Five Czech skiers have been killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps, the AFP news agency reported. A total of 17 Czech skiers were caught in a massive avalanche that struck the Wattener Lizum region, south-east of Innsbruck shortly before midday. Three others were reportedly airlifted to hospital. According to Czech Television the two groups of Czech skiers caught in the avalanche ignored repeated warnings not to set out. High degree avalanche alerts have been in place in the region for several days now.
In tennis, the Czech Republic began the defence of their Fed Cup title with a 1:1 draw against Romania at the end of the first day’s play. Karolína Plíšková got the visitors off to a winning start after turning around the game against world number three Simona Halep. After losing the first set 6:7, Plíšková took the following sets 6:2, 6:4. Petra Kvitová though lost to Monica Niculescu 3:6, 4:6.
Demonstrations against immigration, the EU, and Islam took place in Prague and the second city, Brno, on Saturday. The main demonstration in Prague against Islam and the EU attracted around 500 supporters. In the early afternoon in Prague there was a clash between supporters and opponents of immigration around Malá Strana when stones and bottles were thrown. Police intervened after a short delay. Police also said they detained one man who fired blanks with a gun. In Brno around 500 people demonstrated against immigration. The anti-Islam demonstration in Prague and Brno were part of a series of organised in Europe and even Australia. Prague police had called in reinforcements from the Ústí region ahead of the events. Some embassies have warned their citizens to stay away from the centre of Prague.
The series of paintings by Alphonse Mucha the Slav Epic will during the first quarter of next year be exposed in Japan and from mid-2017 in China, where it will stay on show until May 2018. The agreements for both exhibitions have been sealed Prague City Council’s chairwoman of the culture committee, Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová told the ČTK news agency. Whether the series of 20 massive paintings continue onto South Korea and the US before returning to the Czech Republic is not yet clear.
The Czech Statistical Office on Saturday began a four month long survey which should shed a lot of light on Czech living standards and quality of life. Questionnaires will start to be delivered to around 11,000 families on February 6. They will ask about housing conditions, education, childcare, and work. The survey will last until June 5. Replies will be anonymous.
The Czech weather office has issued a warning of high winds for the east of the country on Sunday. Winds of up to 90 km/hour on lower ground and up to 130 km/hour on mountain peaks are expected with the danger of falling trees and branches. The warning covers the Zlín, Olomouc, and Moravia-Silesia regions and lasts until 2300 hours on Sunday.
In ice hockey, the trainer of club Kometa Brno Alois Hadamczik resigned Friday evening after a 1:6 defeat against struggling Litvinov. It was the seventh defeat in the last eight matches. Brno had been tipped at the start of the season as one of the club’s with the biggest chances of winning the league. Hadamczik is a former coach of the Czech national team.
A second group of Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday. The 17 Iraqis, comprising four families, follow a group that arrived here almost two weeks ago. Over 150 more are due to resettle in the country in the coming weeks. The Iraqis come from the city of Mosul in the north of the country, which has been taken over by Islamic State.
The number of acute respiratory illnesses in the Czech Republic grew by 10 percent this week while flu cases increased by over 50 percent, according to figures released on Friday. Seven people have died of the flu. One official said an epidemic was developing around virtually the entire country but was so far regional in nature. Central Bohemia and Moravia Silesia have been among the hardest hit parts of the Czech Republic.