Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered: protests over murdered journalist in Slovakia, Hungarian movie nominated for Oscars… Here’s our recap of what’s been going on in Central Europe during these last few days.
Poland: Climber abandons his attempt to summit Killer Mountain in winter
The 44-year old Russian-Polish climber Denis Urubko is believed to have abandoned his bid to make the first solo winter ascent of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. He was part of a Polish expedition aiming to be the first to scale the 8.611 meter-high “Killer Mountain” in Pakistan, largely considered to be a much harder climb than Mount Everest, in winter.
On Sunday, Denis Urubko went rogue and set out alone after a row with the rest of the expedition who wanted to wait for the arrival of better weather conditions in March. Denis Urubko, however, is a purist and was dead set in summiting the mountain before February 28, the official end of the winter season. Brave or brash? The Russian-Polish mountaineer is believed to have spent a night at 7.200 meters before turning back after facing severe weather conditions. “It’s a lack of respect for those who gave him the Polish nationality and for those who invited him to climb K2,” accused a member of the expedition who couldn’t hide his frustration.
Seen as one of the greatest himalayist today, Denis Urubko first became known to the public for his epic rescue of French mountaineer Elisabeth Rever, last January, who had become stranded on neighbouring Nanga Parbat.
Slovakia: Thousands brave the cold and take to the streets over murdered journalist
On Friday, thousands of protesters took to the streets and held vigils across the country in memory of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova who were murdered in their home in Slovakia last week. They braved freezing temperature carrying pictures of the dead and banners reading: “an attack on journalists is an attack on all of us”; some are even asking for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
At the time of his death, Jan Kuciak was writing an article on corruption allegations linking officials close to Prime Minister Robert Fico to Calabrian organised crime syndicate ’Ndrangheta who had allegedly settled in eastern Slovakia and spent years embezzling EU funds. He was found shot dead in his home, along with his fiancée. Both of them 27 years old, they were due to marry in May.
On Wednesday, PM Robert Fico offered a reward of one million euros for anyone who comes forward with information about the murder. The seven people who had initially been arrested in connection with the killings have now been freed.
Martina Kusnirova was buried in her wedding gown on Friday in the northern town of Gregorovce, while Jan Kuciak’s funeral was held on Saturday in Stiavnik, close to the Czech border. Hundreds of mourners attended the ceremonies.
Poland: the Beast from the East kills 23
At least 23 people have died of hypothermia in Poland alone as the whole of Europe freezes amid sub-zero temperatures. In comparison, 13 people died from the cold in February 2017 and only four in February 2016. Over the past week, the cold weather has killed seven in Slovakia and six in the Czech Republic. Most of the victims have been rough sleepers with their death partially attributed to the deadly combination of freezing temperatures and alcohol consumption which lowers body temperature (Read more about hypothermia here).
The unusually cold spell brought by a Siberian weather system, adequately dubbed the Beast from the East, can be felt as far as the Mediterranean coast, blanketing cities like Rome and the French island of Corsica with rare snow.
Temperatures are expected to rise as of this week.
“Here comes the sun”, as the Fab Four used to sing.
Hungary: On Body and Soul (Testről és lélekről) nominated for the Oscars
Hungary’s On Body and Soul (Testről és lélekről) is one of five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, along with Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, Russia’s Loveless, Lebanon’s first foreign language nomination The Insult, and Sweden’s Ruben Ostlund’s Palm d’Or winner, The Square.
Ildiko Enyedi’s odd love story set in an abattoir is far from being a front-runner. It is only the tenth Hungarian film to ever be nominated but comes two years after László Nemes’ Son of Saul (Saul fia) won the award. Hungarian cinema could well be on a rise.
For those who didn’t know, Hungary won the award once before in 1981, for Mephisto.
Watch the trailer for On Body and Soul here: