Czech star Barbora Krejčíková advances to Australian Open quarterfinals

Plus: MMA star Procházka to fight for UFC title in May, bird flu outbreak reported in Pardubice, and more headlines from this weekend.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.01.2022 11:54:00 (updated on 23.01.2022) Reading time: 7 minutes

3:12 Coal shipment from Australia arrives in Czech Republic

For the very first time, a shipment of coal arrived in the Czech Republic from Australia this morning when a ship carrying Australian black coal made its way to Děčín. The coal shipment will continue by train to the Ostrava region, which is currently suffering from a coal shortage and has encountered issues sourcing coal via international railways, which are currently congested.

The Australian coal first arrived in Europe at Rotterdam. It was then shipped by boat to Děčín, as Czech freight carrier ČD Cargo explores alternative methods to importing coal sourced from abroad.

1:37 Czech MP in United States unable to resign his position from abroad

A minor scandal surrounding Czech MP Jan Farský, who accepted an eight-month Fulbright Scholarship in the United States while serving as an active member of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, seemed to be resolved earlier this week when Farský announced that he would resign his position. But due to Czech bureaucratic process, Farský has been unable to resign and may need to return to Prague in order to do so.

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Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek told CNN Prima News today that there was an issue with Farský giving up his post by a notarial deed, and if a legal solution was not found within a week Farský would have to return to the Czech Republic in order to do so. He added that Farský was currently dealing with the issue through the Czech Embassy in the United States.

Tennis Barbora Krejčíková advances to Australian Open quarterfinals

Czech tennis star Barbora Krejčíková has advanced to the quarterfinals at this year's Australian Open with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Sunday. The winner of last year's French Open will face American Madison Keys Tuesday in Melbourne.

"It's special and magical," Krejčíková told reporters after the match. "I wasn't in the top hundred the year before last and now I'm playing here on the big courts and winning. I'm enjoying it, that's what I wanted." Krejčíková has also advanced to the third round in women's doubles competition at the Australian Open with top-ranked partner Kateřina Siniaková; the pair previously won gold at last year's Olympics in Tokyo.

MMA Light heavyweight Jiří Procházka to fight for UFC title in May

MMA star Jiří Procházka will continue his impressive UFC run with a crack at the light heavyweight title as ESPN has reported he will face off against current champion Glover Teixeira at an as-yet undecided location during UFC 274 on May 7. Both parties have reportedly verbally agreed to the match, though their contracts have not been finalized.

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Dubbed the "Czech samurai" by media for his calm demeanor and years spent fighting in Japan's RIZIN league, Procházka won his first two UFC matches in convincing fashion with knockout wins over Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir and has won twelve straight bouts dating back to 2015. Teixeira, his next opponent, is the UFC's oldest first-time champion at age 42 and has a 16-5 record in the UFC including six straight wins.

Agriculture Bird flu outbreak reported at Pardubice hatchery

An outbreak of bird flu has been reported among a population of ducks in Lipoltice, in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. Following the deaths of 380 of a population of around 3,500 ducks at the Perena hatchery, bird flu was confirmed in samples taken from the deceased ducks. The remaining ducks at the hatchery will be killed to prevent further spread of bird flu.

"The remaining poultry at the hatchery will be slaughtered in accordance with legislation. Zones will be marked around the outbreak area and emergency veterinary measures will be taken in them," State Veterinary Administration Petr Vorlíček said in a press release. Perena is one of the largest duck hatcheries in Central Europe, and breeds ducks in several regions of the Czech Republic. An outbreak of bird flu was also reported at a Perena hatchery last year.

POLAND Czech Republic demands 50 million euros in Turow mining dispute

The Czech Republic insists on receiving 50 million euros for damage caused by Poland's Turow coal mine near the Czech border, Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková told journalists on Saturday. Poland has countered with an offer of 40 million euros. Disputes also continue surrounding the issue of EU court supervision, with the Czech Republic requesting ten years of EU involvement and Poland ready to agree to two years of monitoring by the European Court of Justice on the issue.

The Turow mine, a major employer on the Polish side of the border, supplies coal to the nearby Turow plant. PGE Group, which owns both the mine and the power plant, plans to gradually extend its mining operation through 2044. Poland gave a go-ahead to the extension despite objections from both the Czech Republic and Germany.

January 22, 2022

UKRAINE Czech Republic prepared to back sanctions against Russia

The Czech Republic is prepared for a worst-case scenario in Ukraine, and it is ready to back potential sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists on Friday evening. A Russian invasion of Ukraine is the ultimate threat, Lipavský said, adding that this was a scenario no one wanted and that diplomats were actively trying to prevent it.

Defense Minister Jana Černochová added that while the Czech Republic believed in a peaceful end to the crisis, the Czech Republic will donate 152 mm artillery ammunition to Ukraine. Černochová said Ukraine had sent a list of requests for aid, and from it the Czech Republic chose to donate artillery ammunition, though she did not specify the amount of ammunition that would be donated.

Sports Czech hockey player suspended 30 games for racist gesture

The American Hockey League has suspended Czech forward Kryštof Hrabík of the San Jose Barracuda for 30 games following a racist gesture made towards Black player Boko Imama of the Tucson Roadrunners. According to an ESPN source, Hrabík made movements imitating a monkey to taunt Imama during a game on January 12. The AHL began an investigation on January 13 and announced the suspension yesterday.

"I am extremely sorry for what happened. I am ashamed of it, I bear full responsibility for it," the 22-year-old Hrabík said in a statement released to the press, adding that he will accept the suspension without appeal. "I made that gesture in the heat of battle and I didn't mean anything racist. But only now do I see in my limitations how it can be interpreted," he added.

TOURISM Narrowest hotel in Central Europe to reopen in Brno

Brno's functionalist Hotel Avion, reportedly the narrowest hotel in Central Europe, is slated to reopen in March after more than half a decade of repairs. The location will act as both an accommodation site, with 37 rooms, as well as a museum and cafe. A rooftop terrace offers views of central Brno and Špilberk Castle. The hotel measures just eight meters in width.

"Only a few details remain to be fine-tuned and we are ready. We would like to open at the beginning of March, when the epidemic situation improves and the omicron is overrun," Hotel Avion owner Stanislav Berousek told local media.

Tennis Czech star advances to fourth round of Australian Open

Czech tennis star Barbora Krejčíková has advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open after defeating Latvia's Jeļena Ostapenko on Friday. Krejčíková, who won both singles and doubles titles at last year's French Open, will face Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the round of sixteen on Sunday. Azarenka, former WTA world #1, defeated Krejčíková at their last match in Ostrava in 2020.

"I'm excited to play with her here. It will be a challenge, a battle, and I will find out how I am doing," Krejčíková said. She is the lone Czech competitor remaining in the Australian Open after Marie Bouzková, Markéta Vondroušová, Veronika Kudermetova, Tereza Martincová, and Kateřina Siniaková were eliminated earlier in the tournament.

MONEY Czechs own twice as much gold as National Bank

According to a report published by Zlato.cz, the Czech population at large owns about twice as much gold as the Czech National Bank has in storage. Going by data provided by the portal, the Czech National Banks stores 10.6 tons of gold, while Czech households have an estimated 19.35 tons of gold investments in total.

"In richer countries, such a disparity is quite common," says David Marášek of Zlato a.s., one of the leading Czech sellers of gold. "For example, according to data from 2021, German households own over 9000 tons of gold (the Bundesbank has 3362 tons), in Italy it owns 6418 tonnes of gold (its central bank has 2452 tons) and in France it is 4714 tonnes of gold, while its central bank has 2436 tons."

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