Heavy snowfall gives Ledecká extra rest before Olympic skiing final

Plus: Czech citizens advised to leave Ukraine, United States convoy to pass through Czech Republic on Tuesday, and more headlines for this weekend.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 12.02.2022 12:00:00 (updated on 13.02.2022) Reading time: 7 minutes

15:33 Greenpeace stages protest against Turow mine in Prague

Over 100 people took part in a Greenpeace demonstration called #StopTurow: Money Cannot be Drunk on Sunday afternoon. The demonstration was in reaction to the recent Czech-Polish agreement on the mining operation at Turow. The Turow mine supplies coal to a nearby power plant in Poland, and PGE Group, the company that operates it, plans on extending the operation through 2044.

However, inhabitants of Czech and German localities near Turow, which is situated near Poland's border with both countries, have complained about groundwater losses and high dust and noise levels due to the mining. Last week, the Czech Republic reached an agreement with Poland, dropping its EU lawsuit in exchange for 45 million crowns in compensation.

16:43 Czech President congratulates German counterpart on re-relection

Czech President Miloš Zeman congratulated German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on his re-election today. Zeman called current Czech-German relations the best in the history of the two countries in a letter published at the website of the Presidential Office.

Steinmeier was elected to his second term in office earlier today. In the letter, Zeman referred to a good relationship with the German president. "I am looking forward very much to our meeting during my term so that I can congratulate on you personally," Zeman wrote. Zeman's term in office runs through March 2023.

Olympics Heavy snowfall gives Ledecká extra rest before skiing final

Czech winter sports star Ester Ledecká will have some additional rest before attempting to pick up her second gold medal at this year's Olympic Games in Beijing. The second training session for the Alpine skiing women's downhill competition on Sunday was cancelled due to heavy snowfall. The final is scheduled for Tuesday.

According to trainer Michal Lešák, the day of rest will be beneficial for Ledecká after a busy schedule at this year's Olympics. On Tuesday, Ledecká won a snowboarding gold medal on the parallel giant slalom; on Friday, she narrowly missed out on a medal at the Alpine skiing Super-G, finishing fifth. In 2018, she became the first athlete to win gold medals in different sports at the Winter Olympics on the snowboarding slalom and skiing Super-G. Ledecká will have a shot to accomplish the feat once again with a victory in the downhill race on Tuesday.

Poisoning Three dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in Opava

Three people were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in Opava on Saturday evening. The victims included a young girl. A defective boiler in the family's bathroom caused the tragedy, according to firefighters, who responded to a call from concerned neighbors. "After forcing open the door to the apartment in question, three people and one animal, a dog, were found without signs of life," René Černohorský, a spokesperson for the firefighters, told CTK.

Also yesterday, firefighters responded to another carbon monoxide leak in Příbor, which resulted in one hospitalization. In the Czech Republic, around 100 people die and over 1,000 people are hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning every year. It is most commonly caused by faulty heating sources including boilers, chimneys, and stoves.

Tech Czech Covid certificate app sees 6.4 million downloads

The Czech Republic's Tečka app, through which users can prove their Covid status through vaccination, testing, or recovery, has been installed by a majority of the population, according to statistics provided by the National Agency for Communication and Information Technologies.

The Tečka app has been downloaded a total of 6.4 million times, while the the cTečka, which can confirm the validity of a user's Covid status through QR code, has been downloaded 1.4 million times. Both apps were launched last June. The requirement to prove one's Covid status for entry to restaurants and other facilities in the Czech Republic was cancelled on February 9.

Transport Dozens of trains stranded in Pardubice region Sunday morning

Dozens of trains were stranded at the railway station in Česká Třebová, in the Czech Republic's Pardubice region, early Sunday morning following a power outage. The outage caused about a three-hour delay for both regional and long-distance transport, but operations have now partially resumed.

"Operation has been resumed, but with restrictions, trains going through Česká Třebová can use one track," a spokesperson for power company SŽ told local media earlier this morning. Repairs of the railway were completed at around 9:30 a.m. this morning, and the tracks are now fully operational.

