The company Plzeň 2015 has begun an international campaign to promote the west Bohemian city of Pilsen to potential visitors from abroad. Pilsen is one of the cities which was named as the European capital of culture for 2015, and Plzeň 2015 was tasked with preparing the city for this purpose. In the past, former capitals of culture had increases of up to 10 percent in tourism during the title-holding year. The campaign already began in Munich and will continue in Latvia, Sweden, Austria and other countries.
Clean-up operations are continuing near the town of Knyk in the Vysočina region, where an oil pipe leading to the storage facilities of the company Čepro was tampered with over the weekend. It is still unknown how much of the crude oil leaked out, but emergency workers said that some had definitely seeped into the ground in an area of the local forest. The company carrying out the clean-up efforts said that most likely the damage will be contained by Monday afternoon, but riding the soil in the area may take months.
France’s mixed duo Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet beat the Czech teammates and couple Petra Kvitová and Radek Štěpánek at the Hopman Cup in Australia on Monday. Tsonga won the first singles match, beating Štěpánek 6-1 6-4, but Kvitová’s singles victory over Cornet left it up to the final mixed doubles match on Monday. The French team seemed to have little trouble beating the Czechs in two sets with the final score 6-1 6-3. The Czech duo won against Spain over the weekend, and will be playing against the Americans John Isner and Sloane Stephens on Friday evening in the final match in their group.
A group of scientists, from 13 Czech institutions, have created a potentially revolutionary drug, which could provide targeted treatment for cancerous tumors, which could replace chemotherapy. Microbiologists have successfully tested the drugs on four types of tumors in mice, and said that they help the organism fight malignant cells instead of suppressing it. The group now lacks funding to test the drugs further on human subjects.
The Czech Republic’s external debt in Q3 decreased by 78.8 billion crowns to 1,946 billion, the Czech National Bank reports. This amounts to 50.6 percent of the GDP. The decrease in debt was aided chiefly by a decline in the corporate sector’s external liabilities. External liabilities with an original maturity of more than one year accounted for 76.6% of overall debt liabilities. External financial assets increased by 17.6 billion in Q3, reaching 2,775.2 billion. The year-on-year increase in assets was due to growth in the external assets of the banking sector and Czech direct investment abroad.
Three ostriches escaped from a farm near the town of Benešov over the weekend. The local police are helping the breeder and owner of the farm look for the animals. The owner said that the ostriches kicked open the fence of their corral after being frightened by shots fired by hunters in the vicinity. The farmer had bought four birds of the species Greater Rhea as a test run for possible future breeding.
An increasing number of Czechs say they have trouble meeting their basic needs on their monthly salary, the internet news site novinky.cz reports. Over 100,000 people admit to moonlighting but according to unofficial estimates the number of people making extra money on the side is well over one million. This is often undeclared income from helping out with various jobs in people’s homes or assisting with building work at private homes and cottages. One hundred and fifty thousand pensioners have retained their jobs even after reaching retirement age.
The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry has put forward a proposal to change the system of increasing pensions. According to the proposal, pensions should be raised based on the growth of household expenses for pensioners, which the ministry hopes will prevent the drop in the real value of pensions. Jiri Rusnok’s government has raised the pensions by an average of 45 crowns, which will come into effect in January. The Labor Minister has proposed to raise pensions again in July. The Finance Minister is against the proposal for a new calculation system.
The Czech under-20 hockey team lost to the Germans 0:3 at the World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden on Monday. This places him in the last place in Group A, just one point behind the German team. To make it into the quarterfinal, the Czech team will have to beat the Slovaks on Tuesday. They had an unexpected win against Canada on Sunday.
A veterinarian and zookeepers were unable to save a rare Sumatran orangutan named Padang at Prague Zoo in the early hours of Sunday. The great ape had undergone surgery to try and correct serious gastrointestinal problems. After the operation, Pandang collapsed at around 12 AM. Those involved tried to revive the ape for some four hours. The Sumatran orangutan is one of the most threatened species in the wild; there are only some 7,300 in the wilderness. In captivity, the orangutan can reach up to 60 years of age, compared to between 30 and 45 in nature.
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