Morning headlines: Czech tourist killed in glacier collapse in Italian Alps amid heatwave

Plus: Czech parliament to ratify NATO enlargement in early autumn and firefighters spend nearly 40 hours extinguishing warehouse blaze.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 30.06.2022 17:23:00 (updated on 04.07.2022) Reading time: 12 minutes

July 4, 2022

tragedy Czech tourist killed in glacier collapse in Italian Alps

At least one of the victims of the glacier collapse in the Italian Alps on Sunday is a Czech, daily Il Messaggero reported. There are six victims, but some 16 hikers are still missing. Out of the four victims identified so far, three are Italians. According to Il Messaggero, the missing persons include Italians, Germans, Romanians, and Czechs.

Eight people were injured when part of a glacier broke loose on the Marmolada mountain, including two foreigners whose nationality the Italian media have not specified. An eyewitness described the disaster in an interview with the TFR RAI Trentino station as a black wave that buried everything.

Talking to the ANSA press agency, one of the intervening rescuers called the event unprecedented at Marmolada. He said it was clearly a meteorological phenomenon that not even the best mountain guides can forecast. A record-high temperature of 10 degrees Celsius was registered atop Marmolada, which at 3,343 meters is the highest summit of the Dolomites, on Saturday. The extreme heat is something really extraordinary, another mountain rescuer has told the Italian RAI broadcaster.

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weather Tropical heat to be followed by rain, temperatures to drop gradually

Temperatures will gradually drop this week. Initially, they rise to a tropical 30 degrees Celsius, but in the second half of the week, they will cool down significantly by 10 degrees. Temperatures will stay at around 20 degrees during the weekend. Meteorologists expect rain showers and thunderstorms. The sky will remain mostly cloudy in the first week of the summer holidays.

July 3, 2022

Politics Czech parliament to ratify NATO enlargment in early autumn

The Czech parliament will likely ratify the entry of Sweden and Finland to NATO in early autumn, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told Czech Television Sunday. Fiala's Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger expects Slovakia to do the same soon, as well. On Tuesday, Sweden and Finland will sign the accession protocols. The official invitation of Sweden and Finland to the NATO talks was one of the main outcomes of the NATO summit in Madrid held this week.

This was made possible by the two Nordic countries' deal with Turkey which had reservations about their joining the alliance. After the accession protocols are signed, the documents are yet to be ratified by all 30 allied parliaments. The two Nordic countries asked for entry under the impression of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in May.

PRAGUE Firefighters spent nearly 40 hours extinguishing warehouse blaze

After nearly 40 hours, firefighters completely extinguished a fire in Zápy near Prague. More than 100 firefighters and approximately 30 vehicles worked to put out the fire, with the highest level of fire alarm in effect for several hours. The building which was completely demolished was used by AD Partner as a warehouse for car parts and also contained oil and gas cylinders. According to the owner's preliminary estimates, the damage will be around CZK 100 million. Investigators will begin investigating the cause of the fire today. No one was injured, however, people were evacuated from nearby homes for several hours. 

EU presidency Frances passes relay baton to Czechia at race named for Zátopek

France passed the relay baton symbolically to the Czech Republic for its starting EU presidency at an athletic race bearing the name of legendary Czech athlete Emil Zátopek, a four-time Olympic long-distance winner, with 400 participants yesterday.

The 5-kilometer race took place at the Stade des Trois Tilleuls (Three Linden Stadium) where Zátopek set a new world record in the 10-kilometer run in 1954. "While you are in the finish, we are just past the starting shot," Czech EU ambassador Edita Hrdá told her French counterpart from whom she had received the relay baton.

Sports Bouzková advances to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon

Czech tennis player Marie Bouzková has advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, after defeating French player Caroline Garcia Sunday in sets 7:5, 6:2. The 23-year-old Czech ended the 55th-seeded Garcia's eight-game winning streak. On Tuesday, Bouzková will play the winner of a match between Ons Džabúrová (TUN) and Elise Mertensová (BEL) for the semi-finals.

July 2, 2022

URKAINE American actor Schreiber speaks about Urkaine initiative

American actor, director, and screenwriter Liev Schreiber presented his BlueCheck Ukraine initiative at the Karlovy Vary Film festival today, which aims to help the war-torn country by identifying, vetting, and funding grassroots organizations providing assistance to Ukrainians. 

As the first of the announced stars of the film festival, Schreiber told journalists that the Czech Republic, where he filmed "Everything is Illuminated" almost 20 years ago, is to some extent responsible for his involvement in Ukraine. In the story, the main character sets out in search of traces of his Jewish ancestors in Ukraine. "I'm close to it, I'm an American who also has Ukrainian ancestry," Schreiber said. He added that his grandfather came from Ukraine.

