Police, paramedics and fire fighters are gearing up for the New Year
celebrations in the centre of Prague and other big cities.
Officers will be out in force in the city centre where thousands of people like to see the New Year in in boisterous street parties and traffic restrictions will be in force in areas where there is a bigger congregation of people, such as Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square.
The New Year fireworks will traditionally take place at 6pm on January 1st on Letna and may best be observed from the river embankments and nearby Prague bridges.
Fifty-six percent of Czechs have made a New Year’s resolution for 2019,
according to a survey conducted by the Albert supermarket chain.
The most frequent resolutions concern losing weight, leading a healthier lifestyle and exercising. Young people mostly resolve to travel more in the coming year or get serious about their education and future.
According to the survey 60 percent of women and 54 percent of men make a New Year’s resolution, but it is generally young people who are most serious about keeping them.
The number of centenarians in the Czech Republic has been dropping in
recent years, according to data from the Labour and Scial Affairs Ministry.
There are presently 437 Czechs aged over a hundred, and the majority of
them live in the South Bohemian region or Prague.
The oldest person in the country is a woman aged 108, followed by a man who is three years younger. Experts say the slight decrease in the number of centenarians is the result of a natural demographic curve.
The number of public service employees is the highest in seven years, the
ctk news agency reports citing data released by the Labour Ministry.
The number of people working in state administration in 2017 was close to 635,000 up by 22,000 as compared to 2014.
This is criticized by the opposition parties who accuse the government of squandering public funds and inflating state administration beyond the country’s needs.
Czechs will have to pay more for food, housing and electricity in the
coming year. According to economic experts the price of electricity is
expected to go up by eight to ten percent, the price of gas by five to
Food prices are expected to rise by four to five percent on average by mid-2019 and rents are expected to go up by five to ten percent.
The rise in rents is driven by the lack of new construction. Presently around 22 percent of Czechs live in rented accommodation.
The Czech Republic has maintained an excellent credit rating in the past
year, getting some of the best ratings in Central and Eastern Europe from
key international rating agencies.
Standard & Poor’s gives the country an AA for local currency and AA- for foreign currency, with a stable outlook. Moody's credit rating for the Czech Republic is at A1 with a positive outlook.
The agencies looked positively at the shape of public finances, the declining outlook for public debt, low unemployment and sound economic growth. This year’s credit ratings for the Czech Republic are the best since 1993.
The regional court in Příbram has ruled that the man who took several
people hostage in a Příbram bank on Friday will be remanded in custody
The twenty-eight-year-old man held nine hostages at gunpoint in a branch of the Unicredit bank. He was disarmed by members of a rapid deployment squad and arrested several hours later.
The man reportedly wanted to draw attention to his personal problems and had no intention of robbing the bank. If convicted he could face a sentence of between five and twelve years in prison.
One of the miners injured in a methane explosion in a black coal mine in
Karvina ten days ago remains in critical condition, according to a
spokesperson for Ostrava hospital where he is getting treatment.
The man suffered serious burns to more than 50 percent of his body and specialists are waiting for him to be stabilized before they can begin removing dead tissue and undertaking essential skin grafts.
Another miner, whose condition is reported to be stable, also remains in hospital. The devastating explosion killed 13 miners and injured another 10.
An investigation into what caused the accident has not yet started since the area affected still remains inaccessible for safety reasons.
Italian far-right groups are misappropriating the legacy of Jan Palach,
according to the Italian daily la Repubblica.
The paper refers to a concert organized by neo-Nazi groups in Verona, to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the tragic death of Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The concert is to be held under the motto Country and Freedom.
La Republicca says the tendency on the part of ultra-right groups to appropriate Palach’s legacy “polically and culturally“ has been evident for some time.