The trolleybus line to Prague airport gets a little closer to reality
15:56 MPs report worrying threats from anti-lockdown protesters
MPs recounted disturbing threats made by opponents of the Czech Republic’s pandemic law amid feverish debate over its extension. Christian Democrat politician Antonín Tesařík reported a convoy of 25-30 vehicles arriving at his home in South Moravia, with protesters insulting him afterwards. A local police spokesman said they were investigating the incident. Members of the Open Czechia movement meanwhile shared images of members of the medical commission that approved the amendment on social media, with comments making violent threats against those involved. ANO politician Ivo Vondrák discovered a fake gallows with the inscription “traitor” outside his home in Moravia-Silesia.
14:03 Hundreds of Czechs scammed by a Chinese e-shop
Czechs who bought goods through the Chinese online store Bonky.cz accuse the company of fraud. The site claims to provide almost everything at low prices, but customers report that goods don’t turn up or are damaged. The company makes few promises on deliveries, providing only a 40 business day limit for shipments. But when customers realize they’ve paid for a product they may never receive, the company refuses to cancel the order and return payments. The Czech Trade Inspection Authority has warned against purchasing goods from the site, saying Bonky.cz’s business model gives the customer very little knowledge or control over their order.
Music Czech wins UK songwriting competition
Czech songwriter Tomáš Kympl has won the UK Songwriting Contest for the third time in six years. Kympl won her third gong for the song Wifi, from her album Kernel Panic which focuses on digital technologies, computers and the internet age. Kympl was born in Prague in 1975, writing music ranging from classical to pop, musicals and film scores. In 2015 he won a UK Songwriting Contest award for his song Ave Maria, and in 2016 he won the Instrumental category with his composition New York. This year’s hit came in the EDM (electronic dance music) category. The judging panel included leading British pop music songwriters and producers who have worked for artists ranging from Sting, Robbie Williams and Led Zeppelin to Take That, Boyzone and Kylie Minogue.
13:00 The Communists will field a presidential candidate for the first time
The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia will present a candidate for the presidential elections next year. This will be the first time the party has put forward a name for the post of president in direct presidential elections held since 2013. The Communist Party now decides internally whether the candidate will be former president Vojtěch Filip or his longtime rival in within the Josef Skála party. Filip led the Communist Party until its heavy losses in the last legislative elections in October; Skála is part of a radical faction of the party sometimes referred to as “Stalinist”.
12:33 Public transport company obtains permit for electric bus to Prague airport
An electric trolleybus line to Prague airport is one step closer to reality. The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) has a permit to plan the electrification of bus line No. 119 from Nádraží Veleslavín to Václav Havel Airport. DPP is currently preparing a public contract for the construction of the infrastructure. Construction costs are estimated at around CZK 300 million.
Construction is expected to start at the end of this year or the beginning of 2023. After construction is completed, Bus Line No. 119 will be renamed Trolley Bus Line No. 59. The route will use high-capacity battery-powered trolley buses . They will run on electricity to the edge of the airport and will run on battery power inside the airport. The batteries can be recharged at each end of the route. DPP is also finalizing a public tender for the purchase of 20 high-capacity three-section battery-powered trolleybuses to replace the existing articulated buses on the airport road.
Politics The Academy of Sciences links extreme political views to conspiracies
A new study from the Czech Academy of Sciences has examined the sources of conspiracy theories through a survey conducted in 26 countries, including the Czech Republic. The study surveyed over 100,000 people and showed that belief in conspiracy theories grows stronger when an individual’s preferred political party fails in elections.
The results also show a tendency to believe in conspiracy theories among far-right and far-left people. People at both ends of the political spectrum are much more likely to believe that the world is controlled by malevolent covert forces operating beyond their control or understanding.
Weather Hurricane hits Czechia, knocking out power supply
The Czech Institute of Hydrometeorology reported yesterday that a hurricane hit Sněžka, the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, on Saturday evening with winds of up to 185 km/h. Gusts of 145 km/h were reported in other mountainous regions of northern Bohemia. One person died due to high winds in the Czech Republic yesterday and nearly 53,000 homes were left without power. Work is currently underway to restore damaged power lines across the country.
Traffic was also complicated at higher altitudes in northern Bohemia on Sunday due to snow on the roads as well as fallen trees and branches. Winds are expected to ease today with power to be restored and efforts are underway to resolve traffic issues on road and rail.
Pandemic Thousands protest anti-pandemic measures in Prague
Around 6,000 people opposed to the Czech Republic’s current anti-pandemic measures gathered on Sunday afternoon to protest in Prague’s Wenceslas Square against the passage of an amendment extending the national pandemic law. They also demanded the lifting of all restrictions currently imposed on the country.
The event was organized by the organization ÚL Svobody and started at 3:00 p.m. and lasted until the evening. Towards the end of the event, a speaker, singer Daniel Landa, led the crowd in the Hussite chant “Who are the Warriors of God”. On Tuesday, the Open Czechia movement will hold another demonstration outside the Czech parliament to protest against the pandemic law.
Academia Mendel University’s new head steps down after less than a week
The new rector of Mendel University, Vojtěch Adam, will resign from his post less than a week after being appointed as the new head of the institution by President Miloš Zeman. Adam is facing controversy over claims he falsified data in scientific studies, with a panel of experts last week pointing to errors in several professional studies Adam led.
The commission’s criticisms range from “gross negligence in quality control” to “clear indications of data manipulation”. Last week Adam suggested he would not fight the charges, but in a statement today he said he did not want to blame others involved in his studies and would therefore accept personal responsibility , while denying any deliberate manipulation of the data.
finance Tax exemptions for individuals and companies will be abolished
Amid general economic tightening following pandemic lockdowns and spiraling inflation, new Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura announced that tax exemptions for individuals and businesses would likely be reduced. Exemptions that do not serve a useful purpose could in the meantime be removed altogether.
Speaking on Czech television, Stanjura assured that the reduction in exemptions should not include the basic reduction for taxpayers, which currently amounts to CZK 30,840 per year. Pensions would also not be affected. The opposition supports the proposal to reduce tax exemptions but demand that no exceptions be made for the basic reduction or exemptions for having children. Stanjura said any major changes to the tax system would come into effect two years into the government’s term, on January 1, 2024, so everyone has time to prepare.
Real estate Huge development will soon start in Žižkov
The Kunovsky Development Group will soon begin work on its largest construction in Prague to date, with 2,500 apartments to be built in the Žižkov district. The investment is currently calculated at CZK 14 billion, with the project to be built block by block, each containing 400 apartments. It is believed that each block will take a year to a year and a half to complete.
The new district should be finished within ten years. Developers say the demand for new homes in Prague is huge as people are wary of economic uncertainty caused by high levels of inflation.