Czech news in brief for May 16: Thursday's top headlines

Pavel gives controversial interview with Sky News, Fico undergoes surgery, will recover, and man to plead partial guilt in Czech forest fire.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 16.05.2024 09:05:00 (updated on 16.05.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

DRUGS Schoolgirl collapses after eating toxic candy

A second grader at an elementary school in Hradec Králové collapsed today after eating legally sold gelatin candies containing the toxic substance muscimol. The schoolgirl felt ill during class and was taken to the toilet by her classmates, who called for help after class. According to Czech media outlet iRozhlas.cz, school director Martina Škultétyová stated that the school has limited authority to prevent such incidents, and preventionist Jana Volfová emphasized the importance of parental involvement in addressing the issue.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS Czech police to boost security after Fico shooting

In light of the attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, the Czech police have increased vigilance and surveillance at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague and Ostrava. There will be increased police controls in busy areas in and around the stadia. There is currently no information about a similar threat on Czech territory, but the police are closely monitoring the situation and evaluating potential risks. The Slovak embassy in Prague has also seen increased surveillance since Wednesday.

prague news End date of Barrandov Bridge repair pushed back

The repair of the Barrandov Bridge in Prague will not be completed by the originally announced date of late summer, according to the Technical Communications Administration. This is due to the lower-than-expected load-bearing capacity of the original concrete structure on the edge of the bridge, which requires reinforcement. The traffic restrictions currently in place on the bridge will not change. The bridge carries 140,000 cars daily and is divided into two parts, with one already repaired and the other still in progress.

BANKING Big banks' profits in Czechia rise 20 percent

In the first quarter of 2024, the six largest banks in the Czech Republic earned CZK 17.9 billion, a 21-percent increase from the previous year. Analysts credit this rise in profit to higher fees and commissions, as the banks could not generate increased net interest income due to interest rates. The banks also maintained control over costs, contributing to their overall financial success. The state collected approximately CZK 700 million in windfall taxes from these banks, but the finance minister wants to propose reducing their effectiveness for next year.

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Ukraine Pavel gives controversial interview with Sky News

In an interview with British Sky News, Czech President Petr Pavel emphasized the need to halt the war and discuss future arrangements in a Sky News interview. He deemed it “naive” to expect Ukraine to reclaim occupied territories soon and stressed that current Western aid is sufficient for field victories.

Pavel also asserted that NATO soldiers should not engage directly in Ukraine, highlighting the risk of a broader conflict with Russia. Pavel later clarified his statements, which came under scrutiny on X: “I have long stressed the need to support Ukraine by all means in accordance with international law.”

Attack Fico in stable, serious condition after surgery

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot by an attacker in Handlová on Wednesday afternoon following a government meeting, has undergone surgery and will recover, Slovak Environment Minister Tomas Taraba told the BBC. Dennik N reported Fico was conscious after the surgery. Authorities earlier called Fico’s condition life-threatening condition. The suspected attacker, a 71-year-old man, has been arrested. The attack has been condemned by top Slovak, Czech, and world politicians.

Crime Man to plead partial guilt in Czech forest fire

A man accused of starting a massive fire in České Švýcarsko National Park will partially plead guilty in court on Thursday, his defense attorney Vít Pavko said. The former volunteer ranger, facing up to 15 years in prison, admits to starting smaller fires but denies causing the 2022 blaze that destroyed 1,100 hectares and caused 270 million crowns in damage. The Ústí Regional Court will hear the case.

Health Cancer to cause most deaths in Czechia by 2030

Oncologists report that cancer will be the leading cause of death in the Czech Republic by 2030, overtaking heart disease. Currently responsible for a quarter of all deaths, with under 28,000 annually, nearly half of these could be prevented with a healthier lifestyle and early detection through screenings. The Czech Oncological Society highlighted these findings on Czech Cancer Day on Wednesday, noting the rising incidence due to increasing age.

Education Majority of ninth graders accepted to secondary school

The Czech Ministry of Education announced that 94 percent of ninth graders were accepted to secondary schools in the first round of admissions, with results accessible via the DiPSy system. Minister Mikuláš Bek lauded the success and noted the modernization of the admission process. However, he highlighted regional disparities and the need for better alignment of demand and supply. Unsuccessful applicants can reapply in the second round.

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