Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for March 18, 2021

Hackers hit the Ministry of the Interior, train travel times from Prague to Brno to increase, and a cherished Czech apple tree takes home a prize.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.03.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 18.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Hackers attack Czech Interior Ministry’s medical facility

The Czech Ministry of the Interior's medical facility, which is used to store private data on its security forces, was attacked by hackers this month, findings from Czech servers Respekt and Aktuálně.cz show. The attack is part of a larger operation that has targeted hundreds of thousands of entities using Microsoft servers around the world, which experts are linking to the Chinese government. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said the attack was unsuccessful and no information was breached. Security firms revealed more than 5,000 attacked servers in 115 countries in the world. In the Czech Republic, Prague City Hall and the Labour Ministry were among the attacked institutions last week.

Germany to prolong checks at border of Czech Republic, Tyrol

Germany has prolonged permanent checks at its border with the Czech Republic and the Austrian Tyrol region by two weeks over the epidemic situation in these regions, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in an interview for the Munchner Merkur paper Thursday. Germany may lift the checks at its border with Tyrol earlier, but Czechia will have to wait longer due to the extremely high numbers of new infections, he said. Germany resumed permanent protection of its border with the Czech Republic and Tyrol for epidemiological reasons to prevent the more dangerous coronavirus mutations from getting to the country. The checks were to be lifted as of this week, but will now be extended until March 31.

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Lengthier train-travel times from Prague to Brno begin this spring

Major disruption on a domestic railway line will take place from Tuesday, April 6. Due to the start of construction work in the Brandýs nad Orlicí section and also further progress with the modernization of the Poříčany-Velim section and the Pardubice junction, one of the busiest sections of the Czech Railway, traffic will be limited to one track. The closure will last for two years, and traffic will gradually be reduced in the Česká Třebová-Brno section. The most fundamental change is the re-routing of a large part of long-distance trains between Prague and Brno to the line via Havlíčkův Brod. This will increase travel times, reports Denik.

Bells to mark anniversary of first COVID-related death

The Czech Bishops' Conference (CBK) joins the Moment of Silence initiative and will ring the bells to mark one year since the first coronavirus-related death and commemorate COVID-19 victims at noon on March 22, CBK spokeswoman Monika Klimentová told CTK this week. Since the first COVID patient died in a Czech hospital, there have been over 20,000 coronavirus-related fatalities in the Czech Republic.

"We encourage people to take part in a joint moment of silence at high noon on Monday, March 22," the initiative wrote. "If the ringing of church bells, coverage in the media, and dignified tribute without any political context contribute to the commemoration, Czech society could say it did not let the indifference and disregard of other people prevail," the initiative reads.

Czech apple tree places in European tree of the year awards

A 70-year-old Czech apple tree placed seventh in the annual European Tree of the Year Competition. The apple tree in the garden of the Lidman pub in Machovská Lhota "quietly witnesses the stories of the people. It provides shade in the summer and fruits in the autumn. Not only do locals but also to visitors who came for the beauty of the Table Mountains and nature found on the Czech-Polish borders," reads the entry for this Blenheim Orange variety of tree. The first prize in the competition, organized by Environmental Partnership Association, was the Millennial Carrasca of Lecina, a 1,000-year-old oak.

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