Weekend headlines: Czech Republic and Slovakia mark 30 years since historic split

Plus: Czech team tops Germany in United Cup, Czech President and PM honor the late Pope Benedict XVI, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 31.12.2022 11:49:00 (updated on 01.01.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

History Czech Republic and Slovakia mark 30 years since historic split

Today marks 30 years since the Czechoslovakia was dissolved on January 1, 1993. The peaceful split, which was conducted without a public referendum, was and remains controversial among citizens of both countries. Three decades later, only 47 percent of Czechs and 62 percent of Slovaks feel that the dissolution was the right move, according to a recent poll.

"While nothing actually ended for the Czechs, it was a new beginning for the Slovaks," historian Michal Stehlík tells iRozhlas.cz, noting that the Czech Republic retained the feeling of the former Czechoslovakia. "Slovaks celebrate January 1 as a national holiday, the creation of their state. Whereas for us it is not such a holiday, we still have the 28th of October [...] Nothing has really changed for us. We also took that flag, even though we promised not to keep it."

Sports Czech tennis stars top Germany, but won't advance in United Cup

The Czech Republic topped Germany over the weekend in this year's inaugural United Cup, which pits national teams of tennis players against each other in women's and men's singles and doubles matches. However, as the Czech Republic narrowly defeated Germany by a score of three matches to two, they will not be able to win their group and advance in this year's tournament.

The Czech team lost to the United States 4-1 heading into the weekend, meaning they will not be able to win Group C regardless of the outcome of Germany's upcoming matches against the United States. On Sunday morning, Petra Kvitová defeated Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-2, but Dalibor Svrčina fell to Oscar Otte 6-7, 2-6, and Jiří Leheček and Maria Bouzková lost their mixed doubles match against Alexander Zverev and Siegemund 4-6, 6-7.

Health Czechia saw more Covid cases in 2022, but fewer deaths

The Czech Republic reported about 15 percent more Covid cases in 2022 compared to 2021, but about 25 percent fewer Covid-related deaths, according to year-end data published by the Czech Health Ministry. More than two million people tested positive for Covid in the Czech Republic during 2022, and 5,745 of them died.

A total of three million doses of vaccination were administered during 2022, roughly 20 percent of the number of vaccine doses administered during 2021. Covid rates in the country peaked in February of last year, when more than 438,000 people, or around four percent of the country's total population, were infected at the same time.

Passing Czech President, PM honor Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI was "one of the leading intellectual figures of our time," Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala noted yesterday upon learning of his death. "I highly respected Pope Benedict XVI. I like his theological and philosophical works," Fiala wrote on social media, adding that he appreciated that he had the opportunity to meet the former pope in person.

In a letter of condolence sent to Pope Francis, Czech President Miloš Zeman said that Benedict XVI was a significant man whom people remembered thanks to his extraordinary education, intellect, and humanistic approach. Zeman added that he was grieved to hear of Benedict's death, and that his visit to the Czech Republic in 2009 was one of the big moments in the modern history of the country.

Foreign Czech Republic leaves Russian nuclear research institute

The Czech Republic has officially left the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, located outside Moscow, as of January 1. The Czech Education Ministry had proposed that the country leave the Institute earlier last year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia power plant, and related sanctions imposed by the international community.

The Czech Republic paid an annual contribution of $5.6 million (about 125 million crowns) to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. The Education Ministry previously said that membership in the Institute had been beneficial for the Czech Republic, but leaving it would not significantly limit Czech research.

December 31, 2022

Weather Czechia welcomes 2023 with record-high temperatures

The Czech Republic will bid goodbye to 2022 and welcome the new year with unseasonably high temperatures, according to the latest data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Prague and other cities around the country are forecast to see highs of up to 16 degrees Celsius today and up to 17 degrees Celsius on New Year's Day tomorrow.

Prague already set a record high for New Year's Eve as of 10:00 a.m. this morning with 15.1 degrees Celsius recorded at the city center Karlov measuring station. The previous high for December 31 in the station's 101-year history was 14.6 degrees in 1925. The high temperatures are expected to quickly dip throughout the next week, with rain and potentially snow in the forecast by next weekend.

Travel Plane makes emergency landing in Prague to deliver baby boy

A flight from Birmingham to Bucharest made an emergency landing in Prague on Friday night when one of its passengers unexpectedly went into labor. After giving birth on the plane, the mother and her baby boy were received by paramedics at Prague's Václav Havel Airport and transported to Motol Hospital.

"A birth took on a plane bound for Bucharest, which then landed safely here. I'm glad that both the mother and her baby are fine, and I wish them good health," Prague Airport CEO Jiří Pos said on Twitter. "It doesn't often happen that [our colleagues from Airport Security] assist in delivering a baby, but when the time comes, we are ready," tweeted Czech Police.

Politics Czech Republic hands over EU Presidency to Sweden

The Czech Republic will pass its Presidency of the European Union over to Sweden at midnight tonight. Sweden intends to maintain a unified approach to the war in Ukraine, put further pressure on Russia, and push for the adoption of additional climate standards. Swedish ambassador to the EU Lars Danielsson praised the Czech Republic's handling of the presidency in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine.

"We congratulate our Czech colleagues on an active and committed presidency, thanks to which the EU was united and faced shared challenges together," Danielsson told Czech News Agency. "This was most evident in the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis."

Food Czech extreme eater sets new record for downing bull testicles

Czech competitive eater Jaroslav Němec set a new record yesterday for downing one kilogram of bull testicles in under three minutes, coming in at a time of two minutes and 58 seconds. The meal was prepared with bacon and wine at Motorest Zlatá studna in Sebranice, north of Brno.

Němec has been eating competitively for 18 years, and gained fame for becoming the first person to eat a meal consisting of three of the world's worst-smelling dishes: durian fruit, hakarl (Icelandic fermented shark), and surstromming (Swedish fermented fish). "I'm probably the only person to eat a whole tin of the surstromming, including the bones and pickle. It took me one minute and 24 seconds," he noted, added that it was his most difficult achievement.

Media Czech Television ends broadcasting on ČT3 channel

Czech Television will stop broadcasting on its ČT3 channel as of tomorrow, citing the need to cut costs due to the decreasing real value of its licensing fee in the wake of surging inflation. Public broadcasters Czech Television and Czech Radio are funded through a license fee paid by Czech households with a TV or radio.

Czech Television began broadcasting on its ČT3 channel in March of 2020 in response for the need for additional coverage due to the coronavirus pandemic, and an increasing number of people staying home. Its programming was largely aimed at older demographics, with an estimated seven million people tuning in over the past two years.

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