Czech news in brief for March 4: Monday's top headlines

Czechia has met euro adoption criteria six times, more Czechs traveling abroad for Easter this year, and more Monday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 04.03.2024 08:30:00 (updated on 04.03.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

INDUSTRIAL ACTION New farmers' protest to happen Thursday

On Thursday, March 7, farmers in Prague will hold protests, according to the president of the Agrarian Chamber Jan Doležal and chairman of the Agricultural Union Martin Pýcha. The protests will include a demonstration in front of the government office and a tractor convoy through Prague. Although the government has met some of their demands, farmers still feel they are not receiving enough support and are burdened by bureaucracy. Negotiations have therefore broken down.

LAW Czechia joins countries demanding Navalny probe

At the UN Human Rights Council, a group of 40 countries including Czechia has urged Russia to allow an independent international investigation into the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The call was made by Lotte Knudsen, head of the EU delegation to the UN. Navalny, Putin's most vocal critic, died in prison on February 16 and many believe he was murdered. The EU already called on Moscow in February to allow an independent and transparent international investigation into the oppositionist's death, but the Kremlin refused. 

health Whooping cough on the rise in Czechia

The State Health Institute has reported a sharp increase in whooping cough cases in Czechia. In the past week, 449 cases were reported, surpassing the total number of cases in the past four years combined. Patients range in age from infants to 96 years old, with the highest rate of infection among 15-19-year-olds. Despite the whooping cough vaccine being mandatory for babies, 36 cases have been reported in children under one year of age in 2024.

corruption EU: Czechia must do more to combat corruption

According to the Council of Europe's anti-corruption group GRECO, the Czech Republic needs to take strong action to prevent corruption among lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors. While the country has effective laws in place for combating corruption in top executive positions, there is a lack of focus on training, monitoring, and enforcing these rules. GRECO has continuously assessed the Czech Republic and recommends that they identify and address risks to the integrity of top officials, such as through analyzing and establishing clear rules for the appointment of ministerial advisors.

WEATHER Winter in 2023/24 warmest and wettest in 60+ years

According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the winter of 2023/2024 in the Czech Republic was the second warmest and wettest since 1961. The average temperature from December to February was 2.4 degrees, with only the winter of 2006/2007 being warmer. An average of 203 millimeters of precipitation fell, with an exceptionally warm February and precipitation-rich December contributing to the above-average conditions. Compared to the normal from 1991 to 2020, the average temperature was 3.1 degrees higher, with February being the warmest month on record since 1961.

Russia-ukraine Macron and Pavel to discuss supplies for Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Prague on Tuesday will provide an opportunity to discuss military assistance initiatives for Ukraine, including the Czech plan to purchase ammunition from non-EU countries. This visit follows Czech President Petr Pavel's trip to France in December. During a visit to Luxembourg a few days ago, Pavel confirmed that 15 countries, including France, have joined the initiative to secure ammunition for Ukraine.

Money Czechia has met euro adoption criteria six times

In its 20-year EU tenure, the Czech Republic has met the economic conditions for adopting the euro six times, most recently in 2018, according to analysis from the Ministry of Finance and Czech National Bank. Though it may meet criteria again this year, entry into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism remains pending. The government aims to reignite debate on euro adoption in Q1 of 2025. Despite improvements, persistent economic disparities with the eurozone pose challenges.

Europe Survey: Half of Czechs happy with EU membership

About half of Czech citizens express satisfaction with their country's membership in the European Union, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos for Czech News Agency. While 13 percent said that they are very satisfied, another 34 percent are somewhat satisfied. Dissatisfaction primarily stems from concerns over restrictions on member state sovereignty, EU migration policies, and excessive regulation. Despite criticisms, many Czechs still view the EU positively, particularly from an economic standpoint.

Archaeology Ancient Czech fort damaged during road expansion

A bulldozer, expanding a forest road in the Rokycany region, unwittingly damaged the prehistoric fort of Radná, causing damages that local archaeologists have labeled a "megadisaster." The fort's walls were breached, and valuable artifacts from the Bronze Age or early Middle Ages were exposed. Mayors from neighboring municipalities were dismayed, with one of them filing a criminal complaint. Police have closed the case without filing charges, as the damage was unintentional.

Travel More Czechs traveling abroad for Easter this year

Easter is drawing more Czech travelers abroad in 2024, with interest in air tickets rising year-on-year, according to ticket sellers surveyed by Czech News Agency. Sales have surged by six to 40 percent compared to 2023. Popular destinations include Spanish cities like Malaga and Valencia, as well as traditional favorites like London, Paris, and Rome. Exotic destinations such as Thailand and Vietnam also saw increased interest, reflecting a broader trend towards more diverse travel choices.

Politics Experts: Pavel has withdrawn from domestic issues

Political scientists have noted President Petr Pavel's reduced involvement in domestic issues, favoring a focus on foreign policy. Initially active with frequent press conferences, Pavel's public presence has diminished over his first year of presidency, with fewer media appearances on local matters. While Pavel maintains media visibility through non-political activities, critics argue that these do not adequately substitute for engagement on substantive domestic issues.

Health Czech Alzheimer's disease cases on the rise

The number of Alzheimer's disease cases are rising in the Czech Republic, as methods of diagnosis have improved in recent years. There are currently more than 70,000 confirmed cases of Alzheimer's disease in the country, but the actual number could be as high as 160,000. A lack of geriatric care hampers support. General practitioners often overlook symptoms, hindering early detection. New drugs showing promise in slowing down Alzheimer's progression await EU approval, potentially available this year.

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