Daily news summary
Around 50,000 trees in Šumava damaged by windstorm Sabine
Around 50,000 trees in the South Bohemian forest of Šumava have been damaged as a result of the strong winds that swept through the Czech Republic on Monday and Tuesday. The exact extent of damages is still being estimated by foresters, but it seems that the strong winds did not cause heavy damage in any specific part of the park, Blanka Müllerová from the Šumava National Park told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic saw winds at the speed of up to 180 kilometres per hour in places as the wind storm known as “Sabine” passed through the country. However, according to Pavel Šimandl from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the winds were not strong enough to be classified as a hurricane force.
MPs to elect new ombudsman
Czech MPs are electing a new ombudsman this Wednesday. From the original pool of three candidates for the post of public advocate, two have advanced through the first stage of voting: Stanislav Křeček, a former MP and deputy ombudsman and Vít Alexander Schorm, who is Czech government commissioner at the European Court of Human Rights. The winner, who is likely to be announced after a second round of voting during the evening hours will replace Anna Šabatová, who has been ombudswoman since 2014.
The anti-government protest movement Million Moments for Democracy wrote on on its website on Wednesday morning that it will organise a demonstration if Mr Křeček is given the job.
Czech geneticists breed chicken immune to avian retrovirus
Scientists from the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences have bred a genetically modified chicken that is immune to the avian retrovirus known as ALV-J, which causes tumours and immunosuppression in infected chickens.
Jiří Hejnar, one of the geneticists from the institute, told Czech Radio that the new discovery could help strengthen resistance to the virus particularly in Asian farms and that the concept the scientists used could also be applied to other viral infections such as bird flu.
How to specifically implement the method in practice is still being discussed.
Court rules state will have to apologise for Czech president’s false comment
President Miloš Zeman’s statement that he had fired his former advisor Zdeněk Šarapatka for incompetence was wrong and the state will have to issue an official apology on his behalf, the District Court for Prague 1 ruled on Wednesday.
The president’s comment was made in the weekly interview show “Week With the President” on TV Barrandov in 2017. Mr Šarapatka subsequently filed a lawsuit proving he had sent a resignation letter and subsequently left after a mutual agreement.
The apology will be issued by the Ministry of Finance, because the head of state cannot be sued personally.
Emergency lines now better able to pinpoint location of callers
A new system more accurately identifying the location of callers has been introduced on emergency lines in the Czech Republic. The operators of the country’s emergency services say they expect the change will lead to improved response times. It applies to the 150, 155 and 158 numbers as well as the universal European emergency number 112.
Advanced Mobile Location will initially only be used in Prague but should be in place around the country within weeks.
Czech and Slovak music stars to honour deceased singer Karel Gott with special December concert
Leading representatives of the Czech and Slovak pop music scene will come together to honour the deceased “Sinatra of the East” Karel Gott through a special concert in Prague’s O2 Arena on December 15. The form of the concert was determined by Karel Gott himself before he died, according to his wife Ivana.
Aside from featuring performances of Gott’s most famous hits, the concert will also include a check donation for the support of lymphoma and leukaemia disease research at the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and the General Faculty Hospital in Prague. Ticket sales are set to begin on February 15.
Karel Gott died of acute leukaemia in October 2019. During his career his albums sold in the tens of millions across countries including Russia and Germany.
Generali to buy Prague’s Kotva shopping centre for CZK 3.5 billion
The global real estate investment fund of the Italian insurer Generali will purchase Prague’s iconic brutalist shopping centre Kotva for more than CZK 3.5 billion, the daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Wednesday. According to the paper it is the largest transaction on the Czech real estate market this year.
The current owner PSN bought the property in 2016 for CZK 2 billion.
Windstorm Sabine is expected to finish moving over the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to remain largely the same on Thursday, hovering between 5 to 7 degrees Celsius, with thick clouds in Bohemia and rain in the west of the country.