Czech news in brief for May 20: Monday's top headlines

Fico shooter may not be lone wolf, Czechia, Greece to strengthen trade cooperation, and over 1,000 visit writer Hrabal's cottage. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.05.2024 09:06:00 (updated on 20.05.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

SPORT Prague plans big screens in center for hockey

Prague councilors have approved the installation of large screens on the Old Town Square for the broadcast of the hockey world championship, if the Czech national team reaches the semi-finals, finals, or battle for bronze. City councilor Antonín Klecanda stated that the approval of the International Hockey Federation is still needed. If granted, this would be the first time since 2014 that the Old Town Square will host a large-screen broadcast of the championship. The semi-finals are scheduled for May 25 and the final for May 26.

ECONOMY Czechia drops two spots in prosperity index

According to the Index of Prosperity and Financial Health, the Czech Republic dropped from 13th to 15th place among EU countries last year. While excelling in healthcare and defense, the country lags behind in housing standards. The economy suffered the most due to high inflation, and the long-term problem of low added value remains. The state of housing in the country is a major concern, with the Czech Republic ranking 22nd in the EU for housing indicators.

public health Czech doctors criticize Health Ministry

Czech Medical Chamber (CLK) President Milan Kubek stated that many promises have yet to be fulfilled despite the successful agreement to end the doctors' protests in late 2023. Kubek, along with other medical unions, are considering further protests due to the lack of progress in implementing changes to remuneration, the Labour Code, and doctor training. The Ministry of Health claims that changes are being gradually implemented. Kubek did not reveal the form or date of the protests, but stated they would be timed for maximum impact without harming patients. 

POLITICS Fiala condemns ICC Israel arrest warrant call

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala today strongly criticized the International Criminal Court's proposal to issue arrest warrants for Israel's democratically elected government and Hamas leaders. ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan announced the request for warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Mohammed Deif, Yahya Sinwar, and Ismail Haniyeh, accusing them of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the recent conflict. Fiala stated that Hamas's unprovoked attack last October was the root cause of the current war.

crime Fico shooter may not be lone wolf

Slovak officials say the man who shot Prime Minister Robert Fico may not have acted alone. Interior Minister Matúš Šutaj Eštok and SIS acting director Pavol Gašpar indicated the shooter might have had accomplices. The 71-year-old suspect, Juraj Cintula, faces life imprisonment for attempted murder. Authorities are increasing security and investigating threats against politicians, media, and hospitals. Fico remains in serious condition.

Int'l relations Czechia, Greece to strengthen trade ties

Czechia and Greece may enhance trade cooperation, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said after meeting Greek counterpart Jorgos Gerapetritis. The countries see potential in the energy sector and mutual trade growth. Lipavský praised Greece’s hospitality and pledged Czech assistance in fighting summer fires with two helicopters. Both countries cooperated on aid to Ukraine and discussed EU enlargement and handling illegal migration.

Culture Over 1,000 visit writer Hrabal's cottage

Over 1,000 visitors attended the Hrabalovo Kersko festival, celebrating writer Bohumil Hrabal’s 110th birth anniversary. The festival featured tours of Hrabal’s cottage, which was fully booked for the weekend, and various events at the Kuba Forest Studio. Jana Kubová noted the enduring interest in Hrabal’s work, especially among younger generations. The festival included readings, musical performances, and exhibitions, continuing on Sunday with a performance by a local theater group.

Human rights Conservative faction aim to tighten abortion laws

Reproductive rights organizations highlight increasing ultra-conservative efforts to tighten laws and obstacles in the Czech Republic to women’s access to abortion. Despite these concerns, both government and opposition politicians deem current legislation sufficient. The Commissioner for Human Rights suggests revising laws for women from other European countries. Critics, including human rights and feminist groups, argue that disadvantaged groups face significant barriers, lacking reproductive justice and adequate support for working parents and preschool care, reports Deník N.

Economy Czechia ranks fifth in global gold purchases

The Czech Republic ranked fifth globally in gold purchases for Q1 2024, with the Czech National Bank buying five tons. Last year, it ranked sixth with two tons. Central banks set a record, buying 290 tons of gold, led by Turkey, China, India, and Kazakhstan. The World Gold Council attributes the high demand to central banks diversifying reserves amid geopolitical risks and inflation concerns.

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