Czech news for Feb. 23: Big screens to display inauguration, Czech inflation among highest in EU

Top headlines in brief for the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2023.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 23.02.2023 09:42:00 (updated on 23.02.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

DIPLOMACY Zeman officially appoints new US ambassador

President Miloš Zeman today officially recognized the new ambassador to the U.S., Bijan Sabet. A little over a week ago, Sabet – along with new U.K. ambassador Matthew Field – presented his credentials to Zeman. Sabet has a background in business: he is co-founder of venture capital firm Spark Capital and previously worked for multiple technology start-up companies in Silicon Valley and California. Prior to Sabet’s appointment, the U.S. had been without an ambassador to Czechia for about two years.

PRESIDENCY Public can watch Pavel inauguration at Prague Castle big screens

The public in Prague will be able to watch the inauguration of soon-to-be President Pavel on big screens at Hradčanské náměstí, next to Prague Castle. A nearby courtyard may also be opened to the public, depending on security measures, Prague Castle staff said today. No reservation is needed to attend the event. Around 800 guests – mainly politicians – are due to observe the event at Vladislav Hall, which is within the castle.

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ECONOMY Inflation in Czechia is the EU's third-highest

Data from Eurostat shows that inflation in the EU in January registered 10 percent year on year, marginally down from 10.4 percent in the previous month. Czechia, however, continues to maintain its high inflation rate of 19 percent – the third-highest in the entire EU. Only Hungary (26.2 percent) and Lativa (21.4) have higher rates of inflation. In Czechia, the prices of accommodation services and goods both rose by about 20 percent, according to an English-language press release from the Czech Statistical Office.

SPORT Czech tennis number one through to Qatar semifinals

Young Czech tennis star Jiří Lehečka knocked out the number one seed Russian Andrei Rublev in the 2023 Qatar Open, who is ranked number five in the world. He beat Rublev in three sets, winning 4:6, 6:4, 6:4. He will now face either former world number one Andy Murray from Scotland or Frenchman Alexandre Müller in the tournament semifinals. This is Lehečka’s second victory against somebody ranked in the world’s top 10 after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Australian Open in January.

Diplomacy Czechia joins call for NATO to strengthen its Eastern flank

Following a meeting with leaders of the Bucharest Nine group (featuring, among others countries, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania) Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has called for the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank.

All allies at the meeting agreed that they would support each other if a conflict were to break out. President Joe Biden, also at the Wednesday meeting, affirmed that he considered the NATO collective defense principle "a sacred commitment."

protest Activist groups call for change in definition of rape

The Czech branch of Amnesty International and the Czech activist group Konsent held a protest in Prague on the second anniversary of the campaign to change the legal definition of rape. The demonstrators called for the definition of rape to explicitly include the absence of consent, rather than just physical violence.

Amnesty International drew attention to the fact that women in relationships require extra protection. About 1 in 5 women in Czechia experience physical and sexual violence from a current or former partner in their lifetimes.

Poll Most Czechs say Pavel will outshine Zeman as president

The majority of Czechs expect President-elect Petr Pavel to do a better job than incumbent Miloš Zeman, a poll from research agency STEM/MARK shows. Over 6 in 10 people expect Pavel to “be a good president” and 71 percent anticipate that he would be more proficient in the role than Zeman. Just 35 percent of voters for former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš believe Pavel would be a better president than Zeman.

Do you think Petr Pavel will be a better president than Miloš Zeman?

Yes 88 %
No 12 %
115 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Legislation Zeman passes anti-terrorism law

President Miloš Zeman Wednesday signed into a law regulation against spreading terrorist content online. As per the bill, the police will be able to order Czech and European providers of hosting services on the internet to block terrorist content. This, for example, includes videos of terror-motivated explosions or executions. The law, however, does not apply to private communication (such as via WhatsApp or messaging on Facebook). Read more in our story here.

WEATHER Big chill to hit Czechia this weekend

People across the country woke today to warmer-than-usual weather – however, this will not last. Although maximum daytime temperatures in Prague will rise to around 10 degrees Celsius Thursday and Friday, they will dip sharply this weekend to about 3 degrees Celsius during the day and below-freezing in the night. Small snow showers are expected in the capital on Saturday and in much of Moravia and the north of the country.

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