Threats of 'radicalized' protest movement amid parliament debate

Plus: designs for tallest Czech skyscraper revealed, women’s rights groups slam Istanbul Convention delay, Security Council warns of Russian aggression. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.02.2022 09:24:00 (updated on 02.02.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

16:41 Olomouc police track down stabber in forensic race against time

Criminal investigators from Olomouc have successfully caught the perpetrator of a stabbing attack in the city on Jan. 23. Their investigation was hampered by the fact that the 20-year-old victim, who later collapsed due to his injuries on a public bus, was unable to tell them anything about the attacker, including who attacked him, when, why or even where. Forensic scientists therefore had to map the victim's movements through technological means in a race against time, leading them to the proposition that he was in the lobby of Olomouc's central bus station on Sunday afternoon when he was attacked. CCTV footage and other findings allowed investigators to identify the attacker, who was tracked down and detained at the bus station. The perpetrator faces up to ten years in prison.

15:25 Czech curlers win historic first Olympic tie

The curling competition has started two days ahead of the main opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and the first ever Czech curling representatives at an Olympics won their opening tie. Husband and wife pair Zuzana and Tomáš Paul beat Norwegian pair Kristin Skaslienova and Magnus Nedregottenten, bronze medalists at the previous games, in a thrilling match which went down to the wire with the Czech team eventually winning 7:6. On Thursday, the curlers will compete against Sweden and Australia in the opening group stage, from which four pairs will advance to the semi-finals.

13:18 Huge U.S. military convoy to pass through Czechia this spring

One of the largest military convoys seen in recent years in the Czech Republic will pass through the country in February and March this year. Around 1,800 American soldiers and 700 items of U.S. Army equipment will travel on Czech rods to the Saber Strike 2022 military exercises forming part of Defender Europe 2022 drills. The convoy will pass through in the second half of February, returning a month later in the second half of March. All movements are planned in the evening and early morning to minimize impact on other road users.

12:11 Open Czechia leader warns of "radicalized" anti-Covid protests

Jiří Janeček, deputy leader of the Open Czechia movement, has warned that if the Czech parliament passes its controversial Pandemic Law protests against Covid measures could become "radicalized". Janeček described protests outside parliament in recent days as a "middle finger to parliament." Open Czechia's protests are continuing today as the government continues to discuss the Pandemic Law and the Freedom and Democracy Party attempts to obstruct its adoption. "We still have the chance to fight against it," said Janeček. "The law will have to go to a third reading, then to the Senate, and I am so worried that things will become radicalized."

12:01 Czech athlete criticizes politicization of Winter Olympics

20-year-old Czech ice dancer Natálie Taschlerová has given an interview to the Global Times, a Chinese English-language newspaper known as a mouthpiece for the ruling Chinse Communist Party, praising the Czech team's welcome at the Beijing Winter Olympics and criticizing the politicization of the games. Taschlerová expressed her opposition to the Czech government's boycotting of the games over Chinese human rights abuses. She claimed politicizing the games is "unfair" on athletes because politics and sport should be treated separately.

11:16 Manhunt on for Prague knife attacker

Prague police are searching for an unknown attacker who assaulted a security guard at a shopping center in Prague 3, also threatening guards with a knife before physically attacking an employee. The attack in Vinohradská street could lead to three years in prison for the perpetrator. Police say the attack took place at the end of January, and have now published a photo of the suspect online. The guard threatened with a knife managed to avoid being stabbed through self-defense, though the assailant can still be prosecuted on grounds of rioting, making threats and causing injury. Anyone who knows the suspect is encouraged to call the police on 158.

Anyone who knows this man should call the police on 158 / photo via Policie ČR
Anyone who knows this man should call the police on 158 / photo via Policie ČR

Entertainment HBO Max is coming to the Czech Republic

The second wave of the expansion of streaming platform HBO Max into Europe will come on March 8, 2022, including the arrival of the platform in the Czech Republic. HBO's Czech launch comes after the platform opened in Scandinavia and Spain in October last year. HBO Max is currently available in 46 countries across the Americas and Europe, and the next wave of launches will take that number to 61. The platform will bring new series as well as old favorites to the Czech Republic, including Warner Bros. movies just 45 days after their cinematic release. New Warner Bros. films to be included on the platform include The Matrix Resurrections, Dune, King Richard, The Suicide Squad and Tom and Jerry.


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Developments New designs for tallest Czech skyscraper revealed

New designs for the soon-to-be-constructed Ostrava Tower, slated to be the tallest building in the Czech Republic at a height of 235 meters, have been released by architects. At the top of the Tower there will be a public viewpoint and restaurant, while the building will contain a range of commercial and entertainment facilities, offices, a hotel, meeting halls, apartments and a wellness center.

New designs for Ostrava Tower have been revealed / photo via
New designs for Ostrava Tower have been revealed / photo via

The Tower should be finished within the next six years. It will have 56 floors and is being designed by the Chybík+Kristof Architects and Urban Designers studio. It’s a controversial project: opponents criticize the planned design and note that the National Monuments Institute previously objected to the project.

Women's rights Czech women’s rights groups slam Istanbul Convention delay

Czech women’s rights groups have slammed the move by new Justice Minister Pavel Blažek to delay the ratification of the Istanbul Convention for another year. The Convention aims to end violence against women including domestic violence, while tackling issues such as forced marriages, female genital mutilation and other forms of abuse.

Jitka Poláková, head of the proFem organization, said the cabinet’s move to delay ratification “is a sign of Czechia being a society that does not stand up against violence against women unambiguously.” The delay is part of wider concerns about a lack of protection for women in Czech society; Zdena Prokopová from the Rosa NGO said that “if someone faces a life danger and needs immediate help, the country lacks crisis centers and asylum homes.”

Russia-Ukraine Czech National Security Council warns of Russian aggression

The Czech National Security Council has expressed concern about Russian steps suggesting the possibility of aggression against Ukraine, calling for a diplomatic solution to the situation, according to Prime Minister Petr Fiala. The Prime Minister said the Czech Republic needs to get ready for the impacts of any potential conflict.

According to the council, Ukraine is not currently asking the Czech Republic for more military aid. But further assistance may be discussed when Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský visits Ukraine next week. Lipavský has said the Czech Republic’s “fundamental interest” is to maintain peace and security in eastern Europe, and the country considers any use of force by Russia unacceptable. Interior Minister Vít Rakušan meanwhile said the Czech Republic is prepared to provide humanitarian aid anywhere it is needed.

Shopping bonanza Czechs flock to shop in Poland

Czechs are making the most of record low prices in Polish shops. Great deals are available because the zloty is at a record low against the Czech crown, while Poland has also reduced or entirely removed taxes on bread, meat and dairy products. Border supermarkets in the country have therefore seen droves of Czechs arriving to buy food.

Prices are also advantageous for fuels, with petrol and diesel much cheaper in Poland than in neighboring countries. The Polish government recently introduced a zero VAT rate for basic foodstuffs for half a year to mitigate the effects of a sharp increase in inflation.

Politics Zeman to name new President of Supreme Administrative Court

Czech President Miloš Zeman will appoint a new President of the Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday afternoon, with Prague Castle expected to announce the name of the nominee today. The previous head of the court Michal Mazanec finished his tenure at the end of last year in order to retire aged 70.

Zeman can only select the President of the court from among its judges, with a ten-year term of office. Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek previously said three candidates, Filip Dienstbier, Barbara Pořízková and Karel Šimka are in the running. The appointment of the court chief is not exclusively a presidential power, so Zeman will need Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s approval.

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