Tuesday News Briefing
Forested area in the country at an all-time high; number of suicides on the rise again, can be ascribed to economic circumstances
Posted: October 9, 2012
The forested area in the Czech Republic increased more than one-third between the end of the 18th century and 2011 and is now the largest since land cadastres came into effect, according to a publication presented by the Czech Statistical Office today. According to the Josephinian Cadaster, established in 1785 to 1790, forests covered an area of 1.97 million hectares; in 2011, forests covered 2.66 million hectares of land. The area of forests is growing mainly at the expense of agricultural land. Jaromir Vasicek, the director of the Forest Management Institute, said forested area grew at the fastest pace in the 1960s when around 100,000 hectares of land were forested. Forestation affected above all abandoned land near the Czech borders after the forced deportation of Sudeten Germans.
The number of suicides has increased during the past three years, for which the economic crisis, tax rises, as well as a general feeling that there is no way out of political squabbles are to blame, the National Health Institute's Vladimír Kebza said today. Almost 1,600 people took their own lives last year, compared with 1,375 in 2007. "This is linked to people's doubts that the development of the society could markedly change for the better and that the present political situation could be changed ... Measures such as tax [rises] are linked to it. Most people would accept it if the state coffers started filling themselves. They see this is not happening," Kebza said. The record suicide figures for the country date to 1934, when the country was hit by an economic crisis and 4,007 took their own lives. Another wave followed after the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent period of "normalization." when communist hardliners ruled in then-Czechoslovakia. In 1970, a total of 2,824 Czechs committed suicide, and the number of suicides has been declining since. Although it has been increasing slightly in the past few years, the situation is still more favorable than in the past, demographers say.
Slovakia lifted the ban on the import and sales of Czech liquors at 5 p.m. today, Agriculture Minister Ľubomir Jahnátek told the media, adding that a certificate of origin will be required for the sale of Czech alcohol made since the beginning of 2012. Bratislava will recognize the alcohol "birth certificates" issued in the Czech Republic. Similar rules are valid in the Czech Republic, when in late September it softened its partial prohibition previously introduced over a series of poisonings as a result of tainted alcohol. Apart from the above requirements imposed on the alcohol import and sale of Czech alcohol produced after Sept. 27, Slovak authorities also require a certificate proving the beverage's safety.
The Czech Post's (CP) stamp honoring Prague's Postal Museum has won the prestigious Grand Prix competition for the world's most beautiful postage stamp at the WIPA world exhibition in Vienna. Postage authorities could each field a single stamp out of their collections on display in the competition. CP, the state postal services operator, chose a stamp designed by Slovak artist Dušan Kállay and engraved by Czech Miloš Ondráček. The stamp, depicting an ancient postage emblem surrounded with a stylized map and postmen's figures, won the contest, followed by rival stamps from Liechtenstein and Slovakia. The stamps ending among the first 10 also included those from Sweden, the Vatican, Ukraine, Croatia, Russia, Germany and Iceland.
Export confidence of Czech companies is falling, exporters expect stagnation in the total volume of exports from the Czech Republic, and the EU and Russia remain key export territories, according to the results of the DHL export survey conducted by the company GfK Czech. More than 300 representatives of the most important exporters took part in the survey this year. A full 50 percent of the addressed companies expect exports to stagnate, 11 percent more than in the autumn of 2010. In the coming twelve months, 39 percent of the respondents expect growth in export volume, 5 percent less than last year. The long-term export confidence index, that is the difference in the percentage of the positive and negative answers, still moves in the positive territory but it fell two percentage points year on year. Against 2010, the index decreased from 44 to 34 points.
Czech ice hockey goalie Dominik Hašek, 47, Nagano Olympics' gold medalist and twice Stanley Cup winner, has definitively ended his career. Hasek recently unsuccessfully negotiated with a few NHL clubs. Last time he played for Spartak Moscow in the Kontinental League's 2010-2011 season. Afterwards, he said he would try to return to the NHL. His agent, Rich Winter, negotiated with some clubs overseas, reportedly with Vancouver and Carolina.