Czech news for Feb. 22: Cave hall discovered in Moravia, apartment sales crash

Top headlines for the Czech Republic in brief for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 22.02.2023 10:33:00 (updated on 23.02.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

UKRAINE Czech charities donate over CZK 2 billion to Ukraine

Ten large charities that are members of the Czech Forum for Development Cooperation (FoRS) collectively donated over CZK 2 billion to Ukraine in the past 12 months, according to a press release by FoRS today. Over 1 million Ukrainians received practical aid such as food, clothing, and shelter. According to the association, 13 million Ukrainians fled their homes after their country came under attack and 18 million still require humanitarian aid. Those willing to make donations can do so here.

speleology Scientists discover new cave tunnel in Moravia

Speleologists from the Holstein research group have discovered a new cave hall (or tunnel) in Moravian Karst. Experts are calling the discovery “one of the most important speleological finds in the Czech Republic in recent years,” reports Researchers have named the new hall “Another Dimension” due to it winding complex of narrow corridors and waterways. The space is approximately 50 meters long and 10 meters high.

REAL ESTATE Apartment sales in Czechia take a nosedive

The number of apartments sold in Czechia last year fell by about 50 percent, data from the Czech Banking Association shows. This was the lowest amount sold in the past 10 years. Spiraling energy costs as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war drove up real estate prices by around 20 percent on average, which impacted sales numbers. Apartment prices reached their peak in mid-2022 and have been on a marginal decline since.

diplomacy Fiala to meet with Biden, NATO leaders in Poland

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden today as well as heads of NATO’s eastern-flank states to discuss the state of security within Europe and NATO. Fiala will also meet Polish president Mateusz Morawiecki and other leaders of the so-called Bucharest Nine (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, and Hungary) a relatively young alliance formed in 2015 in response to Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine.

russia Pavel reacts to Putin’s speech in CNN interview

Petr Pavel reacted to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech yesterday – in which Putin blamed the West for the current war in Ukraine – as being detached from reality. According to Pavel, the distortion of truth makes rational negotiation with Russia difficult. The Czech president-elect also said that Russia’s military performance has been inadequate in all aspects in the last 12 months, including its equipment and training. Read our full story here.

RELIGION Czechia marks Ash Wednesday

Czechia marks the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday today, where priests symbolically rub crosses made of ashes on churchgoers’ foreheads. Masses will be held in major Czech churches such as St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle and the Brno Cathedral. The Academic Parish of Prague will also today present the traditional Artist’s Ashes, a religious work of art, at the Church of Holy Salvator on Charles Bridge. This year it will feature dozens of small white sculptures of varying shapes.

ENERGY Czech energy firm acquires large project in UK

Czech energy giant EPH has signed a contract to acquire a combined 1,700-megawatt power and a 299-megawatt battery storage project in England, Reuters writes. It will control the plant for a minimum of 15 years. EPH board member Jan Springl says that the firm hopes to “construct one of the most modern power plants in Europe and materially contribute to the security of supply in the U.K.”

Women's right Sexual violence sentences too lenient in Czechia

Senior sociologists at Brno’s Masaryk University say that perpetrators of sexual violence – including rape and domestic abuse – are being handed too lenient sentences. The study analyzed 556 district and regional courts and found that the rape of a child under the age of 15 usually results in a prison sentence of between three and eight years, and that sentencing should be much higher. The advocates of the proFem women’s rights group want to present these findings to the government.

METEREOLOGY Venus and Jupiter visible from Czech skies this evening

Stargazers and keen astronomers will be able to observe Venus and Jupiter approaching each other today. The event will be visible from around 5 p.m. in Prague and will occur in the west-southwest of the sky. The Moon will also be visible between the planets, forming a triangle shape. The event will be most visible at 8 p.m. People will also be able to see Venus and Jupiter approaching one another at the beginning of March.

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