Czech daily news roundup: Thursday, December 2, 2021

Gay kiss cut from Czech screenings of Cinderella remake, Prague named the world's seventh best city for expats, leading Communist-era dissident Uhl dies.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 02.12.2021 09:26 (updated on 02.12.2021) Reading time: 7 minutes

22:15 Armed man tries to attack Czech PM

Outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said today that an armed man had tried to attack him on Wednesday, but the attacker, who had a gun and a knife, was detained at the entry to the Government Office. Babiš reported the attack via his Facebook profile The police know about the incident and are investigating it, Prague's police chief said. Babiš said he was facing threats due to the measures to anti-Covid measures. This is not the first time that PM has been threatened; in late February, he told the CNN Prima News that he had received death threats.

21:49 Senate chairman Vystrčil won't run for president

Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil has ruled out a run for the Czech presidency and will not seek re-election as a deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party he told the Czech media today. Vystrčil said he wanted to fully concentrate on his work in the upper house and to have more time for his family. Vystrčil said he would not seek re-election in the party board because he wanted to focus on the Senate, the work of its chairman, and that of senator for the Jihlava region.

21:00 Czech men sentenced for attacking transgender woman

A court in Paris has convicted three Czechs for having attacked Thai political refugee Aun Neko, a dissident and transgender woman, in a Paris cafe in November 2019, Le Monde writes today about a verdict meted out a week ago. The French police detained two Czechs just after the attack. They were given a 26-month prison sentence, but they have already served most of it. The court gave a 30-month prison sentence to the third man in absentia and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Police said Petr Donatek, the founder of a martial arts school organized the trip for the two sentenced men Jakub Hosek, 26, and Daniel Vokal, 28. Hosek confessed to having received CZK 50,000. He said Donatek was to film the attack as evidence, Le Monde said. Neko said the attack had been ordered directly by Bangkok for her criticism of the king and the military.

16:10 Price of fuel falls in the Czech Republic

A long-term increase in fuel prices in the Czech Republic has finally ended with a fall in price this week compared to last week. A liter of petrol is currently being sold for an average of CZK 37.03, which is CZK 0.17 less than a week ago. Diesel has become CZK 0.26 cheaper, falling to CZK 35.79 per liter. Economists predict that prices will keep falling as a surplus of oil emerges on the market. In November, petrol rose to its highest price since 2012, while diesel was at its most expensive since 2014.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

15:30 Germany introduces lockdown for the unvaccinated

The Czech Republic’s neighbor to the west Germany has followed an example previously set by Austria and Slovakia by deciding to introduce a strict lockdown for the unvaccinated. People without Covid vaccination will no longer be allowed to enter leisure facilities such as cinemas and theaters, and they will also be banned from non-essential services other than supermarkets and drugstores. The move was announced today by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel after talks with regional leaders. The leaders also agreed provisionally to a proposal to make vaccination mandatory from February, although MPs will have a final say on this by the end of the year.

14:25 Zeman discuss education with incoming minister

Czech President Miloš Zeman has held talks with the incoming coalition’s candidate for Minister of Education Petr Gazdík, from the STAN group. Gazdík and Zeman discussed the Covid situation in schools and the coalition’s vision for the future of education in the Czech Republic over the next four years. Gazdík said he and Zeman agreed on most topics, with the President interested in possible changes to secondary school leaving exams and study programs to be boosted by the state. The topics of financing and inclusivity in Czech schools were not discussed, however; Gazdík has remarked that he is unimpressed with current attempts to foster inclusion in Czech schools.

12:10 Czech globetrotter Miroslav Zikmund dies aged 102

Legendary Czech globetrotter Miroslav Zikmund, known for his journeys around the world made in tandem with Jiří Hanzelka died at the age of 102 on Wednesday evening, a representative of Zikmund's family confirmed to CTK today. The Museum of South-East Moravia in Zlín also reported on his death. "On December 1, 2021, the legendary Czech traveler, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Miroslav Zikmund, set out on his last journey," the museum wrote. Zikmund lived in Zlín and spent the last years of his life with his life partner Marie Macalíková.

