Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for October 22, 2021

"State of calamity" declared following high winds, Prague incinerator to shut after fire, Sparta Prague fall to defeat in Europa League. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.10.2021 09:55:00 (updated on 22.10.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

ČEZ declares state of calamity in Central Bohemia over high winds

Czech energy company ČEZ has declared a state of calamity in the Central Bohemia Region due to the impact of strong winds yesterday, including significant power outages. As well as Central Bohemia, the worst affected districts are in North and East Bohemia.

Tree uprooted by high winds in Prague's Riegrovy sady / photo Raymond Johnston
Tree uprooted by high winds in Prague's Riegrovy sady / photo Raymond Johnston

By 19:00, ČEZ reported 85,000 clients cut off from the power grid. The company meanwhile had to repair 189 defects on high-voltage lines. The strong winds that hit the Czech Republic yesterday uprooted trees, damaged roofs, led to traffic disruption and left over 300,000 firms and households without power, according to an emergency services spokesperson. Wind speeds were highest in the mountains; at the summit of Sněžka, the country’s highest mountain, gusts reached speeds of 151 km/h.

Prague incinerator to shut for a week after huge blaze

After a huge fire engulfed a building at Prague’s Malešice incineration plant, the major incinerator will be out of action for up to week. Prague’s waste will therefore be redirected to dumps outside the capital city. Two of the incinerator’s four operation lines will resume work today, but the other two need time for repairs.

The damage caused by the fire is estimated at several hundred million crowns and the cause of the blaze on Wednesday afternoon is now being investigated. Firefighters believe renovated engines caught fire at the plant. Ten professional and nine volunteer firefighter crews fought the blaze, preventing it from spreading to other buildings within the complex. The incineration plant has been gradually renovated over recent years and burns most of Prague’s combustible waste.

Sparta Prague loses to Lyon despite lightning start

Despite racing out of the blocks to quickly lead 2–0 after only 19 minutes, Sparta Prague football club fell to a thrilling 4–3 defeat to French side Lyon in the group stages of the Europa League last night. Two early goals by Lukáš Haraslín put the Czech side in a strong position, but Lyon pulled level in the 53rd minute.

Lyon then raced ahead, scoring twice again to take a 4–2 lead. And although Sparta scored again late in the game, they ran out of time to equalize and gain a point from the important tie. The result left Lyon top of the group with a 100 percent winning record, while Sparta is second, one point ahead of Glasgow Rangers.

Online maps created showing evolution of Czech forests

Czech scientists have released an online set of maps illustrating the history and evolution of the nation’s forests, including the dramatic influence of humans since around 5,500 B.C. The project was created by the Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with forest management experts.

The maps are freely accessible and expected to provide valuable insights to help forest management and the protection of nature. Czech forests have been devastated in recent years by the bark-beetle calamity, leading to the loss of huge swathes of woodland. The project consists of three databases: an archaeological one based on over 18,000 finds; an archive, based on 52,000 historical documents; and a vegetation one, based on a survey of Czech forest vegetation in the mid-20th century and in the present day.

Babiš defies EU on energy before agreement reached

At a summit in Brussels, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš initially blocked conclusions approved by the EU on an approach to tackle rapidly rising energy prices. Babiš claimed the EU’s drive to promote sustainable energy is in part responsible for steep energy price increases in recent weeks, and he demanded regulation of the emissions allowance market to ensure energy remains affordable.

Babiš argued that the current price of EU emissions allowances is unbearably high, pushing up the market price of energy throughout the bloc. He suggested the market was becoming the subject of irresponsible speculative trading. Countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium opposed reforming the emissions allowance market, though, while the European Commission claims the main cause of current high prices is insufficient gas supply. A consensus was eventually reached that the functioning of the overall market, including the allowance trading system, would be examined.

Renovation of Nový Dvůr chateau begins

After a year-long delay, the long-planned recnovation of the chateau in the arboretum in Nový Dvůr, part of the Silesian Regional Museum in Opava, has begun. The total cost of the works is estimated at around CZK 38 million.

The chateau dominates the local area, dating back to the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It has been closed since 2015. Following a public tender for the reconstruction project, the works are expected to be complete in May 2022, and it is hoped the chateau will be open to the public next summer. In addition to presenting exhibitions and tours, the chateau will also provide space for weddings.

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