Czech news in brief for April 16: Tuesday's top headlines

Czechia contracts 180,000 pieces ammo to Ukraine, Avast contests data-sharing fine, and Czech travel agencies stop selling tours to Israel. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 16.04.2024 09:07:00 (updated on 16.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

FOREIGNERS IN CZECHIA Prague to spend CZK 16m on foreigner integration

The City of Prague has approved the distribution of CZK 16 million among recipients of subsidies for integration projects for foreigners. The approved applications include projects for the integration of foreign children in school groups, Czech language courses, and cultural festivals. The municipality aims to improve communication and relationships with national minorities and support their cultural values and traditions. The city approved a policy towards national minorities until 2025, focusing on cultural, social, and educational events.

CONSUMER NEWS Czech Post warns customers of rising scams

State-run company Czech Post has today warned against fraudulent messages misusing the company’s name and targeting customers to access their electronic banking information. The post advises customers to be cautious of emails or messages from unknown sources, especially those highlighted on their website. Recent attacks have often involved false notifications of overpayments for postal shipments, allowing attackers to access payment card information and steal from victims' accounts.

HEALTH Canada to send Czechia 20,000 pertussis vaccines

The Czech Republic will receive 20,000 whooping cough (or pertussis) vaccines from Canada in the coming days, Health Ministry spokesperson Ondřej Jakob said today. The vaccines will be distributed to general practitioners and gynecologists. So far this year, over 45,000 adults have been vaccinated, compared to less than 24,000 for the whole of last year. Experts recommend prioritizing vaccination for adults who come into contact with newborns, as they are not fully vaccinated against whooping cough.

ECONOMY IMF revises down GDP estimate for Czechia

According to the International Monetary Fund, the Czech Republic's GDP is expected to increase by 0.7 percent this year after a decrease of 0.4 percent in 2023. This is a more pessimistic outlook compared to earlier estimates by the IMF and the Czech Ministry of Finance. The IMF also predicts a growth rate of 2 percent for next year – in contrast, the Ministry of Finance expects 1.4 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year. The IMF says that Czechia will show the weakest economic growth of the Visegrád Four countries this year. 

Weather Strong winds halt train service in Prague

Train operations on the Prague-Benešov railway halted due to fallen trees damaging traction lines. České dráhy initiated bus replacements, expecting service restrictions until 12:30 p.m. Strong winds in the Hradec Králové Region caused trees to collapse. A passengerless train struck a fallen tree near Studnice in Náchodsk. Long-distance trains to Benešov were canceled; passengers were advised to use Čerčany trains and alternative buses. Firefighters responded to tree incidents across regions. Wind speeds expected to ease by evening, meteorologists forecast.

Travel Czech travel agencies stop selling tours to Israel

Czech travel agencies ceased tours to Israel due to ongoing conflict with Hamas, reports ČTK. Interest in neighboring countries like Jordan has also declined. Recent Iranian attacks heightened tensions. Flights between Prague and Tel Aviv were affected, with cancellations and delays reported. Agencies anticipate fluctuating interest depending on the situation. Egypt remains a popular destination among Czechs.

Aid Czechia contracts 180,000 pieces ammo to Ukraine

In an article in the Financial Times, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced contracting 180,000 artillery ammunition pieces for Ukraine, with plans for 300,000 more amid concerns over Russian aggression. Fiala stressed Europe’s need to bolster defense and support Ukraine. The move follows a call from Ukraine for European aid as it faces ammunition shortages. Fiala’s initiative seeks to source ammunition from non-EU countries. He is set to discuss Ukraine aid with U.S. President Biden during his visit.

Economy Security company Avast contests data-sharing fine

Computer security company Avast has contested a fine of CZK 351 million from the Office for the Protection of Personal Data over transferring non-anonymized data on 100 million users to its subsidiary, Jumpshot, which it shut down in 2020. The ÚOOÚ found users were misled about data usage. Avast plans potential legal action, asserting its commitment to user privacy. This comes after a USD 16.5 million fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and restrictions on selling user data for advertising. Avast, now part of Gen Digital, faces challenges both in the Czech Republic and the U.S.

CULTURE Prague opens exhibit on Roma Holocaust survivors

An exhibition at Prague’s Clam-Gallas Palace tells the stories of six Roma and Sinti Holocaust survivors from the concentration camp in Lety near Pisek. The exhibit, opening to the public until June 30, features personal items and authentic family photographs to humanize the victims’ experiences. The camp, initially a forced labor facility, later became an internment camp where hundreds perished. A memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti is under construction at the site.

Inspirational Czechs PM Fiala honors Milada Horáková's daughter

Prime Minister Petr Fiala awarded Jana Kánská, daughter of executed Czech politician Milada Horáková, the Karel Kramář Medal for supporting democracy and Czech-U.S. relations. Horáková was executed in 1950 by the Communist regime. Fiala praised Kánská,'s efforts to foster bilateral ties. The medal, named after Czechoslovakia’s first prime minister, is the highest honor bestowed by the prime minister. Fiala’s visit to the U.S. included a meeting with Czech expatriates and plans to attend an NHL hockey game in Washington.

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