Czech news in brief for January 13: Saturday's top headlines

Body of mine worker swept away by water found, Czech National Building in NYC to host extremist group, and Czechia to attend Ukrainian peace plan meeting. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 13.01.2024 08:43:00 (updated on 13.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Politics Bartoš re-elected chair of Czech Pirate Party

Ivan Bartoš secured his position as chairman of the Czech Pirate Party, winning the online vote at the national forum in Brno. Bartoš, 43, and an MP, expressed gratitude for the support, emphasizing the party's commitment to liberal, pro-European policies. He outlined priorities, including affordable housing, youth support, anti-corruption measures, digitalization, and reduced bureaucracy.

Bartoš received 569 votes in the first round, defeating MEP Markéta Gregorová, who garnered 455 votes. In the second round, he secured 556 votes against Gregorová's 300. Bartoš previously led the Pirates from 2009 to 2014 and resumed the role in 2016.

Weather Snow, high winds forecast for northern Czechia

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has issued a weather warning for the north and northeast regions of the Czech Republic, forecasting the potential formation of snowdrifts due to strong winds and new snowfall until Tuesday noon. Wind speeds of 55 km/h, reaching 90 km/h in mountains, are expected, with 5-20 cm of new snow in warning areas and 20-50 cm in mountainous regions.

The high-level snowdrift warning suggests impassable roads, with motorists advised to take caution if planning to drive in affected areas. In Český Krumlov, the elevated Vltava River level is anticipated to return to normal by Monday noon, ending a weeks-long flood watch.

Recreation Ski resorts in Orlické Mountains at full capacity

In the Orlické Mountains, the parking lot near Šerlich is at full capacity with cars of tourists and skiers. Police officers are on-site directing traffic to ensure the regional road II/311 remains accessible. The area is a popular starting point for hiking routes, currently covered with approximately 20 centimeters of snow.

Authorities urge drivers to adhere to traffic signs, police instructions, and avoid parking on the main road, emphasizing its need to remain passable. The limited capacity of the parking lot prompts drivers to park in restricted areas, hindering the passage of essential vehicles. Despite recent frosty weather, improved skiing conditions have led ski resorts to expand operations.

Fire Firefighters save three from apartment blaze

Late on Friday night, Prague firefighters swiftly responded to an apartment fire in Holešovice, extinguishing the flames and rescuing three individuals and two cats. Firefighters attended to the emergency on Stupkova Street shortly after 11:00 p.m., and evacuated additional residents before extinguishing the blaze.

"In Stupkova Street in Holešovice, we are responding to a fire in an apartment of a residential building," Prague firefighters wrote on social media after 11:00 p.m. "The fire has been extinguished, we are ventilating the house. We rescued three people and two cats from it. Another three people were evacuated."

Politics Pirate Party elects leadership at National Forum

The Czech Pirate Party's National Forum convened at Brno's Sono Centrum this morning to elect new leadership, with current chair Ivan Bartoš seeking re-election against MEP Markéta Gregorová. The Pirates opened the forum by observing a minute of silence for victims of the Prague Faculty of Philosophy shooting.

Bartoš, favored with 12 nominations, emphasized enduring change in his candidacy speech. Gregorová pledged to enhance internal party structure. Prime Minister Petr Fiala thanked the Pirates for their cooperation in the government coalition. The forum, attended by 500 members in person and 1,200 online voters, marks a pivotal moment for the party's direction.

Sports Sparta goalie out of danger after scary injury

In a scary incident during an Extraliga game between Sparta Prague and Liberec, Sparta goalie Jakub Kovář was struck in the neck by a powerful shot from Jaroslav Vlach of Liberec. The entire stadium fell silent as Kovář, initially motionless, was attended to by doctors.

Despite the scare, the goalie left the ice on a stretcher, receiving applause from both Sparta and Liberec fans. The match continued with Josef Kořenář taking over in goal. Fortunately, Kovář was later confirmed to be out of danger, posting a reassuring message on social media.

tragedy Czech worker's body discovered in mine

Rescuers discovered the lifeless body of a man swept away by water during exploration in Sokolov's historic Jeroným mine. The incident occurred on Friday, with one worker managing to escape as part of the mine flooded. Despite efforts, the victim could not be saved.

A regional fire department spokesman confirmed the recovery after pumping out a three-meter water column from the tunnel, located approximately 400 meters from the entrance. The Mine Rescue Service stabilized the site earlier, and divers joined the search. The operation concluded after 2:00 a.m. The tragedy unfolded during routine work in the mine, highlighting the risks involved.

politics Czechia to attend Ukrainian peace plan meeting

Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Marian announced Czech participation in Sunday's meeting on the Ukrainian peace plan, attended by representatives from 80 countries, an increase from the previous Malta meeting. The plan, presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, focuses on Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The Czech Republic, co-chairing with France and Sweden, will lead a working group on nuclear safety in Ukraine. Marian emphasizes support for the peace plan, addressing issues such as prisoner exchange and the return of abducted Ukrainian children. The Czech Republic advocates for a special tribunal on Russian officials' aggression. The meeting precedes the World Economic Forum, attended by Czech ministers.

Politics Extremist group to rent Czech building in NYC

The Czech National Building in New York is set to host an event by Moms for Liberty, labeled as an extremist organization, sparking criticism from U.S. politicians. The group, initially focused on Covid-19 vaccination and mask mandates, is now criticized for its stance against sexual minorities and inclusive schooling.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský regrets the event but says it cannot be canceled due to contractual obligations between the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) and Moms for Liberty. Critics, including Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal, urged Czech PM Petr Fiala to intervene.

Lawmakers to tighten anti-money laundering rules

Prague's House of Representatives is likely to approve the expanded scope of entities checking clients for potential money laundering legalization, with parliamentary amendments expected. The budget committee and the Ministry of Finance expressed positive views during their meeting.

The proposed changes, set for a plenary vote in late January, include granting banks and insurance companies access to the property declarations register of politically exposed persons. The amendment also requires financial institutions to obtain copies of clients' identity documents when faced with forged IDs or stolen documents. The Anti-Money Laundering Act aims to combat financial crimes and enhance client verification across various sectors.

Rare manuscript awarded cultural monument status

In Pilsen, West Bohemia, a 16th-century manuscript by Peter Albin featuring a portrait gallery of the Saxon noble family of Wettin has been granted archival cultural monument status. The City Archive now holds seven such monuments, the highest among city archives in Czechia.

The manuscript, considered of exceptional historical importance, showcases images and brief profiles of Saxon Electors and Dukes from the House of Wettin. Originally registered in the Osek Cistercian monastery's library in the late 19th century, it went missing after the monastery's dissolution in 1950, only to be acquired by the City Archives in 1970 from the heirs of the monastery's last prior.

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