Czech news in brief for December 11: Monday's top headlines

Hockey legend Jaromír Jágr teases return to the ice, Czech MPs to meet for final session of 2023, and more Monday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 11.12.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 11.12.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

international Russia accuses "Czech resident" of attempted murder

Russian authorities accused a "Czech resident" living in Crimea of attempted murder, as they dismantled a network of Ukrainian intelligence aides planning attacks in the Russian-occupied peninsula. The accused, who lived in Simferopol, is said to have attempted to murder a soldier. The Czech Foreign Ministry has stated that it has not been contacted regarding this case.

Multiple individuals have been detained or convicted by Russian authorities, while Ukrainian authorities have yet to comment on the allegations. The FSB intelligence service and the Investigative Committee claim to have stopped an intelligence network planning acts of sabotage and terrorism against state authorities, military personnel, and infrastructure.

diplomacy President Pavel meets Georgian counterpart in Prague

Czech President Petr Pavel expressed support for Georgia's EU membership aspirations during a meeting with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili in Prague. They discussed Georgia's efforts to integrate with Europe and the situation in the South Caucasus region. Pavel emphasized the importance of supporting European countries that are still outside the EU system.

He also highlighted the need for stronger education and business relations with countries like Georgia to prevent rival powers from filling the vacuum. Pavel's invitation to Zourabichvili aimed to show support for Georgia's European path ahead of the European Council's decision on candidate status.

business Business group severs ties with Czech Olympic Committee

The CPI Property Group, owned by billionaire Radovan Vítek, has severed ties with the Czech Olympic Committee (COV) in response to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to allow neutral Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The COV disagrees with this decision due to ongoing military aggression by Russia in Ukraine. The CPI Property Group has called on other partners of the COV to follow suit. The group believes that the IOC has capitulated to the Russian and Belarusian regimes. The termination of cooperation is not aimed at the athletes but at the morally questionable decision of the Olympic Games organizer.

defense Chef army head doesn't rule out war with Russia

Chief of the Czech Army, Karel Řehka, says that while war with Russia is not likely now, it is not unimaginable either. An agreement will not prevent conflict, only deterrence, he added.

Řehka emphasizes the need to continue supporting Ukraine, which Russia invaded last February. He also warns of Russia's war economy, use of nuclear threats, and attempts to destabilize regions. The goal of disinformation, he believes, is to create uncertainty and mistrust. To counter that, Řehka calls for open discussion and preparedness.

society Court increases compensation for evicted Roma families

The Supreme Court has increased compensation for Roma families who were forced to move out of Vsetín in 2006. The court ruled that the disintegration of one family and severed ties warranted higher compensation.

Some families will receive amounts ranging from CZK 10,000 to 95,000. The court also annulled part of the ruling on the costs of the proceedings. The city of Vsetín had evicted the Roma families from a dilapidated building and they ended up in container houses or old houses outside the region.

sports Ski season in Czechia off to promising start

The ski season in the Czech Republic is off to a strong start, with thousands of people hitting the slopes and cross-country trails over the weekend. Ski resorts such as Ještěd and Harrachov are already in full operation, while others like Rokytnice nad Jizerou and Černá Říčka will open next weekend. Despite expected warmer weather, ski area operators believe the snow conditions will remain decent.

Over the weekend, various ski areas in the Krkonoše and Jizerské hory mountains opened, attracting skiers with a range of slopes. The ski season has also begun in the Karlovy Vary region and Moravian-Silesian Beskyd Mountains.

Politics Political dissent surging in Czechia, says news survey

Notably, the youngest demographic experienced a 20-point drop in satisfaction. Even supporters of the ruling coalition express dissatisfaction, with 46 percent of Civic Democratic Party backers and 63 percent of Pirates sharing negative views. The survey involved 1,200 participants from Nov. 13 to Dec. 1.

A recent survey by Kantar reveals a surge in political discontent in the Czech Republic, with only 16 percent satisfied with the political situation in November, the lowest since early 2021. Eighty percent of respondents perceive the political climate as unfavorable, a significant decline from the October poll's 22 percent positive rating. None find the situation "very good," and 35 percent consider it "rather bad," while 45 percent label it "very bad."

