Prague's Clementinum records warm start to the year

Beijing Winter Olympics to officially start today, Zeman calls for calm over Russia-Ukraine tensions, the Czech Republic has a new ‘unicorn' start-up. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 04.02.2022 09:15:00 (updated on 04.02.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

15:36 Prague's Clementinum records warm start to the year

Prague's Clementinum recorded an average temperature of 3.8 degrees Celsius in January, putting it among the top seven percent warmest first months of the year since 1775. Last month's average was 4.6 degrees higher than the average of the last two and a half centuries, and 2.2 degrees warmer than January 2021. The warmest January in 248 years of record-keeping was in 2007 when the monthly average temperature was 6.3 degrees Celsius. The coldest ever January was in 1799, with an average temperature of minus 9.3 degrees.

13:50 Chinese human rights abuses highlighted in front of embassy

The Human Rights Without Borders association has held a happening in front of the Chinese Embassy in Prague to coincide with the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The event drew attention to human rights violations in the country, with two people dressed as Chinese hockey players oppressing five other athletes dressed in jerseys for Tibet, Uyghur Muslims, Christians, an Fa-lung Kung meditation practitioners. A candle-lit vigil will be held from 17:30 p.m. to commemorate the victims of China's communist regime.

13:40 PRE announces significant energy price increase

Pražská energetika has announced price hikes for gas and electricity amid global energy shortages. Electricity prices will go up by a quarter on average from April, while in May gas prices will also increase by as much as 30 percent. Prices were last increased a year ago, before the current energy crisis began. The company managed to not raise prices throughout the winter months until now. The company noted that some other suppliers have already raised prices twice as a result of higher wholesale energy costs.

10:54 Czech-Slovak couple detained over murdered body found in barrel

Police in South Bohemia have arrested a man and woman for their participation in a murder which saw a Slovak man's body left in a barrel filled with concrete. The murder took place ten years ago, but information about the location of the buried body in the barrel only reached police last year from a contact in the regional drug network. The search took officers to the basement of a house in Jindřichův Hradec, where the body was found wrapped in cloth and hidden in a plastic barrel placed under the concrete floor in the basement. Subsequent investigations led the police to a 34-year-old man from Slovakia and a woman from Jindřichův Hradec born in 1993. It's thought the murder was the result of a love triangle between the two men and the woman.

10:39 Czech Television faces cyber attack related to Olympics

Czech Television reported a major cyberattack on its websites, apparently as a result of the screening of the Winter Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing today, although the broadcaster faced a similar attack at the weekend. The attack rendered videos unplayable on the ČT mobile app until around 09:30 this morning. The attack today was described as much stronger than the one seen at the weekend. Czech Television offered no explanation for why cyberattackers would time their attacks with the start of the Winter Olympics.

Sport Beijing Winter Olympics to officially start today

The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics will take place in Beijing today. The ceremony, to be held on a relatively small-scale due to Covid restrictions and extreme cold temperatures, will see the Czech flag carried by figure skater Michal Březina and hockey captain Alena Mills.

Some events in the Games started on Wednesday, but today marks the official start of the Games. The Czech government is boycotting the Games over Chinese human rights abuses; Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib earlier this week called on the international community to bring the abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China to an end. But some foreign guests will be in attendance at the opening ceremony, notably Russian President Vladimir Putin and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Politics Zeman calls for calm over Russia-Ukraine tensions

Czech President Miloš Zeman believes restraint must be kept over tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border. Zeman believes the conflict is largely based in rhetoric and that a peaceful solution should be found, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists after a meeting at Lány yesterday evening.

Fiala said that regarding Ukraine, he is in agreement with the President that diplomatic steps are needed to defuse the potential conflict. Talks between the Prime Minister and President also covered the new agreement with Poland regarding the Turów lignite mine, as well as the preparation of the 2022 budget. Zeman emphasized the need to combat inflation, which is devaluing savings and raising consumer prices.

Business The Czech Republic has a new ‘unicorn’ start-up

Czech start-up Productboard has become the newest Czech “unicorn,” meaning a privately-owned start-up company valued at over $1 billion. After receiving $125 million (CZK 2.7 billion) from investors, the company is now valued at $1.725 billion (CZK 37 billion), making it the most valuable Czech startup.

The company, founded by Hubert Palán and Daniel Hejl, provides applications that help companies better understand customer needs and tailor their digital products accordingly. Productboard is headquartered in Prague and San Francisco. The latest investment of $125 million in the company was made by groups who have previously invested in companies such as Spotfiy, Uber, LinkedIn and Airbnb. There has only been one other Czech “unicorn,” with the Rohlík company exceeding the $1 billion mark last year.

Turów Warsaw pays compensation, Greenpeace rejects mine agreement

Poland has already transferred €45 million (CZK 1.08 billion) to the Czech Republic as compensation for environmental damage caused by mining at the Turów coal mine near the Czech border. According to Polish Environment Minister Anna Moskwa, the transaction was made immediately after the prime ministers of the two countries signed the agreement resolving the dispute yesterday.

Environmental groups are furious about the 17-page agreement, though. Greenpeace has described the agreement as “illegal,” claiming it will not protect water supplies on the Czech side of the border. Dozens of environmental activists demonstrated outside the Czech government yesterday evening, with banners reading “water over coal” and “you lied to us.”

Environment Czech environmentalists declare 2022 the Year of Bats

The Chinese calendar may now put us in the Year of the Water Tiger, but for Czech environmentalists, 2022 will be the year of bats. The Czech Union for Nature Conservation announced that it plans to organize events throughout the year to promote the protection of bats in the Czech Republic, noting that all bat species are protected by Czech law and international convention.

The program will highlight the many risks faced by the Czech bat population and advise people on how to avoid harming them. This will include lectures, walks, a traveling exhibition and more, details of which will be made available on the website. This is the Czech Union for Nature Conservation’s third themed year; 2020 was the year of orchids and 2021 was the year of dragonflies.

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