News in brief for April 18: Details on mass murder released, ageism hurting Czech society

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, updated daily to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 18.04.2023 08:25:00 (updated on 18.04.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

DIPLOMACY Czech PM meets with Indonesian president

During today's meeting with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala in Jakarta, Indonesian President Joko Widodo encouraged Czech companies to partake in a project that envisages the creation of a new metropolis, named Nusantra. This new city is set to become the new capital of Indonesia, replacing Jakarta, in 2024.

Widodo asked Czech companies to invest in the new city, particularly in the transport sector. Fiala mentioned this afternoon that Indonesia is “a very important partner for Czechia and the EU,” and said that Czechia was interested in investing in Indonesia.

ECONOMY Pavel – Czechia should have two VAT rates

Czechia should have two value-added tax (VAT) rates rather than the current three, President Petr Pavel said at a press conference today. He says that the simplification of the VAT system would bring more money to the state treasury and narrow the possibility of evading tax.

He has, however, encouraged parliamentary discussion on which social groups would be hit hardest by changes to VAT – he wants to avoid low-income groups being affected badly by the potential change. 

RESTORATION Pardubice town wins Czechia's Historic City of the Year award

Vysoké Mýto, a town in Pardubice, has won a national competition and been crowned as Czechia’s “Historic City” of 2022. The prize is a reward for the best use of money for the restoration of monuments provided by the Ministry of Culture.

This annual title is announced every year to mark the International Day of Monuments and Settlements, which falls on April 18. The town received a reward of CZK 1 million to ensure the continued upkeep of historical monuments in the area.

energy Czech nuclear plant breaks production record

Czechia’s Temelín nuclear power plant produced 4.75 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in the first quarter of 2023 – the highest quarterly production since the beginning of the plant’s operation in 2000.

Greater reliance on domestic energy and modifications to the running of the plan enabled the record-breaking output. Temelín is the largest producer of electricity in the country, covering roughly a fifth of domestic consumption. Last year, Temelín produced 16.29 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.

trade 'Excess of grain' in Czechia due to imports from Ukraine

Czechia has an excess of grain in its warehouses due to cheap imports of wheat from Ukraine, according to a press release today by the Agricultural Association of the Czech Republic. At present, 2.6 million tons of grain are stored in Czechia – a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.

Today’s finding comes after the recent decisions of Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia to ban grain imports from Ukraine. The Czech Agricultural Association has voiced fears that Czech farmers will be unable to sell, or export, their wheat.

EDUCATION Czechia issues the most international student cards globally

Czechia issued the highest amount of International Student Identity Cards (ISICs) out of all 130 countries in the world who give them out. Almost 600,000 of the ISICs were provided to students from foreign countries in Czechia last year.

The cards verify a student’s status and their place of study. ISICs also allow students to utilize various benefits and discounts. This comes after news at the end of 2022 that a record-high number of foreign students studied at Czech universities last year.

TRAGEDY Man falls to his death near Prague's National Theatre

A man has died from serious injuries after a probable fall from a height on Divadelní Street in the center of Prague on Tuesday morning. Despite the quick help of the police and paramedics, they were unsuccessful in saving him.

It is not clear whether the man fell from a roof or window, and the police have not yet released further details or the identity of the man. Rescuers were unable to help the 50-year-old man due to the severity of his injuries.

Protests Anti-poverty demonstration comes to an end

Participants in the Czechia against poverty protest in Prague dispersed around 7 p.m. without any conflicts, according to Prague police spokeswoman Violeta Siřišťová. The protest, which was attended by several dozen people, took place at the government office where demonstrators held Czech flags and banners calling for the government's resignation.

Police barricades separated protesters from the main entrance, but the adjacent embankment remained passable. Jindřich Rajchl, chairman of the non-parliamentary party Právo Respekt Odbornost (PRO), who called for the protest, expressed satisfaction with the event's participation and course. On Sunday, thousands demonstrated against the coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

CRIME Police release details of mass murder in Olomouc

A Slovak man, who had been previously prosecuted, committed a triple murder and attempted murder in the village of Boňkov in the Přerov region on Saturday. He shot and killed his girlfriend's mother, boyfriend, and 15-year-old grandson while injuring his girlfriend, who managed to escape and seek help.

The perpetrator then committed suicide, using an illegally held submachine gun that was a discarded Slovak army weapon. The motive was reportedly the perpetrator's uncontrollable jealousy and aggressiveness. Criminal investigators are investigating the case as a triple murder after premeditation and an attempted murder, which is a unique case in the history of the Olomouc regional directorate.

Economy Ban on Ukrainian grain could impact Czechia

The decision of some countries to prohibit the importation of Ukrainian grain will also have an impact on the Czech Republic, agrarian analyst Petr Havel told CNN Prima. Even though the country does not import a large amount of the crop from Ukraine, its price is still reflected in the world stock markets.

Several EU states, including Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, have refused to import Ukrainian grain, citing concerns about its low price and possible pesticide contamination. Havel disagrees with this position and argues that the purchase of Ukrainian grain serves as a form of assistance, and preventing it could damage the country.

Society Ageism more harmful to Czechia than gender inequality

Ageism is a more prevalent form of discrimination in the Czech Republic than gender inequality, and its impact on society is particularly significant given the aging of the population, according to experts at the SYRI Institute and Masaryk University. The issue is especially pressing in relation to the country's planned pension reform.

Ageism affects both younger and older workers, with older employees particularly vulnerable to being told they are too old, slow, or incapable of mastering new technologies. This leads to a lack of motivation to seek skilled work and a decline in their living standards.

Culture Czechia names its book of the year

Miloš Doležal's poetry book "Jane Will Be Picking Lime Tree Flowers Soon" won the main prize of the Magnesia Litera contest and was named Czech Book of the Year. The book is an elegy that focuses on the author's wife's last weeks of life and the difficult time following her death. This is only the second time in the contest's 22-year history that a poetry book has won the main prize.

Other winners included Viktor Špaček's short story collection "Clean, Modest Life," Petr Hruška's poetry book "I Saw Your Face," and Jana Šrámková's children's book "Fanek the Astrologist." The publishing house Torst won the prize for the publisher of the year, and Adolf Knoll won a new prize for his contribution to literary culture.

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