Czech news in brief for February 25: Sunday's top headlines

Hundreds protest outside Russian Embassy in Prague, Depeche Mode fans crowd Prague's Charles Bridge, and more headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 25.02.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 25.02.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Anniversary Prague officials honor legacy of Jan Zajíc

Representatives of Prague 1, led by Mayor Terezia Radoměřská, commemorated the self-sacrifice of student Jan Zajíc, who immolated himself on Wenceslas Square 55 years ago. Zajíc's act protested the normalization following the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Radoměřská praised Zajíc's sacrifice, emphasizing the enduring importance of his love for freedom and nation. Following in Jan Palach's footsteps, Zajíc's symbolic act aimed to awaken society's conscience. His poignant farewell letter urged against the erosion of national freedom, echoing his enduring legacy of courage and defiance.

Economy Czech food prices see year-on-year decline

Food prices in the Czech Republic continued a trend of year-on-year decline in February, according to the latest data from the Czech Statistical Office. Compared to last year, some food items were significantly cheaper, with a more modest decrease month-on-month.

The price of ten eggs decreased by 26 percent compared to last February, for example. However, some products including light bottled beer, apples, and potatoes saw an increase in both year-on-year and month-on-month prices. Despite fluctuations, the overall trend suggests a decrease in food prices, providing some relief for consumers.

CRIME Suspect found dead following triple murder

A tragic incident unfolded in Hořovice, in the Czech Republic's Central Bohemian Region, as the bodies of a woman and two small children were discovered in an apartment on Saturday. Emergency services and police rushed to the scene after a relative raised concerns.

Investigations revealed signs of violence, with authorities suspecting the woman's partner. The suspect, a man in his thirties, was later found deceased in Břeclav, South Moravia. Details regarding the motive and timeline of the murders are yet to be disclosed, pending further investigation.

Ukraine Thousands take part in Prague rally for Ukraine

On the second anniversary of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, thousands gathered across the Czech Republic to express solidarity with the embattled nation. In Prague's Old Town Square, speakers including Czech President Petr Pavel called for increased global support for Ukraine's defense efforts.

Pavel emphasized that backing Ukraine equates to safeguarding one's own security and thwarting Vladimir Putin's expansionist ambitions. The gathering featured speeches, a procession, and a benefit concert to aid Ukraine's defense efforts. Similar events took place in other cities across the country, demonstrating widespread solidarity with Ukraine in the face of ongoing conflict.

Humanitarian Aid People in Need raises CZK 2.4 billion for Ukraine

People in Need has collected CZK 2.4 billion for Ukraine since the war began, aiding both victims and refugees. Head Šimon Pánek announced this at a Prague concert on Saturday, part of the Day for Ukraine program marking the invasion's second anniversary. The charity has assisted 1.78 million Ukrainians, including 200,000 refugees in the Czech Republic, focusing on western Ukraine's 1.5 million displaced people.

NGO Post Bellum and the Gift for Putin campaign have also provided significant aid for Ukraine. Proceeds from Saturday's concert raised funds for military medical kits. Defence Minister Jana Černochová encouraged support through F-35 aircraft motif T-shirt sales, raising CZK 750,000 crowns in aid of Ukrainian soldiers.

Crime Three dead found in Hořovice

Police found three deceased individuals in an apartment in Hořovice on Saturday afternoon, reports Emergency services, including firefighters and ambulance crews, swiftly responded to the scene. Authorities are treating the incident as a homicide.

"We are investigating violent criminal activity in Beroun; we will provide more detailed information later," police spokesperson Michaela Richterová stated. Preliminary reports suggest two of the victims may be minors, though this remains unconfirmed. 

Ukraine Hundreds protest outside Russian Embassy in Prague

More than 200 people, including ambassadors from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and other nations, supported the Noise for Ukraine concert near the Russian Embassy in Prague. Organized by the United Islands of Prague and Metronome Prague festival teams, the event marked the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Dutch Ambassador Daan Huisinga denounced the Russian attack as illegal, highlighting its aggression over the past decade. Performances by artists like Nikolaj Jakimov and What's In The Box underscored solidarity with Ukraine. The event coincided with other Day for Ukraine activities, aiming to condemn Russian aggression and honor Ukrainian soldiers' sacrifice amid the ongoing conflict.

Music Depeche Mode fans crowd Prague's Charles Bridge

Over a thousand Depeche Mode fans, including attendees from Slovakia, Germany, and Poland, gathered on Prague's Charles Bridge for a group photo session on Saturday afternoon. The fans, predominantly dressed in black, briefly blocked the bridge's passage during the shoot.

Organizer Filip Macháček expressed satisfaction with the turnout and weather. Attendees were delighted by a surprise appearance from Peter Gordeno, the band's keyboardist and bassist, who joined the fans. The event harkened back to similar gatherings in Ostrava in the 1990s and, more recently, at Old Town Square last year.

Defense Military conscription would be challenging for Czechia

The prospect of reinstating compulsory military service in Czechia faces significant hurdles, according to Zdeněk Petráš from the Czech University of Defence. Economic and political constraints, coupled with the lack of infrastructure, materials, and funding within the Defence Ministry, render immediate implementation unfeasible.

Chief of Staff Karel Rehka acknowledges the need to address staffing deficiencies and an aging military, suggesting alternatives to bolster reserves amid shrinking numbers since 2005. Petráš advocates for prioritizing an active reserve system and enhancing public readiness for national defense, citing evolving security threats.

HEalth Covid makes up 3 percent of respiratory infections

Czechia's National Health Institute reports that Covid-19 constitutes only about 3 percent of current respiratory infections in the Czech Republic, with influenza posing a more prevalent threat. Yet, the aftermath of Covid, affecting hundreds of thousands with long-term consequences, remains a concern.

The Czech Health Ministry is devising new protocols to address what is known as post-Covid syndrome, Deputy Minister Josef Pavlovic confirms. Since its emergence four years ago, Czechia has seen 4.3 million infections. While the number of monthly Covid cases dropped to 3,000 recently, worries escalate over severe influenza cases, straining hospital capacities.

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