Czech weekend news in brief: January 1-2, 2022

Greater Prague celebrates 100 years of existence, Thousands watch New Year's Day fireworks in Ústí nad Labem, and more weekend headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 01.01.2022 11:59:00 (updated on 02.01.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

16:02 Czech President and Prime Minister share New Year's lunch

Czech President Miloš Zeman and new Prime Minister Petr Fiala, accompanied by their wives Iva and Jana, shared a New Year’s lunch at the presidential manor in Lány today. The Czech Republic's president and prime minister traditionally meet for lunch to begin the new year in what is primarily a social event.

"The debate was in many ways social, pleasant, we took into account that our wives were also sitting at the table, and so we talked for example about how all of us love Vysočina," Fiala told journalists. Zeman appreciated that Fiala and his wife own a cottage in Vysočina, as the Czech President himself also has a weekend house in the region.

15:05 Czech President to appoint final minister in new government on Monday

Czech President Miloš Zeman will appoint Zdeněk Nekula as Minster of Agriculture at noon on Monday, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said after his meeting with Zeman in Lány today. On Monday afternoon, Nekula will be inaugurated in his office by Fiala, followed by a press conference.

Zeman appointed other ministers of Fiala's cabinet on December 17. Nekula was not named along with the other ministers because he had recently tested positive for Covid-19 and had to stay in quarantine.

Anniversary Greater Prague celebrates 100 years of existence

January 1, 2022 marks exactly 100 years since the formation of greater Prague in 1922. On this date a century ago, a law joined the suburbs of Karlín, Smíchov, Vinohrady, Žižkov and others with the historical center of Prague, creating the expansive Czech capital as we know it today.

Under the establishment of greater Prague in 1922, a total of 37 different municipalities surrounding the Czech capital officially became part of Prague. After the establishment of the larger city, Prague had a population of around 676,000 people across an area of about 172 square kilometers.

Fireworks Thousands watch New Year's Day fireworks in Ústí nad Labem

The annual fireworks show in Prague was cancelled this year due to the latest anti-coronavirus restrictions, but elsewhere in the Czech Republic celebrations took place on New Year's Day. In Ústí nad Labem, hundreds of people came to see New Year's Day fireworks in the center of city, which were set off from the top of the Větruše chateau yesterday evening.

The fireworks show lasted about ten minutes, and people could tune in to the local radio station, which broadcast a countdown and background music. The city took precautions to avoid large groups of people, and parking by the castle in the center was limited. Due to the launch of the fireworks high above Ústí nad Labem, people were able to watch the festivities from different areas across the city.

Recreation Hundreds take part in New Year's climb up Babí lom mountain

Several hundred tourists enjoyed the unusually warm and sunny weather on New Year's Day to take part in an annual hike up the Babí lom mountain north of Brno, a popular excursion that sits 562 meters above sea level. An annual tradition organized by the Czech Tourists Club, 2022 marks 50 years since the annual hike up Babí lom began.

The trail up Babí lom is of particular interest for more adventurous hikers, due to uneven terrain and steep slopes up both sides. This year, hikers had an easier time participating in the New Year tradition due to warm weather that prevented ice or snow hazards. However, they weren't able to enjoy views from the lookout tower atop the mountain, which is currently being renovated.

Politics Petr Fiala's New Year's Day speech "disappointing", says former PM

The New Year’s Day speech given by new Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala was a disappointment for Andrej Babiš, the former Prime Minister tells CTK. According to Babiš, Fiala repeated the same untrue statements he used in his election campaign leading up to the October general election.

"I was disappointed," says Babiš. "I regret that the prime minister repeated various fabrications that his coalition claimed before the elections. It is not true that our government did not care for our future, this is a lie." Babiš pointed to the national investment plan and the plan for science and research created by his government, among other achievements.

Traffic Road accidents in the Czech Republic claimed 468 lives in 2021

Traffic accidents in the Czech Republic claimed 468 lives in 2021, Czech traffic police director Jiří Zlý told local media on Saturday. Nine more victims died over the past year compared to 2020, when 459 people died on Czech roads. In 2020, however, the number of Czech road accidents was the lowest since traffic statistics were first compiled in 1961. The death toll was low largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, which markedly reduced traffic on Czech roads.

The number of road fatalities has been consistently decreasing over a long period of time. In the 1990s, about 1,400 people died on Czech roads every year. Over the last ten years, the number of road fatalities was the highest in 2012 at 681 deaths. Figures quoted by Zlý are preliminary, and the police will release the final numbers on January 7.

Weather Czech Republic sees warmest New Year's Eve in 90 years

Yesterday's New Year's Eve was the warmest in the Czech Republic in almost 90 years, with a high of 15.3 degrees Celsius recorded at measuring stations in both Děčín and České Budějovice. The temperature was the warmest on a December 31 in the Czech Republic since 1935, when 16.3 degrees was recorded in Hradec Králové.

According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, record high temperatures for the date were measured at four-fifths of the country's 158 measuring stations. Temperatures in Teplice (15.2 degrees), Havlíčkův Brod (12.5 degrees), and Milešovka (9.9 degrees) all topped record highs from the 1920s. High temperatures continued into the evening at most locations, and remained above ten degrees at a fifth of the country's measuring stations.

Transport Prague celebrates a year without pedestrian deaths from trams

Prague's public transport authority DPP has thanked pedestrians for taking caution while walking across tram tracks in 2021. For the second straight year and in conjunction with a recent safety campaign, Prague recorded no deaths in 2021 attributed to accidents between trams and pedestrians.

Since 2019, a "people vs. trams" campaign has featured a running tally of the number of deaths caused by tram accidents in Prague. 2020 was the first time in 15 years that no deaths were attributed to a collision between a pedestrian and tram in Prague, and 2021 has followed that trend.

Fire 50 evacuated following New Year's Eve apartment fire in Most

Fifty people were evacuated from an apartment in Most after a fire broke out on the fourteenth floor of an apartment building on New Year's Eve. Six fire brigades assisted in putting out the flames, with spread from the apartment to a balcony shortly before midnight last night. A bus transported those who had been evacuated to temporary accommodation.

After the fire was extinguished and firefighters ventilated the building, residents were permitted to return to their homes. According to investigators, the fire was most likely caused by the improper use of fireworks. Damages have been estimated in the region of 80-100 thousand crowns.

Security Prague politicians urge president to end security checks at Prague Castle

Czech Senator Jiří Růžička and MP Jan Lacina have once again asked President Miloš Zeman to end the security checks to enter Prague Castle in a letter sent to the presidential seat. They sent a similar request to Zeman at the end of 2018 and 2020, arguing that the measure was redundant, humiliating, and in conflict with the attitudes of previous presidents.

The Presidential Office has previously refused to comply with the requests, owing to a need for security. More recently, they have argued that the checks aid in protection against the coronavirus epidemic. Police began security checks at Prague Castle in 2016.

ZEMAN Czech President's aides fined for not wearing respirators in hospital

People involved in a meeting between Czech President Miloš Zeman and then-Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček in October have been fined 10,000 crowns each for violating a measure requiring respirators to be worn in a hospital, according to Presidential Office Protocol head Vladimír Kruliš.

Vondráček, Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynář, and Zeman's aides have been fined for failure to comply with the measure. The fine does not apply to Zeman, as he was a patient in the hospital.

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