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Samková carries flag as Czech team appear in Pyeongchang opening ceremony

Around 50 members of the 93-member Czech team took part in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday. During the spectacular opening the Czech flag was carried by Eva Samková and the snowboard cross star is one of two Czech competitors hoping to defend their Olympic titles from the last Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

The Czech team at the curtain-raiser were all wearing what have been dubbed Raškovka hats. In the Czech national colours of red, white and blue, they resemble the wool hat in which Jiří Raška won his first gold in ski jumping at the Olympics in Grenoble in 1968.

Czech House at Pyeongchang Olympics opens

The Czech House at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea was officially opened on Friday, the first day of the Games. The venue will host athletes, fans and international visitors for the duration of the Olympics, which conclude on February 25.

Among the guests at the ceremonial opening were the president of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, the speaker of the Senate, Milan Štěch, the Czech ambassador to South Korea, Tomáš Husák, and the president of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska.

Ninety-three Czech athletes are taking part in Pyeongchang. The Czech team picked up eight medals, including two gold, at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

ANO leader Andrej Babiš says no time limit on government creation

Outgoing prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has confirmed that head of state Miloš Zeman will give him an unlimited period to try and form a government and will not seek a guarantee that he has 101 votes in support in the lower house..

Babiš made the announcement after a meeting with the president on Thursday night. He confirmed that the two would next meet on the evening of February 18.

That day the Social Democrats are expected to elect a new leadership which should decide whether to enter into talks about a coalition with ANO or offer an ANO led government support.

Zeman rules out supporting candidate in Social Democrats leadership vote

President Miloš Zeman says he will not directly support any candidate for the post of chairman when he appears at a congress of the Social Democrats the weekend after next. Mr. Zeman, himself a former leader of the party, made the comment in a TV interview broadcast on Thursday evening.

The president said the Social Democrats were internally divided and at a low ebb. After heading the last government, the party came sixth in elections in October with 7.3 percent backing.

Among the candidates for the post of chairman in the vote are acting leader Milan Chovanec, Jan Hamáček and Jiří Zimola.

First smog alert of winter declared in Moravian Silesian Region

An air pollution alert has been issued for most of the Moravian Silesian Region. It is the first time such a smog warning, a regular occurrence in the relatively industrial region, has been declared this winter.

The level of airborne dust currently seen in Moravia Silesia is such that regulations may need to be introduced soon forcing factories to adhere to certain restrictions. Forecasters say they do not expect the situation to improve soon.

Study: Almost half of Czech teachers in danger of burnout

Almost half of Czech teachers are in danger of experiencing burnout syndrome, suggests a study conducted by the Faculty of Pedagogy at Charles University in Prague, Czech Television reported. Two and a half thousand teachers were interviewed for the survey.

The study found that one-fifth of respondents had signs of medium to severe signs psychological problems and were in need of specialised care.

Excessive administration, difficulties with both pupils and parents and the low prestige of a profession that is not paid highly in the Czech Republic were given as reasons for the threat of burnout.

Mouse-cloning Czech scientist creates genetically modified hamsters

Czech scientist Helena Fulková has succeeded in creating genetically modified hamsters in Japan, where she is currently based. Ms. Fulková previously made headlines for cloning mice. The news of her latest achievement was relayed by her father Josef Fulka, who is also an expert on cloning.

Mr. Fulka told the Czech News Agency he rather doubted his daughter would be able to genetically modify hamsters but that she had succeeded in doing so.

Cloning mice and creating genetically modified mice is not done for its own sake but to help understand the fundamentals of biological processes, Mr. Fulka said.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with sunny spells in the Czech Republic on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 1 degree Celsius. Snow is forcast for the following days.