Czech news in brief for January 14: Sunday's top headlines

Czech PM congratulates Pirate leader on re-election, Fourteen Czechs competing in Australian Open, and more weekend headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 14.01.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 14.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

RIP Czech actress Jana Hlaváčová passes away at 85

Renowned Czech theater and film actress Jana Hlaváčová passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday evening. Hlaváčová, a prominent figure at the National Theater and Vinohrady Theatre, played numerous roles in her illustrious career, earning various accolades and awards.

Hlaváčová was known for her work in director Dušan Klein's Poets film series and various TV roles, and also made a significant impact in dubbing and radio, thanks to her distinctive voice. Hlaváčová had battled Parkinson's disease in recent years.

Business Largest Czech e-shop reports drop in profit

After years of robust growth,, the largest Czech online retailer, saw a significant fall in profit in 2022, reports Seznam Zprávy. The company's profit reached CZK 654 million after taxation compared to the previous year's record of CZK 2.5 billion. A sales decline was less severe, totaling CZK 42.3 billion crowns in 2022, down from CZK 45.9 billion in 2021.

The impact of inflation and the Ukraine war prompted to focus on cost reduction and enhanced customer service. The introduction of the AlzaPlus+ service, coupled with an expanded AlzaBox delivery network, aimed to mitigate the effects of declining demand. The company also donated a record CZK 55.8 million to charity in 2022.

Sports Skier Ester Ledecká posts best result since injury

Three-time Olympic champion Ester Ledecká posted her best result in the skiing World Cup since recovering from a collarbone injury, finishing eleventh in the super giant slalom in Zauchensee. Ledecká, who started 29th, held a lead of four hundredths over the leader Lara Gutova-Behrami at the second interval but ultimately lost by 63 hundredths to the Swiss skier.

This performance follows her 24th place in the downhill event. Ledecká expressed satisfaction with her race and acknowledged ongoing improvements in her form. Lara Gutova-Behrami's victory marked her 40th World Cup win. Tereza Nová, the second Czech representative, secured the 41st place.

Sports Three Czechs advance on opening day Australian Open

Tomáš Macháč, Barbora Krejčíková, and Brenda Fruhvirtová have advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. Macháč defeated Shintaro Mochizuki 7-5, 6-1, 7-5, Krejčíková overcame Mai Hontama 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, and 16-year-old Fruhvirtová secured a victory against Ana Bogdan 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, marking her very first win in a Grand Slam tournament.

Of the four Czechs to play today, only Sára Bejlek faced defeat at the hands of Leylah Fernandez. Krejčíková, after a challenging match, expresses determination and looks forward to the next round against Tamara Korpatsch. Fruhvirtová will potentially face defending champion Aryna Sabalenka. Macháč will next challenge either Frances Tiafoe or Borna Ćorić.

International Czech leaders congratulate Taiwan after election

Czech President Petr Pavel and other politicians have congratulated Taiwan on the election of President William Lai. Pavel expresses confidence in the continued development of relations with Taiwan. Senate speaker Miloš Vystrčil and Chamber of Deputies head Markéta Pekárová Adamová, along with other government officials, commend Taiwan's fair and free election.

Vystrčil emphasizes admiration for Taiwan's commitment to democracy, while Pekárová Adamová sees it as a fundamental difference from communist totalitarianism. MPs and committee members anticipate deepening cooperation between the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Jiří Růžička views Lai's victory as great news for the democratic world and a setback for communist China.

Politics Pirate Party elects four women to top positions

In Brno, the Czech Pirate Party elected four women to deputy leadership positions, reshaping their leadership lineup. MP Klára Kocmanová is the new first deputy chairwoman, MEP Markéta Gregorová is the second, while regional politicians Jana Holomčíková Leitnerová and Dominika Poživilová Michailidu assume the third and fourth roles.

Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš retained his chairmanship. Kocmanová and Gregorová secured strong mandates, emphasizing shared values and the party's vital role against far-right forces. The Pirates elected the four deputy heads through three rounds of voting, with Holomčíková Leitnerová and Poživilová Michailidu emerging victorious.

Politics PM Fiala congratulates re-elected Pirate leader

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Ivan Bartoš, Deputy PM and Pirates Party leader, on his re-election on Saturday. Fiala expressed eagerness for continued collaboration. Christian Democrat Chairman Marian Jurecka also praised the decision, foreseeing stability in the government coalition.

Bartoš secured the Pirate Party leadership for another two years, prevailing in the second round of voting. MEP Marketa Gregorova acknowledged a fair competition. Bartoš previously led the Pirates from 2009 to 2014 and resumed the role in 2016. His mandate extends until the next parliamentary elections in the fall.

Sports Fourteen Czechs competing in Australian Open

On the opening day of the Australian Open, four Czech tennis players, including ninth-seeded Barbora Krejčíková, are set to compete. Krejčíková, the 2021 French Open winner, faces Japan's Mai Hontama. Other Czechs playing today include Tomáš Macháč, Sára Bejlek, and Brenda Fruhvirtová, who successfully qualified for the tournament.

Bejlek will play against the thirty-second seeded Leylah Fernandez, while Fruhvirtová will face Romanian Ana Bogdanova. In total, fourteen Czech players are participating in the Australian Open, with Karolína Muchová and Petra Kvitová absent due to injury and pregnancy, respectively.

Politics Fiala skeptical about V4 Prime Ministers meeting

Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic expressed skepticism about a potential meeting between the Prime Ministers of the Visegrád Group (V4) at the Pirate Party forum in Brno on Saturday. Despite the Czech Republic chairing the group, Fiala has not yet convened a meeting at the prime ministerial level. He justified this decision based on ongoing negotiations at the European Council meetings.

While Fiala acknowledged the importance of V4 cooperation at various levels, he emphasized the need for prerequisites to be met before organizing a high-level meeting. Fiala is awaiting developments at the upcoming EU summit on February 1 before deciding on a V4 prime ministers meeting.

Economy Czechs boost household savings amid uncertainty

A recent survey conducted by debt management company KRUK revealed a notable increase in Czech households with savings for unforeseen circumstances. The percentage rose to 71 percent in the fall of 2023, up from 69 percent in 2022. The study also highlighted an uptick in households with savings equivalent to at least three months' income, climbing from 25 percent to 28 percent.

The gender savings gap narrowed, with 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women reporting having savings. Young adults (18-24) and individuals aged 45-54 showed higher rates of savings, while education levels and regions influenced the prevalence of financial reserves.

Health New amendment to affect stays in medical facilities

The Czech Ministry of Labour has submitted a draft amendment proposing the integration of health and social services in the Czech Republic, with plans to implement the changes starting next year. The amendment would affect stays in hospitals, long-term care facilities, homes for the elderly, and mental health centers.

Notably, from 2027 onwards, patients staying in long-term care facilities for more than three months may be required to cover the costs themselves. The move aims to address the issue of "social hospitalizations" and ensure a comprehensive range of care services. The proposed amendment has faced criticism, with concerns about its potential impact on elderly residents and the quality of care.

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