Czech weekend news roundup: December 18-19, 2021

Hurricane-level winds reported at Sněžka mountain, president's spokesperson reportedly involved in drunken incident, and more headlines for this weekend. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.12.2021 11:53:00 (updated on 19.12.2021) Reading time: 7 minutes

11:19 Hurricane-level winds reported at Sněžka mountain

Sněžka, the tallest mountain in the Czech Republic, was hit by hurricane-speed winds on Sunday morning. The gusts reached a record-high speed of 134.3 kilometers per hour, according to officials on the Polish side of Krkonoše National Park, who warned skiers to be careful due to the unusual weather conditions. on Facebook.

The 134-kilometer per hour wind speed correlates to a category 1 (lowest level) hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which measures a category 1 hurricane at 119-154 kilometers per hour. Due to the high winds, the cable car from Pec pod Sněžkou to Sněžka was halted in both directions this morning.

Tech adds cheap fuel price search function to maps

Popular Czech map service has launched a new feature that is bound to appeal to local drivers: a fuel-search function that highlights where one can find the cheapest gasoline in a selected area nearby. When searching for the closest gas station on the app or website, users will now see nearby locations (within a couple dozen kilometers) sorted from cheapest to most expensive.

The new feature relies on station operators to update their latest prices, so may not always be entirely accurate. A local alternative to Google Maps or Apple Maps, continues to be one of the most popular map services on the Czech market, and continues to update with features that cater to its user base such as an outline of hiking trails throughout the Czech Republic.

Sports Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká wins 20th world cup event

Snowboarder Ester Ledecká won her 20th World Cup slalom event in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy yesterday, winning at the location for the fifth time in her career. "It was a great race, a great evening," Ledecká told reporters after the race. "The organizers prepared a great hill again and it was a pleasure to ride here. I rode quite solidly all day and I'm happy for my team, because they did an excellent job, and that's why I'm standing here."

In addition to her 20 World Cup wins in snowboarding, Ledecká has also two in skiing. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Ledecká won gold medals in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom and the alpine skiing super-G, becoming the first person to win skiing and snowboarding gold medals at the Winter Olympics.

20:52 New environment minister to focus on fighting climate change

New Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková wants to focus on matters relating to climate change and the protection of drinking water, she told journalists on Saturday after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Petr Fiala. She also wants to pay attention to the introduction of renewable sources of energy and the limitation of coal, the European Green Deal, and the recent accident on the Bečva River.

Hubáčková said she wanted to establish closer cooperation with the agriculture, industry, and trade and transport ministries. She said she considered the solution to the climate question and making necessary changes in the spheres of energy, agriculture, and industry the most important affairs for the Czech Ministry of the Environment.

19:43 Czech antivaxxers stage large demonstration in Brno

About 800 people participated in a demonstration against mandatory vaccination and the Czech government's measures against the spread of coronavirus in the center of Brno on Saturday. The meeting was followed by a march through Brno, organized by Otevřeme Česko - Chcípl PES.

There were no reported incidents during the one-hour demonstration and the subsequent march. "Along with the organizers, we chose the right place for the demonstration. The agreed-on route was observed," said Petr Stika, secretary for the Brno-stred district.

18:51 Czech transport minister vows to build 200 kilometers of highways

New Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka wants to build up to 200 kilometers of new highways over the next four years, he told journalists after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Petr Fiala on Saturday.

He cited as his priorities the completion of the Prague Ring Road and the D1 and D35 motorways. Kupka said that during his term he also wants to prepare the construction of the first sections of high-speed railway tracks.

17:20 Slovak president Čaputová remembers Václav Havel

Václav Havel's life story has shown that ideals should be part of politics, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová writes on Facebook today on the tenth anniversary of Havel's death. The last Czechoslovak and first Czech president is "inseparably linked with the best moments of our recent history," Čaputová says.

"The freedom that was born in those November days was preceded by years of struggle for human dignity, mercilessly suppressed by the totalitarian regime," she adds. "Václav Havel took part in all the three topics of the past five decades: as a dissident and political prisoner, as a major and unforgettable face of the [Velvet Revolution], and as the first post-Communist president who helped former Soviet satellites be integrated into the Western democratic world."

