Czech news in brief for March 2: Saturday's top headlines

Weather records broken nationwide, Czech diplomat voices off on Russia's Navalny funeral, state talks with farmers to avoid protest, and more headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 02.03.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 02.03.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Politics Czech Green Party elects heads

The Green Party of the Czech Republic has reaffirmed Magdalena Davis and Michal Berg as co-chairs for another two years at the party's national congress. Davis, in her third run for the position, emphasized the importance of young women's involvement in politics. Both Davis and Berg stressed the need for science-based solutions and unity in the face of current challenges. The party aims to secure at least two seats in the upcoming European Parliament elections, led by Johanna Nejedlová.

Transport Czech highway tariffs to increase next year

Transport Minister Martin Kupka has announced that Czech highway sticker tariff prices will rise again from January 2025, following inflation trends. The exact increase will be disclosed next year. Prices last changed on March 1, with the annual pass jumping from CZK 1500 to CZK 2300. Kupka aims for a gradual adjustment, ensuring stability over time. The move aligns with inflation-based adjustments for highway tariffs seen in other countries like Austria.

Pensions Proposed Czech pension reform draws criticism

Controversies have arisen over Czech Labor Minister Marian Jurečka's proposal to adjust retirement age based on life expectancy. Experts argue that the system creates inequalities and is miscalculated, opposing the uneven increase in retirement age for different years. Critics express concerns about fluctuations and unreasonable differences in pension duration. Jurečka defends the plan, emphasizing stability and predictability. Additionally, the proposal introduces early pensions for demanding professions but faces opposition from the opposition and trade unions.

Music Litomyšl celebrates 200th birthday of Smetana

Litomyšl is celebrating the bicentennial of famed composer Bedřich Smetana's birth today with festivities and cultural events. The city offers a special Bedřich beer, traditional celebrations, and guided tours of Smetana's birthplace. A commemorative collector's banknote, exhibitions, and a concert by Radůza are also part of the tribute. The Smetana200 project, honoring the composer's legacy, will continue throughout 2024 with additional events and anniversary celebrations dedicated to the father of Czech music.

Nature Volunteers clean riverbanks in Ústí nad Labem

Dozens of volunteers, including fishermen and firefighters, gathered in Ústí nad Labem to clean the Elbe riverbanks on Saturday morning. Despite rainy weather, participants armed with bags and gloves convened near Dr. Edvard Beneš Bridge. Organized by the Czech Fishermen's Association, the annual cleanup aims to remove debris and remnants from recent floods. Their efforts highlight community spirit and environmental stewardship, with participants committed to preserving the natural beauty of the Elbe.

Accident Gas leak leaves two unconscious in Prague

Emergency responders discovered two individuals unconscious in a family home following a gas leak in Prague's Újezd nad Lesy on Friday evening. Firefighters and police officers responded to an emergency call expressing concern for the occupants. Despite efforts, resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful, prompting their transfer to hospital care. Rescue services reported complications related to carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters are conducting investigations into the cause of the gas leak.

weather Temperatures break records in over 20 Czech areas

As the country's unseasonably warm spell continues, the Czech Republic experienced record-breaking temperatures for March 1, with 22 of 166 weather stations operating for over 30 years recording new highs. The highest temperature recorded was 16.3 degrees Celsius in the town of Vidnava (Olomouc). According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the second-highest temperature was 16 degrees Celsius in Borohrádek, Hradec Králové. Today, temperatures in the capital are set to peak at about 11 degrees Celsius.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Czech diplomat attends Alexei Navalny funeral

Jiří Čistecký, current head of the Czech embassy in Moscow, attended the funeral of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny Friday and described the atmosphere as emotional and sad, but not resigned. He noted the heavy security measures surrounding the cemetery, indicating the Russian regime's fear of its own citizens. "Today's farewell to Navalny shows that ordinary people are not indifferent to what is happening in Russia. It is a silent but clear message of disapproval of the situation in Russia," Čistecký observed.

Agriculture Govt tries to prevent March 7 farmers' protest

Minister of Agriculture Marek Výborný announced Friday afternoon that the government will provide additional support for animal farms and employment in the countryside. This is in response to the demands of agricultural organizations, who threaten to hold another large-scale protest on March 7. Výborný says the government will increase national agricultural subsidies for animal welfare support by CZK 550 million, up from the current CZK 672 million. Agrarian Chamber President Jan Doležal said farmers' organizations will meet again on Monday to debate whether the protest will go ahead.

UKRAINE Interior minister visits Ukraine, talks refugees

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan Friday met with his Ukrainian counterpart Ihor Klymenko in Lviv to discuss police cooperation, Czech temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees, and humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Rakusan praised Ukraine's bravery in resisting Russian aggression and reassured Klymenko of Czechia's continued support. However, he also noted an increase in Ukrainian asylum applications and called for a future solution that will not burden Europe's asylum system.

HISTORY Terezín Memorial opens new exhibit of WWII horrors

Czechia’s Terezín Memorial opened an exhibition Friday commemorating the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Terezín Family Camp (Theresienstadt) in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where 3,800 Czech Jews were killed during the Nazi occupation. The exhibition, which will be held until the end of March, features photographs, documents, and records showcasing the lives and conditions of the prisoners. Jews from Terezín were sent to Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944, with some being placed in quarantine for six months before being murdered in gas chambers.

PRAGUE NEWS Activist group announces end to Prague protests

The Czech branch of the international activist group Last Generation has announced that it will no longer hold regular protests in Prague, claiming success in its demands for measures to calm traffic and raise awareness about speed limits in the capital. The group says it will give politicians "space" to devise a solution. Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda previously stated that reducing the speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour would cause traffic chaos. The organization previously faced legal challenges and was only allowed to protest in one lane of the highway.

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