Massive pile-up on Czech motorway causes total damage of CZK 11 million

Plus: 'Polar vortex' brings snowy weather, Ministry of Finance downgrades growth forecast, and a wolf is found dead in Moravia.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.01.2022 09:30:00 (updated on 22.01.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:19 Czech accepts court sentence for supporting terror online

Michal Hroch, from Ostrava, has been given a 2 and a half year suspended sentence with probation for expressing approval for a terrorist attack on a mosque in New Zealand in 2019. Hroch, aged 30, was also made to pay CZK 15,000 as financial aid to victims of crime. Supporting and promoting terrorism online can result in five to 15 years in prison according to Czech law. Hroch was also found guilty of defaming a nation, race, and ethnic or other group of people by the courts. Hroch praised Brenton Tarrant's attack on a mosque in Christchurch, killing 49 people, on an online server in March 2019.

12:40 Mathematician announces candidacy for Czech President

Czech mathematician and businessman Karel Janeček has announced his candidacy for the presidential election in spring 2023. Janeček is 48 years old, and the co-founder of a company trading in financial derivatives. He also helped establish the Anti-Corruption Endowment and the Neuron Endowment Fund supporting science in the Czech Republic. Janeček has launched a project entitled "This Is Us" to support his campaign, with the aim of creating "a social constitution" as a basis for societal debate leading to a successful future for the Czech Republic. This new program would be based on five priority areas including education, a fair state and a healthy and active life for citizens. To enter the race formally, Janeček will need to gather at least 50,000 signatures from the public supporting his candidacy.

12:34 Pile-up on Czech motorway causes 11-million-CZK damage

The multiple vehicle collision that occurred on the D5 motorway near Zebrak 33 km southwest of Prague on Thursday caused total damage of CZK 11 million crowns, Czech police said today. The accident is blamed on drivers failing to adjust their speed to the road and weather conditions or not keeping a safe distance. The pile-up of 36 vehicles driving in the direction of Prague occurred before noon, six people were injured and the motorway had to be closed for 11 hours. There were fifteen accidents in an area of 150 meters of the road. Twenty cars and 16 trucks crashed.

12:00 105 murders in Czechia last year, five still unsolved

The crime rate in the Czech Republic dropped again last year, with police registering a total of 153,233 criminal offences. This number was 7 per cent fewer than in 2020. 105 murders were recorded, five of which have still not been solved. It's thought multiple factors contributed to the reduced crime rate including Covid restrictions, the rise in the minimum damage payment to CZK 10,000 and more effective policing. On the other hand, the material damage caused by criminal activities rose to CZK 21.3 billion from CZK 16.7 billion in 2020.

Weather 'Polar vortex' causes danger on Czech roads

Snow is complicated traffic in many places this morning, with conditions described as a "polar vortex" affecting the Czech Republic. Particular problems are being seen at high altitudes, and roads are only passable with caution. Problems have also been seen on the D1 motorway in the direction of Prague, with a collision between two trucks reported due to ice on the road. The motorway was closed in the direction of Prague for around three hours due to the incident. The crash comes after a huge pile-up on the D5 motorway yesterday involving 36 vehicles, leading to multiple injuries.

On the plus side, conditions are expected to be good for skiers in the Czech Republic this weekend. Operators at the country’s ski resorts are reporting great snow conditions, with plenty of snow on the slopes and more snowfall expected. With high demand expected this weekend, ski lifts which have not yet had to be used could be called into operation.

Economy Ministry of Finance downgrades growth estimate

A new forecast from the Ministry of Finance gives a lower estimate of economic growth for this year, down to 3.1 per cent from a previous prediction of 4.1 per cent. The Ministry also expects high inflation throughout the year, predicting levels of 8.5 per cent. This is much higher than the 6.1 per cent predicted in November.

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The Ministry’s prediction will serve as the basis for the draft state budget for this year. Despite the pessimistic prediction, the ministry expects higher revenues this year allowing additional expenditures. It’s thought the economy grew by 2.9 per cent last year, with growth largely driven by domestic demand.

Czech Wildlife Wolf found dead by road in Moravia

A wolf was found dead by the side of the road near Prostějov this week, it has emerged. The male animal’s body was found by a road adjacent to the D46 motorway, so it is assumed that the animal died trying to cross one of these busy roads. The cause of death is being determined by an autopsy carried out in Brno.

Wolves are rarely sighted in the Olomouc Region compared with other parts of the country, so experts say genetic analysis could provide insights into the movement and migratory patterns of wolves in the Czech Republic. Wolves travel long distances and can run dozens of kilometers in a single night, whether moving around their own territory or looking for a new one.

Sport Czech women withdraw from curling event over Covid outbreak

The women’s curling team from the Czech Republic has had to withdraw from a World Qualification Event in Lohja after two members of the squad tested positive for Covid-19. The World Curling Federation gave the Czechs the option of sending a replacement team, but the Czech Curling Association chose instead to withdraw from the competition.

Other teams set to miss the qualification event due to Covid complications are Brazil and Kazakhstan. The event is taking place under strict Covid rules, with places at the World Curling Championships up for grabs. The qualifiers will start tomorrow, but the Czech women will be classified “Did Not Start,” coming bottom of the rankings.

Business Czech billionaire Komárek’s lottery group to list on NYSE

The Allwyn Entertainment lottery group, owned by Czech billionaire businessman Karel Komárek, will list on the New York Stock Exchange in combination with blank check acquisition company Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp., putting the firms’ combined value at approximately $9.3 billion. Komárek’s lottery group was known as Sazka Entertainment until last year. It runs lotteries in the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Greece and Cyprus, and is also bidding for a lottery licence in Britain.

Listing on the NYSE will boost Allwyn’s planned growth in Europe and the U.S.A. The company forecast $810 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization from an expected $1.7 billion in revenues over the coming year. Allywn’s current equity holders will retain around 83 per cent of the company, with no new investor have a stake of over 5 per cent after the NYSE listing.

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