Three Czech mountain climbers who ignored bad weather warnings and attempted the Seewand Climb in the Austrian Alps were rescued in an extensive emergency operation in the early hours of Saturday, the APA news agency reported. The trio set out despite high wind and heavy rain and got into trouble half-way up the rock. Two dozen mountain service rescuers were involved in the operation. One of the mountaineers was transported to hospital with hypothermia.
A forty-six-year-old miner died in a cave-in in the Centrum mine in the Most region. Severní Energetická, the company that operates the mine, confirmed the death on Saturday, extending condolences to the victim’s family and friends. The accident is being investigated and the company has refused to speculate about the possible cause of the cave-in. The respective mine has been in operation for 120 years and is currently being prepared for closure.
The Czech Republic will try to access EU funds to subsidize eco-friendly pellet stoves that will reduce pollution in areas where coal burning is the main form of heating, according to Environment Minister Richard Brabec. Minister Brabec said the ministry would strive to get the equivalent of nine billion crowns for this purpose between 2014 and 2020 which could finance around 150,000 eco-stoves. The money would be used predominantly in the most polluted eastern parts of the country where air-pollution is a massive problem. So far these subsidies have been funded from government funds to the tune of 220 million crowns.
A group of two dozen MPs from across the political spectrum received the 2013 bePROUD prize for supporting minority rights. The prize was awarded in recognition of their joint effort to push through legislation which would enable gay and lesbian couples to adopt their partner’s child. The draft legislation tabled shortly before the lower house was disbanded to open the way for early elections late last year failed to win approval. The 2013 anti-prize went to psychologist Jeroným Klimeš for “spreading stereotypes and homophobic statements about the gay and lesbian community”.
A state of flood alert has been called off in all parts of the country as water levels in Moravia and Silesia returned to normal overnight. Gale-force winds and heavy rain over the past 48 hours put emergency crews on stand-by with fire crews in the eastern parts of the country reporting over 100 emergency calls since Thursday. No serious damage or loss of life has been reported.
In related news, a potential halt of supplies of natural gas from Russia via Ukraine does not pose a direct threat for the Czech Republic as there are other supply routes, President Miloš Zeman said at the end of his three-day visit to the Plzeň region on Friday. According to Zeman, the Czech Republic has full reserves as well as the possibility to use alternative routes of gas supplies, citing the Nord Stream, Gazela and Ingolstadt pipelines. The president also expressed the view that the Ukraine crisis would not last overly long.
The Czech national hockey team, backstopped by goalie Alexander Salák, will face Denmark and Norway at the ice hockey worlds at the weekend. Both matches are crucial to clinching a spot in the quarterfinals. Questions remain about who will get the start in offence, as members of the team have been hit by stomach flu or have come down with colds. Tomáš Hertl, Jiří Hudler and Vladimír Sobotka are all doubtful for the next match. The Czech squad is currently third in Group A, behind Sweden and Canada.
The Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM), based in Prague, has completed a study suggesting that fewer meals per day could benefit some diabetes sufferers, going against conventional wisdom regarding the disease. Under the study, the institute found that only two meals per day, compared to the six small servings recommended now, had positive results. Those tested had gotten diabetes after failing to lose weight and to foster better eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. In all, 54 patients, in two groups, took part in the study. A representative from the diabetes clinic told the Czech News Agency that the recommendation of six small servings remains unchanged; other studies will have to be undertaken to confirm or counter the IKEM findings.
Strong winds and heavy rainfall in the Czech Republic have caused extensive damage to forestland belonging to the state-owned forestry firm Lesy ČR, affecting an estimated 150,000 cubic metres of wood. The amount represents 2 percent of wood felled annually in state forests. Forests in the areas of Moravia-Silesia, Zlín and Olomouc were the hardest hit, Lesy ČR has revealed. The financial cost has not yet been tabulated.
Czech and Swedish defence ministry officials signed an addendum on Friday to an existing contract renewing the lease of 14 Gripen fighter jets to the Czech Republic until 2027, with an extra two-year option. The contract was signed at the air base in Čáslav, east of Prague. From 2015 to 2027 the Czech government will pay 21.4 billion crowns for the supersonic planes; the yearly lease is will one-third lower than it was until now. The Czech Defence Minister, Martin Stropnický, called the deal a fair one.
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