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ČEZ: 400 households still without electricity after windstorms

Some 400 Czech households are still without electricity following windstorms that hit the county on Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for the state-controlled utility ČEZ said the majority of affected households are located in the regions of North Moravia and East Bohemia. Up to 60,000 homes had been left at least temporarily without electricity.

The highest wind speed recorded was registered in the Sněžka Mountains, where it reached 178 kilometres per hour.

A wind warning is in effect on Thursday for the regions of Pardubice, Vysočina, Liberec, Jablonec and Znojmo.

Survey: Charles University ranked third-best in CEE and Central Asia

Charles University is the third-best institution of higher education in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, according to a ranking published by the British educational society Quacquarelli Symonds.

The Prague-based university, founded in 1348, is on par with the State University of St. Petersburg and ranked below two other Russian universities: Lomonosov Moscow State University and Novosibirsk State University.

Ranked ninth and eleventh, respectively, are the Technical University of Prague (ČVUT) and Masaryk University of Brno. In total, eight Czech universities or colleges are in the Top 100.

Ex-minister Stropnický heads for Israel to assume ambassadorial role

Former minister of defence Martin Stropnický is leaving for Israel, where he will serve as Czech ambassador. His immediate main task will be to open a new Czech House in Jerusalem and prepare for a visit by President Miloš Zeman.

Mr. Stropnický told Czech Television that the Prague government could, and did, explain some of Israel’s positions to the rest of the European Union. The former cabinet member quit his seat in the lower house earlier this month.

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, said preparations were being made for intergovernmental talks between the Czech Republic and Israel in Prague next year. The two countries have long had close ties.

iHned.cz: Hamáček plans major investment in police

The minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, plans major investment in the country’s police force, iHned.cz reported on Wednesday. The Social Democrats leader has secured over CZK 5.5 million for his ministry for next year alone and intends to put some of that money into new police stations, hundreds of cars and helicopters, while more hires will also be made.

It will be the largest investment in the police for a decade and could even exceed the amount poured into the force by Ivan Langer, when he was interior minister under prime minister Mirek Topolánek, the news website said.

Education Ministry allocates CZK 310 mn to Czech-US research projects

The Education Ministry has earmarked 310 million crowns to support cooperation between Czech and American researchers.

The money will go to 46 selected research projects selected in a public tender announced in March under the Inter-Excellence programme, which promotes cooperation between research centres in the two countries.

Originally, the ministry had set aside 250 million crowns in support, but raised it due to the high number of deserving, quality projects, a deputy minister said.

Taxi drivers’ union plans Prague protest against Uber, Taxify

The Association of Czech Taxi Drivers (SČT) plans to stage a protest in Prague in a bid to have the Road Transport Act amended so as to level the playing field with services such as Uber and Taxify, association chairman Petr Polišenský told the Czech News Agency.

Uber signed a deal with Czech tax authorities committing its drivers to registering their earnings using electronic cash registers from later this year. However, the country’s taxi drivers want a firmer approach to such similar operators.

The protest will take place from November 13-16. Polišenský declined to say whether the union planned to block traffic or increase congestion by driving slowly en masse, both tactics employed in earlier protests against Uber and Taxify.

Starting price for Veleslavín Chateau in Prague set at CZK 382 mn

The Ministry of Culture has approved plans to auction off the dilapidated historic Veleslavín Chateau in Prague on November 30, with the minimum sale price set at CZK 382 million.

The Baroque chateau dates back to 1725 and was built for Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the Holy Roman Empress. It includes a historic park spread out over three hectares. The site was last renovated in 1986.

The main building of the chateau complex currently houses a private medical facility, but that contract expires in December. The Municipality of Prague had expressed interest in buying the chateau via a direct sale.

Czech women’s team line-up for upcoming Fed Cup final in Prague announced

Czech women’s tennis team captain Petr Pála has announced the line-up for the upcoming Fed Cup final against defending champions the United States.

Leading the Czech team will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová and Karolína Plíšková, both ranked among the world’s Top Ten in singles.

For the doubles team, Pála selected Kateřina Siniaková and Barbora Strýcová for the best-of-five series on indoor hardcourt at the O2 Arena in Prague from November 10-11.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be overcast in the western half of the Czech Republic and partly cloudy in the eastern half, with daytime highs of between 17 to 21 degrees Celsius.