Czech news in brief for December 6: Wednesday's top headlines

Tram collision in Prague leaves three injured, Czech labor minister proposes minimum wage hike, and Schwarzenberg coffin to go on display today from noon. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 06.12.2023 09:01:00 (updated on 06.12.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

culture UNESCO adds Czech glassmaking to cultural heritage list

The Czech Republic has successfully added handmade glass production to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list. The proposal was approved by the intergovernmental committee, with the participation of five other European countries. This brings the total number of Czech traditions on the UNESCO list to nine.

Glass production is a significant industry in the country, with over 5,000 professionals working in glass factories, workshops, and studios. The recognition of Czech glassmaking highlights its historical importance and quality craftsmanship. The Czech Minister of Culture, Martin Baxa, expressed his delight at the international recognition and emphasized the need for continued support and promotion of traditional glass production.

people Hundreds of people pay last respects to late Karel Schwarzenberg

Hundreds of people gathered at the Church of Our Lady under the Chain in Prague's Malá Strana to honor the memory of the late Karel Schwarzenberg. The coffin with Schwarzenberg's remains is on public display in the church until Saturday when a state funeral will be held at St. Vitus Cathedral.

Visitors receive memorial cards with prayers and Schwarzenberg's photo. The church features donations for Ukraine and the Order of the Knights of Malta, as well as floral decorations and a guard of honor. After the funeral, Schwarzenberg's remains will be placed in the family tomb at Orlík Castle.

local Oh Deer Bakery to close its Prague stores

Prague's beloved Oh Deer Bakery, known for its unique croissants-donuts called Croblihy, will unfortunately be closing down. The bakery's three locations will open their doors to customers for the last time on Dec. 15.

The bakery's founder, Lukáš Vašek, announced this sad news today on the bakery's Facebook account. He mentioned that his burnout led to the decision to transfer production to others, but unfortunately, there were more frequent instances of customer dissatisfaction under the new management.

education Czech students score above average in PISA testing

Czech pupils' math skills have declined since 2018 but remain above average in international testing, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results. The results, presented by chief school inspector Tomas Zatloukal, highlighted the impact of socioeconomic backgrounds on student performance and noted that the Covid-19 pandemic and school closures also affected outcomes.

Czech students performed well in science and reading literacy, but their math literacy was the worst since 2003. The average results of most participating countries worsened over the years, and the Czech Republic had the lowest result in 2022. Changes in basic math skills success and disparities in family background impact were also observed.

EU Only 28 percent of Czech interested in EP elections

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, Czechs have the least interest in the upcoming European Parliament elections, with only 28 percent showing interest. The survey, conducted in late September and early October, included over 26,000 participants, 1,013 of whom were from the Czech Republic.

While voter turnout in the country during the previous European Parliament election in 2019 was one of the lowest in the EU, only 25 percent of Czechs consider voting in the EP elections to be quite important. Additionally, only 48 percent of Czechs follow EU politics. The survey also revealed that 57 percent of Czechs disagreed with the idea of speeding up EU enlargement efforts in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

crime Czech-Ukrainian gang accused of stealing CZK 123 million

Dozens of people from Czechia and Ukraine have been accused by the Czech police of stealing CZK 123 million from online second-hand shop sellers. The thieves created fake websites of shipping companies and banks to obtain access to victims' internet banking. The gangs targeted ordinary people selling items on platforms such as Bazos, Vinted, Sbazar, and Facebook Marketplace.

The number of people charged has not been specified, and victims come from Czechia, Poland, and Hungary. The investigation involves cooperation with Ukrainian police. Perpetrators face up to 12 years in prison for various charges related to fraud and unauthorized access to computer systems.

Politics Labor minister proposes CZK 1,600 minimum wage hike

Czech Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Marian Jurečka, is proposing a minimum wage increase of CZK 1,600 to CZK 18,900 from January, aiming to stabilize it at 45 percent of the average wage in the coming years. The formula for subsequent increases will be adjusted according to the Labor Code starting in 2025.

The current minimum wage rose by CZK 1,100 to CZK 17,300 in January. The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions calls for a CZK 2,200 increase for the next year, while employers suggest a CZK 1,000 growth. Adequate minimum wages in the EU are guided by a directive adopted last year.

Accident Tram collides with three people at Národní třída

Emergency responders rushed to the scene of a pedestrian collision with a tram in Prague yesterday evening. Two people, a husband and wife aged 50-60, were trapped under the tram with multiple injuries. Their 30-year-old daughter suffered a head injury. All three were transported to the hospital.

The accident occurred near the National Theatre at 5:10 p.m., shutting down tram lines for over an hour as firefighters worked to free the two wedged under the vehicle. Police are investigating the cause of the collision between the tram and the pedestrians on the busy route.

In Memoriam Schwarzenberg coffin to go on display in Malá Strana today

The late Karl Schwarzenberg, former Czech diplomat and senator, will lie in state in Prague's Church of the Knights of Malta in Malá Strana Wednesday through Friday before his state funeral Saturday at St. Vitus Cathedral. Boy Scouts and soldiers will guard his closed casket.

Instead of flowers, mourners can donate to charities for Ukraine's defense or the Knights of Malta. The cathedral funeral will be invitation-only but screened outside for others to view the farewell of the nobleman from one of Europe's oldest families, who Schwarzenberg, 85, died Nov. 12 in Vienna.

Consumers Food prices set to jump by seven percent

Czech food prices are expected to increase by 7 percent starting next January, according to Trade Association President Tomáš Prouza. While suppliers plan to raise prices to 10 percent, reduced VAT will lower costs by 3 points. However, Prouza notes if suppliers hike food by 10 percent, prices will still climb by 7 percent due to rising energy and labor costs for producers.

The Czech Statistical Office shows that, for example, the average price of flour rose by 17 percent from last January to October of this year, and by almost a third for bread. The average price of eggs was higher by 38 percent, and the average price of sugar rose by 60 percent. 

Infographic: Pravo
Infographic: Pravo

Sports Czech forward Hertl hits hat trick, lifts sharks to OT win

Tomáš Hertl notched three goals to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The Czech star completed his sixth career hat trick with two empty-net goals in the final minute of regulation to tie the game.

His teammate William Eklund then finished off the comeback in overtime. Earlier, Hertl scored the Sharks' first goal to knot the score at 1-1. San Jose rallied from a 4-1 deficit on the strength of Hertl's late heroics. He was named the first star of the game.

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