The lower house of Parliament has approved a bill that should introduce a broad ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants. The government-proposed legislation was defended by the newly appointed Health Minister Miloslav Ludvik who said it was a vital step in protecting public health and particularly that of the young generation which frequently topped the European ladder in tobacco and alcohol abuse. The draft law caused heated controversy in the lower house and there were numerous efforts to modify the ban, such as a rejection of the proposed amendment that would ban smoking in street cafes or cars with child passengers. The draft legislation now goes to the Senate. If it wins approval there and is signed by the president it should come into force in May of next year.
The Czech Republic and Iran are seeking ways to further increase their growing trade turnover. Following a meeting with the visiting Iranian Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia, Czech Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek said he would like to see bilateral trade increase tenfold in the near future. Czech exports to Iran increased by 46 percent in the first nine months of this year and bilateral trade is expected to get a new impetus with the signing of an agreement on protection of investments between the two countries scheduled to take place early next year. The Czech Republic has said it is ready to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization.
The Czech Education Ministry has asked the Czech Football Association to change the logo on the jerseys of the national team’s players. The national football team selected the two-tailed Czech lion, which appears on the country’s state emblem, for its logo, but according to the law on state symbols the team should by right have chosen either the state flag, the name of the country or the whole emblem which apart from the lion also depicts a crowned eagle. The national team is vehemently against the idea of changing the logo, saying it is a protected trademark.
British singer-songwriter Sting will be the main star of Prague’s Metronome festival, which will take place in the Czech capital in June, the festival's organiser Roman Helcl told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The former frontman of the rock band Police will perform with his three-member band, including guitarist Dominic Miller. Tickets go on sale on December 12.
Consumer prices in November increased by 0.3 percent compared to the previous month, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Friday. This development was primarily due to a rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The year-on-year growth in consumer prices amounted to 1.5 percent, i.e. 0.7 percentage points up on October and the most since June 2013. Analysts ascribe the higher than expected growth to the introduction of the law on electronic cash registers ahead of which many entrepreneurs increased prices to make up for the extra expenditures. Analysts predict that inflation may thus reach the Czech National Bank’s target of 2 percent in the first months of 2017.
The last round of matches in the Europa League group stage brought mixed results for the three Czech clubs in the competition. Sparta Prague will progress out of the group stage despite losing against Inter Milan 1:2 on Thursday night. Sparta are on 12 points in their group, followed by Hapoel Beer-Sheva and Southampton. Liberec failed to secure a spot in the next stage after it went down 0:2 against PAOK Thessaloniki, while Viktoria Plzeň ends the Europa League competition with a symbolic 3:2 win against Austria Vienna.
Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius. Night time lows should range from 0 to 4 degrees.