Czech news in brief for May 10: Friday's top headlines

Czech president to attend peace talks, bullying app records over 9,000 reports, and young Czech tennis player suspended over doping. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 10.05.2024 08:05:00 (updated on 10.05.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Czechia starts hunt for ex-Russian spy chief

The Czech police are searching for the former head of the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU) Andrei Averyanov, who is believed to have planned and executed the 2014 ammunition depot explosions in Vrbětice that killed two people. The Czech investigation team has linked GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga to the blasts and also suspects them in the 2018 poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK. The case was previously closed in April, with evidence pointing to the GRU's involvement in the 2014 blasts.

military Czechia gives Ukraine fighter jet simulator

Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk announced on Telegram that Czechia has delivered its first flight simulator for training F-16 fighter pilots to Ukraine. The simulator is currently being tested and will be fully installed to provide realistic training for pilots. This delivery is part of Ukraine's efforts to strengthen its defense against Russian forces, with Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium also providing fighter jets and training. Ukraine is set to receive the F-16 jets later this year.

SPORT Hockey World Championship begins in Prague

The fan zone in front of Prague's O2 arena is full of hockey fans today as the first matches of the World Hockey Championship are set to take place. Fans from different countries are eagerly preparing for the afternoon match between Switzerland and Norway, while Czech fans are looking forward to the evening game against Finland. The fan zone, with a capacity of 7,000 and a big screen, is already full of hundreds of spectators.

AGRICULTURE Farmers announce May 22 protest

The Agrarian Chamber, Agricultural Association, and other agricultural organizations met in Větrný Jeníkov today and agreed that the next protests by Czech farmers will take place in Prague on May 22. Jan Doležal, president of the Agrarian Chamber, stated that these protests will be massive and may not be the last due to the government's lack of action in addressing the difficult situation in the agricultural sector. Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný responded that the protests will not improve the situation and that he is doing his best to help farmers. 


Ukraine Czech president to attend peace talks

President Petr Pavel announced Tuesday that he would attend a peace conference in mid-June in Switzerland, accepting an invitation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The conference, scheduled for June 15-16 in Burgenstock, aims to initiate peace efforts in Ukraine. Over 160 delegations have been invited, with Russia notably excluded. Kyiv has set the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, as a condition for talks. Talks between Ukraine and Russia halted after allegations of Russian atrocities in Kyiv in 2022.

Culture Czech Eurovision contender fails to advance

In the Eurovision TV song contest, Czech Republic's representative Aiko failed to advance to the finals, while Israel's Eden Golan secured a spot despite protests over her participation. Dutch and Swiss representatives also advanced. Golan's entry sparked protests in Malmö, Sweden, over Israel's Gaza operations, leading to heightened security. Alongside them, other finalists include Latvia, Austria, Norway, Greece, Estonia, Georgia, and Armenia, totaling 26 countries in Saturday's final.

Education Bullying app records over 9,000 reports

Czech students have submitted over 9,000 reports via the "Don't Let It Be" (NNTB) app, with roughly half related to bullying, platform representatives disclosed to journalists Tuesday. Approximately 10 percent of the complaints address learning challenges, while another 10 percent cite home-related issues. The remaining 30 percent cover miscellaneous concerns. Last year, the Czech School Inspectorate reported a rise in bullying cases in primary schools, with incidents reported in 57 percent of institutions over the past three years, up from 47 percent in 2015/2016.

Sports Young Czech tennis player suspended over doping

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has provisionally suspended 18-year-old Czech tennis player Nikola Bartůňková for a suspected anti-doping rule violation, the agency announced today. Bartůňková, ranked 282nd in the WTA standings, is barred from competing in tournaments organized by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) since April 16. Test samples from tournaments in Slovakia and Slovenia contained trimetazidine, a prohibited substance.

Economy Czechs' desire to spend is on the rise

Czech retail sales surged 6.1 percent year-on-year in March, fueled by inflation nearing the Czech National Bank's two percent target and real wage growth. Analysts noted a resurgence in household spending, citing a shift from savings to consumption amid inflation stability. Retail sectors, including clothing and household goods, saw notable growth, with online sales up by 14.9 percent. However, some anticipate a slowdown in sales growth in the coming months.

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