Czech daily news roundup: Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022

Ledecká takes home another Olympic gold for parallel giant slalom, Tesco to stop selling CDs and DVDs in Czechia, alcoholism is growing among Czech women. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.02.2022 09:25:00 (updated on 08.02.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:10 Medical unions are on strike over plans for spending cuts

Medical unions have been on strike today over planned spending cuts in the health sector. The strikes were confirmed by union chairwoman Dagmar Žitníková today. The strike is a response to unofficial reports that the government plans to save CZK 95 million in the health sector this year. The Ministry of Health has denied that such cuts are planned publicly, but Žitníková claims Ministry officials did not deny the claims during a private meeting. Medical unions also complain that they have not yet had a chance to review a draft budget from the state for their operations.

15:12 Fiala to start Babiš-style video addresses

It has been announced that Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala will start delivering regular video addresses through social media, in a style similar to the "Čau lidi" videos released by his predecessor Andrej Babiš. A spokesperson said the format would be a chance for the Prime Minister to discuss "what has been successful in recent days and answer the most frequently asked questions from citizens and journalists." It's thought the videos will be published once a month.

13:47 New Czech ambassador to the US revealed

The Czech Republic's new ambassador to the United States will be Miloslav Stašek, currently Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It's thought the U.S. government has officially approved Stašek as ambassador, after he was nominated for the position by the previous Czech government led by Andrej Babiš. Some doubts emerged about his appointment after Babiš's defeat in October elections, but the U.S. move to accept his posting suggests the switch is now confirmed.

12:29 Czech unemployment rose by 0.1 percent in January

Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 3.6 percent in January, an increase of 0.1 percent on December. 267,076 people were out of work last month, around 9,000 more than a month earlier. Nonetheless, the number of job vacancies remains higher than the number of unemployed people, with 351,680 jobs advertised at the end of January, and an average of 0.8 job seekers per vacancy. The latest figures were published by the Labor Office of the Czech Republic today. More than 70 percent of the advertised jobs are described as suitable for foreigners.

12:23 Czech laser system sets world record

A Czech laser system has broken the world record for pulse power by a significant margin. The Bivoj system, created by scientists from the HiLASE Center in Dolní Břežany, succeeded in generating pulses with a wavelength of 515 nanometers, with an energy level of 95 joules at a repetition frequency of 10 hertz. The system exceeded the previous world record for laser output values by a huge 40 percent. 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 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 are urging people to avoid these spots. 35 centimeters of snow have fallen in the mountains over the last three days, and a scale-three warning on the five-point avalanche warning scale has been in force since last Thursday, meaning a considerable risk. It's feared that skiers could continue to head to areas off the beaten tourist track despite warnings from meteorologists and emergency services.

Sport Ester Ledecká wins Olympic snowboard gold

Ester Ledecká has continued her remarkable sporting story with another Winter Olympic gold, winning the snowboard parallel giant slalom competition in Beijing this morning. Defeating Austrian Daniela Ulbing in the final race, her gold was also the Czech Republic’s first medal of the Games.

Ledecká lived up to her status as tournament favorite from the start, easily beating the competition in qualification rounds. At the 2018 Games, she became the first athlete in Olympic history to win golds in two different disciplines using different equipment, winning snowboard and alpine skiing golds. Her gold in the snowboard brings her a step close to repeating that remarkable achievement this year.

Shopping Tesco to stop selling CDs and DVDs in Czechia

British 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 such products will start in the UK, but similar changes are also planned in the Czech Republic.

By the end of February, music and movie discs will disappear from UK Tesco stores entirely. Computer games will stay on sale in physical form for the time being, however. A similar phase out will take place in the Czech Republic soon. The removal of CDs and DVDs is being driven by the popularity of online streaming and download services which make such objects obsolete. Sales of such physical products fell by 18.5 percent last year, according to an association of entertainment retailers, while revenues from digital platforms increased by 8.3 percent.

Health Alcoholism is growing among Czech women

According to research by the Addictology Clinic of the General University Hospital in Prague, Czech women drink an average of six liters’ worth of pure alcohol per year. The results suggest women are catching up with men in terms of volume of alcohol drunk; while the ratio of female alcoholics has gone up compared to men.

Alcoholic liver disease is now the second most common cause of premature death among women aged 20 to 54. Some psychologists have claimed the increase in alcoholism among women is linked to the higher numbers of women in professional management positions since the Velvet Revolution, leading to higher levels of stress and pressure.

Money Crown strengthens against euro and dollar

The Czech crown has strengthened against both major currency comparators today. It has gained against the euro and dollar by 0.14 cents each, taking exchange rates to CZK 24.21 / EUR and CZK 21.14 / USD. The crown is now at its strongest level against the dollar since mid-June 2021. Earlier this month it reached a ten-year high against the euro.

Nonetheless, the Prague Stock Exchange started this week with a slight weakening. This was caused by losses in financial stocks, led by Komerční banka, whose shares fell by less than a single percentage point. Tech company Avast also lost value, while energy provider ČEZ strengthened by more than a percent.

Technology More than half of Czech teenagers use health apps

A study by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brno’s Masaryk University has found that more than half of Czech teenagers have apps tracking their health and sporting activity installed on their phones. These apps, such as pedometers, could be useful in further evaluating the health of Czech young people, according to the researchers.

The study results come from data supplied by 2,000 young people aged 11-16. Over half use at least one application from the “Health” category. The older they grow, the more likely they are to install a health-related app. Apps are most popular with girls aged 13 and over, with around two-thirds of teenage girls in this age category now using health apps. The most popular apps are those measuring sports activity and general health qualities such as pulse rate and sleep quality. Calorie counters and weight checking apps are less widespread.

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