The Daily Dozen: 12 things to know about Czechia today

What's the buzz in Czechia today? Read about the upcoming elections, cost of living struggles, winter preparations, "black" passengers, and much more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 07.11.2022 16:14:00 (updated on 07.11.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

politics The race to the Castle is on, leaders debate university tuition, and cannabis legalization moves closer to reality

Medical marijuana. Photo via iStock/Rocky89.
Medical marijuana. Photo via iStock/Rocky89.

The Czech presidential race is heating up

Petr Pavel, a retired army general, remains the favorite presidential candidate, an October poll from the Median polling agency found. Pavel received 22.5 percent of the vote, slightly higher than former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with 22 percent. While both Pavel and Babiš saw drops in popularity compared to earlier polls, economist and former head of Mendel University in Brno, Danuše Nerudová, who was the third-most popular candidate, gained support and reached 15 percent. Read more here.

Czech government council stirs up tuition debate on social networks

The Government's National Economic Council (NERV) hit a raw nerve with a proposal to introduce tuition fees for higher education, Seznam Zprávy reports. While some argued that only the children of millionaires will be able to afford college if the move is adopted, others said that the practice, which already happens in other countries including the U.S., will benefit the otherwise underfunded Czech universities.

Cannabis legalization continues to take shape in Czechia

Cannabis stores with outdoor smoking gardens – this is how the Pirate Party envisions the legalization of weed, Seznam Zprávy reports. The stores would be off-limits to people under the age of 18, and to foreigners, in order to rein in drug tourism. The Czech Republic wants to coordinate its legalization endeavors with Germany, which also announced plans first to regulate the industry, and then legalize cannabis by 2024, according to Forbes.

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ECONOMY Czechs line up for early retirement, higher heating bills, and people are struggling to make ends meet

hands cash paper money work working Credit SzymonBartosz  iStock-1366272131
Illustrative photo via iStock/SzymonBartosz.

Interest in early retirement overwhelms authorities

Local pension authorities in Prague, Brno, Ostrava and Plzeň are fully booked until the end of this year, Seznam Zprávy reports. Director of the Czech Social Security Administration (ČSSZ) František Boháček said that the number of pension applications went from 16,000 pension applications in September to 30,700 applications in October. The increase is likely due to the extraordinary valuations for applicants in 2022, which can result in higher pensions.

Czech residents to feel the heat of higher heating bills next year

The energy company ČEZ Teplárenská announced price increases of up to 20 percent next year, ČTK reports. This translates into monthly heating bills CZK 123 higher on average, given the expected price increases at Czech heating plants. ČEZ Teplárenská sources around 78 percent of its heat from lignite sources, while 9.5 percent is produced from biomass, and the rest from hard coal and gas.

Czechs struggling to make ends meet

Rising prices mean that half of Czechs are struggling meet all their expenses from their regular salary and a third of people have to dip into their savings. Additionally, the number of people using Czech food banks at least once rose to around 270,000 this year so far, compared to 200,000 people who used them last year,  Czech Food Banks Federation director Veronika Lachova told ČTK.

SOCIETY Beware of being caught ticketless on public transport this November

Paying transport fare in Prague. iStock / borchee
Paying transport fare in Prague. Photo via iStock / borchee.

Transport companies start crackdown on 'black' passengers

This month, transport companies in Czechia’s largest cities are cracking down on fare dodgers, also known as “black passengers." The latter cost the Czech budget hundreds millions of crowns in lost revenue each year. The drive was also spurred by a drop in transport fares collected since 2017. Read more here.

PRAGUE SPOTTING Keanu Reeves lives up to friendly reputation at Ramen restaurant in Žižkov

The visitors of the Taiko Ramen restaurant in Žižkov were in for a surprise last Friday, when actor Keanu Reeves showed up at the venue with a group of friends, Žena.cz reports. In addition to enjoyed Japanese food, the movie icon posed for photos together with fans. According to the Prague Reporter, production for the "John Wick" spinoff "Ballerina," which stars Ana de Armas in addition to Reeves, starts today in Prague.

NUMBERS Prague prepares for winter

Prague saw it's first layer of heavy snow cover this morning / Photo iStock: wrangel
Prague under snow. Photo via iStock/wrangel.
  • This winter, the roads of Prague are kept in optimal conditions thanks to 73 spreaders and other 50 machines for smaller roads, and 60 multifunctional cars for sidewalks, Pražská Drbna reports.
  • 1,100 workers are prepared to ensure road maintenance.
  • Prague has 2,185 kilometers of roads.
  • For operational interventions, 2 snow blowers and 1 wet salt spreader with plow are part of an integrated rescue system.

environment Czechia vows to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030

Czechia will join the global pledge to cut global emissions, ČTK cites Prime Minister Petr Fiala as saying. The goal is to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030 compared to the 2020 levels. Fiala will address the plenary session at a United Nations climate conference that brings together representatives of 200 countries in Egypt. He said he planned to hold bilateral talks not only with politicians but also with representatives of important companies.

CULTURE This holiday season, give the gift of theater tickets, and gaze at tiny Brutalist buildings

National Theatre lit at night. Photo via iStock/108pictures.
National Theatre lit at night. Photo via iStock/108pictures.

Czech theaters launch their holiday sales

Traditional Christmas subscriptions for the National Theater, which allow people to purchase tickets for any performances taking place between January and the end of the season, are now on sale, ČTK reports. Other theaters, such as the Švandovo theater, started pre-sales for January. Other venues, including the the Ungelt Theater, also launched a few days ago pre-sales for the Summer Stage 2023. 

Mini Brutalist buildings pop up in Prague

Czech artist Krištof Kintera is exploring the legacy of communist architecture through scaled-down Brutalist Czech buildings in the Klárov park near Malá Strana, according to Seznam Zprávy. "The micro-city in Klárov acts a bit like an architectural necropolis and a bit like a monument to buildings that few people liked or liked," Seznam Zprávy writes, given the recent or upcoming demolition of some of Prague's communist-era buildings.

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