News in brief for May 9: German minister cools talks of border controls with Czechia

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, updated regularly to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 09.05.2023 06:55:00 (updated on 09.05.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

CYBER WHO – more Czech children at risk of social media addiction

According to the Czech country profile of the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study by the World Health Organization, in the past four years there has been an increase in the proportion of children aged between 11 and 15 years in Czechia who may be experiencing addiction to social networks.

In 2018, around 5 percent of children were found to spend an excessive amount of time on these platforms, while last year this number rose to 8 percent. About 30 percent of 15-year-old girls in Czechia and 25 percent of 15-year-old boys are “intensively online,” according to the study.

REAL ESTATE Q1 of 2023 with fewest apartment sales in seven years

The first three months of 2023 saw the fewest apartments sold out of any quarter in Czechia in the past seven years. Although average apartment prices declined 2.5 percent quarter on quarter, they have nonetheless surged in the past three years.


Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 91m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 91m2

Habrmanova, Hradec Králové - Pražské Předměstí

Family house for sale, 360m<sup>2</sup>, 797m<sup>2</sup> of land

Family house for sale, 360m2, 797m2 of land

Nebušická, Praha 6 - Nebušice

Apartment for sale, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 46m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 46m2

Slovinská, Praha 10 - Vršovice

High mortgage rates and lower disposable income are to blame for the reduced demand in apartment sales across the country. Conversely, due to rising real estate prices, the demand for rental housing continues to increase.

LEGAL Senators withdraw opposition to Czech pension re-evaluation

The group of senators who challenged the government’s re-evaluation of pension payments has withdrawn their opposition to the proposal. According to the amendment, the average monthly pension in Czechia will increase from June by CZK 760 instead of the previously expected CZK 1,770. 

In another development in the pension-reform case, the ANO movement – opposed to the pension re-evaluation – has today announced that it does not want the president of Czechia’s Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský to preside over the legal case that ANO has launched against the changes to pension payments.

IMMIGRATION Bavarian president – no need for controls on Czech-German border

The minister-president of the Bavaria region in Germany Markus Söder has said today that the German state “does not demand” the renewal of checks on the border with Czechia due to illegal immigration. 

According to Söder, Czechia has been protecting its border well, thus drastically reducing transiting illegal migrants. This comes after the German federal states of Saxony and Brandenburg asked for the introduction of border controls with Poland and Czechia – a proposition declined by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

POLITICS Czech PM speaks out against CBD ban

Petr Fiala, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, has expressed his disagreement with the proposed ban on CBD extract in food by the State Agricultural Inspection. This ban is being prepared by the Czech government in response to a request from the European Union, which states that CBD-containing food cannot be marketed without sufficient scientific studies examining its effects on human health.

Fiala is said to have requested the Minister of Agriculture, Zdeněk Nekula, to find a more feasible solution than a complete ban. The proposed ban has caused a public uproar, with some in favor and others against it.

WEATHER April 2023 markedly colder than recent average

April in Prague this year was colder than the month’s recent average temperature by about 2 degrees Celsius, according to an update by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute published today. The average monthly temperature in April 2023 was 9.5 degrees Celsius – between 1991 and 2020 it has been at almost 12 degrees Celsius.

When comparing this year’s April to the beginning of records – dating back to 1775 – the month posted an almost exactly average temperature. Prague residents experienced the coldest April in 1839, with an average temperature of 4.9 degrees Celsius. The warmest April was in 1800, with an average of over 15 degrees Celsius.

TRANSPORT Supreme Audit Office lambasts work on D1 highway

Czechia’s Supreme Audit Office (SAO) has today criticized the reconstruction of a section of the country’s D1 highway, which cost the state over CZK 28 billion from both domestic and EU funds.

According to the SAO, the repair is incomplete and some bridges and overpasses remain in a condition that currently threatens traffic safety. The SAO also pointed to poor-quality troubleshooting, missing parking spaces for trucks, or the frequent driving of overloaded vehicles on the D1 highway. However, the Ministry of Transport and the Directorate of Roads and Highways claim that D1’s reconstruction has increased the safety and comfort of users.

CRIME Czech police prosecute four people over child death at race

The Czech criminal police have prosecuted four unnamed individuals in connection with the tragic death of a child during a truck race in Černuc, located to the west of Prague, on April 30, 2022.

According to police spokesperson Michaela Richterová the accused individuals are being charged with death due to neglect. It remains unclear as to whether the accused individuals are the organizers of the race or other individuals involved. The unfortunate incident took place when a child entered the race track and was struck by a truck, resulting in their immediate death.

Politics Coalition leaders to meet again today over budget cuts

The Czech coalition parties are meeting to discuss measures to reduce the state budget deficit by at least CZK 70bn next year. The package is expected to be published in mid-May, according to Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who also said that the government is prioritizing quality over meeting a deadline. Earlier statements suggested that the measure should be about CZK 60bn and include a pension reform proposal.

Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura has proposed reducing state subsidies, merging reduced VAT rates, abolishing some tax exemptions, and introducing health insurance for employees. The government has pledged not to increase the overall tax burden.

Ukraine Guardian: Pavel warns Ukraine of rushing counter-offensive

President Petr Pavel has cautioned Ukraine against rushing its planned counter-offensive against Russian forces, warning that failure would be disastrous and there would be no other option this year, reports The Guardian. Pavel, former chair of the NATO military committee and decorated for his service in the Bosnian war, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during a recent visit to Kiev.

Pavel noted that Ukraine no longer had the element of surprise that helped it successfully attack Kharkiv and Kherson last year, and that there were gaps in the country's capacity for a successful offensive against Russia. The Czech president gave an interview to the British publication while in the UK to attend the coronation of Charles III.

crime Vandal sprays WWII monument with 'Z' on V-Day

Unknown perpetrator vandalized a Soviet soldiers memorial in Děčín, Czech Republic by writing two letters "Z" on it, suspected to symbolize the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The incident occurred just hours before a commemorative event marking the 78th anniversary of the end of World War II. The vandal is suspected of damaging foreign property and denying, questioning, approving, or justifying genocide.

Similar incidents have occurred before, including the vandalism of a monument commemorating the crash of an American bomber in Polná in May and the spraying of a red letter "Z" on a statue pedestal of a Red Army soldier in Přerov last autumn.

CuLTuRE Sting adds Czech Republic show to summer tour

British musician Sting will be performing in Pardubice on July 19 with his show My Songs, with the concert being the only stop he will make in the Czech Republic. Sting has previously performed in Prague, Ostrava and Vienna, with his musical range spanning from jazz to Arabic music.

Accompanying Sting on his show will be longtime collaborator, Dominic Miller, who recorded his first album, The Soul Cages, with him in 1991. Miller recently performed in the Pelhřimov region of the Czech Republic in April.

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