Ample Strike military exercise starts in Czechia with 900 NATO soldiers

Bell in memory of those taken by Nazis unveiled in Prague, Castle Night attracts 20,000 people, Czech doubles to face Williams sister at US Open, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.08.2022 12:08:00 (updated on 02.09.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

August 29, 2022

Defense Ample Strike 2022 military exercise starts

Ample Strike 2022, one of the biggest international military exercises in Czechia, starts in Náměšť nad Oslavou today, involving about 900 troops from Czechia and another six NATO countries including the U.S. and Germany. It runs through Sept. 16. The exercise also takes place at the airports in Čáslav and Prague-Kbely, and at the training areas of Boletice, Libavá, and in the surroundings of České Budějovice. Its main goal is coordinating the operation of forward air controllers with aircraft crews and the ground headquarters. The Czech military will send Mi-35/24 and Mi-171 helicopters, L-159 combat planes, and CASA C-295 transport planes.  

history Bell in memory of those taken by Nazis unveiled in Prague

The #9801 memorial bell, cast in Austria in remembrance of the many church bells that were melted down by the Nazis during World War II, was unveiled on a pontoon at the Smetana embankment in Prague center yesterday. After the official unveiling ceremony, bell ringers from the Sanctus Castulus association, which initiated the project, rang the bell for the first time.

The bell will be displayed at this place at least until the end of September, and then it will be moved on the pontoon elsewhere. In the future, roughly as of 2024, it should be permanently installed in a belfry on Rohansky island.

festival Castle Night attracts 20,000 people

This year's Castle Night, which took place on Sunday night and closed this year's main tourist season at the monuments, was visited by over 20,000 people. Some 80 monuments participated in the 13th edition of the event. Compared to previous years, attendance was higher by an average of 3,500. The event offered costumed tours, a night program, and knights tournaments. The center of this year's events was at Český Krumlov.

sport Czech doubles team to face Williams sister at US Open

In the first round of doubles at the US Open, the most famous tennis doubles pairing, the Williams sisters, will face the debuting Czech doubles Lucia Hradecká and Linda Nosková. Sisters Serena and Venus Williams will take the court together in doubles after more than four years, and their first opponent will be the Czech doubles pair.

EUROPEAN UNION Czechia has fastest growing debt in the EU

The rate of debt growth in the Czech Republic was the highest among the EU countries last year, and the budget deficit last year surpassed the worst result from 2020, states the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) on the draft state final accounts of the Czech Republic for 2021.

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The office also pointed out that Czechia was ranked among the countries with the lowest rate of economic growth in the EU last year. On the other hand, the audirors positively evaluate the low unemployment rate.

August 28, 2022

Music Prague to say goodbye to Hana Zagorová at Divadlo Kalich

Prague will say goodbye to popular Czech singer Hana Zagorová with a ceremony at Divadlo Kalich on Wednesday, August 31 from 11:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., her husband Štefan Margita wrote on social media. Zagorová, who won the Golden Nightengale for most popular Czech singer nine times, passed away on Friday at the age of 75.

"For those who loved and love Hana and want to come and say goodbye to her in person, they will have the opportunity on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at the Kalich Theater," Margita wrote. In September, Divadlo Kalich will host the premiere of the musical Biograf láska, which contains 24 of Zagorová's songs.

Weather Heavy rain hits Moravia, firefighters respond to flooded roads

Heavy storms that have hit parts of the Czech Republic this weekend resulted in a number of incidents in Moravia on Saturday evening. Firefighters responded to more than 100 incidents in South Moravia yesterday, regional firefighters reported on social media. Two-thirds of the incidents directly resulted from the storms and saw fallen trees, flooded roads, and similar events.

"We removed trees in six cases. Among other things, we also secured loose bags on the roof of the house," a spokesperson for the firefighters stated. Trees were removed from roads and sidewalks in Brno and other locations.

