Alex Richardson

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Alex is a writer and trader living in Prague. He likes economics, anthropology, and cactuses.

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Easy to breath DIY cloth masks might not cut it pretty soon, as Czech officials contemplate making FFP2 respirators and surgical masks the new standard on public transport, medical facilities, and other government buildings.  This idea comes amidst a broader move to extend and tighten COVID-19 restrictions, following Germany and Austria’s lead. Recently, officials from both countries made respirators and surgical masks mandatory in all shops and public transport in response to the British mutation that is supposed to be more contagious. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček insists on voting in favour of extending the state of emergency until February 21.  “We can’t afford to discontinue the state of emergency. If we do, we won’t be able to meet our goalContinue Reading

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After nearly a year of not being able to operate at normal capacity, České dráhy (Czech Railways) has been forced to lower some employee’s wages, and get rid of others, Irozhlas reports. Gabriela Novotná, the spokesperson for České dráhy, announced on Sunday that the company planned on reducing wages for 700 administrative employees, and likely release others in a plan that is supposed to only last for a year while the COVID-19 restrictions are hampering business.  Ivan Bednárik, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of ČD reiterated the measures are only temporary as the company waits out the coronavirus situation. “The pandemic has to end one day, so if we reduce contractual wages this year, it won’t beContinue Reading

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Cyber hackers are attacking Czech hospitals with out of date security systems, encrypting their data and then demanding ransoms from the hospitals. The most recent incident is being reported by Irozhlas. According to cybersecurity experts from Check Point, not all details of the attack are known yet but they have detected ransomware that may be used for some sort of extortion. “At the end of last week, one medical facility was compromised. There’s ransomware, and there’s a risk that the attackers will end up demanding a ransom for the data. We also know it’s affected some of the information systems. The audit report is not clear yet, so we don’t have all the details available to us,” said Pavel Řezníček. Continue Reading

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Former president Vaclav Klaus was caught eating inside a closed restaurant breaking COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, and when questioned about it, owned it and referred to it as an “act of civil disobedience.” Klaus denied being a threat to the public, and noted that unlike other politicians who advocated the lockdowns but then broke them anyway, he was against it from the beginning. He even joined an anti-lockdown protest days earlier. “I’m not the one who preaches water but then drinks wine like the other politicians who broke their own rules by visiting restaurants. I’ve been critcising these rules from the very beginning!” “We mustn’t accept this existence where we constantly face extensions of these rules and prohibitions. In aContinue Reading

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On the surface, it can look like Czech identity revolves purely around the country’s vast history and the fairytale aesthetics that come with it. But in the details, you find lots of funny modern quirks, one of them being Pérák. Pérák is a superhero originally created by Jiří Trnka and Jiří Brdečka in 1946 and acted as a sort of mascot for anti-Nazism at the time. He existed as an urban legend for quite some time, but he first appeared in Trnka and Brdečka’s animated film called “Pérák a SS” (Pérák and the SS.) His character is a chimney sweep who accidentally puts his sweep too far down a chimney, manages to get it stuck in a couch, and thenContinue Reading

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British retail chain Marks & Spencer has announced it will be closing all its stores in the Czech Republic because COVID-19-related measures and now complications from Brexit have made doing business impossible.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions, M&S had only been selling food at most of its locations and cutting off much of its clothing and other retail goods sections.  On top of being forced to only sell “essential” items, the chain was also having trouble with importing goods from the UK, citing difficulties with Brexit. On Monday, customers noticed that most of the imported foods were replaced with Czech products, and large signs adorned the shelves saying, “We’re sorry that some of your favourite foods are notContinue Reading

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In autumn, the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health prepared a field hospital in the Prague Exhibition Centre in Letňany, preparing to take in patients should the regular hospitals overflow. The hope was to not have to use it, but as the number of cases continues its spike, the Ministry of Health has got the makeshift hospital on standby, capable of opening up within 24 hours. On Thursday, consideration of opening up shop in Letňany began when over 1,500 new patients were admitted to domestic hospitals within the previous six days, bringing the current number of hospitalized people to over 7,100. In the same period, over 62,000 people became newly infected.  Bulovka University Hospital, in Prague 8, will be in chargeContinue Reading

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According to new data from Eurostat, nearly 300,000 Czechs, mainly elderly people, cannot afford to heat their homes sufficiently. Sadly, this percentage isn’t even among the worst in Europe.  Based on Eurostat’s numbers, the Czech Republic’s so called “energy poverty” situation is actually way better than most countries in Europe; roughly 2.8% of Czechs are experiencing this problem, whereas 30% of Bulgarians, 26.7% of Lithuanians, and 21% of Cypriots are suffering from an inability to heat their houses. Only 0.3% of Swiss have this issue.  Lukáš Kovanda, an economist from Trinity Bank told Aktualne that the main reason this problem exists is money, and the inability to afford sufficient heat. However, it’s also exacerbated by decrepit old buildings with insufficientContinue Reading

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A short walk through almost any Czech city exposes the country as a historical epicenter of esoteric and occult treasures, with mysterious symbolism built into much of the architecture and city infrastructures. The name of the capital city, “Prague”, or in Czech, “Praha”, is a synonym for “threshold.” This could be interpreted as the city being a threshold between eastern and western Europe, where two major groups of peoples and cultures reconcile in the middle of the continent. But many throughout history have interpreted Prague’s name as an indication of the city being a threshold between the physical and spiritual worlds, where if one truly wants to, they can reach into other dimensions to communicate with the saints, angels andContinue Reading

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The numbers are in and according to Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová, the Czech Republic ran a deficit of CZK 367 billion for 2020, dwarfing 2009’s deficit of CZK 192 billion, making it the worst deficit in the country’s history by a long shot.  As rough as it is, this deficit is actually lower than what was expected; Originally, the Chamber of Deputies had signed off on allowing for a CZK 500 billion deficit. Schillerová explained that there was CZK 110.7 billion extra in unexpected revenues to pad the losses. Roughly half of the unexpected revenue came from taxes, and CZK 26 billion came from the European Union.  Overall, the total state budget revenues fell by CZK 47.7 billion, andContinue Reading