Czech news in brief for April 10: Wednesday's top headlines

Car strikes a crowd in Penny supermarket parking lot, thousands attend Mucha exhibition in Florenc, and Penta group sees vast surge in profit. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 10.04.2024 09:04:00 (updated on 10.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

developments Work on upper part of Wenceslas Sq to start June

According to Daniel Šabík from the Prague Transport Company (DPP), the reconstruction of the upper part of Wenceslas Square in Prague will begin in June, lasting three years and costing CZK1.24 billion. The work will include repairing roads, sidewalks, and the Muzeum metro station, and constructing a retention tank for rainwater. The project also includes the construction of a new tram line on the upper section of the square. The construction company Eurovia CS will work on the development.

POLITICS State must apologize to right-wing party for slur

According to Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) spokesperson Barbora Stašná, the Czech state must apologize to the party for a report by the Interior Ministry that described them as a xenophobic and populist group. The Prague 7 District Court has ruled in favor of the SPD's lawsuit, and the state will publish the apology on the Interior Ministry's website and deliver it to the party. However, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan has stated that they are likely to appeal the verdict. 

ENERGY Czech heat consumption lowest in seven years

According to the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ), heat consumption from central supply systems in the Czech Republic decreased by 9.4 percent last year, the lowest in the past seven years. This was due to warm weather and cost-saving measures. ERÚ Council Chairman Stanislav Trávníček credits this decrease to economic measures and above-average temperatures. Heat production also decreased by 7.1 percent, with the most significant decrease at heating plants burning black coal.

law Czech lower house passes redefinition of rape

The Chamber of Deputies unanimously passed an amendment to the Penal Code that changes the definition of rape from forcible to non-consensual sexual intercourse. This means that any sexual activity without explicit consent will be considered rape. The amendment also includes stricter rules for sexual practices with children under 12. Justice Minister Pavel Blažek explained that the victim does not have to verbally express disagreement, and any indication of refusal will be taken into account. The Czech Women's Lobby and other victim support organizations welcome the amendment and hope for its smooth approval by the Senate.

Economy Inflation stagnated in March at 2 percent

Consumer prices in the Czech Republic saw a steady two percent year-on-year growth in March, matching February’s figures. Housing, dining, and accommodation costs surged while food and beverage prices dipped. According to the Czech Statistical Office, prices rose slightly by 0.1 percent compared to February, primarily driven by increased highway stamp fees and fuel costs.

Accident Car strikes a crowd at East Bohemian supermarket

A car struck a crowd in the parking lot of a Penny supermarket on Tuesday in Police nad Metuji, East Bohemia. The driver injured seven people, including two children. A spokesperson for the Hradec Kralove Region’s Medical Rescue Service reported that one child was airlifted to the hospital. Police ruled out the influence of alcohol following a breath test; the driver had a medical condition and did not remember the accident, the town's mayor told ČTK.

HATE Protestor with Z patch gets suspended sentence

A Czech anti-government protester received a six-month suspended sentence for wearing a patch featuring the letter Z and the logo of the Russian Wagner group at a demonstration in Prague. He was also banned from attending public political gatherings in the capital for a year. The man initially denied guilt but entered a plea agreement, leading to the sentence. This follows a previous case where he wore a Wagner logo patch, resulting in a similar sentence and ban.

Economy Penta group sees vast surge in profit

Investment conglomerate Penta’s net profit surged by a remarkable 0.5 billion percent year-on-year to CZK 12.1 billion last year, marking its best performance since its establishment in 1994. The group’s portfolio assets also soared by CZK 17 billion to nearly CZK 360 billion. Penta disclosed these figures in a press release Tuesday, emphasizing plans to launch its inaugural fund for qualified investors to fuel its growth trajectory further.

Nature Prague Zoo first in the world to breed Pel's owl

The Prague Zoo has achieved a global first by successfully breeding the African Pel's fishing owl, with a chick hatching earlier this year. Despite initial challenges, including the mother owl rejecting the chick, zookeepers intervened and nurtured it back to health. The chick has now been reintroduced to its parents in the aviary. Since acquiring two pairs in 2019, Prague Zoo stands as the sole public institution worldwide where Pel's fishing owls can be observed.

Culture Thousands attend Mucha exhibition in Florenc

Over 100,000 visitors attended the exhibition of Czech Art-Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha in Florence, Italy, showcasing over 170 posters, drawings, and other works. Held at the Museo degli Innocenti from October to last Sunday, the exhibit, co-organized by the Mucha Foundation, attracted local and international attendees. Foreigners accounted for 30 percent of visitors, highlighting the global appeal of Mucha's artistic legacy.

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