Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 9, 2021

Largest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens in history commemorated, Airbnb listings in decline, Czech Republic supports EU vaccination passes. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.03.2021 09:37:00 (updated on 09.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

CULTURE: Terezín family camp annihilation commemorated with concert

An online event Monday, a music telebridge connecting the Prague Bubny station, the Czech Foreign Ministry seat, and the site of the Auschwitz former Nazi extermination camp in Poland, commemorated the annihilation of the Terezín family camp of Czech Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Amid the COVID epidemic and subsequent restrictions, the online stream replaced the traditional annual ceremony. Some 5,000 Czech Jews were transported from the Terezín internment ghetto in North Bohemia to the Terezín family camp (BIIb) in Auschwitz-Birkenau in September 1943. In December 1943 and in May 1944, another 12,500 Jews arrived there in big transports from Terezín. On the night of March 9, 1944, 3,792 of its inmates were killed in gas chambers. This was the largest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens in modern history. Monday's program culminated in the lighting of six red candles simultaneously in Prague and at the site of the Auschwitz camp. Its memorial director Piotr Cywinski lit one of the candles at the end.

TRAVEL: Czech Republic supports COVID vaccination passes on EU level

The Czech Republic prefers COVID vaccination passports on the European Union level, and if the EU does not reach a consensus on the subject, would consider developing a system with neighboring states, Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said. The European Commission's plan should be presented by next Wednesday, and shouldn't discriminate against those who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19, he added. Petricek supported the project of vaccination passports during the talks with his counterparts from Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia in the C5 Central European format a week ago. He said the Czech Republic supports the idea of passes in a digital form, thorough securing of personal data, and, ideally, using this system for recording if a traveler had suffered illness. The system should be ready before summer, he said, adding that if the epidemiological situation stabilizes later, regular traveling could resume.

HUMAN RIGHTS: COVID harms women more than men

The coronavirus epidemic has affected women more than men with regards to economic position and psychological health, Czech government commissioner for human rights, Helena Valkova, said at a press conference held yesterday. Valkova said it was mostly women who stayed at home with children after kindergartens and schools were closed. She said the number of cases of domestic violence rose by up to 40 percent and most of the victims were women. Valkova said most of the personnel in the high-risk health care and social care areas were women. The government approved a new gender equality strategy for the 2020s on Monday, International Women's Day which includes some 400 measures and focuses on work and care, decision-making, security, health, knowledge, society, external relations, and institutions. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the unemployment rate among men was 2.5 percent and among women 4.4 percent in January.

PRAGUE: Czech capital to house Belarusians persecuted by regime

Prague City Hall will provide six flats to Belarusian citizens persecuted by the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, four family flats, and two studio apartments. The monthly rent will be CZK 180 per square meter. The Interior Ministry's department for asylum and migration policy asked for the flats. "I stand behind free Belarus and democratic values. I condemn violence against the local citizens. From a symbolic level (of support), we are moving to particular steps," Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates) said. Persecuted Belarusians are mostly families of a young working age. The Czech state will offer them social services, interpreters, and assistance paying initial rents. Since the 1990s, the Czech Republic has been providing aid to regions in crisis all over the world within the MEDEVAC humanitarian program which also entails the protection against non-democratic regimes.

REAL ESTATE: Airbnb listings across Europe see significant drop

The number of Airbnb listings across Europe has dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic in 2020, with hosts favoring longer-term rentals over shorter holiday stays, according to a new report from Reuters. The drop in short-term rentals led to as much as a 15 percent decline in the price of long-term rentals. The surge of properties listed on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms over the years priced locals out of their own local real estate market. Property managers in Lisbon, Barcelona, Prague, Venice, and other European city centers said that the decline in tourism brought on by the pandemic has led many Airbnb hosts to revert to long-term rentals. Airbnb listings from the biggest European cities that had one night booked or available in the past month dropped 21.9 percent year on year, according to data from holiday rental analytics firm AirDNA.  

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