Traffic Bus-truck collision closes D8 in the direction of Prague

A collision between a bus and a truck closed the D8 highway in the direction of Prague, near Úžice and Zdiby. The accident occurred at the sixth kilometer, resulting in three injuries. The bus driver sustained moderate injuries, the tractor driver was airlifted to the hospital, and one passenger suffered minor injuries. Firefighters rescued one person from the bus.

The road remains closed, causing a delay of approximately an hour and a half. The incident was reported by the NDIC just before 2 am. An evacuation bus transported passengers, and replacement buses arrived later. The accident caused significant traffic disruption.

weather Warmer days and rain ahead for Czechia

Temperatures are expected to rise this week in the Czech Republic, reaching up to nine degrees above zero, with a chance of dropping below zero on Friday during the day. According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, rain or sleet is anticipated, with snow likely in higher altitudes. Night temperatures will range from almost minus six to over seven degrees above zero, causing icy conditions in some areas.

Daily temperatures will range between five and nine degrees above zero, with rain in some places and potential snow in elevations above 1,000 meters. Warmer conditions are expected over the weekend, reaching five to nine degrees. Cloudy and rainy skies are forecasted for most of the week, with a higher likelihood of snow in mountainous regions on Thursday and Friday.

Shopping Coffee machines, perfume among popular Czech Christmas gifts

Despite a later start to Christmas shopping and a focus on saving, the gift selection in the Czech Republic remains traditional this year. Popular choices include mobile phones, coffee machines, perfumes, construction kits, game consoles, and plush toys.

Merchants note increased interest in promotional offers, while e-shops report a surge in purchases during Black Friday sales. Some retailers, including Notino and, highlight perfumes, mobile phones, smartwatches, and gadgets among the most sought-after gifts.

Sports Hockey legend Jaromír Jágr teases return to the ice

In an exhibition match commemorating the 120th anniversary of Sparta Prague over the weekend, legendary hockey player Jaromír Jágr showcased his skills, leading a collection of retired Czech and Slovak stars to a 5-3 victory. Despite enjoying the game, the 51-year-old owner of the Kladno Knights in the Czech Extraliga remained tight-lipped about a potential return to playing.

"During [the] national team break, I'll see if I'll re-join the team or not," Jágr stated when asked about a return to playing after the game. Reflecting on the match, Jágr praised the opponents, expressing surprise at the good form of the retired players. The exhibition's relaxed nature allowed him to have fun playing alongside some former teammates.

Politics Czech MPs to meet for final session of 2023

Czech Members of Parliament will convene this week for the final regular session of the year. The agenda includes discussions on various key legislative matters. Proposed topics for deliberation encompass increased penalties for failing to record medications in pharmacies, modifications in the appointment and dismissal procedures for chief public prosecutors, and the tightening of regulations against money laundering.

Additional proposals involve the growth of foster parent rewards, expanding the rights of suspects under the age of 15, and refining the definition of classified information. The session, commencing on Tuesday afternoon, aims to address non-controversial issues as the Christmas season approaches.

Economy Czech inflation slowed to seven percent in November

Year-on-year inflation in the Czech Republic is expected to slow to seven percent in November from October's 8.5 percent, according to analysts. The decrease is attributed to a significant reduction in fuel prices and a slight downturn in food prices. Analysts anticipate a slight decrease in year-on-year inflation in December, followed by a sharp drop to three percent in January.

For the whole year of 2023, analysts from the Czech Ministry of Finance and the Czech National Bank estimate average inflation to be slightly below 11 percent. In 2022, annual inflation was 15.1 percent, and for the next year, the Ministry of Finance expects an average inflation of 3.3 percent, while the Czech National Bank expects 2.6 percent.

Animals Prague Zoo moves forward with new enclosure for polar bears

Despite public criticism, Prague City Council is not canceling the Arctic project at the Prague Zoo, which is estimated to cost CZK 1.2 billion Czech crowns. Antonín Klecanda, councilor for education, acknowledged the need for funding schools but suggested saving money by shortening metro D rather than canceling the Arctic project.

The former head of Transparency International, David Ondráčka, called the situation absurd in the current budgetary context. The proposed Arctic exhibit is expected to occupy over 8,000 square meters and includes areas for polar bears and seals. The estimated cost increased from CZK 870 million to CZK 1.2 billion, approved in November by Prague councilors, citing inflation and rising construction costs.

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