Czech news in brief for January 7: Sunday's top headlines

Water levels continue to recede across Czechia, hockey stars Pastrňák and Hertl make NHL All-Star team, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 07.01.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 07.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Weather Severe frost warning issued for Czechia through Thursday

Meteorologists are warning of severe frost in the Czech Republic from Monday to Thursday, with temperatures dropping below minus 12 degrees Celsius in the morning hours. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute recommends protecting against the cold, emphasizing warm clothing in multiple layers and suitable footwear.

Additionally, there's a warning for heavy snowfall in the south of Bohemia, snowdrifts in the Jeseníky and Beskydy Mountains, and an ongoing flood alert in the Ústí nad Labem Region until Tuesday. The risk of cold and frostbite on exposed body parts is significant, especially during the night and morning hours.

Politics Czech minister mulls resignation over Christmas party controversy

Czech Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka has expressed his readiness to consider offering his resignation in response to the controversy surrounding a Christmas party that took place at the ministry during the tragic shooting incident at Charles University. The party, which drew criticism, took place as a gunman killed fourteen people at the Faculty of Arts.

Jurečka apologized for his inappropriate assessment of the situation and the subsequent communication, admitting the mistake. Prime Minister Petr Fiala has not yet initiated Jurečeka's dismissal but emphasized the need for a better explanation from the minister regarding the incident.

Economy ANO to prepare referendum on euro adoption

Alena Schillerová, vice-president of the Czech opposition party ANO, has announced that ANO intends to prepare a referendum on the introduction of the euro in the Czech Republic. This comes after President Petr Pavel's New Year's speech reignited the debate on adopting the euro.

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While the STAN, Pirates, and TOP 09 parties in the government coalition support the adoption, ANO, ODS, and SPD oppose it. Schillerová emphasized the need for a referendum, stating that the decision should be submitted to the public, and highlighted the differences in economic conditions among eurozone countries. The government is currently assessing the country's readiness to adopt the euro.

Weather Winter is back as snowfall hits much of Czechia

Snowfall in many parts of the Czech Republic is expected to complicate transportation on Sunday. Road workers have been actively addressing the situation since the night hours, but caution is advised as some roads may only be passable with care. In southern Bohemia, road maintenance crews are working to keep roads clear, with temperatures dropping below freezing in the morning.

Meteorologists predict continuous snowfall throughout the day, with the heaviest precipitation expected in the southwestern part of Bohemia, particularly in Šumava. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute warns of potential frost, ice formation, and up to 25 centimeters of snow in certain areas.

TRAVEL Normal operations underway at Prague Airport this morning

As of Sunday morning, Prague's Václav Havel Airport is experiencing unrestricted air traffic despite previous issues caused by dense fog and a malfunctioning meteorological station damaged by lightning. The weather change has helped alleviate landing problems for arriving planes, but the damaged station remains unrepaired.

On Saturday, 21 planes had to be diverted, and nine routes were canceled due to the weather-related complications. An airport spokesperson emphasized that while fog is not currently an issue, the equipment failure persists, potentially causing landing problems if adverse weather conditions return.

Economy Czech inflation forecast to have hit 7.5 percent in December

Analysts predict that December inflation in the Czech Republic will range between 7.2 and 7.5 percent, similar to November's year-on-year rate. Food prices are expected to have risen slightly, while fuel prices decreased due to lower oil prices. Overall, consumer prices are estimated to have fallen by about 0.1 percent compared to November.

The inflation rate for the entire year is forecast to have been 10.8 percent, making it the third-highest annual inflation in the history of the independent Czech Republic. Analysts anticipate a significant slowdown in inflation in the coming year, with January's inflation projected at 3.5 percent. Official data on Czech inflation in December will be published later this week.

Weather Water levels continue to recede, but warnings remain in effect

River levels in Czechia are slowly decreasing after heavy rains, but a third-degree (highest) flood warning remains on the Elbe River in Ústí nad Labem, Děčín, and Litoměřice in northern Bohemia. A second-degree warning is still in effect in six places, with some closed roads.

The Vltava in Český Krumlov, southern Bohemia, currently faces a second-degree warning. The situation is influenced by outflow from the Lipno dam, where accumulated water from melting snow and recent rainfall has reached 120 cubic meters per second, and this situation is expected to continue for some time.

Sports Czech hockey stars Pastrňák, Hertl make NHL All-Star team

Czech hockey stars David Pastrňák and Tomáš Hertl have been named to this year's NHL All-Star Game. Both forwards secured their spots among the first 32 players, with the final twelve to be determined by fan votes. Pastrňák, representing Boston, will make his fourth All-Star appearance, having participated in 2019, 2020, and 2023.

Hertl, playing for San Jose, previously took part in the NHL All-Star Game in 2020. The All-Star Game weekend is set for February 1-3 in Toronto, featuring a new format where captains and celebrities will draft teams, followed by skill competitions and the main game on February 3.

Science Czech scientists propose new theory about insect wings

Scientists from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic have proposed a new theory suggesting that insect wings could have evolved from gills. The theory is based on the examination of fossils found in a Lower Saxony quarry, which include larvae fossils exhibiting flattened projections resembling gills.

These projections are found in the thoracic region near the wing bases. The discovery supports the idea that water played a crucial role in the early development of winged insects, as larvae of various insect groups, such as mayflies and dragonflies, also lived in water. The findings provide new insights into the evolutionary mystery of insect wings.

Culture Swimmers take annual cold-water dip in Karlovy Vary

Despite the cold weather and water temperature of less than five degrees Celsius, more than three dozen brave individuals participated in the traditional island dive at Borecký pond in Ostrov, Karlovy Vary. The event saw ideal conditions according to the participants, who included men, women, and teenagers.

High water levels, elevated due to recent rains and flooding, did not deter over 200 spectators who gathered to support the swimmers. The event, organized annually on the first Saturday of the new year, continues to attract growing numbers of participants, with ice water swimming gaining popularity for its purported health benefits.

Education Three women honored for economics teaching in Prague

Three women, Petra Pitulová from a hotel school in Plzeň, Miroslava Tročilová from a higher vocational school in Sezimov Ústí, and Svatava Valešová from a secondary vocational school in Plzeň, were honored with the Ekonomický Ámos 2023 award for inspiring economic teachers.

Recognized for their contribution to financial literacy in the Czech Republic, the awards were presented at an economics conference in Prague organized by the Teachers' Club of the Institute of Economic Education (INEV). The laureates were selected by a student survey, emphasizing the importance of practical teaching methods and educators who leave a lasting impact on students.

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