President Zeman has responded to a critical letter written by a group of 17 senators for the Christian Democratic and Stan parties earlier this month, in which they criticized his views on Russia and China, and said he jeopardized the Czech Republic’s ties to the EU and the US. In his answer published on his Facebook profile on Tuesday, Mr Zeman defends his stand towards China and the Ukrainian crisis. He says it is necessary to look for a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian problem and to avoid armed conflict. He also says that all his domestic and foreign negotiations are aimed at creating new job opportunities for Czechs.
The Czech Republic’s foreign debt increased by 10 billion crowns to 2.77 billion in the third quarter of this year, accounting for 65.5 percent of gross domestic product, the Czech National Bank said on Tuesday. Year on year, the foreign debt was 293 billion higher. The private sector is responsible for 67.7 percent of the long-term external debt, while public liabilities account for the remaining third. Foreign liabilities of the government sector accounted for 21.6 percent of the total external debt.
The Prague City Hall is taking special measures for the end-of-year celebrations in the Czech capital. Some 350 policemen, seven ambulances and three firefighter units will be out in force on New Year’s Eve to ensure public safety at the open-air celebrations in Prague. The main events will traditionally take place at the top end of Wenceslas Square and at the Old Town Square. Some streets in the city centre will be closed for transport in the evening and during the night.
The number of people killed in railroad accidents this year is the highest in the last decade, according to the figures released by the Railway Inspectorate on Tuesday. The number of railroad accidents has also reached a ten-year high. 237 people died this year after being hit by a train, which is 38 more than last year. Another 43 people died in accidents on railroad crossings. According to the Railroad Inspectorate, one third of the people killed in railroad accidents account for suicides.
The number of internet users in the Czech Republic has increased to 79 percent this year, which is twice as much as in 2005, according to an international survey World Internet Project. The most active users are people under the age of 30 and people with a university education. People in the 15 to 29 age group spend on average 30 hours a week online. Two thirds of Czech online users regularly visit social websites and three quarters use internet as the main source of news.
A 45-year-old man accidentally shot himself with a gun in Prague on Monday evening and had to be taken to hospital with a serious head injury, a police spokesman said on Tuesday. The incident was likely caused by unprofessional handling of the gun. The police subsequently searched the man’s apartment and found 21 weapons, including several guns and revolvers, a machine gun and a grenade. The man, who didn’t have a firearms license, will be charged with illegal possession of weapons.
Czech legendary forward Jaromír Jágr helped the New Jersey Devils sink the favoured Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night in the National Hockey League, scoring once on three shots and afterwards being named the game’s first star. The Devils ended a three-game losing streak and Jágr got his first points after five games. The Devils are in 14th position in the Eastern Conference and a lowly 26th in the league overall while Pittsburgh are fifth.
Traditional Prague derby between city rivals Sparta Prague and Slavia Prague will take place on Wednesday. The winter classic, which traditionally takes place on the last day of the year, is being held for the 29th time. The last two matches were won by Slavia, which has already secured 19 wins. The exhibition match will start at Slavia’s Eden football stadium with an Old Timers’ match.
Greek football club Olympiakos is interested in Czech striker Petr Jiráček, who is currently playing for Hamburg, according to the website gazzetta.gr. The 28-year old midfielder has been playing for the German club since 2011. The Greek club is also interested in Czech midfielder Tomáš Rosický and according to The Sun newspaper is ready to pay three million euros for the Arsenal player.
According to meteorologists, 2014 will go down as one of the warmest on Czech soil. Ten out of twelve months this year saw higher than average temperatures – a situation repeated just twice in nine years - the spokesman for the Czech Hydro meteorological Institute Petr Dvořák said. The average temperature has gone up by a roughly two degrees Celsius since 1850 at the country’s oldest meteorological station.