Czech news in brief for March 29: Friday's top headlines

Czechia finalizes ammo agreement with 15 other countries, Fiala casts doubt over Putin's no-invasion pledge, and Easter reservations at restaurants slump. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.03.2024 09:03:00 (updated on 29.03.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

ROAD SAFETY Police increase traffic checks over Easter

Czech police will increase road and highway patrols during the Easter holidays to monitor traffic throughout the country. The influx of holiday travelers and events can lead to heavier traffic and potential traffic violations. Police will be present from Friday until Monday to promote road safety and focus on high-traffic areas, tourist attractions, and potential hazards. Hana Rubášová, spokesperson for the police presidium, states that officers will check speed limits, seat belt usage, and other vehicle conditions.

Weather Czechia to get warm weather and Saharan dust

Meteorologists from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) predict an above-average warm long weekend with temperatures ranging from 18 to 23 degrees Celsius, and possibly even reaching 25 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country on Saturday. The ČHMÚ also notes that Sahara dust may affect temperatures and create colorful sunrises and sunsets. The dust is expected to pass over the Czech Republic this weekend. Prague is due to see maximum daytime temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius on Saturday, 19 degrees on Sunday, and 17 degrees on Easter Monday.

CINEMA Palestine film gets top spot at One World festival

Palestinian director Mohamed Jabaly's Life Is Beautiful film has won the top award at the 2024 One World (Jeden svět) International Human Rights Film Festival, non-governmental organization People in Need announced today. The jury awarded the directing prize to Kumjana Novakova for Silence of Reason, while the audience chose My New Face by Jarmila Stukova as their favorite documentary. President Petr Pavel attended the award ceremony. Life is Beautiful follows a Gazan filmmaker in exile in Norway, highlighting the struggles of statelessness and bureaucracy.

LAW Police file criminal case in hospital blunder

Prague police announced Friday afternoon on social media site X that they are looking into a case involving the mistaken identity between two women at Bulovka University Hospital, which saw a woman receive an abortion without her knowledge or wish. Police say they have launched criminal proceedings to investigate the patient mix-up. A legal representative of one of the patients came forward to the police today. The other patient has still not contacted the authorities.

MILITARY Czechia leads ammo deal for Ukraine

Italian news daily Corriere della Sera reports that the Czech Republic, along with 15 other nations, has finalized contracts for supplying artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The agreements, totaling approximately EUR 1.8 billion (CZK 45.3 billion), were signed by the Prague government. Deliveries are set to commence in April. Originally planning to acquire 800,000 rounds, the Czech Republic ultimately procured an additional 200,000 units. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Czech Republic ostensibly procured ammunition from countries in the Global South that have extensive stockpiles from the Soviet era.

CONSUMER TRENDS Fewer people to eat at restaurants this Easter

According to the president of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, Václav Starek, Easter reservations in the Czech Republic have decreased by around 20 percent compared to last year due to people still saving and less interest in dining out after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Luboš Kastner from the Czech Gastronomic Institute expects a slight increase in attendance compared to last week, but it may still be lower than last year's 17 percent.

TRANSPORT More Czechs using Bolt and Uber abroad

Czechs are increasingly using ride-sharing apps like Bolt and Uber while traveling abroad during spring weekends, according to the companies. Bolt saw a 30 percent annual increase in usage from Czech users in the second quarter of last year, and a 70 percent increase overall in 2023. Uber also reports a rise in demand, particularly in countries such as the UK, Poland, Germany, Portugal, and France. According to Bolt, warmer weather and lower off-season prices attract Czechs to short weekend stays in European capitals in the spring.

WAR Fiala dismisses Putin's comments on invasion

Prime Minister Petr Fiala cautioned against trusting Russian President Vladimir Putin's assurances earlier this week that Russia would not invade Czechia or other NATO countries. Fiala made reference to Putin’s sustained track record of volatile behavior and unprovoked aggression. Defense Minister Jana Černochová similarly echoed skepticism – she emphasized Putin's history of deceit, recalling his false assurances before the invasion of Ukraine.  "A man who calls an offensive war a special military operation cannot be trusted. So I am not analyzing Putin's statements, but his actions. And they lead me to be extremely wary of him and Russia," said Interior Minister Vít Rakušan.

PENSIONS Pavel admits that pension reform is needed

President Petr Pavel announced a shift in pension reform negotiations between the coalition and opposition ANO at Prague Castle Thursday. Both sides agree on the need for pension system adjustments and raising the retirement age. ANO proposes a second pension pillar with state-backed savings. The debate in parliament resumes April 22, said Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka. Pension expenses, constituting a third of state spending, surged to CZK 685.3 billion last year, up by CZK 97.2 billion from 2022.

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