Despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic news are popping up everywhere around us, we are still able to find some very positive news in the last year. After many years, the ban on cage farming has been finally approved, and the penalties for animal cruelty have been increased. Let's take a look at other good news in the past year 2020 that have put a smile on our faces!
Czech football cleanse
Government restrictions do not allow football fans to support their teams directly from the stadium, nevertheless the fans were given a reason to celebrate. Roman Berbr, the Vice-Chairman of The Czech Football Association, was arrested on October 16 2020 together with 19 people during a police raid at the Association's HQ and other places. The reason for the arrest was a suspected corruption and tampering with match results by bribing referees in lower leagues. He was detained on 18 October, and one day later he resigned from the post of one of the most powerful men in the Czech football.
The case did not end there, though. The concerns rising from the industry that the Berbr affair could escalate to higher posts, were confirmed very soon. There is a big chance that the results of higher leagues were also tampered with. The most discussed results were those of the Czech Cup, where Sparta beat Liberec at the end of last season and moved to the European league. "Turn the match into a shitshow", said Berbr to Pavel Královec, a referee of the match, who didn't give a red card to Martin Frýdek, a player for Sparta. Berbr also regularly communicated with Petr Ardeleánu, who, for example, was a referee for the shocking league play-off between Příbram and Brno. A phone call with Jan Nezmar, a former Slavia sports director, and with Jaroslav Starka, a Příbram FC boss, have also been discovered in the wiretaps. We will likely see an interesting development in the case this year.
The ban on egg cage farming
The majority of public was happy about the cage farming ban, effective from 2027. The approval process, though, was rather tight, with 53 out of 101 deputies voting. All parties supported the ban, except for the governing party ANO. ČSSD members also raised their hands in favor, even though Miroslav Toman, the Minister of Agriculture, opposed the decision.
"You have put the Czech Republic under a big pressure on egg import, and you are damaging the local producers. That's all you've achieved with this ban,"
said Toman (ČSSD) to the ban supporters, whose main argument was that the hens don't have optimal conditions in the cages, suffering of stress and deprivation.
They also pointed out that the ban had already been approved in Germany and Austria, and the retailers themselves want to withdraw from selling cage farmed eggs from 2025 onwards. The amendment was approved by Senate in November 2020, without any changes.
Higher penalties for animal cruelty
Animal lovers could also celebrate. The March gathering of the Chamber of Deputies and the November Senate session have approved higher penalties for animal cruelty and the operations of so-called breeding farms. Instead of 5 years in prison for animal cruelty, there will be a 6 year sentence along with a fine set up to 1 million CZK. In extreme cases, courts will be able to impose up to 10 years in prison for breeding animals in inappropriate conditions harming their well-being.
The Senate has also agreed to ban dressage in circuses and other facilities. The minimum fine for animal cruelty in so-called breeding farms is set for 5,000 and 10,000 CZK by the amendment, depending on the degree of the offense. The amendment also states their definition and forbids them at once. For the operation of such farms, which are used for breeding dogs and cats to gain profit, there is a fine set up to 1 million CZK.
Help for severely ill Maxík
The story about the little boy Maxík, who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy II (SMA) at just 14 months old, touched the whole country. The little boy suffering with a rare disease needed an expensive treatment from the USA that would cost approx. €2 million. Within a few days, the Czech people raised 57 million CZK; Radovan Vítek, a real estate magnate and the second richest Czech also helped. In the end, the insurance company paid for the treatment, but that doesn't change the fact that Czech people showed real sympathy and were able to raise such a big amount in a very little time.
Little Maxík is the first child in our country to receive the revolutionary drug Zolgensma. However, there is a catch - it has to be given to the patient before they reach the age of 2. Maxík got the drug in the Motol Hospital in Prague in May last year, and the doctors saw an improvement in his condition shortly after. At the of August, the brave boy was able to stand on his own legs with just a little support. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation with exercising, making further progress.
End of the 11th Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Kongo
Although the whole world has been fighting the coronavirus pandemic since March, the Democratic Republic of Kongo is celebrating the end of the 11th Ebola epidemic. The KDR has been fighting the deadly virus since August 2018; 3,400 people got infected and more than 2,200 have died since. The World Health Organization and the KDR government officially announced the end of the epidemic on June 25, in fact this applied just for the east of the country. At the same time, there was a break out of an epidemic in the western province of Equateur.
The Equateur province involved 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths. According to WHO, it has been 42 days since the last confirmed negative case. As there has been no confirmed case since September 28, the Democratic Republic of Kongo celebrated the end of Ebola epidemic in November.
Reduction of air pollution
Every coin has two sides, and that goes even for the current pandemic, which, for example, has a positive influence for the environment. Due to the spread of Covid-19, many countries reduced their air services, leading to a 4,3% drop in air traffic in February, compared to 2019. The Copernicus researchers have calculated that nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels dropped by more than 10% between February and June.
The aviation emissions, which is one of the biggest danger for the environment, causing about 2% of all emissions, have been reduced to a half. The vast majority of countries that are the largest emitters - Italy, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and France - also contributed to the reduction of Copernicus emissions. The greatest improvement in air quality has been recorded in larger cities and conurbations.