Czech news in brief for April 12: Friday's top headlines

Prague Zoo welcomes second baby gorilla this year, Czechia to see warm weekend followed by cooling, and courts rule in case of tourist pushed from castle. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 12.04.2024 08:43:00 (updated on 12.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Czechia warns citizens to leave Iran urgently

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning for Czech citizens to not travel to Iran and to leave the country if already residing there due to a heightened security threat. The U.S. has also expressed concerns about potential attacks on Israel by Iran in retaliation for an airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus. The ministry has recorded cases of EU citizens being detained or prosecuted based on false accusations and urges caution in public places, especially during demonstrations. In case of emergency, Czech citizens can contact the Czech Embassy in Tehran.

TRANSPORT Near-record number of passengers on railways

According to statistics from the Ministry of Transport, railway carriers in the Czech Republic saw a significant increase in passengers in 2023, with approximately 184.6 million passengers transported – a 10 percent year-on year increase. This number is also close to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The average distance traveled by train also rose to 56.8 kilometers last year. Collectively, trains traveled around 10.5 billion kilometers in Czechia last year.

culture Czech holocaust memorial for Roma to open May

The Museum of Roma Culture in Brno has announced that the Holocaust Memorial to the Roma and Sinti in Lety, South Bohemia, will open to the public on May 12, coinciding with a commemorative event at a nearby burial site. The original opening in February was postponed due to an approval process. The museum says it has created a dignified memorial at the former concentration camp site. According to the museum spokeswoman Karolina Spielmannová, the memorial serves as a place of remembrance, education, and honoring the Roma victims of the Nazi genocide during World War II.

law Public prosecutor appeals ex-PM's court verdict

Czech public prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch has appealed against the verdict that acquitted ANO movement chairman and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his former adviser Jana Nagyová in the Capi hnizdo (Stork’s Nest) case. The case involves a suspected CZK 50 million subsidy fraud – from EU funds – for the construction of a congress center in Central Bohemia. The appeals High Court in Prague will now review the case, having already overturned the Municipal Court's previous acquittal. 

Economy Banks provided CZK 18 billion in mortages in March

In March, banks and building societies in the Czech Republic provided CZK 18 billion in mortgage loans, marking a 15 percent increase from February and a 50 percent rise compared to last March. Interest rates on new loans dropped to 5.19 percent, the lowest since June 2022. The volume of newly granted mortgages without refinancing rose by 19 percent month-on-month to CZK 15.4 billion, with 4,490 mortgages granted. However, rates remain higher than the average of the last two decades.

Weather Czechia to see warm weekend followed by cooling

Temperatures in the Czech Republic are set to rise above 20 degrees Celsius towards the weekend, peaking at 26 degrees on Sunday, particularly in the southeast. However, chilly mornings and ground frosts may persist until Friday morning. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute forecasts partly cloudy skies with minimal rainfall. Following the warmth, a cooling trend is expected at the start of the next week, with temperatures dropping below ten degrees by midweek.

Crime Courts rule in case of tourist pushed from castle

Brno's Regional Court ruled today that a man who pushed a German tourist from the ramparts near Špilberk Castle constituted attempted murder, sentencing defendant Daniel Madarász to 10.5 years in prison. Prosecutors sought a punishment at the lower end of the ten to 18-year spectrum. The incident occurred last September during Madarász's bachelor celebration, where he and his cousin allegedly pushed the victim from a six-meter height. Despite Madarász’s defense, the court found him guilty, noting his false accusations against his relative.

Nature Prague Zoo welcomes second baby gorilla this year

In a heartwarming addition to Prague Zoo's gorilla family, a newborn lowland gorilla arrived early on Friday morning, joining its sibling Mobi, born in January. The proud mother, 30-year-old Kijivu, welcomed the newcomer, whose father, like Mobi’s, is Kisumu. This marks another milestone for the zoo’s gorilla breeding program, which dates back to 1963. The zoo, overseen by City Hall, remains a popular attraction, drawing nearly 1.36 million visitors last year.

Czechia set to host air exercise Lion Effort 2024

Czechia is set to host the international air exercise Lion Effort 2024 in May, gathering two dozen aircraft and 500 soldiers, including approximately 150 foreign troops. Taking place at the tactical air force base in Caslav, Central Bohemia, from May 9 to May 27, the exercise will involve countries operating JAS-39 Gripen aircraft, such as Hungary, Sweden, Thailand, and Brazil. This marks the fifth exercise of the Gripen Users Group, with Czechia hosting for the second time. Notably, the Swedish Air Force will participate as the 32nd member of NATO for the first time, making the event particularly significant.

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