Czech news in brief for December 2: Saturday's top headlines

Prague bans pro-Palestine protest due to slogan, state reaches agreement with doctors over pay, and Czechia braces for more heavy snow. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 02.12.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 02.12.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Traffic Czech firefighters respond to surge in accidents

Czech firefighters responding to 212 traffic accidents, four times the daily average, after heavy snowfall in the Czech Republic on Friday. By noon on Saturday, firefighters had already recorded around 90 more accidents, attributing the spike to continued adverse weather conditions. The incidents, many causing traffic delays, were mostly non-severe.

Meteorologists reported 45 centimeters of snowfall from Friday morning to Saturday morning, with an additional 25 centimeters expected on Saturday. The increased interventions included technical assistance, with 700 calls by noon for tasks like removing fallen trees that affect road and rail networks. Authorities urge caution and road adaptation.

Sports Czech women's football team tops Belarus in Nations League

In the Women's Nations League, Czech footballers secured a vital 1-0 victory against Belarus, claiming the top spot in Group B4 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decisive goal, scored by Kamila Dubcová in added time of the first half, propelled the Czech Republic ahead.

The match, postponed from Friday due to an unsuitable pitch after rain, showcased the Czech team's resilience. With a two-point lead, they are now on the brink of advancing to the top-tier League A, facing Slovenia on Tuesday in Pardubice.

Animals Heavy snowfall destroys aviary at Hluboká Zoo

Heavy snowfall over the past two days wreaked havoc on most waterfowl aviaries at Hluboká Zoo, causing damages in the millions. Fortunately, none of the animals were harmed. The aviaries, including a large walk-through enclosure of around 3,000 square meters, suffered severe destruction or broken nets due to the relentless snow.

The zoo, currently without electricity, will remain closed for several days as the staff addresses the aftermath and clears the snow-covered area. Despite the heavy snowfall, the main buildings within the zoo remain undamaged.

Energy Czech PM calls for "nuclear renaissance" in Dubai

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala called for a "nuclear renaissance" at the COP28 conference in Dubai on Saturday, addressing climate change as a global challenge. Advocating nuclear energy as a reliable and clean solution, Fiala pledged that the Czech Republic is ready to contribute up to four million dollars (approximately CZK 90 million) to the global fund aiding developing countries in combating climate change.

Emphasizing the significance of nuclear power in achieving broader climate goals, Fiala supported the development of modular reactors. COP28 leaders discussed preventing catastrophic consequences of global warming, inaugurating a new fund for climate-vulnerable poorer nations.

Sports Football matches in Czechia cancelled due to snow

Due to heavy snowfall and unsuitable field conditions, the football match between Jablonec and Teplice in the first football league won't take place today. The Czech Football Association, overseeing professional competitions, has indefinitely postponed the 17th-round game.

This decision follows Friday's announcement that adverse weather and poor pitch conditions led to the cancellation of the České Budějovice vs. Hradec Králové match. Of the initially scheduled five matches for the 17th round, only three remain, as clubs make efforts to proceed.

Business Czech energy group ČEZ completes sale of Turkish company

Czech energy group ČEZ has completed the sale of its 50% stake in the Turkish company Akcez Enerji to the Turkish investor Torunlar Group. The transaction received approval from the local antimonopoly authority and the energy regulator. Akcez comprises three subsidiaries engaged in electricity distribution, energy sales, and energy services.

Financial details of the sale were not disclosed. ČEZ initiated the sale of its share within the joint venture Akcez Enerji, partnered with AKKÖK Holding, last summer. The move aligns with ČEZ's strategic plan to divest select assets in specific markets, focusing on renewable resources and modern energy services.

healthcare Czech PM and doctors reach pay agreement

A last-minute agreement between Prime Minister Petr Fiala and healthcare unions will provide an extra CK 9.8 billion for next year to raise doctors' and hospital staff salaries. According to the government, the previous doubling of the maximum amount of voluntary overtime that doctors can work – rising to 832 hours – has also been reversed. The new change also means that doctors in hospitals will be able to work continuously for up to 24 hours, which is something they had wanted to continue doing.

A large proportion of doctors (over 6,000) in the country had initially threatened to not work overtime due to a dispute about working hours, but this agreement should ensure a degree of normality, the Ministry of Health says.

weather Czechia prepares for more snowfall

Following heavy snowfall in Prague and across the country during Friday daytime and night, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) has warned against further snowfall throughout Saturday. A low-level snow warning applies to the majority of the country, with a high-level snowfall warning given in South Bohemia.

Prague is set to again get continuous snowfall during the entirety of Saturday, easing up only in the evening. Temperatures will be around minus 2 degrees Celsius during the day. The ČHMÚ predicts around 40 centimeters of snow in total to have fallen in the south and east of Czechia by the end of Saturday. Meteorologists also warn against snow tongues forming around Ostrava and the Krkonoše area.

DEMONSTRATION Prague calls off protest due to offensive slogan

A pro-Palestine protest in Prague due to take place on Dec. 5 has been banned by the City of Prague due to the use of the controversial slogan: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free". This phrase refers to liberating all of Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which Czech authorities assert implies destroying Israel and removing Jewish presence from the entire region. 

The city justified prohibiting the demonstration based on the slogan having genocidal connotations and links to the charter of terrorist organization Hamas. The activist organizers intend to sue the municipality over the protest ban, arguing they wished to peacefully support the slogan.

education Number of Ukrainian schoolchildren in Czechia falls

Data from the Czech Education Ministry reveals a drop in Ukrainian child refugees in Czech schools compared to the previous year, totaling 48,090 children as of Sept. 30 – 2,195 fewer than before. This decline is evident in primary and kindergarten levels, yet secondary school numbers have risen. Ukrainian pupils constitute one percent of all secondary students. 

Overall school attendance increased by about 10,000, reaching 1,860,705. Despite slight drops in kindergarten and primary levels, secondary school enrollments surged. Ukrainian children remain the largest foreign group, representing 77.5 percent of all foreigners in primary schools, 54.3 percent in kindergartens, and 50.5 percent in secondary schools.

sport Czechia to discover fate for UEFA Euro 2024

The draw for next year's European Football Championship will take place in Germany today, where the Czech national team will discover their group opponents. The Czech team, placed in the third pot of teams, will avoid facing Slovakia, the Netherlands, Croatia, Scotland, and Slovenia in the group stage (as these countries are in the same pot). In the qualifying stages, Czechia finished second in its five-country group, with Albania coming top.

The tournament will feature 24 countries, divided into six groups of four. The top two teams in each group, along with the four best third-placed teams, will advance to the knockout stage. The Czech team is currently without a coach after Jaroslav Šilhavý quit in late November.

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