Czech news in brief for March 31: Sunday's top headlines

Czechia celebrates Easter Sunday, some regions face fog due to Saharan dust, and more weekend headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 31.03.2024 09:07:00 (updated on 31.03.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Weather Strong winds in the forecast for Easter Monday

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has issued a high wind warning for the Olomouc and Moravian-Silesian regions, forecasting gusts of 55 to 70 kilometers per hour on Monday. Valid from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., the warning highlights potential tree and building damage, with transportation disruptions likely due to loose branches. Mountain travelers are advised to steer clear of ridge areas during this period.

Politics EU ban on combustion engines may not pass

Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra and MP Klára Dostálova foresee a potential reversal of the EU's planned ban on internal combustion engine cars by 2035, they said during a debate on CNN Prima today. They anticipate a less environmentally-focused European Parliament and aim to garner support for lifting the ban. Disagreements arose over accountability for passing the ban, with blame directed at the current government and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Culture Hundreds visit blossoming peach orchard in Brno

Brno's blossoming peach orchard in Bohunice drew hundreds of visitors eager to capture the beauty of spring. The Starý Lískovec garden opened its orchards to the public, allowing free access for photography and leisurely walks. With 2,500 peach trees in full bloom across 3.5 hectares, visitors reveled in the early arrival of spring. The orchards, including plum and apple trees, offer a picturesque backdrop for families, couples, and photographers alike.

Money Czech crown sees notable depreciation this year

The Czech crown saw a notable depreciation against major currencies in the first quarter of 2024. Against the euro, it dropped from CZK 24.70 to CZK 25.30/EUR, marking a 2.5 percent decrease. Against the dollar, it fell from CZK 22.50 to CZK 23.50/USD, reflecting a 4.5 percent decline. The decline was attributed to factors including lower-than-expected inflation and aggressive interest rate cuts by the Czech National Bank. Analysts anticipate a continued weakening of the crown unless there are changes in monetary policies.

Zoo Prague Zoo overwhelmed with Saturday visitors

Prague Zoo was overwhelmed with visitors on Saturday. Long queues and delays exceeding 40 minutes reported due to spring weather drawing crowds to see the animals. No accidents were reported, but parking lots were unable to handle the influx of cars. The start of the main season at the zoo, along with new Mongolian Gobi exhibition, contributed to the surge. Similar traffic were issues seen at Olomouc Zoo this weekend.

Culture Czechia celebrates Easter Sunday

Today, Christians worldwide observe Easter Sunday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ with solemn Masses and candle-lit ceremonies, including adult baptisms. In Czech tradition, Easter is celebrated with a hearty lunch after fasting, egg decorating, and friendly gatherings. Special Easter dishes like mazanec are prepared, reflecting local customs. Most Czech celebrations take place on Easter Monday, and are generally not religiously significant but instead mark the transition from winter to spring through folk customs and traditions.

Crime Police investigating tragic hospital mix-up

Prague's Bulovka University Hospital is under police investigation after a mix-up led to one patient undergoing an abortion instead of a routine check-up. Criminal investigators are probing the incident, suspecting negligence. Both patients involved, foreigners residing in the Czech Republic, were accidentally switched by paramedics on Monday. Luboš Olejár of the Czech Patients' Union has called for the hospital director's dismissal. The Health Ministry deemed the incident inexcusable and apologized.

Weather Czech regions face fog due to Saharan dust

Meteorologists have declared a smog situation in the Moravian-Silesian Region, South Bohemia, and Vysočina due to Saharan dust causing a deterioration in air quality. Residents are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities due to potential breathing difficulties. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reported that the situation may persist and worsen throughout Sunday in other regions as well. This unusual phenomenon has led to elevated levels of suspended PM10 particles, posing health risks and causing discomfort.

Ukraine Estonia: Czech ammo initiative lacks funds

Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur told public broadcaster ERR that while several countries have pledged support for the Czech initiative to procure artillery ammunition for Ukraine, funding remains insufficient. Originally planning to obtain 800,000 shells, the initiative now aims for 1.5 million. Contributions have come from nations including Canada, Germany, and Finland. While funds for 300,000 units are secured, negotiations continue for the rest. The arrival timeline is uncertain, contingent on funding and inspection results.

Sports Czech national team begins preparing for World Cup

The Czech national hockey team has begun its preparations for the upcoming World Championship with fifteen players, including three newcomers: goalkeepers Lukáš Klimeš and Daniel Král, and defender Jakub Sirota. Seasoned veteran Roman Červenka will also join the initial squad. Coach Radim Rulík intends to have a full roster by April 8 in Karlovy Vary, aiming to keep players in shape with a training camp in Říčany. The team's first warm-up matches are scheduled for April 11 and 13 against Germany in Karlovy Vary.

Politics Survey: Czech politicians praise EU membership

Top Czech politicians praise the European Union's benefits, which include a single market that fosters economic growth and free travel, according to survey conducted by Czech News Agency. They emphasize EU membership's role in maintaining peace and security. However, criticisms include the EU's deviation from original principles, detachment from citizens' issues, and excessive regulations. Prime Minister Fiala sees the Czech Republic gaining confidence through its role in the EU.

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