Zátopek leads this year's nominations for the Czech Lion awards

Zeman claims to be walking again, tax for cigarettes and alcohol may rise, still no sign of wild bear on the loose near Prague.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.01.2022 09:18:00 (updated on 17.01.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

15:15 Strong winds leave thousands without electricity

Strong winds in the Czech Republic today have left around 15,500 customers without electricity. More than 30 faults have been reported on high-voltage power lines. Problems began in the Pardubice Region before spreading to Moravia as well as central and northern Bohemia. Emergency teams are currently in the field working to restore cut-off power supplies. Power outages are most often the result of trees or branches falling on electricity lines, damaging wires or insulators. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute earlier today warned of strong winds with speeds of 55 to 70 kilometers per hour.

14:00 Czech Lion film award nominees announced

Nominees have been announced by the Czech Film and Television Academy for the annual Czech Lion Awards, to take place on March 5. The films with the most nominations were biographical epic Zátopek and period drama Occupation, each up for 13 awards, followed by fantasy flick The Man With Rabbit Ears with 11 nominations. The Best Film nominees are Zátopek, Occupation, The Man With Rabbit Ears, Bugs and Atlas of Birds. The directors of these five films will also contest the award for Best Director. Other categories include Best Documentary, Best Screenplay, Best TV Show, and Best Animated Movie. Awards for the best actor and actress performances will also be given out at the awards ceremony to be broadcast live on Czech Television.

Bear on the run Search for bear near Prague ends unsuccessfully

Police have called of the search for a brown bear spotted on the outskirts of Prague in the Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav region. No trace of the animal has been found so the search is being abandoned. A helicopter with thermal imaging technology was used and local hunting organizations took part in the search. A fisherman claimed to have seen the bear on Sunday morning, and local authorities warned residents not to enter the forests. "Given that apart from one witness statement no clues have been found to indicate the presence of a bear, we will not continue the search today," the police said.

Crime Mongolian man accused of serial rape in Olomouc appears in court

Namdaldonir Nyamjav, originally from Mongolia, has appeared at the Olomouc Regional Court accused of a series of rapes of homeless women in Olomouc. The last alleged attack took place last January, when a sleeping couple were attacked in a tin shed in a remote part of the city. 44-year-old Nyamjav has denied the charges. The prosecution claims the man attacked a homeless women on November 17 in the area of a former playground, and later in a makeshift shelter near tennis courts on the outskirts of the city. Other rape attacks are said to have taken place in the fall of 2020.

Politics Zeman claims to be walking again in interview

Czech President Miloš Zeman claimed to be walking again in a radio interview this weekend with Frekvence 1. Zeman has been wheelchair-bound for years and spent weeks in intensive care last fall, but he now says he can walk with the help of a walking stick and a bodyguard. He confirmed that he is being tube fed at present.

In other positive news, Zeman said that he will return to Prague Castle for the first time since his hospitalization on February 26. The visit will see him appoint university heads and hand over a check to the Kangaroo charity for kids in need. Zeman is also expected to present state awards at the Castle on March 7, in a ceremony which has already been postponed twice because of the Covid pandemic.

Consumer prices Tax for cigarettes and alcohol may rise, says Minister

New Czech Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka said that the five-party coalition government could increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Jurečka said there is a consensus in favor of the move among the cabinet. The tax rise would form part of a wider government strategy to balance the books after the huge budget deficits recorded during the Covid pandemic.

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Tax for tobacco is a thorny subject: low taxation can encourage greater levels of smoking, but if taxes are set too high a reduction in consumption leads to less income for the state. Tax revenues from tobacco have decreased in the Czech Republic in recent years despite increases to the tax level three times since 2017.

Bear hunt Still no sign in search for wild bear near Prague

The search is still on for a brown bear on the loose on the outskirts of Prague. The bear is thought to have been roaming the forests near Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav for weeks. The latest sighting was on Sunday, when a fisherman claimed to have seen the animal, saying it looked like a young bear.

A helicopter with thermal imaging equipment has been patrolling the local area, while hunters are also participating in the search. Local authorities are urging people not to enter the local forests. Official search parties have not yet found any trace of the bear.

Wildlife Dead fish horror in north Czech Republic sparks police investigation

Hundreds of kilograms of dead fish washed up in the river Elbe near Štětí in the Litoměřice region this weekend. The authorities were alerted to the case by local fisherman who found themselves catching hundreds of dead fish. The Czech Environmental Inspectorate and local police are now investigating the case.

Samples taken from local water and from the dead fish have been taken to a lab for testing, the results of which should be known next week. A spokesperson for the North Bohemian Fishermen’s Associations said several hundred kilograms of dead fish have been caught, included some which would have been prize catches if alive. 

Weather Snow to make driving difficult this week

Cold temperatures coming later this week are expected to result in more snow throughout the Czech Republic. Night temperatures are forecast to drop well below zero. At higher altitudes snowdrifts are expected to form with driving to become difficult in the mountains.

The week will start off windy and cloudy with a strong wind warning in force for Monday. The country will get progressively colder over the course of the week, with night temperatures dropping to -9 degrees Celsius on Friday. Warnings for drivers have already been issued in the Hradec Králové region where a combination of rain and snow is making roads treacherous. 

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