The Daily Dozen: 12 things to know about Czechia today

News, tips, and top stories for Prague and the Czech Republic on Oct. 10, 2022. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.10.2022 17:35:00 (updated on 10.10.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

1 Poland allows Turów to continue mining operations

The Turów lignite mine has received a new positive environmental impact assessment from local authorities that allows mining to continue until 2044, iDnes reports. The environmental organization Greenpeace says it will go to court to have the decision reversed.

The mine is situated close to the Czech-Polish border, and only 15 kilometers away from Liberec in northern Bohemia. In addition to noise and increased dust, Czech residents fear the mine will lead to the loss of groundwater and soil subsidence.

Turów coal mine, Poland / photo iStock @RobsonPL
Turów coal mine, Poland / photo iStock @RobsonPL

2 Unemployment numbers could spell economic woes for Czechia

A rise in unemployment numbers could signal the beginning of an economic downturn for Czechia, analysts say. Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose slightly in September to 3.5 percent, up from 3.4 percent in August. Experts say this is the first time since 2013 when the unemployment figures for September were higher than for August.

3 Czechia in the grip of security crisis, intelligence head says

Russia is trying to influence Czech society through three types of disinformation, Denik N reports, citing Michal Koudelka, the head of the Czech Security Information Service. One narrative is that anti-Russian sanctions are pointless because they impact Europe more than Russia; another is that the Czech government helps Ukraine more than its own country; last but not least, that it is necessary to reach an agreement with Russia to avoid energy shortages in the winter.

According to the head of the Military Police Otakar Foltýn, the current security situation is the worst the country has ever been in. "Russia is a purely criminal state", Foltýn said according to Denik N.

4 One in five Czechs experience mental health issues

Celebrated every year on Oct. 10 for more than seven decades, World Mental Health Day is an occasion to examine global trends in mental health. The WHO announced that this year's celebration will focus on making mental well-being a global priority. How do Czechs fare in terms of mental health?

The WHO estimated that every one in eight people worldwide experiences mental health issues. In the Czech Republic, the number is one in five. Several recent events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, as well as the energy crisis likely contributed to making the situation worse. Read more in our full article here.

5 Tenth annual Havel prize awarded to Russan dissident

Imprisoned Russian opposition politician and columnist Vladimir Kara-Murza won the Václav Havel Prize for 2022. The prize is awarded by the Council of Europe and the Václav Havel Library. The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is an annual €60,000 award that honors "outstanding" civil society action in defense of human rights, in Europe and beyond.

Individuals, non-governmental organizations, and institutions working to defend human rights anywhere in the world may be nominated. This is the tenth year of the prize, and Kara-Murza's wife accepted on his behalf.

6 Czech-bound liquid natural gas arrives in Netherlands

A second ship with U.S. liquefied gas (LNG) destined for the Czech Republic arrived at the Dutch seaport of Eemshaven. The ship brought a cargo of 170,000 cubic meters of LNG (corresponding to 100 million cubic meters in the gaseous state), CEZ announced in a press release cited by iDnes.

The Eemshaven facility will deliver up to eight billion cubic meters of gas per year to the Czech Republic, a volume equal to approximately one-third of the Czech annual consumption.

7 Febiofest won't take place in 2023

The company that had been responsible for holding the Prague International Film Festival - Febiofest, the largest film festival in the Czech Republic, will no longer be in charge of organizing it. This resulted in the cancellation of its 30th-anniversary edition, planned for April of next year.

Fero Fenič, the founder of the film festival who established it in 1993, accuses the previous management of poor financial handling and causing insolvency. He added that he aimed to “cut himself off" from the past ownership, led by Kamil Spáčil.

8 Czech leaders speak out against Russian strikes in Ukraine

Czech politicians and institutions have been condemning the ongoing Russian attacks on cities and civilians in Ukraine. Several blasts erupted the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the cities of Lviv, Ternopil and Dnipro today, after Russia accused Ukraine of damaging a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea, Reuters reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic tweeted "today's massive rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities are another blatant manifestation of Russian cynicism and barbarism", and added "targeting civilians is cowardly." Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský also spoke out against Russia on Twitter, saying that Ukraine will be victorious in the conflict.

9 Unregulated sale of Kratom connected to increase in teenage addicts

Czech authorities are mulling possible restrictions on Kratom, amid a growth in the number of teenagers and young people addicted to the substance, ČTK reports. The drug, which can be stimulating in smaller doses, and depressant in larger ones, can cause addiction. Combined with alcohol or other drugs, it can lead to death through overdose. Its sale is currently unregulated.

10 Asian ladybugs invade the Czech Republic

Asian ladybeetles have invaded the Czech Republic, iDnes reports. The insects are not native to the country, but an invasive species of eastern ladybug (Harmonia axyridis), which originates in China and the surrounding region. The ladybugs are red and orange like the native ones, but with white spots near the head. They are currently trying to find suitable places for winter hibernation, which in some cases means human dwellings. The best way to tackle the invasion is to keep windows closed, experts say.

An Asian ladybeetle. Image via Wikimedia Commons/spacebirdy / CC-BY-SA-3.0.
An Asian ladybeetle. Image via Wikimedia Commons/spacebirdy / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

11 ANO support falls in polls

Opinion polls for the September elections compiled by the Kantar CZ agency show a decline in popular support for ANO, Česká televize reports. Despite remaining the most popular party, with 29.5 percent of the vote share, support declined by 1 percentage point compared to August. In the hypothetical scenario that large coalitions would compete in the elections at the time of data collection, the ANO movement would come in first, with 31.5 percent, a decline from 32 percent in August. The Together (SPOLU) coalition ended up dominating ANO in the recent Czech Senate elections, winning 20 of the 27 contested seats.

12 More Czechs calling crisis lines to ask about energy prices, subsidies

Information as well as crisis lines of energy companies are experiencing a large number of calls from people wanting to talk about energy price increases, Česká televize reports. Many customers are having a hard time figuring out their eligibility for government aid. The situation is least clear for seniors, who oftentimes cannot access the internet for the most current information.

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