A group of eight environmental activists who forced their way into the
Vršany brown coal mine early on Tuesday to protest against continued
mining in the region remain on the grounds of the mine for a second day
The protest is an effort to prevent the planned sale of the coal-burning Počerady electric power plant to the group Se.ven Energy belonging to Czech billionaire Pavel Tykač. Police are monitoring the situation but have not so far intervened.
Academics and former politicians have also been petitioning the power utility ČEZ against the sale on the grounds that the plant’s continued operation would be in violation of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
The newly established Coal Commission will meet for the first time on
Monday to discuss coal’s future role in the Czech Republic’s energy mix
and address how to manage its reduced production and use.
Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced the creation of the Coal Commission this March. The 19-member advisory board is co-chaired by Brabec and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO). It also includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and local communities.
Brabec said the main goal is to conduct a structured national debate on the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables and nuclear against the backdrop of combatting climate change.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions and the key reason is coal-fired power plants.
Last year, brown coal-fired power plants produced the most electricity in the national energy mix (43 percent), followed by nuclear power plants (a third) and renewable sources (11 percent).
Two foreign nationals, Czech and Iranian divers, have been found dead in an
underwater cave off the island of Karpathos, in southeast Greece, local
authorities reported. The two men, aged 60 and 35, had dived to a depth of
45 meters inside the cave on Saturday.
A third diver who went inside the cave turned back due to a lack of air and broke surface, without finding his companions. He then alerted the authorities.
It is believed the two divers lost their way in the cave which has strong undercurrents and very low visibility. Divers from the Greek coast guard's Underwater Missions Team retrieved the bodies on Sunday afternoon.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.
At least five people were killed and over 100 injured in a severe
thunderstorm in the Tatra Mountains on the Slovak-Polish border, local
According to a Slovak mountain rescue team, a Czech national was among the victims. His female companion suffered a leg injury.
Four people, including a child were killed on the Polish side of the mountain range. The Tatra Mountains lie on the Polish border with Slovakia and form a natural divide between the two countries.
Police have charged an express train driver who did not respect a red light
and entered the wrong track in the Plzeň Region in late February. He
managed to stop the train, which was carrying 200 passengers, just 30
metres from another one travelling in the opposite direction, whose driver
had also put the brakes on.
Nobody was injured in the incident. The man faces up to five years in prison or a ban on driving trains.
A passenger car collided with a train at a barrier-free railway crossing on
Sunday morning near Olomouc leaving the car’s driver and a passenger
The accident comes after renewed calls to install barriers at crossings and take other safety measures in the wake of 10 death at crossings in July alone.
According to the Rail Safety Inspection Office, over 740 collisions and other extraordinary events were recorded on the Czech rail network in January through July. Those crashes left 130 people dead.
Plans are afoot to install barriers at railway crossings on most of the country’s first-class roads by 2023. By the close of 2019, they should be in place on 132 of the 164 around the country.
The Rail Safety Inspection office reports that the number of rail-related
incidents in the first six months of 2019 amounted to 634, which is 15-
percent increase on the same period last year. The biggest accident took
place in Brno in March, with 23 people being injured in a head-on collision
of passenger trains.
The number of railway crossing incidents in the same period increased by 11 percent on the previous year, to 92, resulting in 13 deaths. The Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration plans to equip 132 out of the total 164 rail crossings on first class roads with barriers by the end of the year.
Rescue workers have removed the body of a miner who died in an explosion at
a mine in Karviná in the Moravian-Silesian Region in December. The remains
of four others are expected to be exhumed by the end of the month, a
spokesperson for the district state prosecutor’s office said.
Thirteen miners were killed when a methane explosion took place 800 metres below the ground at the ČSM-Sever mine. Most of the victims were Polish.
Czech Railways management are holding an emergency meeting Wednesday in the wake of back-to-back train collisions and a steep rise in reported accidents and ‘incidents’ – near misses. They will likely agree on stricter safety measures and tighter controls, including reviews of train drivers and key personnel.