Czech weekend news roundup: Sunday, April 3, 2022

Prague trams record first pedestrian death since 2019, Czech Republic forgives 1.5 billion crowns in debts, and more headlines for this weekend. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.04.2022 12:26:00 (updated on 03.04.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

Transport Prague trams record first pedestrian death in three years

Prague's "pedestrians vs. trams" campaign had to add an unfortunate tally to the tram side yesterday after a pedestrian was killed following a collision with a tram. It was the first case of a pedestrian death due to a tram accident in Prague since the safety campaign was started in 2019.

An increasing number of accidents in recent years led Prague's public transport authority to begin the public safety campaign three years ago. The campaign includes body outlines on Prague's tram tracks and a running tally of deaths on the side of some trams, which had stood at zero since 2019. Since the campaign started, tram accidents with pedestrians greatly decreased in both 2020 and 2021, though public transport traffic was also down due to pandemic-related effects.

Weather Strong winds, low temperatures forecast for early this week

A warning for strong winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour has been issued for Monday afternoon in western areas of the Czech Republic, including Prague, by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The warning is valid from 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon through 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.


In addition, warnings for low temperatures and frost remain in effect overnight for most of the Czech Republic heading into the week. In southern and western areas of Bohemia, overnight temperatures of minus eight degrees Celsius may be reached, continuing a trend of unseasonably chilly April weather.

Money Czech Republic forgives 1.55 billion crowns in debt penalties

The Czech Republic has forgiven 1.55 billion crowns of interest and penalties on debts during its Merciful Summer project. During the one-off project, those with outstanding debts owed to state institutions could pay them and apply for interest and other penalties to be forgiven. Debts from about 15,000 people were forgiven during the three-month project.

Debts owed to town halls, hospitals, public transport authorities, and other state-owned institutions could be paid along with a single fee of 908 crowns and all late fees, interest, and other penalties would be forgiven. Some privately-owned banks and credit agencies also participated in the project. According to representatives from the Czech government, the project could be repeated later this year.

Crime Murder charges filed against 19-year-old accused of killing Prague teacher

Authorities have filed murder charges against a 19-year-old student accused of killing a teacher with a machete on Thursday afternoon, Prague Municipal Prosecutor's Office spokesman Aleš Cimbala told reporters this weekend. If found guilty, the accused killer faces up to twenty years in prison.

"Preliminary proceedings will now continue during this phase of investigation," Cimbala said, adding that the office would not release any further details about the case for the time being. The 19-year-old will be held in custody over concern that he may flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Sports Czech curling team enters world championships for first time since 2015

The Czech Republic's men's curling team lost to Canada in the first round of the 2022 World Curling Championships in Las Vegas on Saturday. Led by skip Lukáš Klíma, the Czech team narrowly lost to the tournament favorites in the opening round robin match; Canada has scored a record 36 titles in men's curling since 1959.

The Czech team will face both Germany and the United States in a pair of round robin matches today. Tournament semi-finals will be played next weekend after a qualifying round. The Czech team is participating in the World Curling Championships this year for the first time since 2015.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Sports Prague Half-Marathon returns for first time since 2019

About 11,000 runners are racing through central Prague today during the annual Prague Half Marathon, which began at 10:00 a.m. this morning for first time since 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the race was postponed due to the pandemic and related restrictions. Runners this morning face unseasonably cold weather in the Czech capital.

Kenyan runner Philemon Kiplimo, who boasts a personal-best half marathon time of 58:11, challenged the record time of 58:47 at the Prague Half Marathon set by Ethiopia's Atsedu Tsegay in 2012, but ultimately did not succeed. Fellow Kenyan Kenneth Kiprop Renju won this year's Prague Marathon with a time of 59:28, while compatriot Nesphine Jepleting won the women's race.

International Czech Foreign Minister supports Moldova's bid to join EU

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský expressed support for Moldova's bid to join the EU while visiting Chisinau with ministers from Slovakia and Austria on Friday. Lipavský, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also discussed the current refugee crisis with representatives from Moldova.

"We negotiated with our Moldovan counterpart Nicolae Popescu about humanitarian and development aid, regional security, and the Czech presidency of the Council of the EU. I expressed support for Moldova's course towards Europe," Lipavský wrote about the meeting in Moldova.

Culture Easter markets return to Prague after two-year absence

The Easter market at Prague's Old Town Square returned to operation today after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic and related restrictions. Easter markets at Old Town Square and Náměstí Republiky will operate daily from today though April 24 from about 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Along with stalls selling traditional Easter goods, a cultural program will also take place at the Old Town Square location.

According to organizers, this year's markets will be more modest than in past years, with about 50 stalls at Old Town Square representing about half of the usual pre-pandemic number. The cultural program at the Old Town Square market takes place daily, and features more than 50 singing and dancing ensembles from across the Czech Republic and abroad. Read more about this year's markets in our article here.

Music Ewa Farna, Marek Ztracený honored at annual Czech music awards

Ewa Farna and Marek Ztracený were named best singers (female and male, respectively) at yesterday's Žebřík awards, an annual poll that honors the best in Czech music based on voting by fans. The Žebřík awards celebrated thirty years this weekend and have been handed out continuously since 1992; this year's awards ceremony took place last night in Plzeň.

MIG 21 was voted best Czech band at this year's awards, while Breathe by David Stypka and Bandjeez was named best album. Bad Man, by Czech rapper Marpo, won best song and best music video.

Culture Historic plaques to return to Prague's Old Town Hall

Two plaques honoring Czechoslovak legionaries from WWI will return to the walls of Prague's Old Town Hall under a new proposal that will be discussed by Prague city councilors on Monday. The two bronze plaques were removed years ago and are currently housed in a depository operated by the National Museum; they need to be restored before being reinstalled at Old Town Hall.

A third plaque honoring the Soviet Red Army's contribution to the liberation of Prague was also removed in 2017, but will not be reinstalled at Old Town Hall. Prague city councilors decided not to return it as the plaque did not accurately denote the role of the Prague Uprising in the liberation of the city, a decision that was met with criticism by members of Russian diplomacy.

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