Activists chain themselves to Prague's Nusle bridge at rush hour

Plus: Grim economic forecast by National Bank analysts, Kvitová exits Australian Open, no "Czech George Floyd," says expert analysis of Roma death.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.01.2022 09:26:00 (updated on 18.01.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:05 Acquitted Czech woman is stuck in Pakistan over visa issues

Czech Tereza Hlůšková remains stuck in Pakistan despite being earlier cleared of allegations of drug smuggling. Hlůsková was detained with nine kilograms of heroin at Lahore Airport in January 2018. She was originally convicted, but was later acquitted of all charges. Now, her return home from Pakistan is being delayed because she does not have the right visa allowing her to leave Pakistan. MEP Tomáš Zdechovský confirmed the complicated state of affairs, adding that the Czech Foreign Ministry is fighting to bring Hlůšková home. Hlůšková denied any guilt in the drug affair, claiming she went to Pakistan as a model and that the heroin must have been placed in her baggage without her knowledge.

13:00 Greenpeace calls for environmental protections near Turów mine

Greenpeace has called for any deal on Poland's controversial Turów coal mine to guarantee sufficient environmental protection while safeguarding water supplies for Czechs living across the border near the mine. The NGO is calling on the Czech Republic not to yield to Polish demands over the mine, which include lower compensation for damage caused by mining activity to the nearby Czech environment. Greenpeace's intervention comes as new Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková engages in her first discussions with Polish counterpart Anna Moskwa over the mine.

12:30 Babiš expected to be released from immunity for prosecution

The lower house of the Czech parliament is likely to release former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from parliamentary immunity so that he a case can be brought against him in the "Stork's Nest" affair of alleged EU subsidy fraud. The house committee deciding on immunities recommended that MPs release Babiš for prosecution after hearing a case from public prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch. Babiš and a former adviser are accused of subsidy fraud to the tune of CZK 50 million for the construction of the Čapí hnízdo (Stork's Nest) farm and conference center. Babiš denies any wrongdoing.

11:06 Activists chain themselves to Nusle bridge during rush hour

Five people chained themselves to Prague's busy Nusle road bridge and police were forced to use coercive means to take them away, a police spokesperson told CTK this morning. The police detained the group on suspicion of a misdemeanor and launched an inquiry into their identity and motives. A photo released on Twitter shows five people, holding a banner reading "Do Not be Fooled" in Polish and "Coal is Suicide" in Czech.

The Polish sign could hint at today's negotiations between Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and her Polish counterpart Anna Moskwa over the Turow mine. The politicians will discuss reaching a deal on the ongoing activity in the Turow mine close to the Czech border, its environmental impact, and compensations for the Czech Republic.

Economy Grim economic forecast by National Bank analysts

A new analysis from Czech National Bank economists has confirmed fears about inflation in the Czech Republic, with prices rising too rapidly and an inflationary spiral threatening to unleash. ČNB analysts say inflation may return to normal levels in autumn, but even then it will not disappear completely.

According to the analysis, the ČNB will inevitably have to raise interest rates to combat inflation. Otherwise, high inflation will remain a feature of Czech life for a long time to come. The base interest rate is currently 3.75 per cent, the highest since 2008. As a result, analysts warn people and companies to expect more expensive mortgages and loans, although those who already have savings may benefit from higher interest rates.

Sport Injury-troubled Kvitová exits Australian Open

Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová exited the Australian Open after losing to Sorana Cirstea in the first round. The two-time Wimbledon champion continued her poor recent record at the grand slam down under, losing the match 2:6 2:6.

Kvitová has been suffering from a wrist problem since the beginning of the year and did not perform well in the first round tie. She made a total of 39 unforced errors and did not break her opponents serve one in the match, which was over after only an hour and twelve minutes. Despite her recent poor performances in Melbourne, Kvitová reached the final of the Australian Open in 2019.

Race Relations No “Czech George Floyd,” concludes analysis of Roma death

An expert analysis of the death of Romani man Stanislav Tomáš in Teplice last year has concluded that police were not responsible for the man’s death. The case was initially characterized as a Czech “George Floyd” instance of racially-motivated police brutality when it made international headlines in 2021, with footage showing police kneeling on Tomáš’s neck before he died in an ambulance.

The new analysis, however, concludes that Tomáš died of a heavy drug overdose. Still, criticism has recently been leveled at the investigation, with claims that insufficient attention has been paid to inconsistencies in the testimonies of the police officers involved in the incident and the paramedics who later arrived on the scene.

Music Czech star Jakub Hrůša wins prestigious international music award

Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša won the Best Symphonic Music category at the International Classical Music Awards for his recording of Anton Bruckner’s 4th Symphony with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra; he is also Principal Guest Conductor at the Czech Philharmonic.

Hrůša is considered one of the most exciting stars in the world of classical music. Another leading light of the Czech music scene, pianist Ivo Kahánek, was nominated at the ICMAs for a recording of Antonín Dvořák’s complete piano works. The ICMAs give out awards across 16 categories, with an expert panel evaluating artistic performance as well as creativity in choice of repertoire.

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Weather A return to winter weather hits the Czech Republic

Freezing temperatures have returned to the Czech Republic today with many regions reporting snow and ice. Pedestrians in Prague should watch out for ice this morning, although the Czech capital is, so far, less dramatically affected than other localities.

In the Liberec Region drivers are being urged to proceed with caution due to frozen roads. Meanwhile in the South Bohemia Region, a total of 156 salt spreaders have set off to make roads drivable again. Ice is also a problem in Moravia, with the Olomouc region reporting particularly treacherous roads at higher altitudes. Current problems with ice may be a sign of things to come as meteorologists expect heavy snowfall later this week even at lower altitudes. 

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