Czech news in brief for May 25: Saturday's top headlines

Blinken to attend NATO meeting in Prague, Czech actor Jan Kačer passes away at 87, and more Saturday headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 25.05.2024 09:02:00 (updated on 26.05.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

Culture Czech state aims to acquire prisoners' monument

The Czech state aims to acquire the Red Tower of Death near Ostrov, a monument to communist-era political prisoners who worked in uranium mines, Culture Minister Martin Baxa announced at the 35th Jáchymov Hell meeting. Currently owned by the Confederation of Political Prisoners, the tower faces financial difficulties. The state, alongside the National Heritage Institute, seeks to preserve this historical site, ensuring it remains a reminder of the brutal forced labor camps of the 1950s.

Accident Police chief was with president during accident

Czech police chief Martin Vondrášek, a fellow motorcycle enthusiast, was with Czech President Petr Pavel during an accident suffered at a motorcycle training session on Thursday, a spokesperson has confirmed. Pavel was treated and observed overnight at Prague's Central Military Hospital and released the next day. The President's office confirmed his injuries were minor and will not affect his upcoming schedule, including a trip to Jordan.

Ukraine Survey: Ukrainians in Czechia get info from state

Most Ukrainians in Czechia get information quickly and in good quality from the state, according to a survey by Socio.Faktor for the Interior Ministry. Refugees primarily use the Internet, their community, and social networks, though these often miss vulnerable groups like the elderly. About 80% of Ukrainian refugees reported receiving timely and quality information. The Interior Ministry plans to use the survey results to improve services by state institutions and non-profits.

Crime Czech woman loses CZK 3 million in crypto scam

A woman from Vyškov responded to a social media ad promising lucrative investments, only to lose over CZK 3 million. Scammers posing as trading experts persuaded her to grant access to her computer and internet banking, then made cryptocurrency investments and took out a sizable loan. They later duped her into making additional payments for alleged verifications. Police are investigating similar cases. Cryptocurrency scams have been on the rise amid media coverage of record-high prices.

Weather Strong storms forecast across Czechia today

Stormy weather is in the forecast for most Czech regions this afternoon. By noon, isolated showers and storms are expected to develop, becoming more widespread throughout the day. These storms may produce heavy rainfall, with accumulations of up to 30 mm in a short period. Localized amounts could reach 50 mm if multiple storms pass over the same area. Flooding and increased river levels are possible, especially in western and southwestern areas of the Czech Republic.

Politics Okamura faces disciplinary proceedings

Czech opposition SPD leader Tomio Okamura faces disciplinary proceedings in the Czech Chamber of Deputies for calling Deputy Speaker Jan Bartošek "a modern-day Hitler." Okamura stands by his remarks, refusing to apologize. Bartošek seeks a public apology and compensation, citing the need to curb hate speech. The Chamber committee may issue fine or demand an apology, with the Okamura able to appeal. The SPD previously opposed the lower house's conduct guidelines.

NATO Blinken to attend NATO meeting in Prague

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Prague next week, discussing support for Ukraine and energy cooperation with Czech officials. Preparations for the NATO summit in Washington this July will also be addressed. Blinken's European tour starts Tuesday in Moldova, where he'll discuss EU association and energy security with President Maia Sandu.

Film Czech actor Jan Kačer passes away at 87

Jan Kačer, a theatre and film actor, director, and Czechoslovak New Wave icon, has passed away at the age of 87, his daughter Adéla Kubáčková told Czech News Agency on Friday. Known for his work at Prague's Vinohrady and National Theatres, he received the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 2016. Kačer starred in films like The Valley of the Bees and co-founded the Prague Drama Club. He was also an MP post-communism and led the Charter 77 Foundation.

Sports Macháč to play in first career final in Geneva

Czech tennis player Tomáš Macháč is poised to play in his first ATP Tour final at the Geneva Open today. His opponent remains undetermined, pending the semi-final match between Flavio Cobolli and Casper Ruud, postponed due to rain. Ranked 44th globally, Macháč's journey to the final match included an impressive victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. If successful, Macháč would be the first Czech to win the Geneva Open since Tomáš Šmíd in 1985.

Politics Far-right mayor apologizes to former president

Prague's Řeporyje district mayor Pavel Novotný, a member of the far-right ODS party, has issued a court-ordered apology to former president Miloš Zeman for insults and paid CZK 100,000 in compensation and court costs. The Prague 5 District Court ruled against Novotný for offensive remarks made in a 2023 TikTok video. Novotný, who repeated the statements in his apology letter, faces potential expulsion from the ODS party.

Music Czech opera singers celebrated in New York

The Czech Centre in New York has opened an exhibition celebrating Czech female opera singers' achievements since the early 20th century. Featuring period photos and original costumes from Prague's National Museum and the Metropolitan Opera, the display highlights stars like Ema Destinnová, Jarmila Novotná, Ludmila Dvořáková, and Magdalena Kožená. "Our best opera singers have conquered high standards and presented significant music to the Metropolitan Opera audience," noted National Museum director Michal Lukeš.

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