Czech speed skater Sáblíková wins a bronze medal in Beijing

Plus: Prague Castle investigation launched, Roma leader demands sacking of Czech ombudsman, and Czech anti-Covid protestors accused of terrorism. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.02.2022 09:36:00 (updated on 10.02.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

14:20 Czech skater Sáblíková wins bronze in Beijing

Speed skater Martina Sáblíková won a bronze medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics today, finishing third in the five-kilometer race. The medal was Sáblíková's seventh Olympic medal, and the Czech Republic's second of the Beijing Games so far. Sáblíková won gold at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, while in the 2018 Games she took home a silver medal. The five-kilometer race was the only individual event entered by Sáblíková for the 2022 Games.

14:00 Fourteen-year-old boy killed by train in Prague

A train hit and killed a fourteen-year-old boy in Prague this morning. The incident occurred around two kilometers from Holešovice railway station. Train operations stopped for around two hours in the morning. The boy's death was the second time this week that a young person in Prague has died after being hit by a train; on Monday, a fifteen-year-old girl died after being hit by a train at Smíchov railway station.

13:00 Bavarian leader wants closer ties with Czechia

Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder wants improved relations with the Czech Republic and would like to meet new Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala soon, he said in a letter addressed to Fiala. Söder also called for regular intergovernmental consultations, and suggested projects to enhance bilateral cooperation in transport, modern technologies and education. On the other hand, Söder expressed his dissatisfaction with Czech plans for the disposal of nuclear waste close to the Czech-German border.

12:35 Plans afoot for an "O" metro line in Prague

The Prague Sobě group, part of the ruling administration of the city, will propose the creation of a new metro "O" line around the city. The group wants to examine the creation of a "roundabout" metro line to eliminate the need for travel through the city center for trips on the outskirts. Proponents of the scheme argue the new line would relieve congestion on the current metro lines. Deputy Adam Scheinherr said he will submit a feasibility study for the project to the city council this year. The new line wuld run from Podbaba Railway Station via Dejvice, Smíchov, Dvorce, Budějovická, Vršovice, Žižkov, Vysočany, Čakovice and then back to Podbaba. The completed line would measure around 36 kilometers with 23 stops.

A proposal for the
A proposal for the "O" line / photo via Facebook, Adam Scheinherr

12:12 EU predicts accelerated growth for Czech economy

The European Commission has predicted greater growth for the Czech economy this year, in contrast to most other EU states. The Commission anticipates that Czech GDP will grow by 4.4 percent in 2022, after growth of 3.3 percent in 2021. Next year, the EC expects growth to be 3.9 percent, remaining above the estimate average through the bloc. It's thought the main driver of GDP growth this year will be higher household consumption, supported by the Czech Republic's high level of employment.

12:14 Blesk tops Czech newspaper charts for H2 2021

Tabloid daily Blesk was the most-read newspaper in the Czech Republic in the second half of 2022, with an average 685,000 readers per issue. Blesk nonetheless saw a decline of around 6,000 readers per issue. The second most popular paper was Mladá fronta Dnes, with 440,000 readers. Third place was the daily Sport, with 196,000 readers. Readership decreased for all titles compared to the previous reporting period, according to a report published today by the Union of Publishers. The biggest newspaper group was MAFRA, with a 25 percent market share, closely followed by the Czech News Center.

Music Musical instrument sellers explores drone delivery

Musical instrument vendor yesterday tested the possibility of delivering orders by drone. At its premises in Modřany, Prague, the company tried sending a package containing Ukulele plectrums, also testing the acceptance of such a shipment by a customer. The company said drone delivery could be a more cost-effective delivery method for short distances. Czech legislation still makes the widespread commercial use of drone delivery difficult, though, meaning it is not commonly used.

Politics Interior Ministry to launch Prague Castle investigation

The Ministry of the Interior will launch a ten-day inspection on Monday to check the administration of documents and files in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic at Prague Castle. The inspection was recommended last week by the House Security Committee.

The Security Committee is concerned about the handling of sensitive documents, due to the alleged shredding of a secret report on the involvement of Russian secret service agents in the 2014 Vrbětice arms depot explosions. The check will examine how classified information has been protected at the Castle since the beginning of last year.

Human rights Roma leader demands sacking of Czech ombudsman

The President of Roma affairs NGO Romodrom, Nikola Taragoš, is demanding the sacking of ombudsman Stanislav Křeček over comments he made that people from socially excluded localities, often the Roma, are to blame for their own predicament. Křeček also claimed that people in such situations do little or nothing to change their situation for the better, simply devaluing and damaging one home after another.

Křeček’s comments were a response to findings from the Agency for Social Integration about poor living conditions for socially excluded groups. The Office for the Public Defense of Rights has responded to Taragoš’s demand for the ombudsman’s dismissal by saying he cannot be sacked and his term of office lasts six years.

Pandemic Two anti-Covid protestors accused of terrorism

Police from the National Center Against Organized Crime (NCOZ) have accused two Czech men of supporting terrorism. The men incited violence against politicians in videos posted on social media opposing government measures against Covid-19. If convicted, the men may be sentenced to between five and fifteen years in prison.

The cases are separate; the first is being examined by the High Public Prosecutor’s Office in Prague, and the second is under the jurisdiction of the public prosecutor’s office of Olomouc. The defendants have not been arrested. The Criminal Code describes support for terror as the public incitement of a terrorist criminal act, with punishments higher for support expressed in the press or on film, TV, radio, or an online network.

Communism Court acquits former StB members

A Czech court has acquitted former members of the Communist StB secret service Milan Kopinec, Vladimír Novotný and Karel Vykypěl of abusing their power. The charges related to the case of the Hybler family, who were coerced into emigrating under the Communist regime. According to the indictment, Martin Hybler was repeatedly summoned for questioning by StB officers where he was humiliated and threatened with imprisonment or an “accident” if he stayed in Czechoslovakia.

The court decided that it could not be proven that the men caused harm to the family. The trio denied all accusations. There was no concrete evidence that Kopinec, Novotný and Vykypěl were the StB agents who harassed the Hybler family, and the court said the “collective guilt of all StB members” was insufficient reason to punish the men individually. The accusations relate to the StB’s Asanace operation in the late 1970s, which tried to force political dissidents to leave the country.

Business KB reports strong profits in 2021

Komerční banka, the Czech Republic’s third largest bank by asset value, has reported net profits of CZK 12.7 billion for 2021, an increase of 56 percent on 2020. The bank’s board is therefore proposing dividends of CZK 43.80 per share, in a total amount of CZK 8.3 billion.

The bank, majority owned by France’s Société Générale, has today announced its financial results for last year. It reported strong customer growth, with loans to clients rising 6.9 percent to CZK 738.9 billion. Within this figure, the volume of loans for housing increased by 9.5 percent. Other banks, including Moneta Money Bank and Raiffeisenbank, have also reported significant profit increases in 2021.

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