Czech news in brief for June 7: Friday's top headlines

Train corridor reopens after fatal crash, Czechs begin voting for EU parliament today, and Prague prepared to support new refugee wave. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 07.06.2024 09:09:00 (updated on 07.06.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

EU Czechia will observe May 1 as EU accession day

Czech President Petr Pavel signed an amendment establishing May 1 as a commemorative day marking Czechia's accession to the European Union, in addition to Labor Day, starting next year. European Affairs Minister Martin Dvořák noted this change celebrates the 20th anniversary of Czechia's EU membership and reflects the country's pro-Western orientation alongside its NATO membership, commemorated on March 12.

Legislation Pavel signs new law redefining rape

Czech President Petr Pavel signed a law redefining rape as any non-consensual sexual act, aligning with the "no means no" principle. Effective January, the amendment broadens the definition to include gestures and victim's defenselessness. It also mandates that sexual acts with children under 12 be considered rape or sexual assault. The new law aims to improve victim support and reporting rates.

Sports Czech kayaker places in slalom World Cup

Top Czech kayaker Antonie Galušková finished sixth at the World Cup in water slalom in Prague. Gabriela Satková placed eighth and Kateřina Beková tenth. Twenty-year-old Frenchwoman Emma Vuitton won, edging out Australia's Jessica Fox by 0.17 seconds despite Fox's four penalty seconds. Jakub Krejčí was the sole Czech in the men's final, with Olympian Jiří Prskavec and 2022 world champion Vít Přindiš eliminated in qualification.

SAFETY Third of Czech locomotives have ETCS security

Over 730 railway vehicles in Czechia are now equipped with the European Train Control System security system (ETCS), about a third of the planned 2,000 by 2030. Nearly 570 vehicles have the system active. The RegioJet train involved in a fatal collision in Pardubice had ETCS but it was not switched on. The ETCS system, aimed at improving rail safety, will be mandatory on main lines by Jan. 1, 2025.

Collision Train corridor reopens after fatal crash

The railway corridor through Pardubice has reopened on one track at a limited speed following a fatal collision on Wednesday night. An express passenger train collided head-on with a freight train, resulting in four deaths and over 20 injuries. Reported damage exceeds CZK110 million. Train operations were suspended overnight for cleanup and repairs, with services resuming this morning.

Twenty-seven people were hospitalized after a fatal train collision in Pardubice that killed four and injured over 20. Hospitals in Pardubice, Chrudim, and Hradec Králové admitted the wounded, the majority of which suffered from head and cervical spine injuries, concussions, and bruises. Some have been discharged. The accident involved a RegioJet express and a freight train; the driver ran a stop sign but realized his mistake before the collision and stopped the train, according to video footage.

Elections Czechs begin voting for EU parliament today

Czechs begin voting today to elect representatives to the European Parliament for the next five years. Voters have 30 candidate parties, movements, or coalitions to choose from. Polling stations, totaling approximately 14,800, are open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Results will be announced Sunday night after all EU polls close. The election will shape future European regulations affecting Czech laws.

Ukraine Prague prepared to support new refugee wave

Prague is prepared for a potential new wave of Ukrainian refugees if the Russian-Ukrainian war escalates, Deputy Mayor Jiří Pospíšil announced. In collaboration with UNICEF, the city has already aided around 50,000 refugees, including 27,000 children, with efforts totaling hundreds of millions of crowns. The support, distributed through city districts and NGOs, includes accommodation, education, and information services. Despite the assistance, Prague faces challenges with insufficient school capacities, noted the city's Ukraine coordinator. Over 90,000 Ukrainians are currently registered in Prague.

Debate Party leaders call for EU climate measures review

In a Czech Television pre-election debate, party leaders agreed on revising EU climate measures but blamed each other for their unrealistic nature. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) criticized former PM Andrej Babiš’s government for approving climate targets. At the same time, ANO’s Karel Havlíček faulted the government for missing a chance to amend the Green Deal. SPD’s Tomio Okamura called for the entire exit of the Green Deal, while Pirate Party leader Ivan Bartoš argued that funding was available for ecological initiatives.

Society Poll: 40 percent of Czechs keep their old phones

Four in ten Czechs keep old mobile phones in drawers instead of recycling them, according to an Ipsos poll. One-third recycle their old phones properly, while 4 percent dispose of them in mixed waste. People replace personal phones every three years and company phones every two years. While 47 percent know how to recycle old phones, 40 percent do not. Eighty percent of Czechs own smartphones.

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