News in brief for April 28: Man confesses to setting devastating fire in Czech national park

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Friday, April 28, 2023, updated regularly to keep you up to speed.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 28.04.2023 08:31:00 (updated on 01.05.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Diplomacy Pavel – China has 'failed' its duty to ensure world stability

During a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv today, Czech President Petr Pavel stated that China has thus far failed to fulfill its responsibility towards global stability and peace in relation to the war in Ukraine. Czechia’s president said that China had done very little to help end the war.

Zelenskiy emphasized the significance of his phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which took place on Wednesday. According to Pavel, China is benefiting from the war due to the perceived instability it causes to the West.

PUBLIC OPINION Czechs pessimistic about EU, national economy

Czechia is one of the seven most pessimistic countries when it comes to sentiment about the future of the EU, according to a Eurobarometer poll released today. Just 55 percent of Czechs view the future of the bloc optimistically.

The survey also found that more than six in 10 Czechs were concerned about rising prices and inflation – 8 percentage points fewer than last year. Just one-fifth of the entire Czech population perceives the national economy positively. Less than one-third view see the EU economy as strong.

crime Man confesses to starting 2022 mass forest fires in Czechia

A man came forward to the police today to confess to starting a fire that led to the summer forest fires in the west of the country, at the Bohemian Switzerland national park. The blaze affected an area of over 1,000 hectares including some of the park’s most popular tourist areas.

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Police, who questioned the man last summer, have not confirmed whether his confession is actually true. His motive has not been disclosed. If found guilty, the man faces up to eight years in jail.

event Famous Czech playwright Ivan Vyskočil dies aged 94

Well-known Czech actor and playwright Ivan Vyskočil has passed away at the age of 94, according to an update from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Vyskočil was said to be one of the most unique figures of Czech culture and in Czech post-war theater.

In the 1960s, he collaborated with former Czech President Václav Havel on a play called Autostop (Hitchhiking). He was also a co-founder of the Na zábradlí theater in Prague 1, where he worked as an actor, playwright, and artistic director. Many of his works were censored during the communist regime. 

INFLATION Rise in Czech sugar prices highest in EU

Statistics from Eurostat released today show that the price of sugar in Czechia rose by almost 100 percent year on year in March. This is substantially more than the EU average increase, which was 61 percent. Hungary registered the lowest rise, at just 17 percent.

Data from Kurzy.cz shows that exactly three years ago, the price of sugar per kilogram on average in Czechia was about CZK 5.8. Today, it stands at almost CZK 12.5.

DIPLOMACY Czechia invites Senegalese president for state visit

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan will officially invite the president of Senegal to Czechia today, as part of his visit to Africa. Rakušan described Senegal as an island of democracy in West Africa, adding that the country was seen as a partner of the entire EU.

During his visit, the Czech interior minister spoke with his Senegalese counterpart on Czechia providing humanitarian aid to Senegal and assisting with educational projects to help prevent the outflow of people from the African country.

Politics Former PM Babiš eyes European Parliament seat

In an interview with Czech publication Denik, former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced that he is considering running as the ANO movement's candidate for the European Parliament. The elections will take place next spring. Babiš claims that the elections are important for the Czech Republic and Europe due to the "green fanaticism" destroying European industry and the "corruption" within the European Parliament.

Babiš also criticized the current Czech government's handling of income, drawing European funds, and evaluating the program statement, and suggested ways of dealing with the current inflation that he believes is suffocating Czech households.

prague Czech capital agrees to land exchange worth CZK 1.7bn

Prague has agreed to exchange land and real estate worth approximately CZK 1.7 billion with the Czech state, which will provide the city with most of the Bulovka Hospital premises, the barracks in Karlin, a building in Hybernska Street, and other properties. The exchanged assets' difference in value is estimated to be about CZK10.6 million crowns, which the capital city will pay.

The city plans to build flats in the barracks, which are in poor condition, and expand the student campus on Hybernská Street. The exchange was negotiated for a long time and will be further negotiated for other properties.

SPORTS Czech handball team advances to the Euro finals

The Czech handball team secured their place in next year's European Championship in Germany with a 32-30 victory against Estonia in their penultimate qualifying match. The win guaranteed the team would finish no worse than second in their group, with two teams from each group and the four best third-place teams advancing to the championship.

The Czech team will finish their qualification on Sunday against Israel. Coach Xavier Sabaté said he was satisfied with the team's progress, but they still have one more game at home before focusing on the Euros.

Real estate Developers reconsidering projects due to declining interest

Around 38 percent of developers in the Czech Republic have had to reconsider some of their apartment projects due to lower interest in owning an apartment last year, and have offered rental housing instead. More than half of the developers expect the demand for rental apartments to continue to grow.

Demand for real estate in the country is expected to fall by 1.2% YoY in H2 2023 due to high mortgage rates. The supply of real estate is expected to increase by 0.4% YoY in H2 2023, and growth will accelerate to 1.4% in H1 2024. The Ministry for Regional Development wants to support the construction of affordable rental apartments more.

culture Brno villa to present exhibition on Moravian Jews

The Löw-Beer Villa in Brno has opened a new exhibition presenting the bright and dark times of Jews in Moravia and their history in the region. The exhibition is divided into chronological and thematic sections, with authentic items and life stories on display.

The exhibition covers the period from the first mentions of Jews in Moravia to the middle of the 18th century when they were strictly segregated in ghettos, the emancipation of Jewish inhabitants after 1861, the interwar period, and the Holocaust during WWII. A separate section is dedicated to the Löw-Beer Jewish family, the villa's former owners.

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