Hundreds of members of Prague’s homeless community were served with lunch at the Archbishop's Palace at Prague Castle on Thursday, the second day of the Christmas holiday in the Czech Republic. The visitors were welcomed by the head of Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, at the lunch, which was being served at the Archbishop's residence for the 10th time.
The chief of staff of the Czech army Petr Pavel paid an unannounced visit on Thursday to soldiers guarding a munitions depot in Eastern Moravia that has seen explosions over a two-month period. The military chief toured the site at the village of Vrbětice and spoke to some of the 200 soldiers patrolling it. General Pavel, who is set to take a senior NATO post next summer, reiterated his opposition to the government's deployment of the troops to guard the munitions store.
Czech mobile phone users made 44 million calls on Christmas Eve, according to data released by operators and quoted by the Czech News Agency. The number is a record for one day in the Czech Republic, which has a population of around 10.5 million, and was two million more than the figure registered on December 24 last year. The number of SMSes sent was, at 75.2 million, fewer than in 2013.
The recently installed mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová doled out free fish soup on the city’s Old Town Square on Christmas Eve, upholding a tradition of the office. Praguers and tourists formed a long queue to receive the soup, which for many Czechs is the first course of Christmas dinner from Mayor Krnáčová, who was dressed in a chef's outfit. She was helped by other city councilors and the head of her ANO party, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš.
Record temperatures for Christmas Eve were registered at several spots in the Czech Republic, particularly in North Bohemia and South Moravia. New highs for December 24 were felt at around a tenth of the weather stations keeping records for 30 or more years. The warmest place in the country was Ústí nad Labem, where it was 11.9 degrees Celsius. The relatively mild weather is set to end on Friday with temperatures below freezing point expected in the coming week.
The popular televison presenter Přemysl Podlaha, who was for many the face of do-it-yourself in the Czech Republic, has died at the age of 76. Mr. Podlaha’s career began in the 1960s when he worked for the agricultural section of Czechoslovak Television. However, he found fame in recent decades fronting programmes focused on DIY, cottage life and gardening. Serious health problems had forced him to stop down from the show Receptář, which he created in 1987, last summer.
The women’s world 400 metres hurdles champion, Zuzana Hejnová, says she is now fully fit and looking forward to the new season. After returning from a training camp in South Africa, the Czech athlete said she was aiming to take part in the European Indoor Championships in Prague in March. Named Czech sportsperson of the year for 2013, Hejnová missed much of this year through injury.