The pictures Old-Timers and Owners have received the most nominations, five
each, in the Czech Film Critics’ Awards. Old-Timers is about a geriatric
pair seeking revenge on a communist-era prosecutor, while Owners centres on
a meeting of people who all have apartments in the same building. WWII
drama The Painted Bird got four nominations.
The winners of the Czech Film Critics’ Awards will be announced on February 1.
With the arrival of the New Year, the Czech Army has deployed 1,000
soldiers to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, the army said in
a statement on Thursday. The Czech soldiers will be on alert for the
entirety of 2020 and must be able to take action in a crisis situation
within five days.
Commander Petr Blecha said the Czechs had been preparing intensively to play a role in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force since 2018. The task force was created following the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Thursday is the 55th anniversary of the launch of Večerníček, a very
popular Czech children’s TV programme that goes out in the early evening.
Czechoslovak Television broadcast the first episode of the show on January
2, 1965 and it has been running ever since.
Many of the characters in the mainly animated Večerníček have become household names, such as Bob and Bobek, Little Mole and Rumcajs.
A new system of electronic sick notes that went into effect in the New Year
is working well, says the minister of labour and social affairs, Jana
Maláčová. She told reporters that the social administration had received
over 3,000 e-sick notes by 10 am on Thursday. Minister Maláčová said
that patients would no longer have to deliver documents anywhere in person.
The system had been due to come into effect a year previously. PM Andrej Babiš’s first government wanted to abandon it and create a new version, but Minister Maláčová revived the project when her party the Social Democrats entered a coalition with Mr. Babiš’s ANO.
There was a decline in road deaths in the Czech Republic in 2019, according
to preliminary police figures cited by the Czech News Agency. Some 550
people died in traffic accidents last year, 15 fewer than in 2018. However,
the figure for last year was still higher than in 2016 or 2017.
The worst month for road deaths in this country in 2019 was August, with 62. January saw the fewest, with 25.
The authorities in Prague ushered in the New Year with a video mapping show
at the city centre National Museum on Wednesday evening. The projection,
entitled We, Prague, took place a number of times in the course of the
evening. It replaced a previous municipal fireworks display, which the
current City Hall leadership said was harmful to the environment and caused
stress to animals and some residents.
However, a fireworks display financed from private donations did take place under the auspices of Prague 2. The city’s Congress Centre was the best spot to watch the show but there were such crushes at the Vyšehrad Metro stop that it was closed for some time.
In a New Year’s address, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that the Czech
Republic was currently going through one of the most successful and happy
periods in its modern history and was performing confidently in
international relations. Mr. Babiš told TV viewers on Wednesday evening
that his government would continue its policy of mainly investing in
people, adding that it would raise both pensions and salaries in 2020.
The PM said a new construction bill would likely be the most important piece of legislation in the lower house this year, while digitialisation and cybersecurity would also be major issues for his cabinet.
The US beat the Czech Republic 3:4 in overtime in the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ostrava on Monday. The Czechs got one point for the overtime loss, setting up a huge Russia-Germany game on Tuesday. The team is now 3rd in Group B with four points and its place in the quarterfinals remains uncertain.