Czech news in brief for February 11: Sunday's top headlines

10 hospitalized after carbon monoxide poisoning in Příbram, Czech schools face severe budget cuts, and more headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 11.02.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 11.02.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Weather Flood warnings issued in northern Czechia

Meteorologists issued a warning for potential floods in the area of the Jeseníky mountain range, with the Morava River anticipated to reach the third and highest flood level. The alert, in effect until further notice, highlights risks to populated areas, roads, and property due to rising water levels from rain and melting snow.

Additionally, the upper Elbe may experience increased water levels, although it is not expected to exceed the second flood level. Precautions are urged as heavy rainfall persists, particularly in regions around Šumperk, Mohelnice, and Zábřeh.

Politics Babiš officially announces PM candidacy

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has officially announced his candidacy for Prime Minister in the upcoming parliamentary elections, reaffirming his leadership role within the ANO party. Babiš emphasized ANO's goal of forming a stable government, urging support to prevent votes from going to parties engaged in corrupt practices.

He expressed openness to post-election cooperation with various parties, including the opposition far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party. He views ODS, leading the current governing coalition, as a primary rival, citing concerns over its trajectory.

Politics ANO maintains lead in latest election poll

According to the latest Kantar poll for Czech Television, the ANO party would secure victory in the parliamentary elections, garnering 35 percent of the vote, while ODS would come in second at 15.5 percent. The Pirates and SPD would vie for third place with 9.5 percent each.

The SPOLU coalition of ODS, TOP-09, and the Christian Democrats, which led the 2021 Czech parliamentary election, would receive just 22.5 percent of the vote if they were to run together again, with ANO consistently leading recent polls by a wide margin.

Weather Record high temperatures measured in Czechia

Record high temperatures for February 10 were recorded at more than one-third of measuring stations across Czechia, with the highest temperature reaching 15.5 degrees Celsius in Lednice, South Moravia. Temperatures above 15 degrees were also observed in Strážnice and Frýdlant.

Out of 167 stations with long-term data, 59 reported temperature records. Opava saw the warmest February 10 in its 144-year history at 13.4 degrees Celsius. This week's warm spell is expected to be the highest in early February since at least 1931. While Sunday may not match Saturday's highs, rainfall is expected to raise river levels.

Sports Plíšková makes final at Transylvania Open

Karolína Plíšková secured her first spot in a WTA final since 2021, defeating Harriet Dart in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 at the Transylvania Open. Plíšková, aiming for her 17th career title, displayed dominance throughout, clinching victory without dropping a set. The Czech tennis player, ranked 78th worldwide, will face Romania's Ana Bogdan in the final.

Despite a minor setback in the second set on Saturday, Plíšková maintained control to advance. Bogdan, the eighth seed, overcame Jaqueline Cristiano in a tight match to reach the final. Plíšková holds an undefeated record against Bogdan in their previous encounters.

Food Kroměříž hosts jitrnice-eating contest

A Masopust (Czech carnival, or mardi gras) eating contest in Kroměříž yesterday saw contestants vying to down jitrnice, a traditional pork sausage, in the quickest time. Jaroslav Němec consumed a half-kilogram portion in just a minute and 38 seconds to win the event.

"The jitrnice was excellent, perhaps the best I've ever had," said Němec, who faced four competitors, including a woman. "I'm satisfied; my opponent was good, so I pushed myself." He washed down the jitrnice with tea, noting that he refrained from beer as he had to drive to another eating contest in the afternoon.

Health 10 hospitalized after poisoning in Příbram

On Saturday morning, a house in Příbram experienced a mass carbon monoxide poisoning incident due to incomplete combustion in a boiler. Ten individuals were affected, prompting firefighters to evacuate the premises. Emergency responders attended to the victims, with ten individuals experiencing consciousness disorders.

While two patients were taken to Příbram hospital, the remaining eight required transfer to pressure chambers in hospitals in Na Homolce and Kladno. The situation underscores the dangers of carbon monoxide exposure and the importance of prompt emergency response in such cases.

Accident Girl falls into 15-meter-deep canal in Prague

A girl accidentally fell into a 15-meter-deep canal in Prague's Petrovice neighborhood on Friday evening, prompting response from firefighters, police, and paramedics, with a specialized climbing team also deployed to the scene. Utilizing climbing techniques, rescuers secured and freed the girl, handing her over to awaiting medical personnel for further treatment.

The event, which occurred on Lessnerova street, highlighted the dangers of open canal lids and underscored the importance of swift emergency response in such situations. Thankfully, the girl received prompt medical attention and was transported to the hospital for evaluation and care.

Culture Events mark centenary of musician Jiří Šlitr

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czech musician Jiří Šlitr, various tributes including recordings, a biography titled Doctor Klavír, a stamp featuring Šlitr at the piano, and a theatrical performance titled Šli tři Šlitři are set to honor the iconic figure. Lukáš Berný, author of the biography, emphasized Šlitr's multifaceted contributions, spanning music, theater, and art.

Supraphon has released an album featuring Šlitr's compositions from the renowned Semafor Theater era, preserving the authentic sound of the 1960s. Additionally, Radioservis has unveiled previously unreleased recordings. The commemorations culminate in a theatrical production at Prague's Royal Theatre on February 19.

Education Czech schools face severe budget cuts

Schools across the country are facing a financial crisis as they receive their budgets for the year. Despite the government's allocation of three billion crowns in additional funding for education, schools find themselves in dire straits, with many contemplating layoffs and closures, reports

Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek faces criticism for the budget cuts, prompting calls for clarification and potential strikes from school unions. With uncertainty looming, educators and administrators grapple with the harsh reality of financial constraints impacting the quality of education in the country.

Politics Opposition criticizes Prague's governing coalition

The ruling coalition in Prague, comprised of the Spolu, Pirátů, and STAN parties, has claimed effective city management with progress in infrastructure projects like metro D and tramline expansions. However, the opposition criticizes perceived stagnation, citing delays in key initiatives.

While the coalition emphasizes successes such as cultural renovations and crisis management, opposition voices highlight concerns over project inertia and controversial decisions. Both sides stress the need for accelerated development, particularly in transport infrastructure and housing. With differing priorities, Prague's governance faces ongoing scrutiny amidst calls for enhanced communication and decisive action.

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