16:37 Czech President's spokesperson apologizes for drunken incident

Czech President Miloš Zeman's Jiří Ovčáček has apologized for the incident during which he was observed in a drunk and aggressive state and had to be taken to the hospital. In an interview with CNN Prima, Ovčáček said that that he was under a lot of pressure over the past months, but his conduct was an exceptional failure he regrets.

"The president was in the hospital, and there were various dramatic circumstances when the government was formed. It was a difficult time that I never before experienced in my life before,“ Ovčáček said. "I want to apologize to all, to the emergency staff, the police, and the cab driver, for what happened. It was an exceptional failure which I immensely regret.“

13:48 Strong wind warning issued for areas in Bohemia and Moravia

A strong wind warning has been issued by the  Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) for areas of the central Czech Republic surrounding the border between Bohemia and Moravia. The warning is in effect from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

The warning covers parts of the South Bohemian, South Moravian, Olomouc, and Pardubice areas of the Czech Republic. The CHMI warns of strong winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour in these areas, which could cause minor damage to property or branches to break off trees.

CULTURE Peace Light of Bethlehem distributed through Prague by tram

In cooperation with boy and girl scouts of the Czech Republic and Prague's public transportation authority DPP, the Peace Light of Bethlehem is being distributed around Prague today via tram. The light is being carried on historic trams 412 and 351, which run throughout the city, and will be available for around fifteen minutes at each stop. Prague residents can collect the light with their own lantern, and those without can receive a free candle in a protective cup to carry the light home. More info on tram stops and times can be found here.

Since 1987, the Peace Light has been lit at the site where Jesus was said to be born in Bethlehem and transported to Austria during the advent period ahead of Christmas. From there, it has been collected by scout organizations across Europe for distribution within their countries. Czech Scouts have been participating in the project since 1989.

Christmas Dozens of historical nativity scenes go on display at Czech museum

More than 50 nativity scenes of different sizes, styles, age, and made from different materials are now on display at the Pojizerská Museum and Gallery in Semily. The exhibition includes nativity scenes from museums in Dvůr Králové, Jičín, Mnichov Hradiště and Jilemnice, and elsewhere around the Czech Republic. Among the different scenes, one of the most unusual is made of 200-year-old bread dough.

 "From the collections of these institutions, you can now see in Semily, for example, a large theater curtain with the motif of a Baroque nativity scene by Matyáš Bernard Braun of Kuks, Ladislav Cerman's mechanical nativity scene with moving figures, or a large box nativity scene made of hand-painted figures from the workshop of Mnichovo Hradiště painter Václav Ninger from the first half of the 19th century," museum director Miroslav Šnaiberk told local journalists. The exhibition will run through the first half of January.

9:53 President's spokesperson reportedly involved in drunken incident

Jiří Ovčáček, official spokesperson for Czech President Miloš Zeman, was reportedly involved in an alcohol-fueled incident in Prague on Friday night, a "well-informed" source has told local news server According to the source, a drunk and aggressive Ovčáček required police assistance to be taken to the hospital at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Statements from police confirm such an incident took place, but do not refer to Ovčáček by name.

According to police, officers responded to a call concerning a man who refused to leave a taxi on Dělnická street in Prague 7. A breathalyzer test reportedly measured his blood alcohol level at about .2%, and he was transferred by emergency services to Prague's Central Military Hospital, where he was treated for alcohol intoxication and a minor head injury. Ovčáček has yet to respond to calls for comment.

Weather Ice warning issued for Krkonoše Mountains

A warning of icy terrain has been issued for the Krkonoše Mountains, a popular skiing destination in the Czech Republic. The warning, which applies to the entire mountain range, was issued on Friday, and also carries the first and mildest level of avalanche danger according to a five-level international scale. The warning has also been issued on the Polish side mountains.

According to the mountain service, clear skies were reported at the Luční bouda area at an altitude of 1415 meters in the morning. The temperature was reported at minus seven degrees Celsius, with almost 30 centimeters of frozen snow on the ground. The cable car to Sněžka, which can operate at a wind speed of 60 kilometers per hour, was still in operation as of this morning.

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