Last year’s infestation of bark beetles was said to have been the biggest to hit Czech forests in 200 years. This year could prove even worse. Among those hard hit is Krkonoše National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. Park officials estimate 20 percent more trees will need to be felled in the battle against the relentless bug.
Czech society has changed dramatically since 1989, and not only
politically. Czechs are living longer and having fewer children, but while
the population is aging it is not declining, thanks to an influx of
immigrants. These are among some of the more striking findings of the Czech
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, the life expectancy for a Czech man was 68, eight years lower than today at 76. In the last year of Communism, a Czech woman could expect to live to 75.5, compared to 82 now.
Seniors now account for nearly 20 percent of the population, up from 13 percent in 1989. Meanwhile, children under the age of 15 make up 16 percent of the population, down from 22 percent three decades ago.
The Czech Republic experienced a baby boom around 2008, when the so-called Husák's children generation of the 1970s, begang having children of their own. Even so, the annual birth rate reached a maximum of 120,000. In recent years, it has been around 114,000.
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, there were 3.4 foreigners for every 1,000 Czechs compared to 53 today. Thirty years ago, one in 294 residents were born abroad, compared to one in 19 today.
A miniature Dead Sea – that’s what they call Kamencové jezero or Alum Lake in Chomutov. It is said to have healing powers. The alum prevents the growth of algae and the clean water contains sulphate, chloride and iron which are said to have a beneficial effect on respiratory diseases, infections, and even acne.
Hundreds of Czech scouts are currently in the United States taking part in the movement’s World Jamboree, which is being attended by 40,000 people from all around the globe. I spoke to Czech Radio’s reporter Jakub Lucký, who is on the ground in West Virginia, and asked him to tell me more about the Czech presence at this year’s international gathering:
As elsewhere in the developed world, the average life expectancy for Czech men and women has been growing, but the sad news is that they are not spending their old age in good health. The Czech Health Ministry is ringing alarm bells and focussing on campaigns that will raise awareness of the health risks responsible for serious illnesses in the aging population.
Some 500 Czech Scouts and Guides are heading to the United States for the
movement’s World Jamboree, which runs from July 22 to August 2.
They will rally under the motto "Unbreakable". The aim is to both highlight the suppression of the Czech movement under totalitarianism – by the Nazis and later by the Communists – and to celebrate its revival 30 years ago in their newly democratic country.
Today there are some 65,000 Scouts and Guides in the Czech Republic.
The international volunteer group Food Not Bombs has been providing free food to the homeless and hungry since 1980, and now has branches throughout the Czech Republic. In recent weeks, police and inspectors in an Ostrava district have been preventing volunteers from distributing food on orders from City Hall officials.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
Restaurant tells visitors to “clear their plates” or pay a 50 crown fine for wasting food
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’