17:12 Czech Foreign Ministry warns against travelling to Ukraine

The Foreign Ministry has warned its citizens against taking trips to Ukraine and Belarus over escalated threats of Russian aggression, it said in a press release today. It has also recommended that Czechs currently in those two countries return home. The Czech embassy in Kiev will continue to operate with key staff, but their family members will be sent home.

"The threat of using force to achieve any goals by the Kremlin is unacceptable for the Czech Republic as a member of the EU and NATO," Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists today. "We still believe that diplomatic talks will be successful, but within the framework of the EU and our allies from NATO, we are collectively getting ready for the worst possible scenario."

"We are collecting available information, we do not want to fuel any panic, but cautions is certainly needed now," added Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, who also advised any Czechs currently in Ukraine to register with the DROZD system.

15:43 Former Czech PM Andrej Babiš re-elected head of ANO party

Former prime minister Andrej Babiš was re-elected the leader of the ANO party at its national congress today. Babiš received 76 out of 95 votes today, running uncontested for his party's chair. There were six votes against Babiš, and thirteen party members abstained from today's vote.

Babiš first entered politics in autumn 2011. After the 2013 general election, ANO joined a government coalition headed by the Social Democrats and then-Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, where Babiš served as Finance Minister. He left that role in early 2017 after being dismissed by Sobotka, but returned as Prime Minister later that year after ANO won the legislative election.

Military United States convoy to pass through Czech Republic on Tuesday

An expected 1,500 United States troops and 700 military vehicles will pass through the Czech Republic from Germany on Tuesday, but the move is unrelated to increasing tensions in Ukraine. The soldiers will be travelling through the Czech Republic as part of the annual international training exercise Saber Strike, the Czech Defence Ministry has told local media.

To minimize interruption of traffic on Czech roads, the convoy will be split into seven parts and travel in the early morning and evening hours. US soldiers will spend a night in a military camp in Rančířov, South Moravia, as they did in 2021. The convoy will return through the Czech Republic in March. The Saber Strike event is part of Defender Europe 2022, an international exercise to coordinate military efforts throughout European states.

Ukraine Czech Republic holds off on advising citizens to leave Ukraine

While foreign nations including the United States and United Kingdom have advised their citizens to immediately leave Ukraine in the wake of increasing tensions, the Czech Republic has has not issued a recommendation to leave. The country assures its citizens that their safety is ensured by the EU and its allies, though they are advised to keep an eye on the situation, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lenka Do.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on Friday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine "could begin at any time," while White House security advisor Jake Sullivan advised US citizens to leave the country within 48 hours. The United Kingdom has also told its citizens to leave Ukraine if they have commercial means of doing so.

Art Mucha Foundation signs agreement to display Slav Epic in Prague

A draft agreement prepared by the City of Prague to build a long-term home for Czech artist Alfons Mucha's Slav Epic was signed by the Mucha Foundation and real estate developer Crestyl yesterday, ending a decades-long dispute. Prague will create exhibition space at the Savarin Palace on Wenceslas Square to house the Slav Epic for at least the next 25 years.

"Today, with the agreement signed with the Mucha Foundation and Crestyl, we have confirmed our intention to house the Slav Epic for 25 years at the Savarin Palace, which will help support Prague tourism," said Prague councilor for culture and tourism Hana Třeštíková after the agreement was signed.

Tech Czech Republic celebrates 30 years of internet access

The Czech Republic will celebrate 30 years of official internet activity on Sunday. While it was possible to get online throughout the 1980s and 1990s through FidoNet, EUnet and other networks, February 13, 2022 marks exactly 30 years since the introduction of what would become CESNET (the Czech Educational and Scientific Network), the first official network run by then-Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic.

CESNET was first introduced at Prague's Czech Technical University on February 13, 1992. At the time, the connection speed maxed out at around 19.2 kilobytes per second. Today, average speeds in the Czech Republic reach around 80 megabytes per second, and 83 percent of the country regularly uses the internet. You can read more about the history of the internet in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic at the official pages of CESNET.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more