Czech news in brief for April 13: Saturday's top headlines

Kolouchová first Czech woman to climb Annapurna, ODS revokes membership of Liberec mayor, and more Saturday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 13.04.2024 09:10:00 (updated on 18.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Politics Fiala re-elected chair of ODS party

The Czech Republic's Civic Democrats (ODS) party has re-elected Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala as their chairman for the sixth time. Fiala secured 80 percent of the delegate's support at the ODS election congress in Ostrava. With no opponents, Fiala aims to maintain ODS's lead in the government parties for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The congress emphasized defending democratic pro-Western values against populism and Russian influence.

Transport Reconstruction on D46 highway begins

Czechia's Directorate of Roads and Highways has begun a CZK 461 million project to reconstruct a seven-kilometer stretch of the D46 highway near Vyškov. The project, which includes level crossing modifications and noise barrier construction, aims to improve safety and mitigate traffic impact. Scheduled for completion by August, drivers will experience reduced speeds but will still have access to at least one lane in each direction.

Crime Bike theft in Czechia slightly down in 2024

Bicycle and e-bike thefts in the Czech Republic dropped by 14% in 2023, according to recently released police data. A total of 4,156 bikes were reported stolen last year, totaling CZK 126 million in losses. Police solved 31% of cases, up from 25% in 2022. Prague reported the most thefts, with an average damage of CZK 45,400 lost per bike, CZK 15,000 above the national average. The European Insurance Association noted an increase in the average theft value, emphasizing the importance of securing bikes with locks.

Sports Czech badminton players head to Olympics

Jan Louda, Tereza Švábíková, and doubles players Adam Mendrek and Ondřej Král are set to represent the Czech Republic in badminton at the Paris Olympics. With all four ranked within qualification, their participation is almost certain, as no major tournaments are scheduled before the April 30 deadline. This marks a historic moment for Czech badminton, with the last Czech players competing in badminton at the Olympics eight years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

Politics PM says govt. has achieved 60 percent of its goals

Prime Minister Petr Fiala asserted that the five-coalition SPOLU government has achieved 60 percent of its set goals in a speech at the ODS election congress in Ostrava today. Fiala emphasized the government's response to challenges, citing falling inflation and energy prices as indicators of economic recovery. Fiala seeks a strong mandate to lead ODS to victory in the upcoming parliamentary elections, aiming for a democratic, EU/NATO-aligned, and technologically adept Czech Republic.

Sports First Czech woman climbs Himalayan peak Annapurna

Climber Klára Kolouchová has become the first Czech woman to conquer Annapurna, the perilous 8,091-meter peak in the Himalayas. Accompanied by Nepalese Sherpas, Ukrainian Iryna Karaganová, and Briton Samiur Rashidová, she reached the summit this morning, according to Kolouchová, who previously conquered K2 (8,611 meters tall) in 2019 and Mount Everest (8,848 meters tall) in 2007, adds another milestone to her illustrious climbing career. Annapurna has been previously summited by six male Czech climbers, including Josef Rakoncaj in 1988 and Radek Jaroš and Jan Trávníček in 2012.

Economy Prague Stock Exchange hits 16-year high

Following a slight dip on Thursday, the Prague Stock Exchange rebounded on Friday, hitting its highest levels since the summer of 2008. The PX index surged by 0.78 percent to 1558.96 points, led by gains in ČEZ energy company shares, with Moneta Money Bank and Komerční banka also performing well. This marks the highest closing value since June 20, 2008, according to Wood & Company broker Vladimír Vávra. Notable positive performers included Photon Energy, Kofola, and Gevorkyan. However, Erste Group and VIG insurance ended in the red.

Health Ministry of Health proposes insurance changes

The Czech Ministry of Health has released a draft amendment to the Public Health Insurance Act, drawing criticism from experts and insurers. Some experts are concerned about the proposed reward system for personal healthcare, while insurers, such as the Association of Health Insurance Companies, oppose changes like replacing the reserve fund with a fund for general beneficial activities. Deputy Minister Jakub Dvořáček emphasizes increased support for prevention, with bonuses tied to preventive screenings and check-ups. Critics argue this may disproportionately benefit already proactive individuals and could penalize those facing barriers to accessing healthcare.

Politics ODS revokes membership of Liberec mayor

Liberec Deputy Mayor Petr Židek and businessman Petr Syrovátko have been ousted from the Civic Democrats (ODS) amidst swirling allegations of corruption within Liberec City Hall. The ODS executive council, led by Transport Minister Martin Kupka, took decisive action, revoking their party memberships and stripping a local branch of its license. Židek, facing serious accusations including bribe-taking and abuse of power, now contemplates his next move, while the ODS presses for his resignation.

Media No violations found in pre-election pres. debates

Analyses by the Radio and Television Broadcasting Council found no violations of the Broadcasting Act in pre-election debates preceding last year's presidential election. While some moderators made partial errors and guest speaking time varied, explanations were provided. Most complaints related to candidate distribution, with Czech Television favoring certain candidates. However, the Council found no legal breaches. The RRTV report also cleared debates on other channels, including ČT1, ČT24, Nova, Prima, and CNN Prima News, of bias, affirming compliance with broadcasting regulations.

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