11:05 Albright: It's not easy to defend democracy

The trust of citizens in the state administration requires politicians to respect the law, former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright said in her opening speech at the online conference Where Are You Marching, Czechia/Europe 2021 held by the Aspen Institute Central Europe today. The Prague-born Albright, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN said good leaders must know how the social contract works. Albright mentioned that democracy in Central Europe and elsewhere in the world faces pressure. She said Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been in power for too long to avoid responsibility for the state of their countries.

Gay kiss cut from 'Popelka' remake for Czech audiences

A Norwegian remake of the “Three Wishes for Cinderella” fairy-tale, in Czech "Tři oříšky pro Popelku," is set for release in Czech cinemas on December 23. But controversy has already erupted over the cutting of a scene in which two men kiss from the version of the movie to be shown in the Czech Republic.

The Czech distributor denies that they are responsible for the edit, claiming the change was made in Norway based on “fear that viewers outside Norway would not accept such a moment.” They have since claimed they will try to bring the unedited original to Czech cinemas. The original version of "Popelka," released in 1973 in a joint Czechoslovak and East German production, is a Christmas classic in Norway. The new remake has so far garnered mixed reviews from the public and press in the country.

Expat living Survey names Prague world's seventh best expat city

The annual Expats Insider survey published by Internations has named Prague the seventh best city in the world for expat life. What’s more, the Czech capital was the second highest ranked European city, behind only Malaga in Spain for quality of expat living.

Prague impressed across a number of factors covering working life, living standards, finances and housing, and the cost of living, although it scored less well for housing affordability and the friendliness of local residents. The quality of city life was highly praised though, thanks to strong career opportunities, good work-life balance and great infrastructure. The highest-ranked city in the report was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Surprisingly, some of the world’s most famous cities featured in the bottom 10, including New York, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Milan and Rome.

R.I.P. Communist-era dissident Petr Uhl dies aged 80

Czech journalist, Communist-era dissident and human rights activist Petr Uhl has died aged 80. Uhl was one of the leading figures in the resistance movement following the Soviet occupation of then-Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Uhl was first arrested in 1969 as a member of the Revolutionary Youth Movement opposed to hardline Communist rule. He was later among the organizers of the Charter 77 manifesto inspired by Václav Havel and other prominent dissidents. Uhl meanwhile co-founded the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted, which published news about cruelty perpetrated by the Communist regime. Uhl was sentenced to five years in prison along with other leading dissidents 1979, and also went to jail during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After the fall of Communism, he took over leadership of the Czech Press Agency, while also focusing on promoting the rights of disadvantaged groups throughout the country.

Entrepreneurs Czech government submits request for VAT exemption raise to the EU

The tax burden of many entrepreneurs is about to get significantly lighter thanks to a proposal submitted by Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová to the European Commission, asking for the turnover limit for VAT exemption in the Czech Republic to be raised from CZK 1 million to CZK 2 million. Although the process has been put in motion by the outgoing minister, the incoming Czech government led by Petr Fiala is known to strongly support the move.

The Ministry of Finance is confident that the EU will approve the application, as the CZK 1 million limit has remained the same ever since the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, not changing in line with inflation and price developments over the past seventeen years. Experts warn that despite broad political support, the change could still take some time to process, as a special exception to current limits must be obtained from Brussels. It’s thought that when approved, the change will affect around 105,000 business entities in the Czech Republic.

Business Pandemic leads to serious staff shortages at Škoda

Škoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s leading carmaker, is suffering from staff shortages as a result of the worsening Covid pandemic, a board member told journalists on Tuesday. The company is currently missing about 800 workers every day, and is operating at only 75 or 80 percent capacity. Around 70 percent of the company’s staff are vaccinated against Covid.

The lack of staff compounds supply chain issues which have made 2021 a difficult year for Škoda. Particularly problematic has been a lack of semiconductor chips vital to the completion of new vehicles; earlier this autumn, the carmaker had thousands of almost-finished cars sitting in storage.

Publish your story to Expats.cz Find out more