16:10 Medical unions are on strike against spending cut plans
Medical unions went on strike today against planned spending cuts in the health sector. The strikes were confirmed today by union president Dagmar Žitníková. The strike is a response to unofficial reports that the government plans to save CZK 95 million in the health sector this year. The Health Ministry has denied that such cuts are planned publicly, but Žitníková says ministry officials did not deny the allegations in a private meeting. Medical unions also complain that they have not yet had the opportunity to review a draft state budget for their operations.
15:12 Fiala launches Babiš-style video addresses
It was announced that Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala would start posting regular video addresses via social media, in a style similar to the “Čau lidi” videos posted by his predecessor Andrej Babiš. A spokesperson said the format would be an opportunity for the Prime Minister to discuss “what has been successful in recent days and answer the questions most frequently asked by citizens and journalists”. It is believed that the videos will be released once a month.
13:47 The new Czech ambassador to the United States revealed
The new Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States will be Miloslav Stašek, currently State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The US government is believed to have officially endorsed Stašek as ambassador, after he was nominated for the post by the previous Czech government led by Andrej Babiš. Some doubts have emerged over his appointment following Babiš’s defeat in the October election, but the United States’ decision to accept his post suggests the change is now confirmed.
12:29 Czech unemployment rose 0.1% in January
Unemployment in the Czech Republic reached 3.6% in January, an increase of 0.1% in December. 267,076 people were out of work last month, about 9,000 more than a month earlier. Nevertheless, the number of job offers remains higher than the number of unemployed, with 351,680 job offers announced at the end of January, and an average of 0.8 job seekers per job offer. The latest figures were released today by the Labor Office of the Czech Republic. Over 70% of advertised jobs are described as suitable for foreigners.
12:23 Czech laser system sets world record
A Czech laser system broke the world record for pulse power by a significant margin. The Bivoj system, created by scientists from the HiLASE Center in Dolní Břežany, managed to generate pulses with a wavelength of 515 nanometers, with an energy level of 95 joules at a repetition rate of 10 hertz. The system surpassed the previous world record for laser output values by 40%. The higher output values of the laser system could be applicable in better processing methods for metals such as copper or aluminum.
11:59 Avalanches reported in the Jeseníky Mountains
Emergency services are reporting landslides and avalanches in the Jeseníky Mountains due to large amounts of freshly fallen snow. Avalanches are particularly common in the Velký Kotle area and rescuers urge people to avoid these places. 35 centimeters of snow has fallen in the mountains in the past three days, and a scale three advisory on the five-point avalanche warning scale has been in effect since last Thursday, signifying considerable risk. There are fears that skiers will continue to head for areas off the beaten track despite warnings from meteorologists and emergency services.
sport Ester Ledecká wins Olympic gold in snowboarding
Ester Ledecká continued her remarkable sporting history with another Winter Olympic gold medal, winning the parallel giant slalom snowboarding competition in Beijing this morning. Beating Austria’s Daniela Ulbing in the final race, her gold medal was also the Czech Republic’s first medal at the Games.
Ledecká lived up to her status as tournament favorite early on, easily beating the competition in the qualifying rounds. At the 2018 Games, she became the first athlete in Olympic history to win gold medals in two different disciplines using different equipment, winning gold medals in snowboarding and alpine skiing. Her gold medal in snowboarding puts her on the verge of repeating that remarkable feat this year.
Purchases Tesco will stop selling CDs and DVDs in the Czech Republic
UK supermarket chain Tesco will stop selling CDs and DVDs at the end of February due to a lack of interest from customers. The removal of these products will begin in the UK, but similar changes are also planned in the Czech Republic.
By the end of February, music and film discs will disappear entirely from Tesco stores in the UK. However, computer games will remain on sale in physical form for the time being. A similar elimination will take place soon in the Czech Republic. The removal of CDs and DVDs is driven by the popularity of online streaming and downloading services that render these items obsolete. Sales of these physical products fell 18.5% last year, according to an association of entertainment retailers, while revenues from digital platforms rose 8.3%.
Health Alcoholism increases among Czech women
According to research by Addictology Clinic of the General University Hospital in Prague, Czech women drink an average of six liters of pure alcohol per year. The results suggest that women are catching up with men in terms of volume of alcohol consumed; while the ratio of female alcoholics has increased compared to males.
Alcoholic liver disease is now the second leading cause of premature death in women aged 20-54. Some psychologists have claimed that the increase in alcoholism among women is linked to the higher number of women in leadership positions since the Velvet Revolution, leading to increased levels of stress and pressure.
Money The krone strengthens against the euro and the dollar
The Czech Koruna gained against both major currency comparators today. It gained against the euro and the dollar by 0.14 cents each, bringing the exchange rates to 24.21 CZK/EUR and 21.14 CZK/USD. The krone is now at its highest level against the dollar since mid-June 2021. Earlier this month, it hit a ten-year high against the euro.
Nevertheless, the Prague Stock Exchange started this week with a slight weakness. This was caused by losses in financial stocks, led by Komerční banka, whose shares fell by less than one percentage point. Technology company Avast also lost value, while energy provider ČEZ gained more than one percent.
Technology More than half of Czech teenagers use health apps
The study results come from data provided by 2,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 16. More than half use at least one application from the “Health” category. The older they get, the more likely they are to install a health-related app. Apps are most popular with girls aged 13 and older, with around two-thirds of teenage girls in this age category now using health apps. The most popular apps are those that measure sports activity and general health qualities such as pulse rate and quality of sleep. Calorie counters and weight check apps are less common.