Czech daily news roundup: Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Another energy supplier goes bankrupt, Mayor's Food Collection runs again, American Airlines cuts Prague flights. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.12.2021 09:49:00 (updated on 15.12.2021) Reading time: 6 minutes

17:45 Babiš vows to fight for more carbon allowances at EU summit

Outgoing Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will raise the topic of spiraling energy prices at Thursday’s EU summit. Babiš again criticized the development of the bloc’s carbon credits market, saying he will demand the return of almost 400 million carbon credits to trading to alleviate pressures on the supply of energy. Babiš will meet with EU counterparts as well as the leaders of the bloc’s “Eastern Partners”: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Babiš said that for the Czech Republic “energy is the main issue,” describing the escalating price of using fossil fuel energy as having a “tremendously negative impact” on energy supplies.

16:55 Czech Senate insists on collective EU approach to Russia

In a resolution passed to the government today, the Czech Senate said it insists on a collective EU approach to Russia, especially in relation to the gathering of Russian troops and military equipment near the Ukrainian border. It said the Czech government should support the preparation of major anti-Russian sanctions from the EU if Moscow chooses to perpetrate further acts of aggression towards Ukraine. The Senate’s resolution was backed by 54 out of 68 voting members. The Senate said the resolution should be a mandate for Czech representatives at a European Council meeting to be held next Thursday.

15:25 Czech President names 50 new judges, over half are women

President Miloš Zeman named 50 new judges today, 48 of whom were sworn in in his presence at his Lány presidential manor today. Before his hospitalization in October, outgoing Minister of Justice Marie Benešová proposed the candidates for judges, and the list was subsequently approved by the government. The presidential decree for their acceptance was among few documents signed by Zeman will recovering in Prague’s Central Military Hospital in November. Two judges missed the swearing-in ceremony due to having contracted Covid-19; Zeman said an alternative date would be offered to them. If the judges are not sworn in by the end of the year, they may have to go through a repeated selection process. 28 women and 22 men were nominated to be judges.

14:15 Czech Republic calls on Belarus to end repression

The Czech Foreign Ministry today called on Belarus to end its repression of opponents, to release all political prisoners and to enter into dialogue with citizens. The Ministry’s criticism of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko came in response to the jail sentences handed out on Tuesday to Belarusian opposition activists including the husband of exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Siarhei Tsikhanouski was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “preparing and staging examples of mass unrest and for encouraging social hatred.” His wife called the Minsk court’s ruling an act of political vengeance. Other opposition figures were sentenced to terms of 14, 15 and 16 years behind bars. Politicians from across the political divide in the Czech Republic have joined Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek in denouncing the sentences today.

13:50 Police bust VAT fraud gang in the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czech and Slovak police have worked together to arrest several dozen people and companies on suspicion of taking part in extensive VAT fraud in both countries. The Slovak Financial Authority and police officers announced the arrests today.

The cross-border gang is thought to have deprived the Czech and Slovak states of more than €6.5 million, or CZK 165 million, in the last three years alone. A joint Czech and Slovak team is investigating the case further. A person believed to be the mastermind of the scheme has been detained in the Czech Republic.

11:10 Malaysian royal fund buys South Bohemian properties

The royal fund of Malaysia has bought buildings near the Protivín chateau in South Bohemia as well as plots of land. The fund, which also owns the chateau, is planning to build a culture and shopping center at the location also offering accommodation.

Protivín Town Hall has approved the deal, worth CZK 16.8 million. Around 40 people live in the buildings to be sold, some of whom will be found new housing by the local authorities. The Malaysian investors want to restore the newly acquired buildings while installing services such as accommodation, apartments, a restaurant, a café and a bakery. Protivín Mayor Jaromír Hlaváč said the investment is a major boost for the town.

Energy crisis Another energy supplier goes bankrupt

The bankruptcy of Bohemia Energy in October left nearly a million customers with disadvantage “supplier of last resort” contracts. Now, another supplier has declared the end of its operations. Microenergy, which supplies energy to more than 760 customers, will cease to provide electricity and gas, joining a growing list of suppliers dealt a fatal blow by the current energy crisis.

Bohemia Energy supplied energy to around 900,000 clients; other companies which have gone bankrupt include Kolibřík energie, with 28,000 clients, A-PLUS Energie, 150 clients, and Ray Energy, with 3,000 clients. Now customers of Microenergy will also join “suppliers of last resort” to ensure they do not lose energy altogether. Customers will be assigned to the dominant supplier in the region where they live.

Charity Prague Mayor’s food collection event runs again

For the second year in a row the Mayor’s Food Collection charity event will run in Prague. Last year, the initiative collected 1,200 kilograms of food and hygiene products for those in need. The event is held under the auspices of Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, and in collaboration with the Humanitarian Aid Foundation. Last year, the initiative also saw public donations totaling CZK 45,000, which was then used to buy more food.

This year, basic food and hygiene supplies will be collected on December 16 from 10:00 to 18:00 in front of the New Town Hall building on Mariánské náměstí. Like last year, people can donate basic food and hygiene products or give a financial donation to the Humanitarian Aid Foundation.

Travel American Airlines cuts Prague flights

American Airlines has announced the cancelation or postponement of multiple international connections set to launch next summer due to a delay in the arrival of new Boeing planes. Prague is one of the destinations to which flights will be canceled, meaning the wait for the resumption of flights run by the airline on the route prior to 2019 will go on.

American Airlines said more than a dozen Boeing 787s will not be available to serve the routes next year. Other destinations affected will be Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Berlin, Budapest, Dubrovnik, and Reykjavik. Services will also be reduced to Sydney, Beijing and Shanghai. The airline is also facing domestic pressures, cutting 27 routes from its schedule including 18 connections with New York for cities across the country.

Czech history St. Ludmila exhibition opens in Prague

Prague’s Klementinum has opened a special exhibition dedicated to the life of St. Ludmila, called The Book and the Veil. The exhibition will present references to the saint in manuscripts and printed originals from the National Library. The exhibition commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the death of the grandmother of St. Wenceslas and the oldest saint in the Czech lands.

Visitors will see rare manuscripts describing St. Ludmila in various contexts, mostly in materials dating from before 1800. Until January 30, 39 exhibits will be presented in the Klementinum Gallery, while during the weekend of January 14-16, the rarest and most valuable texts, including Velislav’s Bible and the richly illuminated fragment of Dalimil’s Chronicle will be presented in the Baroque Mirror Chapel.

Roads New motorway stretches open in the Czech Republic

In the coming days, dozens more kilometers of motorway will be added to the Czech road network. A new stretch of the northern D35 motorway will open as a northern alternative to the congested D1 running down the center of the country.

Another 22 kilometers is also being added on the D11. Some are now describing this year as a “turning point” for the Czech road network, after eight years of modernization work on 161 kilometers of the central D1 motorway, long maligned for its poor road surface, came to an end. More work on the D35 motorway is scheduled for the future, though; if everything goes smoothly, the entire motorway could be complete by 2028.

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