Greater fundraising efforts from influential and wealthy sources are required to assist the people of Ukraine, according to Schreiber, who launched the charitable organization in March. The actor is also of Polish heritage.

SPORTS Krejčíková eliminated in the third round of Wimbledon

Tennis player Barbora Krejčíková did not make it to the third round of Wimbledon after a promising match with Australian Ajla Tomljanović in which she lost 6:2, 4:6, and 3:6 to bid farewell to the tournament. The thirteenth-seeded Czech did not defend last year's 16 ranking which is her best outing on the grass courts of the All England Club. Krejčíková's competitor will challenge world no. 1 Iga Šwiateková from Poland or Alizé Cornetová from France in the next round.

WEATHER After Friday's storms, 1,500 households remain without power

After Friday's strong storms, around 700 households in South Moravia and South Bohemia were left without electricity before noon today. Another 800 customers are still without power in the Hradec Králové region. In South Moravia, storms caused the greatest damage in the belt between Valtice in the Břeclav region and Bzenec in the Hodonín region.

PRAGUE Jan Graubner installed as archbishop

 Jan Graubner sat on a chair symbolizing the archbishop's see and became the new Prague archbishop after a papal bull was read during a mass in Saint Vitus Cathedral Saturday. Graubner has taken up the office after Cardinal Dominik Duka. Pope Francis appointed Graubner in May. A liturgical procession preceded the mass from the Archbishopric Palace, and the Czech Republic's biggest bell was rung. Duka headed the Prague archdiocese for 12 years.

CLIMATE Activists disrupt opening concert for the Czech Presidency of the EU council

Two men jumped onto the stage of the opening concert for the Czech Presidency of the EU council Friday evening. The men held one which read "Stop the fossil madness and the solar tunnel." The police have yet to bring charges.

The Czech Republic started its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union with a joint meeting of the government and the European Commission in Litomyšl on Friday. At the end of the meeting, a concert was held, and the Czech Philharmonic played the works of Bedřich Smetana, Josef Suk, and Antonín Dvořák.

Travel Czech police to help tourists in Croatia, Bulgaria

Czech police officers will once again help Czech tourists in Croatia and Bulgaria in selected tourist destinations this summer. A police spokesman said the assisting officers have been chosen for their language proficiency, a knowledge of the law and procedures of the country. The police have released contacts for the Czech officers with staying in individual recreation resorts.

CULTURE Brussels exhibition to present transformation of Czech design

An exhibition highlighting the history, present days, and visions of Czech design will be installed in the Design Museum and the Prague House in Brussels from September until the end of the year within the Czech EU presidency that started today. Its goal is to show that Czech design means not only Czech cubism, glass items, and Skoda cars.

Apart from the exhibits, it will acquaint the visitors with the stories of 14 selected firms and projects, both those 100 years old and those brand new, with the emphasis on the period of the past 30 years and the transformation of society and the design production. After its Brussels premiere, the exhibition will open in the Moravian Gallery in Brno.

July 1, 2022

european commission President of EC Leyen arrived in Litomyšl for opening of Czech EU presidency

The arrival of the Czech government and representatives of the European Commission was accompanied by roaring applause as several dozen people gathered at the castle. Some of them applauded when the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen arrived, but some the crowd also showed its disapproval by whistling when individual members of the government arrived.

air travel Check-in system partially failed at Prague airport due to global problem

The check-in system was partially down at the Prague airport on Friday morning. Check-in of passengers is now resumed, but it is slower and longer. This can also cause queues, said a Prague Airport spokeswoman. According to the airport, this is a global problem, it is not yet clear how long it may last.

diplomacy Zelensky congratulates PM Fiala on start of Czech EU presidency

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today wished Czech PM Petr Fiala success in carrying out the ambitious priorities of the Czech presidency of the EU, the crucial of which is the support for Ukraine.

POLITICS Czech Republic assumes EU presidency

The Czech Republic has assumed its second six-month presidency of the European Union (EU) Council, taking on the presidency from France. The presidency will open with a meeting of the government of Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) and the European Commission (EC) in Litomyšl east Bohemia. The Czech EU presidency will be considerably influenced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the related economic and energy crisis. The main political priorities of the presidency are tackling the refugee crisis and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, energy security, strengthening defense capabilities and cyber security as well as strategic resilience of the European Union economy and of democratic institutions.

Prague European summit planned for Czech capital

The informal EU summit will be held on October 6-7 in Prague, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President of the European Council Charles Michel announced after their talks in the Czech capital today, on the eve of the start of the Czech presidency of the EU. Michel said the summit will focus on closer cooperation of the EU with non-member countries. For the second half of the year, the European Council has planned two summits, for October 20-21 and December 15-16.

