Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for June 10, 2021

Czech universities drop in international rankings, unvaccinated Czechs can soon enter Slovakia with a test, and a Czech zoo will breed a rare gecko. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.06.2021 09:35:00 (updated on 10.06.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech Senate approves Kuzarbeit law, president to sign amendement

The Czech Senate on Wednesday approved new rules for the so-called kurzarbeit a government subsidy program for employees forced to take a reduction in pay that's designed to limit the impact of recessions on the economy. Kurzarbeit, German for "short-time work benefit" could be activated by the government when employment is threatened after a natural disaster or cyber attack, during an epidemic, or during a time of economic threat. The shortened work-time allows people to receive 80 percent of their earnings for time not worked. The state would provide four-fifths of this compensation, including levies of up to 1.5 times the national average wage. Employees could be at home for 1-4 days a week. The measure is regulated by an amendment on employment. In order for it to take effect, it must be signed by the president. ČTK

Test to be enough for unvaccinated Czechs' entry into Slovakia

The Slovak cabinet said Wednesday it will modify the country's traffic-light travel map to allow Czechs traveling to Slovakia to avoid quarantine if they produce a negative coronavirus test. The change should take place next week. Slovakia will continue to adhere to the measure that neither quarantine nor a test is required from those vaccinated against Covid, if they stayed only in the low-risk green countries, including the Czech Republic, in the two weeks prior to entering Slovakia. According to PM Eduard Heger, Slovakia will acknowledge PCR test results not older than 72 hours and antigen tests not older than 24 hours. Slovakia currently requires e-registration from people arriving from abroad along with self-quarantine, which, in the case of arrivals from the Czech Republic ends with a negative test for coronavirus. Exempted from the quarantine duty are those who have been vaccinated, have had Covid in the past 180 days, and children under 18, if they stayed only in the "green" countries for two weeks before entering Slovakia. ČTK

Czech Republic tops EU in methamphetamine use

The Czech Republic tops the list of methamphetamine users in the EU and the Covid pandemic has brought changes in distribution chains and narcotic market digitization in Europe, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its 2021 report released yesterday. Despite Covid-related mobility restrictions the availability of drugs in Europe, including the Czech Republic, did not see any considerable changes. Drug dealers and users employed encrypted messages, social networks, and delivery services, as street sales were limited. Nightlife closures led to lower consumption of cocaine and ecstasy. The EMCDDA report places the Czech Republic first for methamphetamine (pervitin) consumption. The country also has the highest number of at-risk users in Europe with up to 70 percent injecting the drug. ČTK

The majority of Czech universities drop in international university rankings

A number of Czech universities fell this year in Quacquarelli Symonds international rankings (QS) compiled annually since 2004. As in previous years, the largest Charles University (UK) ranked among the Czech representatives but dropped from 260th place to 266th. Also included in the top 500, the University of Chemical Technology (ICT) and the Czech Technical University (CTU), which is the only Czech research university to see an improved ranking up from 432 to 403. This year's edition rated 1,300 schools from about a hundred countries, including 15 Czech schools. The results are based on six criteria, namely reputation among representatives of other universities, reputation among employers, citations of authors, internationalization of academia, numbers of foreign students, and the average number of students per teacher. The strengths of the top-ranked Czech universities were the student-teacher ratio, the number of foreign students, and academic reputation. Weaknesses were the ratio of cited scientists and the share of foreign employees. ČTK

Liberec Zoo to breed critically endangered turquoise gecko

The Liberec Zoo will begin breeding of the turquoise dwarf gecko, a critically endangered lizard that is endemic to a small area of Tanzania, a zoo spokesman said Wednesday, adding that the zoo has acquired a pair of them from the Leipzig Zoo in Germany. Zoos breed the turquoise gecko only rarely. In the Czech Republic, the only one to do so, besides Liberec, is the zoo in Pilsen. The turquoise gecko population has been rapidly shrinking in the wild and its survival may depend on its successful and coordinated breeding in captivity. In the wild, the 8-cm-long gecko lives only in two nature reserves with tropic rainforest fragments in east Tanzania. Besides deforestation and gold and precious stones mining, the turquoise gecko is also endangered by poachers as well as the spread of the invasive and gecko-unfriendly Spanish cedar. ČTK

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