15:30 Czech billionaire faces up to two years in prison for highway trip
Czech businessman Radim Passer will be investigated by German prosecutors for his 417 km/h journey on the German A2 motorway, a video of which has been uploaded to YouTube. A German news agency claimed Passer faces up to two years in prison or a fine. Although there is technically no speed limit on the highway, reckless driving can be punished. The 58-year-old Passer drove his Bugatti Chiron at extremely high speeds on the German road last year, although the video was only uploaded to YouTube last month.
15:16 Moravian woman scammed of 750,000 CZK online
A woman from the Moravian town of Kroměříž lost almost CZK 750,000 to an online scammer, police say. The attacker posed as an American wine merchant, leading the woman to send hundreds of thousands of crowns to various bank account numbers over the past few months. The criminal faces up to five years in prison for fraud. The incident led police to warn against attempts by criminals to exploit trusted individuals.
13:27 Czech industry grew by 6.4% in 2021
Czech industry grew by 6.4% year-on-year in 2021. Business in most industries improved after a severe downturn in 2020 caused by the pandemic. Construction output increased by 1.4%, but industrial production has still not reached post-pandemic levels, according to the Czech Statistical Office. The continuing problems in the industrial sector were largely the result of a slowdown in automotive production in the last quarter of the year, stemming from global supply chain issues. Foreign trade showed a deficit of CZK 1.46 billion.
11:30 a.m. Salaries of castle officials published
The Office of the President of the Czech Republic today published the salaries of Prague Castle staff for the past year. Zeman Chief of Staff Vratislav Mynář earned a total of 1.4 million CZK in the last tear, closer to half a million bonus crowns. Spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček meanwhile earned CZK 744,000 with an additional CZK 170,000 in bonuses. The two figures sparked major controversy when President Miloš Zeman was hospitalized in October and November last year due to a lack of communication with journalists and the general public about Zeman’s health.
11:00 Czech Davidová narrowly misses medal in biathlon
Czech biathlon athlete Markéta Davidová missed an Olympic gold medal after a mistake in the closing stages of a 15-kilometre endurance race. Davidová was on course for victory but missed his last shot of the game. The resulting one-minute penalty dropped him to sixth place. Davidová accepted the result with good grace, saying: “I performed well, only the girls, my rivals, were better.” Davidová’s excruciating mistake after a near-perfect performance means the wait for a Czech medal at the Games continues.
10:30 Prague’s speed cameras get a makeover
Prague City Hall has announced a new contract for the regular maintenance and servicing of almost thirty speed cameras in the capital. A councilor said that speed cameras were essential to keep the roads safe, acting as a preventative measure rather than an attempt to catch drivers. The transfer of the management of speed cameras to the municipal technology company in the capital of Prague is proceeding gradually, with equipment faults already corrected in eight locations in the city this year. It is hoped that by the end of February all speed cameras in the city will be working properly.
10:07 15-year-old girl dies after being hit by train in Smíchov
A fifteen-year-old girl died this morning after being hit by a train at Smíchov station in Prague. Police said she died at the scene after sustaining serious injuries. The passenger train, traveling from Český Brod to Beroun, hit the girl on the third platform of the station just before 09:00. Police said they have no further information to release about the incident at this time as they continue to work at the scene.
mountain hazard A hurricane hits the highest mountain in the Czech Republic
Hurricane-force winds hit Sněžka, the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, yesterday, reaching speeds of up to 144 km/h in the afternoon according to data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The threshold above which the winds can be qualified as hurricane force is 118 km/h.
A warning against heavy snowfall and high winds remains in place on the mountain. Mountain hikes are strongly discouraged by the Krkonoše mountain service, with avalanche warnings reaching the third degree of the international danger scale, which means a significant risk. Six people, including three adults and three children aged between two and seven, disappeared up the mountain yesterday and were only found after a two-hour search in the afternoon.
Politics Zeman sparks controversy with comments on Ukraine
Czech President Miloš Zeman has made international headlines by downplaying the threat of a Russian invasion on Ukraine’s borders. Zeman said the Russians weren’t crazy and that Western troop movements towards the Ukrainian border were “saber rattles”.
Zeman also said that Ukraine cannot join NATO because it is a country torn by “civil war” in its eastern region of Donbass. The president’s comments were dismissed by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said “another attempt by President Zeman to damage relations will end in another failure.” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský is visiting Ukraine today with his Slovak and Austrian counterparts to express their solidarity with the country.
Olympic Games Social networks fall in love with the earrings of a Czech curler
Czech curler Zuzana Paulová went viral on social media over the weekend after she wore a pair of curling stone earrings while the Czech curling team competed in the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Paulová said she wore the earrings to show her support for the Czech junior curling teams also competing on the same day.
Paulová, competing with her husband Tomáš Paul, finished in sixth place overall in the mixed doubles curling tournament. They finished with four wins and five losses in nine matches, having beaten the Chinese hosts in the opener of the competition. The Czech amateur duo, who work as bankers by day, achieved their self-proclaimed goal of finishing between fifth and seventh at the Games.
criminality Czech Republic’s largest bike maker reports huge theft
The Czech Republic’s largest bicycle manufacturer, BIKE FUN International (BFI), based in Kopřivnice in the Novojičínsko region, reported the theft of more than CZK 250 million worth of equipment. The large-scale flight will significantly complicate production, causing delays of up to a year in the development of some models, company management said.
The robbery targeted a truck, which was transporting equipment intended for the manufacturer in the Czech Republic, on a motorway rest area in Germany. It is believed that a well-organized criminal gang was behind the robbery. According to BFI, the theft could not have come at a worse time with components already in short supply due to global supply chain issues.
Weather Bad weather is taking its toll on transport and more is to come
A fallen tree near Domažlice disrupted rail traffic between Prague and Munich yesterday, with trains only able to resume running after three hours of work by firefighters clearing the tracks. The disturbance happened after a train hit the fallen tree late yesterday afternoon. None of the 35 passengers or crew on board the train were injured in the incident.
Czech fire crews reported 267 incidents across the country in connection with yesterday’s high winds, with most occurring in central Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia. Meteorologists continue to warn of snow and high winds as the week begins, turning into precipitation across the country on Tuesday. Warm temperatures will arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, before the freezing weather returns at the weekend.
Developments Government falls short of social housing developments
The Czech Ministry of Regional Development originally planned to build 5,000 social apartments with EU subsidies by the end of 2023, but the actual number will not exceed 2,212. This was discovered by the Superior Control Officewho cited low interest from applicants for social housing as the main reason for the slow development process.
The ministry has been criticized for a long and cumbersome evaluation process for the project. Due to a lack of interest in social housing projects, funding for such developments was reduced from CZK 7.5 billion in 2015 to CZK 4.5 billion in 2017. The ministry was later criticized for its poor selection methods in choosing projects to support.