Czech news in brief for February 10: Saturday's top headlines

The ANO party elects new membership today, temperature records set throughout Czechia, and a Švankmajer retrospective set to honor artist's 90th birthday.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 10.02.2024 07:19:00 (updated on 10.02.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Politics Babiš re-elected chair of ANO party

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has been re-elected as the head of the opposition ANO party. Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Babiš but urged him to exhibit more statesmanship in parliamentary proceedings, eschewing what he described as chaos, personal attacks, and falsehoods.

Despite some reproach, SPD vice-chairman Radim Fiala expressed readiness for cooperation with ANO as part of a parliamentary opposition. The reelection of Babiš, supported by 88 delegates, signifies a continuation of his political influence despite earlier statements hinting at retirement.

Weather Elevated river levels in Eastern Bohemia

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reports slightly elevated river levels in parts of the country, particularly in eastern Bohemia. While levels are expected to decrease in the upper Elbe and Jizera basins, the middle and lower Elbe will continue to rise.

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Flood warnings are in place for several areas, with the Elbe reaching its first flood level in multiple regions. Despite the anticipated decrease in flooded streams today, meteorologists predict a return to rising levels on Sunday due to rainfall.

Sports Czech hockey team falls in Swedish Games

The Czech hockey team suffered a 2:4 defeat against Finland at the Swedish Games, marking their second consecutive loss in the tournament. Despite a goal from Czech captain Jan Kovář, the team couldn't secure a win.

With three losses in a row in the Euro Hockey Tour, they're now just three points ahead of Finland in the standings. The Czechs will face Switzerland next, hoping to turn their luck around in the tournament.

Sports Plíšková in semifinals of Transylvania Open

Karolína Plíšková has stormed into the semifinals of the Transylvania Open in Cluj, Romania, after a commanding 6-2, 6-0 victory against Italy's Sara Errani on Friday. The Czech tennis star hasn't dropped a set throughout the tournament. Plíšková's stellar performance marks her first semifinal appearance in over a year and a half.

Plíšková next sets her sights on British player Harriet Dart in the upcoming match, which will take place after the first semifinal is completed from around 5:00 p.m. this evening. The former US and Australian Open finalist, who is currently ranked 78th, has advanced to her first semi-final since the Canadian Open in August 2022. 

Accident P6 accident leaves cars overturned on sidewalk

A three-car accident occurred in Prague's Břevnov neighborhood on Friday afternoon, leaving two vehicles overturned on the sidewalk, including a BMW on its side. Fortunately, no one required rescue from firefighters. The incident left a 45-year-old man with a concussion and also involved a two-year-old child, with both individuals transported to nearby hospitals for evaluation.

Traffic disruptions ensued as authorities closed Patočkova Street temporarily for more than an hour and a half. Despite the dramatic scene, no fatalities were reported, and the situation was eventually brought under control by emergency responders.

Sports Czech speed skater takes silver at Jr. World Cup

Czech speed skater Metoděj Jílek won a silver medal in the 5,000-meter race at the Junior World Championships in Hachinohe, Japan. He was narrowly defeated by Norway's Sigurd Henriksen, finishing just 0.84 seconds behind the course-record-setting winner.

Despite missing the podium by a mere four hundredths of a second in the 1,500-meter race earlier in the competition, Jílek showcased his endurance and determination. Jílek's stellar season, coupled with his dominance in previous races, establishes him as a rising star in the speed skating world.

politics Opposition ANO party to elect new leadership

In Prague, the opposition movement ANO's national assembly will convene after two years, as former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš defends his chairman position, receiving unanimous nominations from all 14 regions. First vice-chairman Karel Havlíček also faces no opposition.

Regional nominations propose eight candidates for rank-and-file vice-presidents. A vice-chairman position remains vacant; deputy Robert Králíček is favored to fill it with nine nominations. The assembly anticipates minimal changes in ANO's leadership.

AID Czech senator proposes support to Gaza

Czech Senator Pavel Fischer suggested the Czech government could coordinate humanitarian aid for Gaza, emphasizing it should not be exploited by Hamas. Following a meeting with advocates for a change in the Czech cabinet's Middle East stance, Fischer said swift action is needed to address Gaza's children and civilians, citing the possibility of collaboration between the government and civic associations.

The appeal, referencing an International Court of Justice ruling, criticizes the Czech government's pro-Israel stance, while Defence Minister Jana Černochová expresses support for Israel's fight against Hamas during her visit. A public hearing on Czechia's Middle East policy is planned for spring.

drugs Vobořil for decriminalization of HHC possession

Czechia's national anti-drug coordinator, Jindřich Vobořil, plans to propose an alternative to prison sentences for individuals prosecuted for possessing products containing HHC cannabinol, a substance soon to be banned. Despite experts deeming HHC less risky, recent overdoses led to the cabinet's decision to criminalize its possession.

Health and Agriculture ministers suggest maintaining the ban until an amendment to the addictive substances law is passed. Vendors urge regulations, proposing safety measures instead of a ban to prevent substantial revenue loss for the state. Vobořil aims to present an abolition proposal next week.

weather Czechia sees above-average warm day

The Czech Republic experienced an exceptionally warm day Friday as records tumbled at about 25 percent of the 165 weather stations operational for over 30 years. Dobřichovice in Central Bohemia marked the highest temperature at 14.1 degrees Celsius, though not a new record.

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute attributes this warmth to a deep pressure trough from the eastern Atlantic. The trend is expected to continue, with Saturday's temperatures forecasted between 12 to 16 degrees, possibly breaking more records. Colder weather is anticipated next week.

culture Švankmajer retrospective to honor artist's 90th

Kutna Hora's GASK gallery will showcase the lifetime work of renowned Czech surrealist artist Jan Švankmajer from March 3 to Aug. 4 in honor of his 90th birthday. The retrospective exhibition, curated by Richard Drury, encompasses Švankmajer's diverse creative realms, including collages, graphics, objects, illustrations, drawings, experiments, and films.

The exhibit will delve into the artist's imaginative concept of "disegno interno," merging Rudolphine mannerism with surrealist internal models. Alongside Svankmajer's works, paintings by his late wife Eva will be featured. The films highlight Švankmajer's unique blend of dreams, reality, black humor, aggression, and poetic world vision.

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