Czech daily news roundup: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Czech diplomatic office in Lviv re-opens, remains of Czech intelligence general repatriated, and hard professions could get earlier retirement age. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.04.2022 09:19:00 (updated on 26.04.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

16:00 Czechs stock up on firewood amid energy crisis

The heating season has just finished but Czechs are already stocking up on firewood as a result of spiraling energy prices, according to a report by Czech Television. Some local municipalities have reported huge increases in demand for firewood compared to last year. Forest supervisors say supply is currently still sufficient to meet demand, though there is a shortage of deciduous fuel wood. Stove companies are also reporting higher demand, with some describing a 300 percent increase in demand compared to last year.

15:45 Czech EU presidency to deal with protection of EU external border

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union chose the protection of EU external borders as its main issue, Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan and his Austrian counterpart Gerhard Karner agreed today.

Simultaneously, the Czech Republic wants to emphasize the questions related to internal security. "We have not chosen the main topic, it was Vladimir Putin who imposed it upon us. The key topic will certainly be the Ukrainian crisis," Rakusan said. The six-month presidency is to start in July.

12:20 Transparency International withdraws lawsuit against Babiš

Tranparency International has withdrawn a lawsuit demanding an apology from former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš for his repeated allegations that the organization is corrupt. A spokesperson for Prague's High Court announced the withdrawal of the lawsuit today without providing any further details. Babiš called the organization "absolutely untrustworthy" and a "corrupt non-profit."

12:00 Survey reveals public concerns about media in Central Europe

More than half of Central Europeans (52 percent) are concerned about the state of media freedom in their country. The biggest concerns are in Poland, where 63 percent of the population is worried about press freedom. In the Czech Republic, 47 percent of the population is apparently worried about media freedom. More than two-thirds of people support stricter nation-level legislation to protect media independence, and 59 percent agree with greater EU powers to protect media freedom, according to a survey by the Median agency.

11:35 Ministry of Environment spends CZK 10 billion combating drought

The Czech Ministry of the Environment has set aside CZK 10 billion to combat drought through adaptation measures over the coming years, intended for collecting rainwater and creating ponds and small reservoirs for sustainable farming.

Ukraine Czech diplomatic office re-opens in Lviv

The Czech Republic has re-opened its general consulate in Lviv, Western Ukraine, after two months of closure due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The general consulate is running limited operations without visa services, according to the Foreign Ministry.

According to the ministry, the main tasks of the team in Lviv will be to provide consular assistance to Czech citizens and monitor the development of the situation in Ukraine. After the closure of the Czech diplomatic office in Ukraine in late February, consular services to Czech citizens were moved to offices in Przemysl, Poland, Košice, Slovakia, and Uzhorod, West Ukraine.

Military General Moravec's remains return to Czechia

The remains of renowned Czech intelligence commander General František Moravec were loaded into a special military plane for repatriation to Czechia at a ceremony at an airfield near Washington last night. Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová attended the ceremony along with senior U.S. lawmakers and intelligence officers.

Moravec masterminded the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942 in a mission codenamed Operation Anthropoid. His ashes are being flown to Caslav, Central Bohemia, before being laid to rest at a local cemetery.

Work Lower retirement age proposed for tough professions

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has submitted a proposal on reducing the retirement age for workers in tough professions, without reducing their pension allowance.

The proposal from the ministry envisages that for every ten years of work in a high-risk or physically demanding profession, the retirement age would be automatically reduced by one year. This means that people working their entire lives in demanding or dangerous professions could retire five years earlier without suffering a loss in their pension. Professions to be included in the new scheme would include anything exerting intense physical strain on workers and risk of damage to health, as well as paramedics, mountain rescuers, and emergency service center operators.

Weather Meteorologists expect a cool May in Czechia

A monthly forecast from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute suggests that May will see average to below-average temperatures. The warmest week of the month should be May 16-22, when night temperatures should hit around seven degrees Celsius and daytime temperatures will reach around 20 degrees Celsius.

Temperatures in the last few days of April should climb to around 19 degrees Celsius, but ground frosts may still appear at night. The coming weekend is expected to start out sunny and warm but turn mild and rainy on Sunday.

Politics Slovak ex-PM Fico weighs in on Czech politicians

Slovak former prime minister Robert Fico, who was last week charged by police with running an organized crime operation from his office while in charge of the country, has lashed out at the Věra Jourová, the Czech Commissioner for Values and Transparency at the European Union.

Fico said the Commissioner is evidently not troubled about the fact that, in his words, "people are imprisoned in Slovakia without any reason." He also claimed hypocrisy in Jourová's criticism of his denigrating statements about Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, saying Jourová has never seemed concerned about negative comments regarding Czech President Miloš Zeman, of whom Fico speaks in praise.

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