Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 17, 2021

Czech Republic names Eurovision entry for 2021, Kellner eyes banks for $5 billion IPO for Cetin, Czechs biathlete takes gold at World Cup. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.02.2021 09:34:00 (updated on 17.02.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

BORDERS: Czech commuters must present proof of employment

Czech commuters to Germany will be required to present confirmation of the importance of their profession in Saxony at border checks from this Friday. This was announced by the Saxon Ministry of Social Affairs, which is also in charge of the Ministry of Health and restrictions against the COVID-19 pandemic. From midnight on Saturday to Sunday, Germany officially renewed permanent border controls on the border with the Austrian federal state of Tyrol and also with the Czech Republic. Germany considers them to be regions with a high incidence of coronavirus mutations. Earlier this week, tightened border controls have led to long-lines of trucks and other vehicles forming on the two major highways leading from the Czech Republic to Germany.

SPORTS: Markéta Davidová wins gold at 2021 Biathlon World Championships

Markéta Davidová took a surprise women's 15 km individual gold at the 2021 Biathlon World Championships in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Tuesday following a flawless performance on the range. She was the only biathlete in the top 20 finishers and one of just two in the race to shoot a perfect 20 for 20 in her two prone and two standing shoots in a grueling race that included over 550 meters of climbing in relatively warm (2°C) temperatures. Read more about the Czech victory here.

REGIONS: Smoke-spewing cigarette sculputre lights up Teplice Town Hall

Senate chairman and long-time Teplice mayor Jaroslav Kubera, a chain smoker who died last January of a heart attack, was commemorated yesterday with the unveiling of a cigarette installation that releases puffs of "smoke". The sculpture made its debut at the Teplice Town Hall Tuesday on the occasion of Kubera's birthday. "Welcome to Kubera Town," Teplice Mayor and senator Hynek Hanza (Civic Democrats, ODS) told participants in the ceremony for a man who considerably aided the town's development following the 1989 collapse of the Communist regime. Kubera would have turned 74 this year. "This is our astronomical clock," Hamza said of artist Adam Kovalcik's sculpture which emits fumes for 40 seconds on the hour from 8:00 to 21:00.

CULTURE: The Czech Republic reveals Eurovision entry for 2021

The Czech Republic's Eurovision 2021 entry has been revealed. Benny Cristo will perform "Omaga" at the song contest in Amsterdam in May (the 2020 edition was postponed due to COVID-19). The 33-year-old musician, sometimes knowns as Ben Cristovao, released a music video Tuesday to promote the new dance track. Cristo must make it through the semi-final stage to qualify for the May 22 final; it isn't clear yet if the finals will take place with an audience this year. "I believe that the European Broadcasting Union will finally be able to carry out the Eurovision Song Contest in the most open version possible so that Benny and the audience can enjoy "Omaga" live from the Rotterdam stage," said the head of the Czech delegation Kryštof Šámal. Eurovision is one of the most-watched non-sports events in the world.

BUSINESS: Czech magnate Kellner eyes $5 billion IPO for telecoms unit

Billionaire Petr Kellner has selected banks to help explore the potential for publicly listing Cetin, the Czech Republic’s largest telecoms network it was reported today. Kellner, the Czech Republic's richest man, who majority owns PPF Group, has approached banks to look at the potential listing of its telecoms unit Cetin. Cetin currently runs the largest data and communications network in the Czech Republic, managing more than 44,000 km of fiber cables and a further 20,000 km of paired copper wires. The company also manages 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE mobile services via around 6,200 base stations, covering 99.7% of the Czech population. The company was initially created in 2015 as a spin-off from O2 Czech Republic’s infrastructure arm; Kellner’s group had bought a majority stake in O2 from its Spanish owner in 2014. 

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