ECONOMY Living wage increases from today

From July 1, the living wage is increasing from CZK 4,250 to 4,620 a jump of 8.8 percent. The minimum amounts for adults and children in the household, which are lower, are adjusted in the same way. The subsistence minimum rises from CZK 2,740 to 2,980. Government regulation comes into effect today. Due to the increase in living costs, the government adjusted the minimum amount for living for the second time this year, increasing it for the first time since April.

CRIME Prague police seek man who breaks into homes, watches people sleep

Prague police officers are looking for a man who broke into several family homes, watching residents sleep, and stealing money and small items. The police are searching for the man on suspicion of robbery and trespassing, for which the suspect faces up to three years in prison, said police spokesman Jan Rybanský in a press release on Thursday. The man, who is between 55 and 60 years old, broke into several homes at night and in the early hours of the morning, while their inhabitants were sleeping.

June 30, 2022

ENVIRONMENT Global food makers in Czechia want to recycle soft plastics

Today a new initiative of several global food giants was created in the Czech Republic that aims to support the recycling of soft packaging plastics so that less of the kind of packaging widely used to package products with a low packing weight ends up in incinerators. Those companies, Mondelēz International (Milka, Opavia, Oreo), Nestlé (Lentilky, Orion, Granko, Nespresso), and Unilever (Cif, Algida, Knorr), want to cooperate with public and private sectors to help the country transition to effective recycling of soft packaging plastics.

The news is particularly timely today as the European directive banning single-use plastics has been in effect since July last year. On the same date this year, the transition period during which businesses are permitted to offer these goods from their older stocks will end. The Czech adaptation of the law on single-use plastics still needs approval by deputies in the third reading, discussion in the Senate, and the signature of the president; the adaptation of the law is expected to take place in a matter of weeks.

POLL Support for NATO reaches new high

Czechs are most satisfied with NATO membership since joining in 1999, according to a CVVM poll. Currently, 73 percent of people are in favor of membership, beating the previous high of 65 percent in January 2009. Some 79 percent of people said NATO is a necessary organization, while 15 percent disagreed. The role of NATO is generally perceived more positively by younger people and also by middle-aged respondents, while people over the age of 65 are less likely to see it that way.

Film industry Czech audiovisual production faces slump after record year

The Czech film and TV industry had a record high turnover of CZK 11.87 billion in 2021, but may drop to the level of 2010 when the turnover was CZK 3.58 billion because the film incentives stopped, the Audiovisual Producers’ Association (APA) has said in its annual report. APA head Vratislav Šlajer said other European countries are increasing their incentives and subsidies. The report said the suspension of incentives will cause a loss of foreign projects in the second half of this year and especially in 2023 and 2024. Filmmakers are instead going to Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic states.

Military Army has new chief of general staff

Incoming Chief of General Staff Karel Řehka symbolically took over from his predecessor Aleš Opata at Prague's Vítkov Hill. Řehka, 47, will officially begin his duties on Friday. He was appointed to the rank of major general by President Miloš Zeman last week. He had been director of the National Office for Cyber and Information Security (NÚKIB). Previously, he led the Special Forces in Prostějov. Outgoing Chief of General Staff Opata thanked the army for its work on Twitter.

Energy EC is checking public support for new Dukovany unit

The European Commission started investigating whether the planned public support for the extension of the Czech Dukovany nuclear plant is in line with European Union rules, it said in a press release. The planned support includes a low-interest state loan that is to cover the costs of the construction, estimated at EUR 7.5 billion. ČEZ Group launched the tender for building a new unit of the nuclear plant in March. The construction is to begin in 2029 and its trial operation is to be launched in 2036.

Politics Taiwan delegation to visit Czechia in July

A Taiwanese delegation led by Taiwanese Parliament Chairman You Si-kun will visit the Czech Republic in mid-July in response to an invitation from the Czech Senate Chairman Miloš Vystrčil. The representatives of Taiwan are expected to meet not only the members of the Czech Parliament but also the government. The mission is likely to be criticized by mainland China, which considers Taiwan its province.

Health EU funds headed for diabetes and cardiovascular research

Over CZK 1 billion from European funds will go to research into diabetes and heart disease in the Czech Republic. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the diseases’ causes and also to develop new drugs and treatments. In the Czech Republic, over a million people suffer from diabetes and 22,000 die each year from related complications. Heart disease has long been the most common cause of death, killing 36,000 people a year.  

CULTURE Fans line up for tickets to Karlovy Vary

About 300 film fans lined up at the box office before 9:00 a.m. today to buy tickets for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Ticket sales for the first two days of the festival have started. The first people arrived already on Wednesday afternoon. This year's 56th edition of the festival will begin on Friday. After two years of the pandemic, the festival returns to its traditional format. Those waiting for tickets formed two queues as the main ticket office at the Thermal Hotel which opened today, the day before the festival began.

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