The Clementinum in Prague records a warm start to the year
15:36 The Clementinum in Prague records a warm start to the year
Prague’s Clementinum recorded an average temperature of 3.8 degrees Celsius in January, placing it among the first 7% hottest months of the year since 1775. Last month’s average was 4.6 degrees warmer than the average of the past two and a half centuries, and 2.2 degrees warmer than January 2021. The hottest January in 248 years of record keeping was in 2007, when the monthly mean temperature was 6.3 degrees Celsius. The coldest January ever was in 1799, with an average temperature of minus 9.3 degrees.
13:50 Chinese human rights abuses highlighted outside embassy
The association Human Rights Without Borders organized a happening in front of the Chinese Embassy in Prague on the occasion of the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The event drew attention to human rights abuses in the country, with two people dressed as Chinese hockey players oppressing five other athletes dressed in jerseys for Tibet, Uyghur Muslims, Christians and practitioners Fa-lung Kung meditation. A candlelight vigil will be held from 5:30 p.m. to commemorate the victims of the Chinese communist regime.
13:40 PRE announces a significant increase in energy prices
Pražská energetika announced gas and electricity price hikes amid global energy shortages. Electricity prices will increase by a quarter on average from April, while in May gas prices will also increase by 30%. Prices were last raised a year ago, before the onset of the current energy crisis. The company has managed not to raise prices throughout the winter months so far. The company noted that some other suppliers have already hiked prices twice due to rising wholesale energy costs.
10:54 Czech-Slovak couple arrested for body found in barrel
South Bohemian police have arrested a man and a woman for their part in a murder in which the body of a Slovak man was left in a barrel filled with concrete. The murder took place ten years ago, but information about the location of the body buried in the barrel only reached the police last year thanks to a contact from the regional drug network. The search led officers to the basement of a house in Jindřichův Hradec, where the body was found wrapped in cloth and hidden in a plastic barrel placed under the basement’s concrete floor. Subsequent investigations led police to a 34-year-old man from Slovakia and a woman from Jindřichův Hradec who were born in 1993. The murder is believed to be the result of a love triangle between the two men and the woman.
10:39 Czech TV faces Olympics-related cyberattack
Czech television has reported a major cyberattack on its websites, apparently following the broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing today, although the broadcaster faced a similar attack this weekend. The attack rendered videos unplayable on the ČT mobile app until around 09:30 this morning. Today’s attack was described as much stronger than the weekend. Czech television offered no explanation as to why the cyberattackers were timing their attacks with the start of the Winter Olympics.
sport The Beijing Winter Olympics officially begin today
The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics will take place today in Beijing. The ceremony, which will be held on a relatively small scale due to Covid restrictions and extremely cold temperatures, will see the Czech flag carried by figure skater Michal Březina and hockey captain Alena Mills.
Some Games events started on Wednesday, but today marks the official start of the Games. Czech government boycotts Games over Chinese human rights abuses; Earlier this week, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib called on the international community to end abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China. But some foreign guests will be present at the opening ceremony, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Politics Zeman calls for calm amid Russian-Ukrainian tensions
Czech President Miloš Zeman believes that restraint should be exercised in the face of tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border. Zeman believes the conflict is largely based on rhetoric and a peaceful solution must be found, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters after a meeting in Lány last night.
Fiala said that when it comes to Ukraine, he agrees with the president that diplomatic steps are needed to defuse the potential conflict. The talks between the Prime Minister and the President also focused on the new agreement with Poland regarding the Turów lignite mine, as well as the preparation of the 2022 budget. Zeman stressed the need to fight against inflation, which devalues savings and increases consumer prices.
Business The Czech Republic has a new “unicorn” start-up
The Czech start-up Productboard has become the newest Czech “unicorn”, that is to say a private start-up valued at more than a billion dollars. After receiving $125 million (CZK 2.7 billion) from investors, the company is now valued at $1.725 billion (CZK 37 billion), making it the most valuable Czech startup.
The company, founded by Hubert Palán and Daniel Hejl, provides applications that help companies better understand customer needs and adapt their digital products accordingly. Productboard is headquartered in Prague and San Francisco. The latest $125 million investment in the company was made by groups that have previously invested in companies such as Spotfiy, Uber, LinkedIn and Airbnb. There has only been one other Czech ‘unicorn’, with the Rohlík company passing the $1 billion mark last year.
turow Warsaw pays compensation, Greenpeace rejects mining deal
Poland has already transferred 45 million euros (1.08 billion Czech crowns) to the Czech Republic in compensation for environmental damage caused by the operation of the Turów coal mine near the Czech border. According to Polish Environment Minister Anna Moskwa, the deal was completed immediately after the two countries’ prime ministers signed the agreement resolving the dispute yesterday.
Environmental groups, however, are furious with the 17-page deal. Greenpeace has described the deal as “illegal”, saying it will not protect water supplies on the Czech side of the border. Dozens of environmental activists demonstrated outside the Czech government last night, with banners reading ‘water instead of coal’ and ‘you lied to us’.
Environment Czech environmentalists declare 2022 the year of bats
The Chinese calendar may now put us in the Year of the Water Tiger, but for Czech environmentalists, 2022 will be the year of the bats. The Czech Union for Nature Conservation announced that it plans to organize events throughout the year to promote the protection of bats in the Czech Republic, noting that all species of bats are protected by Czech law and international convention.
The program will highlight the many risks facing the Czech bat population and advise people on how to avoid harming them. This will include lectures, walks, a traveling exhibition and more, details of which will be available on the roknetopyru.cz website. This is the third thematic year of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation; 2020 was the year of the orchids and 2021 the year of the dragonflies.