Czech morning news roundup: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Babiš opposes state award for psychiatrist accused of sexual assault, Bohemia Energy CEO apologizes to customers, Czech support for the EU drops. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.11.2021 09:11:00 (updated on 09.11.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Lead story Top Czech psychiatrist accused of sexual assault

Incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has expressed his opposition to the state award announced by President Miloš Zeman for popular Czech psychiatrist Jan Cimický over allegations of sexual assault and molestation brought against him by several women. The Presidential Office refused to comment on the case. The award-giving ceremony, traditionally held on October 28, has been postponed until January 1 due to Zeman’s ill health.

Prague police are hearing women’s testimonies against Cimický, a police spokesperson confirmed. The psychiatrist has dismissed the allegations raised against him first by actress and pop singer Jana Fabiánová, who said he had sexually assaulted her in the past. It is thought Fabiánová made her experiences public in response to the news that Cimický was to receive a state award from Zeman. “A sexual predator who has been hiding behind his doctor’s title for decades should not win an award for merit in our country,” Fabiánová wrote in a social media post which was then deleted. Other women subsequently came forward to accuse the psychiatrist of sexual misconduct.

Energy crisis Bohemia Energy CEO sorry for letting down clients

The co-owner and managing director of Bohemia Energy, Jiří Písařík, has apologized for letting down the company’s 900,000 clients. Písařík said Bohemia Energy did not become insolvent, but had to shut down in order to avoid bankruptcy. He said the company intends to return overpayments to clients, and he also criticized replacement “suppliers of last resort” for upping costs for former Bohemia Energy customers, claiming they are using the situation to generate profit.

Bohemia Energy announced the end of its operations in mid-October due to soaring energy prices on the European market. The company was one of the Czech Republic’s largest energy suppliers and its demise has come as a shock to the Czech business scene, with many having seen the company as too big to fail.

Poll Less than half of Czechs satisfied with EU membership

A new poll conducted by the STEM polling institute has revealed falling support for EU membership in the Czech Republic. Only 48 percent of the country are satisfied with EU membership, the poll suggests; this is 9 percent lower than was recorded by a similar poll conducted last October.

12 percent of respondent are completely satisfied with EU membership, while 36 percent are “fairly” satisfied. On the other hand, 19 percent of Czechs are completely unhappy with EU membership and 33 percent are quite dissatisfied. The pollsters note that the forthcoming Czech EU presidency in the second half of next year is an opportunity to boost perceptions of the bloc.

International Czechs evacuated from Ethiopia amid fighting

Most Czechs staying in Ethiopia will leave the country due to the deteriorating local security situation in the coming days. The Czech Foreign Ministry announced, however, that there are currently no plans as yet to withdraw embassy staff from the capital city Addis Ababa.

According to official data, there are 74 Czech nationals in Ethiopia including embassy staff. Fighting in the country has escalated as a civil war rages between competing armed factions, with rebel forces now closing in on the capital and seeking to topple the government. The U.S. embassy in the country has already been partly evacuated, while Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Norway have recalled their diplomats.

Business & Tech International fair in Brno showcases tech of the future

The annual International Engineering Fair in Brno is underway this week, with over 1,000 businesses from more than 30 countries showcasing their latest technological and engineering achievements. Since the 1950s, the fair has been a significant event in Central Europe, with futuristic tech on display; this year, the Czech ministries of industry, defense, transport and foreign affairs are all taking part.

A centerpiece of the exhibition is a special “national pavilion” including exhibits focusing on 3D and virtual reality technology in industry. Another key area is the creation of so-called Smart Cities, in which data is used to improve day-to-day life. Foreign presentations are also being given; international high-tech engineering powerhouses such as Taiwan see the Czech Republic as a promising market due to the strength of its manufacturing industries. 

SPORTS National football team coach tests positive

Czech national football head coach Jaroslav Šilhavý had a positive coronavirus test yesterday, even though he is vaccinated. He also had the disease last year. Assistant Jiří Chytrý will lead the team in the last two matches of this year, against Kuwait and Estonia. Šilhavý had not been in contact with other players, so no other team members need to quarantine, the Czech Football Association (FAČR) said in a press release.

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