Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 8, 2021

Thousands of swimmers take icy plunge thru weekend, Czech govt. to discuss gender equality strategy, international heist robs Czech bank of billions. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.03.2021 09:27:00 (updated on 08.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

CRIME: International heist robs Czech bank of CZK 1.4 billion

Czech police propose charges be brought against four members of an international gang accused of conducting fictitious steel trading and allegedly robbing two Czech banks and one insurance company of CZK 1.4 billion, National Centre Against Organised Crime (NCOZ) spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said today. Czech and British police investigated the case together as the heads of the gang are in Britain, Ibehej said on the police website. One of the four perpetrators is a foreigner, three are Czech citizens. The gang members knew international transactions and the documents required in sea transport well enough to create a fictitious chain of customers and suppliers. The stolen money ended up abroad. The fictitious international trading ring concerned millions of tonnes of steel. The NCOZ has been dealing with the case since 2013 and the prosecution started in 2017. The four suspects face up to ten years in prison.

EQUALITY: Czech govt. to discuss gender equality strategy today

The Czech government is expected to discuss a gender equality strategy, to be implemented by 2030, on Monday. The Czech Republic lags far behind the rest of the European Union in terms of gender equality according to the Gender Equality Index. Over the decades, the Czech Republic has fallen nine places to its current 23rd position out of 28 member states. The presented strategy for equality between men and women lists, among other things, inequalities and segregation in the labor market, the risk of poverty to women, and the stereotypical division of household care. It also mentions sexual and domestic violence. The strategy focuses on eight areas, namely work and care, decision-making, safety, health, knowledge, society, external relations, and institutions. March 8 is International Women's Day.

SPORT: Thousands plunge into icy Czech waters over the weekend

More than 2,300 hardy swimmers took an ice bath through the weekend in rivers, ponds, and dams around the Czech Republic. The two-day event called Covid, Don't Be Angry, was organized by the Lipno Tourist Board. Organizers want to make March 6, the International Day of Hardy Swimming. People of all ages dived into bodies of water, or even just a barrel of cold water at home through the weekend, with both seniors and children participating. During the event, photos could be taken and registered on the official website, which tallied the hardy swimmers.

PRAGUE: Police blocked the entrance to the flea market in Vysočany

The Prague police blocked the entrance to the flea market in Vysočany on Friday evening and on Saturday morning, a police spokesman told ČTK. Patrols prevented more than one hundred and seventy drivers from entering the market area. The current measures do not allow for the opening of markets. According to the spokesman, the event was attended by several dozen police officers and ended around eleven in the morning. There were no fines, the police dealt with everything by agreement. Flea market operators wrote on Facebook that they closed on Saturday "due to police roadblocks". 

WEATHER: Freezing nights and snow for remainder of March

The remainder of March and the beginning of April in the Czech Republic may still freeze at night. This week will see above-average precipitation and snow according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) short-term forecast. Temperatures over the next four weeks will remain at the long-term averages for this period. "We expect weekly averages of the highest daily temperatures in the first and second weeks of the forecast (March 8-21) to be around eight degrees Celsius, and in the third and fourth weeks (March 22 to April 4) to be around 11 degrees Celsius. At night, we expect forecasts of around zero," CHMI staff said.

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