The Russian Finance Ministry announced on Monday that it has repaid the last part of its debt to the Czech Republic, which goes back to the time of the Soviet Union. Russia and the Czech Republic agreed on the repayment of the debt in 1994, and later the Czech government sold a large portion of 3.6 billion dollar total to a private company. Jiří Rusnok’s government approved the repayment of the remaining debt, of around 6.5 million dollars, this summer. The Russian ministry said it has paid it back through industrial production and monetary means.
The Office for the Protection of Competition has begun investigating the sale of the company Londa, which runs the most listened to radios station in the Czech Republic – Radio Impuls. Londa was sold in November to Agrofert, which belongs to the billionaire and chairman of the ANO party Andrej Babíš. The anti-monopoly regulator should make the decision about the merger within a month. The Agrofert group has also purchased the publishing house MAFRA, which puts out two popular daily newspapers Mladá fronta Dnes and Lidové noviny, earlier this year.
The Czech Academy of Sciences has breached the rules the distribution of grants, according to a report by the country’s Supreme Audit Office. The report says that grant applications were not processed transparently over the past six years, and in some cases, the academy could not show how they were processed at all. The institution also made errors in approving investments and purchases of scientific instruments.
The police have confirmed that the body of a mountain climber found over the weekend in Slovakia’s High Tatra mountains is that of Jaroslav "Jerry" Žilinský from Hradec Králové, who has been missing since late October. The body was found late on Friday by members of the mountain rescue service. The Slovak police have not yet determined the cause of death. Friends and family of Mr. Žilinský lost contact with him in late October after receiving letters and SMS messages suggesting he was planning to take his own life.
The famous Karlovy Vary Grandhotel Pupp, which annually hosts the main receptions for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, is helping the local branch of the Salvation Army to feed the homeless this Christmas. Using ingredients donated by the cash and carry chain Makro, chefs at the Grandhotel Pupp prepared a meal for the last Sunday of Advent and will also provide the Christmas Eve meal for the needy. The food will be delivered by the hotel staff to the charity’s distribution centers. The cooks decided not to serve the traditional Christmas Eve dish of fried carp and potato salad, opting instead for a warmer meal of hearty potato soup with root vegetables and bread.
A broken water hydrant caused a five-meter geyser to burst on Jungmannové square in the center of Prague on Monday. According to the water company Veolia, the breech of the hydrant was caused by carp sellers, who were using it to fill the containers with live fish. The water was quickly turned off and no serious damage was caused to the surroundings. In the advent weeks, carp, which is a traditional Christmas food in the Czech Republic, is sold live on the streets of Czech towns and cities from barrels full of water.
Approximately 44 percent of restaurants in the Czech Republic will be open on Christmas Eve – the day most Czechs have Christmas dinner – according to a poll carried out by the gastronomic website Lunchtime.cz. Some restaurants plan to close early in the afternoon, while others will only open I the evening. Another five percent of restaurants will be open on Christmas Day. The website’s direct Igor Třeslín said that during the last five years that they have been collecting data on opening hours over the holidays, the number of restaurants open has grown significantly every year. Three years ago the vast majority of eating establishments in the Czech Republic were closed on Christmas.
The new civil code, which will come into effect in the Czech Republic starting in January, treats animals as living beings, contrary to previous legislature. As a result, harm inflicted on animals, for example, will be punishable by law. Owners of pets will also be able to sue those who were responsible for the death of their pet for emotional distress.
Meteorologists have issued warnings of strong winds for northern and eastern Moravia and Silesia, as well as black ice in the Vysočina region from Monday evening until Tuesday afternoon. The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Office expects winds of up to 75 kilometers an hour in parts of Moravia, and around 125 kilometers an hour in the Beskydy and Jeseníky mountains. Otherwise daytime temperatures, especially in the west of the country, are expected to be quite high for Christmas, going up to 8 degrees Celsius.
Temperature records have been broken in 11 meteorological stations around the Czech Republic on Monday. The highest temperature of 11.1 degrees Celsius was recorded in Čáslav-Nové Město in Central Bohemia. In Bradýs nad Labem near Prague, the local station also measured 11 degrees during the day, though it was not a record temperature.