadcaster’s Ostrava department said on Saturday. The mass will be celebrated by the bishop of the Ostrava-Opava diocese, František Václav Lobkwicz. The cathedral, built in the late 19th century, seats 4,000 people, and is one of the biggest churches in the country.
The European Commission has ordered an audit of all EU-funded health-care projects in the Czech Republic, the website idnes.cz reported on Saturday, quoting a spokeswoman for the EU’s Directorate General for Regional Policy; the directorate ordered the audit with the Czech authorities in July. The news site assumes the move is a reaction to the case of David Rath, a former prominent politician who faces prison term over corruption in public procurement of hospital equipment in central Bohemia. The results of the audit should be available by the end of next year.
The Czech national hockey team defeated Sweden 2:1 in a penalty shootout in their second appearance at the Channel One Cup, a pre-Olympic tournament held in Sochi. The Czech were behind but equalized some eight minutes before the end of the third period. Roman Červenka then scored the decisive goal in the shootout. The Czechs beat Finland 2:0 in Prague on Saturday in the tournament’s opener.
Meteorologists have warned of snow, fog and icy roads in several parts of the Czech Republic, mainly in the north and east of the country, after temperatures dropped below -3 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning. The situation is expected to improve early next week. Drivers should also exercise caution in the central Vysočina region where some roads are covered with snow and ice. Three people suffered light injuries in a series of accidents that occurred on the D1 motorway between Prague and Brno.
The Christian Democrats on Saturday accepted the latest proposal for the distribution of government seats, paving the way for a coalition with the Social Democrat and ANO parties. The Christian Democrats agreed to take over the agriculture and culture ministries and to have deputy prime minister without portfolio. The three parties that have been in coalition talks for weeks have cleared all policy issues; however, the distribution of ministerial position remained unresolved until the Social Democrats on Friday agreed to the Christian Democrats taking over the Ministry of Agriculture.
About a dozen winter swimmers marked the 90th anniversary of the beginnings of the sport in the country with a short swim in the Vltava in Prague on Saturday. They covered some 100-meter long distance in the Holešovice district which they believe saw the very first winter swim nearly a century ago. The best-known winter-swimming event, however, will take place on December 26 when some 250 swimmers from several countries are expected to plunge into the river near the National Theatre in central Prague.
The Citizens’ Rights Party – Zemanites on Saturday decided to leave President Miloš Zeman’s surname in the official party name. The party, founded by a group of Mr Zeman’s friends and supporters, was hoping to capitalize on him serving as president; however, it suffered a severe debacle in October’s general election. Party leaders said they would again consider changing the name next spring.
The Czech national hockey team beat Finland 2:0 in Prague on Thursday night, in the opening game of the Channel One Cup. The goals came from Petr Nedvěd and Jaroslav Hlinka. Coach Alois Hadamiczik praised the performance of goalie Jakub Kovář who had 39 saves. The Czech team will move to Sochi on Friday where the tournament’s remaining games will be played. The Channel One Cup is the last event ahead of the Olympic Games that get underway in Sochi in February.
Christian Democrat leader Pavel Bělobrádek said he welcomed the concession but was not optimistic regarding a positive outcome of the talks since his party wanted to be in control of three fully-fledged ministries. The Christian Democratic Party leadership is to consider the offer in the coming hours. The Social Democrats have made it clear that this is the final concession they are prepared to make in the division of ministerial posts.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy increased slightly in December for the fifth consecutive month. According to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office the economic sentiment indicator in December increased by one point as compared to November to 5.5 points. Confidence increased in trade and selected services. Confidence in industry remained unchanged and in construction it slightly decreased. Business confidence has been rising while consumer confidence remains virtually unchanged, statisticians said.
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