Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 17, 2021

Sixty percent fewer passengers on Prague metro, Czech goalie's NHL debut goes viral, Meghan and Harry coming to Czech TV, and more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.03.2021 09:52:00 (updated on 17.03.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

TRAVEL: Saxony relaxes entry conditions for Czech commuters, students

Saxony has softened its conditions for the entry of Czechs commuting to work, with everyone whom their employer declares indispensable for the firm being newly able to cross the border, but always only with a new negative COVID test, Health and Labour minister Petra Kopping said today. The border can also be crossed by teachers and students, Kopping said after a meeting of Saxony's cabinet. "We agreed that the situation in the economy is very serious," she said to explain the softening of the conditions. For Czech employees commuting to work, the loosened restrictions have taken effect immediately. For commuting students, pre-school children attending kindergartens in Saxony, and their guardians the new rule will take effect March 20.

PRAGUE: Public transport is used by 60 percent fewer passengers

Prague's public transport is currently used by more than 60 percent fewer passengers on weekdays than usual due to the current lockdown measures against the spread of the coronavirus according to a report from Prague's regional integrated transport. Demand for travel via Prague's metro has fallen by 68 percent; in the case of trams and buses, the number of passengers fell by 63 percent. Public transport now operates in restricted mode. The metro runs on holiday timetables and operation is terminated around 22:30. Trams are also running on holiday schedules at peak times and daily traffic ends between 22:15 and 22:30. For buses, a combination of so-called half-holiday and holiday schedules is running and the operation of suburban transport is limited. In addition to the modified timetables, there is still a ban on boarding through the front door in Prague and the sale of tickets from city bus drivers.

RUSSIA: Friends of Free Russia formed to support Russian democracy

Over 20 members of the Czech Chamber of Deputies and Senate have created a group in support of Russian democrats and civic society, Chamber of Deputies member Helena Langsadlova (TOP 09) and senator Marek Hilser (Mayors) told CTK. Friends of Free Russia will cooperate with NGOs and similar groups abroad. The group has been joined by over 10 members of the lower house and eight senators, but the figures are probably not final, Hilser said. Langsadlova said the group had been formed in response to Russia's growing aggressiveness under the rule of President Vladimir Putin. The group wants to insist on a more transparent discussion of the current developments in Russia and its problems. It will support civic groups that fight for Russia's democratization. "An undemocratic Russia also threatens our democracy," Langsadlova said.

JOBS: Czech employers to hire more employees in 2021

Czech employers plan to hire more workers than they lay off in the second quarter of this year, according to a new survey by Manpower of among 607 employers in the private and public sectors in the Czech Republic, the results of which the company published at an online press conference Tuesday. The survey shows that 13 percent of employers plan to hire new employees, while five percent expect their number to decrease. Seventy-nine percent of companies polled said they were not planning a change during the first quarter. The strongest recruitment is reported by the construction industry, the manufacturing industry, with finance, insurance, real estate, and other services reporting encouraging recruitment plans. Only employers in accommodation and catering reported a negative recruitment outlook.

SPORTS: Bruins' Czech goalie Vladař makes stunning stick save

Czech hockey goalkeeper Daniel Vladař has said he is the "happiest kid in the world right now" after making his first NHL start last night. The 23-year-old started for Boston Bruins against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game that finished 2-1 in favor of the Bruins. The performance from the Czech saw 34 saves during the game, including one which went viral on social media described as an "outrageous stick save" by the NHL YouTube channel. It looked like a certain goal to equalize for the Penguins early in the first quarter but Vladař managed to pull off the stunning block to protect the Bruins lead. He told ESPN, "It was always my dream to play in the NHL, I got the opportunity and I won. There hasn't been a better day for me hockey-wise." Trent Frederic and David Pastrnak scored the goals for the Bruins who sit in fourth place in the East Division. Brandon Tanev scored the only Penguins goal.

ROYALS: Czech TV to broadcast Oprah's Meghan and Harry interview

American television talk show host Oprah Winfrey's March 7 interview with the Duchess and the Duke of Sussex, Oprah with Meghan and Harry, for American television network CBS, will be broadcast to Czech viewers. Czech Television has included it in its program for April 1 at 9 p.m. In the interview, American actor Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, touched on topics that sparked discussion and debate around the world. Some 50 million people in 17 countries watched the original broadcast of the interview. According to CBS, it was the most-watched non-sport entertainment program of the season so far.

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