Czech news in brief for January 29: Monday's top headlines

Older Czech apartments see surge in prices, thousands of household boilers in need of replacement, and more Monday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.01.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 29.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

sport Prague Ice Hockey WC: 70 percent of tickets sold

Vladimír Šafařík, the general secretary of the 2024 World Ice Hockey Championships that Prague will host in May this year, revealed today that about 430,000 tickets have been sold so far. This equates to about 70 percent of all available tickets. 

The championship, scheduled from May 10 to May 26, aims to reach or surpass 750,000 fans, reminiscent of the 2015 record attendance of 741,690 in Prague and Ostrava. Ticket distribution for the Ostrava and Prague group-stage games will be handled by Ticketportal, while Ticketmaster will oversee the sale of tickets for the Prague play-offs. 

MACROECONOMY Pavel: Country must be more fiscally sensible

President Petr Pavel emphasized the need for ongoing efforts to consolidate public finances in an interview with Czech Radio this afternoon. He stressed the importance of responsible budgeting, citing this year's deficit projection of CZK 252 billion. 

Pavel warned against long-term deficits, which could harm the Czech economy and hinder essential state functions. He urged the government to prioritize deficit reduction while fulfilling key objectives. The president praised the recent government consolidation package as a crucial step forward but stressed the necessity of transparent communication to citizens regarding the implications of fiscal efforts.

HEALTH Some Czech regions register flu epidemic

The Czech State Health Institute has reported a significant increase in the number of patients with influenza and other respiratory infections in the past week. The national incidence rate has now reached around 1,750 per 100,000 inhabitants, indicating a technical nationwide epidemic. Experts speak of an epidemic of acute respiratory infections when the infection rate exceeds 1,600 to 1,700 patients per 100,000 people.

The most affected regions are South Moravia, Karlovy Vary, and Vysočina. The Ministry of Health emphasizes that not all regions have reached epidemic status yet. Influenza cases surged by 75 percent nationwide week on week, surpassing Covid-19 infections, which conversely decreased by one-fifth (with 11 cases per 100,000 population). 

incident Two killed in Central Bohemia van crash

Two people have been killed and another two seriously injured when a van skidded off a bridge under construction near Krupa in Rakovnik (Central Bohemia) this morning, according to regional police. The van, which was carrying four people, fell 15 meters from the bridge while on its way to a construction site. 

The two injured individuals suffered severe multiple injuries, including a suspected abdominal bleed and fractures. Police officers are dealing with a higher number of traffic accidents in the region today due to icy roads. Authorities urge motorists and pedestrians to exercise extra caution.

WEATHER Ultra-rare snow phenomenon occurs in Pilsen

According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Pilsen experienced an unusual phenomenon on Monday morning – industrial snowfall. Although there was no precipitation recorded on radars, the city center received about 1 cm of new snow. This localized phenomenon is influenced by human activity, often occurring near cooling towers or larger sources of water vapor.

It is difficult to predict and typically appears before sunrise with not much snowfall. However, in extreme cases, several tens of centimeters can accumulate over time. "Although we understand the mechanism of this phenomenon, it is very local and overall very difficult to predict," the ČHMÚ noted.

military Czechia confirms purchase of 24 US aircraft

The Czech government has signed a contract with the US to purchase 24 F-35A Lightning II combat aircraft for CZK 150 billion, according to Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová and U.S. ambassador to Prague Bijan Sabet. 

The decision was based on recommendations from the military and the first planes are expected to arrive in 2031, with the last ones by 2035. The F-35s will replace the current fleet of 14 leased JAS-39 Gripen fighters from Sweden. The total cost, including acquisition and operations until 2069, is estimated at CZK 322 billion. This is the most expensive military purchase in Czech history.

Real Estate Older Czech apartments see surge in prices

In the fourth quarter of last year, the average price for older apartments in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 87,838 per square meter, marking a five percent increase quarter-on-quarter and a seven percent increase year-on-year. Single-family houses in the country also experienced an eight percent quarterly increase, averaging CZK 55,160 per square meter.

Rental prices for older apartments increased at a lower rate, with the average cost per square meter being CZK 297. The Liberec region witnessed the highest quarterly increase, while the Olomouc Region reported a six percent decrease.

Energy Thousands of household boilers need replacing

New air protection laws will require hundreds of thousands of boilers across the Czech Republic to be replaced this year, but low public interest and a shortage of heating engineers pose challenges. The Association of Heating Technology Companies estimates up to 250,000 non-compliant boilers will need replacement by August.

With a slowdown in heating technology across Europe, the lack of qualified professionals could hinder timely upgrades. The mandatory shift to third and higher emission class boilers aims to reduce air pollution. Fines of up to CZK 50,000 could be imposed for violations.

Transport Brno bids farewell to iconic K2 trams in 2024

This year marks the farewell to the iconic K2 trams in Brno, with the last one of the original 135 still in operation, set to be retired in the second half of the year. Brno's transport company plans an official farewell to the vehicles, a tradition when discontinuing various transport types.

Although only one K2 tram with registration number 1080 remains in regular service, the transport company retains another for weekend use and has converted another into a beer tram. The K2, along with the T3, has been a symbol of Brno public transport for the past 50 years.

Health Czechia sees surge in erectile dysfunction medication

The amount of erectile dysfunction drugs delivered to the Czech Republic over the past ten years has nearly doubled, with more than half a million packages delivered to the country last year, reports the State Institute for Drug Control.

Although not covered by health insurance, the market for erectile dysfunction drugs has expanded, with newer drugs having fewer side effects and longer-lasting effects compared to the original Viagra introduced 25 years ago. Dr. Lukáš Bittner, a sexologist at the Iscare clinic, notes that besides prescription tablets, doctors can offer alternative treatments like injections, shock wave therapy, or implant surgery.

Animals Czechia emerges as EU leader in dog breeding

The Czech Republic solidifies its position as a dog breeding superpower in Europe in recent years. The Czech Moravian Kennel Union reports a surge in registered dog breeders and increasing dog numbers. The international dog show Duo Cacib, which takes place in Brno, showcased 7,400 dogs over the weekend.

The popularity of breeds such as German shepherds and dachshunds in the country continues, with a recent uptick in Australian shepherds and border collies due to their adaptability. The overall trend sees a decline in hunting breeds, possibly influenced by shifting interests and care requirements.

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