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Report: number of pervetin users increases, alcohol abuse remains major problem

The annual report for drug abuse in the Czech Republic for 2013, presented by national anti-drugs coordinator Jindřich Vobořil, has shown that the number of long-term pervetin (methamphetamine) users in the country has increased significantly over the last 10 years. In 2003 there were around 18,800 addicts while last year the number was 34,200. The anti-drugs coordinator stressed that the abuse of legal substances, namely alcohol, remains a major problem, estimating the country had at least 500,000 alcoholics. The head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction, Viktor Mravčík, revealed that annually between 30 and 40 people overdose on opiates, pervetin or other illicit drugs, while around 300 people die from alcohol poisoning.

Government significantly boosts number of army personnel to guard perimetre of munitions depot

The Czech government has agreed to boost the number of soldiers guarding a volatile munitions site in Vrbětice in the area of Zlín by an additional 350 personnel, bringing the full number to 450. The move comes after explosions at the munitions depot continued to plague the site last week, leading to some 2,000 local residents being evacuated from their homes at the weekend. In October, an initial explosion at the former military storage facility, which is run by a private firm, destroyed part of the compound. Two employees died in the blast and the site has seen hundreds uncontrolled explosions since. Pyrotechnics experts who conducted a search of the site on Sunday, said there was no further danger after an unexploded artillery grenade was secured; but locals, angered by the ongoing situation, said such assurances had been given before.

BBC: Body found in Vltava that of missing British national

A British national who went missing during a stag weekend in the Czech capital has been found dead, a family member confirmed for the BBC. His death has also been confirmed by Great Britain's Foreign Office but not yet by Czech officials. Karl Law, 34, disappeared on November 15 during a visit to Prague with 12 others; his body was recovered from the Vltava River on Sunday. Mr Law leaves behind a fiancé and three-year-old son.

French PM to visit Czech Republic

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will arrive in Prague on Monday for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic. Mr Valls is scheduled to meet with President Miloš Zeman and with his Czech counterpart, Bohuslav Sobotka. The French Prime Minister is also set to speak at the Czech-French economic forum at the Czernin Palace on Tuesday and to commemorate a 1988 meeting of the former French president Francois Mitterand with Czechoslovak dissidents at the French Embassy in Prague.

Czech Army’s Chief of the General Staff visits Czech soldiers in Afghanistan

The Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, visited Czech soldiers at the Bagram military base in eastern Afghanistan at the weekend. General Pavel commemorated four Czech soldiers who died in July in a suicide bombing near the base. The Chief of the General Staff traditionally pays a morale boosting visit to Czech soldiers serving abroad ahead of the Christmas holidays handing out Christmas goodies and bringing the soldiers presents from their families. There are currently around 300 Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s ISAF mission.

Unemployment in CR remains at 7.1 percent

Unemployment in the Czech Republic remained at 7.1 percent in November, the same as the previous month, while the number of jobless fell by 2,130 to 517,508 and the number of vacancies rose by 1,180 against October to 59,397, the Employment Office announced on Monday. Year-on-year, unemployment was 0.6 percentage point lower in November. The number of those without jobs dropped by 47,805while the number of vacancies increased by 21,896. The Employment Office´s spokeswoman Kateřina Beránková said that industrial firms had proven to be in good condition with an interest in hiring new personnel. The situation on the labour market, she added, had been positively influenced not only by the economic recovery but also by the wrapping up of seasonal work. Demand is traditionally high for technical professions across all sectors - for example for milling machine operators, mechanics and electricians.

Finance Minister in row with Imex Group

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has said that residents in Vrbětice near Zlín should receive compensation from the company owning a dangerous munitions storage site, rocked by explosions that have levelled a number of buildings and killed two employees. The company came under fire from the minister on Sunday, when he suggested the it had less than a good name. The group’s lawyer, Radek Ondruš, has since demanded an explanation and warned the company may sue. The deputy prime minister shrugged off the threat, saying it wasn’t clear what the firm expected of him. Mr Babiš said his judgment of the company was based on publically-available sources, adding he hadn’t revealed any “state secrets”.

School Inspectorate checks security at more than half of schools

The Czech School Inspectorate has found that roughly five percent of schools checked by the bureau were risky when it came to security. The Inspectorate investigated almost 5,500 schools and school buildings at the behest of the government, following an attack by a mental patient at a Czech high school in October which left a 16-year-old student dead. The inspectorate checked more than half of existing institutions, finding that security at nine nursery schools, four elemntary schools and two high schools was practically non-existent.

Police search for dangerous patient

Czech police are searching for a patient who escaped from a psychiatric hospital in Kroměřiž on Sunday. The 20-year-old, a Slovak national, is considered dangerous. He was ordered into treatment at the hospital by a court after being found guilty of a violent criminal offence. Members of the public have been warned not to try and apprehend the escapee themselves.

Czech FA readies for ‘revolution’

The Czech Football Association is preparing the ground for a so-called revolution-slash-evolution in online documentation. Specifically, as of July 1st, 2015, all relevant match documentation will have to be online, according to news site iDnes. The move includes player registration and all match notes as well as trades and loans of players, in all leagues, from the highest to local organisations. The head of the FA Rudolf Řepka suggested the project was the one of the most important undertaken by football’s governing body in years.