Military Czech Republic, Slovakia agree on joint purchase of military vehicles

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have agreed to jointly purchase Swedish CV90 tracked combat vehicles, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová and her Slovak counterpart Jaroslav Naď announced on Saturday. The ministers stated that the joint purchase would help lower overall costs and ensure participation of both Czech and Slovak companies in repairs and parts manufacturing.

In July, the Czech Republic cancelled a tender to purchase tracked combat vehicles for 50 billion crowns, preferring to deal directly with the Swedish producer. In June, Slovakia had agreed to purchase about 40 billion crowns worth of combat vehicles from Sweden.

Tourism Prague tourism has not returned to pre-pandemic levels

The number of tourists visiting Prague's biggest tourist sites is significantly up over 2021, but has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, according to a poll of local landmarks conducted by ČTK. Landmarks typically visited by foreign tourists are especially down compared to 2019 numbers.

Prague Castle, for example, saw about 260,000 visitors from the start of July through August 24. That's more than double the number of visitors over the same period compared to 2021, but about half the number of visitors compared to 2019. Old Town Hall reports similar numbers, seeing 93 percent more visitors this year compared to 2021, but 43 percent fewer than in 2019.

August 27, 2022

Weather Bohemia battered by strong storms, cyclist killed by falling tree

Intense storms caused numerous incidents in cities across the western half of the Czech Republic on Friday evening. In Prague, firefighters responded to about two dozen cases related to the storms, which included clearing tram tracks and roads of fallen trees.

In Liberec, a cyclist was killed by a falling tree on a bike path near the U Nisy football stadium. Due to heavy rain, a ceiling collapsed at the Forum Liberec shopping center, with video of the incident shared on social media. The shopping center will remain closed until it can be assessed by structural engineers.

Sports Four Czech qualifiers advance to U.S. Open tournament

Four Czech tennis stars competing in qualifying round of this year's U.S. Open have advance to the tournament as Linda Nosková, Linda Fruhvirtová, Sára Bejlek and Tomáš Macháč each won their final qualifying matches on Friday. Macháč will play in his very first U.S. Open this year after defeating Italy's Flavio Cobolli in the final qualifying round 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-1.

The three female qualifiers will join Karolína Plíšková, Kateřina Siniaková, Tereza Martincová, Marie Bouzková, Petra Kvitová, and Karolína Muchová for an impressive nine Czechs in this year's women's singles tournament in New York, which will begin on Monday.

Fire Prague firefighters extinguish blaze at Central Military Hospital

After roughly two hours, firefighters in Prague 6 have extinguished a fire on the roof of the Central Military Hospital that was reported at about 9:30 a.m. this morning. The ward where the fire was located was evacuated and no injuries were reported, firefighter spokesperson Martin Kavka writes on Twitter.

Flames could be seen coming from the roof of the building, and thick clouds of smoke were visible from neighboring Prague districts. "This is an attic fire, high-altitude equipment and several water jets were deployed, two of them from the inside," Kavka wrote. The affected area was a neurology ward that was partially inpatient and partially outpatient.

Politics Support for Czech PM Petr Fiala hits new low

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala's approval rating has hit its lowest point since he assumed office earlier this year, according to international polling company Morning Consult. Of the 22 world politicians the company has charted approval ratings for, only South Korea's Yoon Seok-youl has lower ratings than Fiala.

According to Morning Consult's latest data, gathered from online surveys among a country's population, just 22 percent of Czech approve of Fiala, while 68 percent show disapproval. The numbers show a large dropoff since March, when Fiala had a 41 percent approval rating and 43 percent disapproval rating.

Crime Two Czechs fined for smuggling Italian sand

Italian police confiscated six kilograms of sand from two Czech tourists and imposed a fine of 1,000 euros (about 25,000 crowns) on them, local media has reported. It is illegal to take sand, shells, and pebbles from beaches in the Sardinia region of Italy, where the Czechs were staying.

The tourists were caught during a random security check in the airport during their departure. In 2017, authorities in the region passed legislation banning the removal of sand, shells, and other material from its beaches. Between June 15 and July 15, police confiscated a total of 50 kilograms of sand and shells from tourists at airports in Sardinia.

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