Weekend headlines: Catholic Church to sell additional Prague landmarks

Plus: Battle of Austerlitz reenacted in South Moravia, Czech Republic replaces UK among Germany's top trading partners, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.12.2022 12:09:00 (updated on 04.12.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

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War Ukrainian soldiers training in the Czech Republic

Ukrainian soldiers are now training in the Libavá military district under the command of the Czech army, Karel Řehka, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, has confirmed to iDNES.cz. The exact number of soldiers and when they arrived in the Czech Republic has not been disclosed for security reasons.

"Ukrainian soldiers are already in the Czech Republic in the Libavá military area for a planned exercise," Řehka told iDnes.cz. "Ukrainian soldiers are in the Czech Republic for a cooperation exercise, which was approved by the government on September 11," added David Jareš, Director of Communications for the Czech Ministry of Defense.

Real Estate Catholic Church to sell off more Czech landmarks

The Prague Archdiocese stirred some controversy with its recent decision to sell off the historic Jindřišská Tower, and recent news may provoke even stronger reaction. According to Novinky.cz, the Archdiocese intends to sell off additional landmarks including St. George's Basilica at Prague Castle, the Renaissance chateau in Dolní Břežany, and even cemeteries owned by the Church.

The moves are intended to keep the Archdiocese financially stable past 2030, when the Czech state will cease paying restitution to the Catholic Church. "I can say that I consider the path chosen by the Prague Archdiocese to be courageous, but the right one," said the Czech primate, Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner. According to Graubner, the Church's plans to sell off Czech landmarks has been approved by the Vatican.

Culture Battle of Austerlitz re-created in South Moravia

An estimated 10,000 people watched the historical reenactment of the Battle of Austerlitz in South Moravia on Saturday, Miroslav Jandora, one of the event's organizers, told journalists yesterday. The annual reenactment took place for the first time since 2019 due to Covid restrictions that led to cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

More than 1,000 actors participated in the reenactment of the battle, in which Napoleon's French army defeated the armies of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz I and Russian Tzar Alexander I. "We already planned this event for 2020, we had to cancel it twice due to the anti-epidemic measures. We have finally managed to realize it, and everything turned out well as it was planned," Jandora said.

Weather Czech peak sees hurricane-level winds

Winds at Sněžka, the Czech Republic's tallest mountain, reached 119.5 kilometers per hour early this morning according to data from the measuring station atop the mountain. The high winds topped the minimum level for a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Due to the high winds, the upper section of the cable car from Pec pod Sněžkou to the top of Sněžka mountain is not running today. The cable car was also out of service yesterday due to high winds; service is planned to resume from December 10. Sněžka also reports high levels of fog this morning, and a temperature of two degrees below zero Celsius (twelve degrees below zero with the wind chill factor).

Economy Czech Republic replaces UK among Germany's top trading partners

For the first time in modern history, the UK will no longer rank among Germany's top trading partners, according to a Deutsche Presse report citing analysis by Germany Trade and Invest. Instead, the Czech Republic has replaced the UK among Germany's ten largest trading partners.

Trade between the UK and Germany has gradually slowed since the Brexit referendum in 2016, when the UK was Germany's fifth-largest partner. While the Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU countries allows for many exemptions on tariffs, additional bureaucratic processes has led to a significant slowdown in EU-UK trade.

History Newly-uncovered photos from Terezín to be displayed in Brussels

Newly-uncovered photographs from the WWII Jewish ghetto at Terezín that were presented in Prague in October will go on display in Brussels until the end of the Czech Republic's EU Presidency, Martina Reková, a spokesperson for the Silence Memorial project behind the exhibition, told journalists this weekend.

The photos will be unveiled at the seat of European Parliament in Brussels on December 6 by European MP Alexandr Vondra and Silence Memorial director Pavel Štingl. The photos, which were discovered in the private collection of former Czechoslovak Radio editor Milan Weiner, were previously displayed at the Silence Memorial at the Prague-Bubny railway station.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Charity Czechia wraps up Christmas present drive for low-income families

The Czech Republic's largest drive for Christmas gifts for low-income families comes to a close this weekend, but those interested in giving gifts this year can donate through the end of the day on Sunday. The Krabice od bot (Shoe Box) drive is organized by the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, and they're still a few thousand presents short of their 50,000 present goal.

From Monday, the gifts will be distributed to low-income families that lack the funds to buy Christmas presents for their children; according to the church, 250,000 children in the Czech Republic live in families at risk of poverty. Gifts for boys aged 9-17 are especially requested this weekend. A list of 150 locations gifts can be donated, including about 20 in Prague, can be found at the Krabice od bot website.

Weather Snowfall seen across Czech Republic, but roads passable

Snowfall was seen across the Czech Republic over Friday evening and into Saturday morning, with about three centimeters of new snow seen in most locations. No traffic incidents have been reported, and major roads remain passable today. Temperatures in Prague are hovering around freezing.

At Sněžka, the tallest mountain in the Czech Republic, high winds have stopped operation of the cable car up its highest peak this morning; a cable car up the lower portion of the mountain remains in operation. Temperatures at Sněžka are around seven degrees below zero Celsius this morning, about seventeen degrees below zero with the wind chill factor.

Shopping Two-thirds of Czech families to cut back on Christmas shopping this year

Two-thirds of Czechs will cut back on spending this Christmas season due to the current economic situation, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos for Zonky.cz. One in five respondents said they will cut spending on Christmas sweets, decorations, and presents to a bare minimum this year.

According to the survey, five percent of people are considering borrowing money to buy Christmas gifts this year. Ten percent of respondents said that they had seen a loss in income this year compared to 2021. For most people, rising expenses were cited as the primary reason for cutting back on Christmas spending this year.

Politics Georgia summons Czech Ambassador over Russia sanctions comments

Georgia's Foreign Ministry has summoned Czech Ambassador Petr Mikyška over comments accusing Georgia of circumventing anti-Russia sanctions, the Ministry wrote on Facebook on Friday. Mikyška allegedly claimed that goods exported from the Czech Republic to Georgia ended up in Russia, in violation of current sanctions.

Mikyška has released a statement saying the media had cited his words out of the context, while Georgian's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Khvtisiashvili has summoned the Czech ambassador to explain his statements. The Czech Foreign Ministry has stated that Mikyška's comments were misinterpreted, and they consider the issue closed.

Education Czech university ends cooperation with China's Confucius Institute

Palacký University Olomouc will end its partnership with China's Confucius Institute, University spokesperson Egon Havrlant told Deník N on Friday. Funded by China and officially intended to spread Chinese culture, the Confucius Institute has been accused of being a tool of Chinese propaganda and espionage.

"The university plans to cancel the agreement in January 2023. We announced this to the Chinese side in advance, already in September," Havrlant told Deník N. The Confucius Institute was founded at Palacký University in 2007. It recent came under scrutiny from Projekt Sinopsis, a Czech initiative to examine Czech-Chinese relations.

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