Czech news in brief for June 20: Thursday's top headlines

Senate approves record candidates for state honors, 1.2 million watch Czech-Portugal football match, and Prague's Metronome festival begins today. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.06.2024 09:02:00 (updated on 20.06.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

POLITICS Russian spy worked for ForMin-backed paper

According to Czech media outlet Seznam Zprávy, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský will investigate the case of Russian professor Vyacheslav Morozov, who was convicted of espionage in Estonia. The professor formerly headed the editorial board of a magazine published by the Czech Foreign Ministry's Institute of International Relations. The ministry's spokesman, Daniel Drake, stated that they cannot intervene in the institute's personnel matters. The Estonian court sentenced Morozov, a former professor at Tartu University, to six years and three months in prison for cooperating with Russia's GRU military intelligence.

UKRAINE US to give Czechia CZK 122m in Ukraine aid

The U.S. Embassy in Prague has announced that the U.S. is providing USD 5.28 million (approximately CZK 122 million) to international organizations in Czechia aiding Ukrainian refugees. This is part of the USD 379 million (CZK 8.8 billion) in humanitarian assistance that the U.S. is giving this year to address the urgent needs of those affected by Russia's attack on Ukraine. American Ambassador Bijan Sabet states that Czechia has been a leading supporter of Ukrainian refugees since the start of Russia's war. 

RELIGION AND SOCIETY Prague Archbishop against gender change

According to Archbishop Jan Graubner, who spoke with journalists today, gender reassignment is a dangerous trend that is promoted as a solution to personal issues, but ultimately harms healthy bodies. He believes that a person's sex is given, not a choice, and cannot be changed. The recent decision by the Constitutional Court to abolish the requirement for surgery before a sex change will take effect in mid-2025. Graubner also notes a global crisis in understanding the role of gender in society.

PRAGUE 2023 shooting Prague shooter motivated by injustice, hate

According to public prosecutor Jana Murinová, the 24-year-old student behind the Dec. 24 mass shooting at Charles University's Faculty of Arts in Prague had feelings of injustice, resentment, and hatred. He was socially isolated and lacked recognition, leading to a fascination with violence and guns. Psychological assessments showed he had no serious disorders or addictions, but his moral values crumbled, causing him to seek revenge. He struggled with communication and family relationships, unable to address his problems, Murinová said this afternoon.

TRAGEDY Child dies in car explosion in Croatia

A child was killed and two Czech women seriously injured when a car carrying Czech tourists exploded near Obrovac, Croatia, on Wednesday. The cause is unclear, with officials investigating scenarios including an explosive device or unexploded mine. The car, owned by a Czech, had stopped due to a breakdown. A child died at the scene, while two women and a man were hospitalized, with the man later released. The Czech Foreign Ministry is in contact with Croatian investigators.

TRAGEDY Falling tree kills man in Moravia

Powerful storms that hit the Moravia-Silesia region of the Czech Republic on Wednesday night left one person dead after a tree fell, authorities said. The storms caused widespread damage, knocking down trees and power lines and disrupting rail and road traffic in the region. Firefighters responded to around 600 calls related to the storms, which swept the area from west to east.

Politics Senate approves record candidates for state honors

The Senate approved a record 124 candidates for state decorations, including Jan Kubiš and Adolf Opálka, involved in the assassination of Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, and members of the anti-communist Mašín brothers group. Other nominees include Czechoslovak Red Cross founder Alice Masaryková, architect Eva Jiřičná, and painter Josef Lada. The Senate rejected nominating Bernd Posselt. The awards, decided by the president, are typically given on Oct. 28.

Shooting Findings in university shooting to be reviewed

The Parliamentary Security Committee will review the findings from the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS) on the December shooting at Charles University's Faculty of Arts, which killed 14 and injured 25. The shooter, a 24-year-old student, committed suicide after the attack. Police postponed the case, and it will be further reviewed by the public prosecutor. Charles University has filed a complaint, seeking a more thorough investigation.

Sports 1.2 million watch Czech-Portugal football match

Tuesday's European Football Championship match between the Czech Republic and Portugal drew 1.216 million TV viewers, with a 39.28 percent audience share, Czech Television (ČT) reported. Over two million people watched at least part of the match, with an additional 90,000 online viewers. The Czech Republic lost 1-2. This match was the most-watched of Euro 2024 in Czechia, surpassing all games from Euro 2021.

Employment Program lets Indonesian students work in Czechia

Up to 1,000 Indonesian technical school students can join Czech firms annually under a new program approved by the Czech cabinet to address a skilled labor shortage. Previously, only 150 employment cards were issued to Indonesians each year. The initiative, targeting industries like automotive and steel, requires companies to provide accommodation, training, and other support. The pilot phase last year involved 300 Indonesian workers.

Culture Prague's Metronome festival begins today

The seventh Metronome Prague music and art festival begins today at the Prague Exhibition Center, running through Saturday. British singer Michael Kiwanuka and Czech musician Michael Kocáb, celebrating his 70th birthday, will perform. The festival, in partnership with the student project Kreativní kampus, includes theater and fine art. The evening highlight is British electronic music band Kosheen, celebrating 25 years, with Czech Eurovision contestant Aiko as a special guest.

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