Czech news in brief for January 19: Friday's top headlines

Prague zoo baby gorilla is female, Czech politican sets filibuster record, anonymous list of shooting victims sent to media, and more top headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 19.01.2024 08:11:00 (updated on 19.01.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Accident Tour bus carrying 26 children and car collide

In Nesovice, Vyškovsko, a tour bus and a car collided, injuring the car's driver. The bus, carrying 26 children, was not at fault, but the driver showed a high blood alcohol level according to police on the X social network. The accident occurred before 1 p.m. on Route 50, with the car driver allegedly failing to yield.

Despite the bus driver's alcohol level, passengers, including three adults and the children, were unharmed. Police investigations are ongoing. Firefighters assisted, noting on the X network that they safely removed the children from the bus. Traffic resumed before 5 p.m.

Banking ČSOB online banking outages reported

Czech banks ČSOB is reporting widespread service disruptions this afternoon. The disruptions have reportedly impacted payment terminals and online banking.

The bank posted about the outages on social platform X this afternoon. ČSOB assured clients that it was making ongoing efforts to resolve technical issues.

Economy Czech restaurant prices surge 18 percent

Czech restaurant and bar prices surged by 34 percent from December 2019 to the end of 2023, with a notable 18 percent increase from January to December that year, according to data from the Dotykačka company. The statistics, derived from over 8,000 establishments, form the gastroindex, tracking the top 50 items sold in food and drink outlets.

Despite a nationwide 3 percent year-on-year sales increase in the gastronomy sector, high inflation led to real price decreases for many businesses. The data revealed regional variations, with Prague and Brno driving sector growth, while clubs experienced a 13 percent sales decline in 2023.

Polls ANO party would win December election

In the latest political poll, the ANO movement maintains its lead with 35 percent, while ODS follows with 13 percent, Pirates with 10.5 percent, and SPD with nine percent. STAN and TOP 09 are projected to surpass the five percent threshold for the lower house. ANO's support has remained above 30 percent since September 2022, reaching 35 percent in December.

ODS experienced a 2.5 percentage point decline at year-end. Median's survey suggests six parties would enter the Chamber of Deputies in December 2023, with the government coalition parties holding 38.5 percent support. Voter turnout remains steady at 68.5 percent.

Crime Child rapist's lenient sentence draws outrage

Czechia is under scrutiny for its handling of sexual violence cases, particularly in the recent instance where a man received a suspended sentence for repeated rape and child pornography. The Czech Justice Ministry is now investigating the controversial decision. The Brno Regional Court's justification, citing the perceived lack of severe consequences for the victim, who attempted suicide multiple times, has sparked public outrage.

The ministry has pledged to review the case for potential legal violations, and the Prosecutor General's Office is considering an appeal. A demonstration is planned in front of the ministry to protest the perceived failure of the judicial system in granting justice to victims.

Politics Czech politican sets new filibuster record

Tomio Okamura, leader of the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, set a new parliamentary speech record by speaking for a record-breaking ten hours and 44 minutes in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament. Okamura used his right to the first speech to oppose the coalition's proposal for postal voting for Czechs abroad.

His speech included a historical excursion into Tomas Garrigue Masaryk's conception of democracy, and he promised to continue speaking on Friday. The SPD leader's lengthy speech aimed at obstructing the discussion, and he surpassed his previous record set last year. The Chamber has debated the amendment for about 24.25 hours so far.

Shooting Anonymous list of shooting victims sent to media

The Czech media received an anonymous email containing names and photos of alleged victims from the tragic shooting at the Faculty of Arts in Prague, signed by "mourning students." The email urges the media to publish the victims' stories. Charles University and the Faculty of Arts management said they were not aware of the initiative, with a spokesperson for the university deeming the email unfortunate.

Police find the release problematic legally. A student shot 14 people before taking his own life in December. The university, consulting experts, believes such an email deepens pain. Earlier, media were urged to minimize depictions of victims for remembrance.

Society Majority of Czechs for stricter gun legistlation

A recent survey in the Czech Republic reveals majority support for stricter gun legislation. Median's findings indicate widespread approval of police intervention during the attack on Charles University, with 75 percent considering it "adequate, fast, and professional." Disparities emerge based on education, with lower-educated individuals less likely to approve.

Meanwhile, 77 percent believe active shooter attacks cannot be prevented. Respondents overwhelmingly support measures such as reporting suspicious gun purchases, introducing psychotests for weapon acquisition, and implementing mental health checks for gun owners. Even 80 percent of current or potential gun owners endorse some steps toward stricter regulations.

nature Gorilla cub born in Prague Zoo is female

A female Western lowland gorilla was born at Prague Zoo two weeks ago, confirmed through an umbilical cord blood test. The ten-year-old mother, Duni, daughter of the famous Moya, allows the entire gorilla group to approach the cub as of now. The public can vote on the cub's name from a selection of names suggested by children in Cameroon, Africa.

The cub is thriving, and Prague Zoo, a top destination in the Czech capital, plans for another gorilla cub in approximately three months. This marks a significant addition to the zoo's breeding program, which started in 1963.

Culture Renowned Czech actor dies at 59

Renowned Czech actor Norbert Lichý has passed away at the age of 59, as confirmed by the Petr Bezruč Theater in Ostrava. The family informed the theater of his death, withholding specific details. Born in Ostrava in 1964, Lichý, son of director Saša Lichy, showcased his talent on the Petr Bezruč Theater's stage from a young age.

Known for his unique and memorable performances, Lichý won the Thalia Award in 2009 for his role in "Job." His contributions to both theater and music earned him recognition, making him a prominent figure in the contemporary Ostrava theater scene.

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