Weekend headlines: Record number of Czech shops join spring food drive

Plus: Four Czechs remain in war-torn Sudan, 132 Czechs have received permission to fight in Ukraine, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.04.2023 11:30:00 (updated on 23.04.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Charity Record number of Czech stores join spring Food Drive

A record number of Czech supermarkets participated in this weekend's Food Drive (Sbírka potravin), Tomáš Prouza, president of the Czech Trade and Tourism Association, tells journalists. A total of 1,540 stores throughout the country participated in the drive, an increase of hundreds over 2022. Last year, food donated through the driver went to a total of 300,000 people, a thirty percent increase over the previous year.

The Food Drive is held twice per year, during the spring and fall. If you weren't able to participate in the food drive in person this weekend but would like to contribute, you can still do so through the country's major e-shops over the next few weeks. Details can be found on the Food Drive website.

International Four Czechs remain in war-torn Sudan

As conflict escalates in Sudan, the United States and France have both evacuated diplomats and their families from Khartoum, and other countries are preparing to follow suit. According to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, authorities are now working to get four Czechs still in the country into evacuation convoys.

The conflict in Sudan is the result of a power struggle between the state-backed military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces group. Since last Saturday, fighting in Sudan has resulted in more than 400 deaths and 3,500 injuries. Despite a ceasefire that was supposed to last over the weekend, fighting had resumed again on Saturday morning.

War 132 Czechs have received permission to fight in Ukraine

A total of 132 Czech citizens have received permission to fight in Ukraine over the past 14 months, reports iRozhlas.cz. All of the requests were approved by former Czech President Miloš Zeman; according to the server, current Czech President Petr Pavel has not received any requests under his presidency over the past two months.

Applications to join the fight in Ukraine are officially collected by the Czech Ministry of Defence, which consults with both the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before submitting them to the Czech president for approval. According to Jiří Táborský, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, a total of more than 500 applications have been considered.

Memorial Czechs bid farewell to late dissident Dana Němcová

Politicians, friends, and members of the public said goodbye to to late dissident Dana Němcová, who passed away at the age of 89 on April 11, at Prague's St. Ignatius Church on Karlovo náměstí on Saturday afternoon. Among others, the funeral service was attended by Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil, filmmaker Olga Sommerová, and writer Jáchym Topol.

Němcová was one of the first signatories and a spokesperson for the Charter 77 human rights movement. She later co-founded the the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted, an organisation that assisted victims of communism. Czech President Petr Pavel and his wife Eva sent a wreath hat was placed by Němcová's coffin.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Sports Jaromír Jágr confirms return for 2023-24 hockey season

Ageless Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr confirmed to reporters on Friday evening that he plans to return for the 2023-24 hockey season with the Kladno Knights. Jágr and the Knights, which he co-owns, finished the 2022-23 season on Friday by sweeping the Zlín Rams 4-0 in relegation playoffs to retain their standing in the Czech Extraliga, the country's top ice hockey league.

"I still enjoy hockey, although it's frustrating when I don't perform to the level I have been used to," the 51-year-old Jágr told reporters after Friday's game. "The advantage is that as an owner I'm always inside the club, so I know what's going on [..] At my age, you need regeneration, extra training. It takes much more time than I am able to give it."

Transport Prague doesn't plan to increase public transport prices

Prague city officials are not planning to increase prices for its public transport tickets and passes, according to Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib, speaking to Czech News Agency. Instead, the city wants to increase the use of electronic forms of tickets, which save money over physical tickets and passes.

Prague last rose its public transport prices in 2021, though its yearly passes remained unchanged at CZK 3,650. "We're not going to raise fares and I haven't noticed any intention in this regard from our coalition partners," Hřib told Czech News Agency. "We don't have it in the coalition agreement and I didn't include it in the [prepared] program statement."


Crime Slovak police detain Czechs transporting illegally-hunted bear

Slovak police announced on social media that they have detained three Czechs caught transporting an illegally-hunted brown bear. The police added that they have initiated criminal prosecution against the Czechs, who face up to five years in prison if convicted of violating the country's laws on wildlife preservation.

The brown bear is a protected species in Slovakia, though there has long been debate between hunters and conservationists as to whether the species is overpopulated in some regions. Clashes between bears and humans in Slovakia are not uncommon, and the country reported the first human death following a bear attack in its modern history in 2021.

Politics Czech Republic, Latvia share stances on Ukraine

The Czech Republic and Latvia share their stances on support for Ukraine, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský reiterated after meeting with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics in Riga on Friday. Both ministers added that Russia must be held accountable for its war crimes.

"Unfortunately, Russia has not changed its mentality, it still behaves like an empire," said Lipavský said, who also called for energy independence from Russia. The ministers also agreed on support for the integration of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as well as the Western Balkan countries into the European Union, and on the importance of the presence of allied troops in NATO's eastern borders.

Environment Czech students protest mining operation in Bílina

More than 100 people gathered in Prague on Friday to protest the recent extension of the operation of the Bílina lignite mine in Teplice through 2035. The demonstration was organized by the student organization Fridays for Future, and protesters also called on the government to release documents on the current state of groundwater at the Czech border near Poland's Turow mine.

"With the arrival of the new government, we had hoped that the climate crisis would not only be talked about, but that the government would take steps to address it," the organizers said through a statement. "However, right at the beginning of its term, we saw the signing of a nontransparent agreement on the Turow mine, where mining is now planned until 2044. Now we hear silence as the mining authority has decided to extend the mining permit for the Bílina mine until 2035."

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