Czech news in brief for November 26: Sunday's top headlines

Czech Republic to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine, National Technical Museum revives iconic steam locomotive, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 26.11.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 26.11.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Politics Opposition party ANO continues to lead public opinion polls

If Czech parliamentary elections were held now, the opposition ANO party led by former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would secure victory, according to a November survey conducted by STEM. ANO would garner 33.2 percent of the vote, with far-right party SPD coming in second place at 12 percent.

ODS, the current leading governing party, would follow at 11.6 percent, and the Pirates at 10.2 percent. STAN and TOP 09 would secure 6.4 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. ANO expressed readiness to negotiate with all democratically elected parties, but with major reservations about a coalition with SPD.

Sports Czech football legend Čech makes pro hockey debut

Legendary former football goalkeeper Petr Čech made a brief yet impactful debut in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the UK's top ice hockey league, last night with the defending champions Belfast Giants. Coming in as a substitute goalie, Čech spent less than five minutes on the ice during the game against Glasgow Clan, allowing no goals in his team's 5-1 victory.

The 41-year-old, who recently joined Belfast from the second division Oxford City Stars, saw his debut in professional hockey yesterday. Fans passionately chanted for Čech, and he entered the goal in response. Čech, who began his hockey journey in 2019, has been steadily gaining recognition in the sport.

Transport Public transportation unlikely to be affected by Monday strike

Public transport across the country is expected to operate normally on Monday as bus and train drivers will only symbolically support a large-scale strike by trade unions. Drivers in various regions, including Olomouc and South Bohemia, will wear safety vests in solidarity but won't disrupt services to avoid inconveniencing passengers.

Trade union meetings in Prague may affect traffic, with gatherings planned in key squares. While the strike is supported symbolically, the Federation of Train Drivers won't actively participate, citing the political nature of the demonstration and criticizing its timing. The strike protests government austerity measures.

Politics Czech govt. reverses Charter 77 resolution amid hunger strike

The Czech government, responding to dissident Jiří Gruntorád's hunger strike, remotely revoked its January resolution supporting Charter 77's fight for human rights and democracy. Gruntorád, protesting low pensions for anti-communist dissidents, demanded the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Marian Jurečka.

Although the cabinet insists it upholds Charter 77's legacy, it aims to address inequalities faced by pre-1989 democracy seekers. Deputy PM Vít Rakušan affirmed the government's commitment to Charter 77 values. The cabinet pledged statutory pension regulation proposals by mid-December to rectify long-standing injustices. Gruntorád and fellow protester John Bok have reportedly concluded their hunger strike.

ACCIDENT Victims of Austrian plane crash likely Czechs

Upper Austrian police disclosed that the victims of Saturday's plane crash in Austria are likely Czechs. The identities of the two men and two women are still under verification in collaboration with Czech authorities. The single-engine Rockwell Commander 112B, departing from Příbram, was headed to Croatian Istria with German registration.

The public prosecutor's office in Wels has ordered an autopsy, and investigations into the crash's cause are ongoing. The manager of the Příbram airport declined to comment, highlighting cooperation with the authorities.

Weather Snowy conditions lead to multiple crashes on D1 highway

A series of collisions on Vysočina's D1 highway, treated as three separate incidents, briefly halted traffic on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning. Police have reported three injuries. The accidents coincided with warnings of slippery, snow-covered roads. Traffic towards Brno resumed after approximately two hours.

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Snow remnants persist, and meteorologists anticipate continued snowfall on Sunday. Many Czech locations will experience mostly cloudy conditions, with occasional snow showers and decreasing clouds in the evening. Temperatures range from minus three to zero degrees Celsius, with gusty winds exceeding 50 kilometers per hour.

Ukraine Czech Republic to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine

In a show of solidarity, Czech parliamentary leaders, Markéta Pekarová Adamová and Miloš Vystrčil, pledged ongoing military support to Ukraine during their visit to Kyiv. Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Adamová, stated that the Czech Republic will increase weapons deliveries to Ukraine, emphasizing Russia's attempt to crush not only Ukrainians but also democratic values.

Senate President Vystrčil acknowledged Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression, characterizing Ukrainians as heroes defending not only their nation but other democracies. The Czech delegation's visit coincided with a significant Russian drone attack on Ukraine, marking the largest since the conflict's onset.

Health Prague hospitals are cancelling surgeries due to lack of doctors

Planned surgeries in Prague and Central Bohemian hospitals are facing cancellation due to hospital doctors' refusal to work overtime under new state regulations. Around one-third of doctors have resigned from working overtime, impacting outpatient care and planned examinations. Hospitals prioritize urgent care.

Thomayer University Hospital, where 160 doctors resigned from overtime, will be significantly affected, especially in internal medicine and pediatrics. Motol University Hospital plans to gradually reduce operating room usage by half. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek expects minimal impact on patients during December, which is traditionally a low surgery period.

Culture National Technical Museum revives iconic steam locomotive

The National Technical Museum in Prague has successfully completed the extensive overhaul of steam locomotive 464.102, fondly known as 'Ušatá' (Big-Ears). After 16 months of meticulous restoration that cost CZK 29 million, the locomotive, which was operational until 2017, embarked on its inaugural journey from Prague's main station to Hostivice.

Karel Ksandr, NTM's Director General, highlighted the challenges faced during the reconstruction, addressing hidden defects. The locomotive, part of the NTM collection since 1980, will be showcased on a public ride from Prague to Chomutov on March 28 next year.

Missing Czech police seek missing woman, 4-year-old daughter

Sylvia Vyhlidalová, 44, and her four-year-old daughter Michaela are being sought by South Bohemian police after disappearing from a social care facility in Český Krumlov. They were last seen in Plzeň a few days ago after leaving on November 11, claiming they were going on a trip.

The mother left most of their belongings in Český Krumlov, and her phone is inaccessible. Concerned by their prolonged absence, care workers workers reported the disappearance to the police. Authorities urge anyone with information about their whereabouts to contact the police hotline at 158.

Transport Prague to evaluates proposed outer ring road expansion

Prague authorities are set to review the environmental impact assessment (EIA) documentation for the planned section of the outer ring road between Březiněvsí and Satalice. The documentation, offering construction options either below the surface or tunnelled, was released last week by the Directorate of Roads and Highways.

Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib confirmed that the city would assess the proposal, similar to its approach with the northwestern part of the Prague Ring Road this year. The northeastern section in question, spanning 13.6 kilometers, is crucial for linking existing circuit segments. Public comments are accepted until December 20.

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