News in brief for Aug. 16: Top headlines for Czechia on Wednesday

Bártů receives British MBE, Czechia plans Expo 2025 participation, and more top stories for Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 16.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 16.08.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

international Russian businessman and relatives added to Czech sanctions list

The Czech national sanctions list grew from three to six individuals after the inclusion of Russian businessman Boris Obnosov, Rostislav Zorikov, and Olga Zorikova, at the initiative of Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky. Obnosov, CEO of state-owned KRTV, produces weapons systems for Putin's regime.

The Zorikovs own luxury assets in the Czech Republic; Olga Zorikova is Boris Obnosov's daughter and Rostislav Zorikov's wife. The move, which will result in a ban on entry, financial transactions, and asset freezing in Czechia, received the support of Prime Minister Petr Fiala. The sanctions followed in the footstep of the "Magnitsky law," which lays out consequences for foreign people and companies involved in illegal acts.

fraud Embezzlement suspect extradited from Korea to Czech Republic

Police in Karlovy Vary detained today an embezzlement suspect extradited from Korea, accused of swindling CZK 10 million. The man had obtained Korean citizenship and was sought internationally at the Czech Ministry of Justice's request. This marks the first instance of the Czech Justice Ministry requesting extradition from Korea, a process involving extensive collaboration among Czech authorities, courts, police, and the embassy in Seoul due to differing legal systems.

The detained individual allegedly used false debt schemes to defraud victims, escaping overseas to evade charges. Police efforts led to his return for prosecution after successful international coordination.

Tech O2 TV blackout affects Champions League match broadcast

Approximately 25 percent of O2 TV viewers were impacted by a blackout last evening during the Champions League match between Sparta Prague and FC Copenhagen, lasting around 20 minutes. The cause of the disruption remains unknown, with ongoing efforts to resolve it through the platform supplier. O2 TV is also considering compensating affected customers.

The blackout occurred during the extra time of the match, potentially setting a viewership record for O2 TV. This incident differs from a previous outage in 2019, attributed to application overload. O2 TV expressed regret and a commitment to preventing such issues in the future while investigating the new platform's role.

weather ČHMÚ issues strong storm warning for most of Czechia

The Czech Hydrometeorological Office (ČHMÚ) issued a warning for potential thunderstorms across most of the country on Wednesday afternoon. Meteorologists predict intense thunderstorms with heavy rainfall exceeding 30 millimeters and hail up to two centimeters in diameter. The alert is in effect from 12 p.m. until Thursday morning at 2 a.m. 

After a clear start, today will turn cloudy to partly cloudy. Showers or strong thunderstorms are anticipated in the afternoon and evening. Afternoon temperatures will range from 28 to 32 degrees Celsius, slightly cooler at 26 to 29 degrees Celsius in the west.

football Sparta players lose to FC Copenhagen in Champions League rematch

In the home rematch of the Champions League's 3rd preliminary round, Sparta faced FC Copenhagen and suffered defeat in a penalty shootout of 2:4. This outcome followed the initial goalless draw, resulting in their elimination from the competition. The match concluded 1:1 in normal time and 3:3 after extra time.

While Sparta players advanced twice thanks to Qazim Laci and Victor Olatunji, Viktor Claesson countered each time for Copenhagen. Sparta's elimination resulted in a financial loss of around 8.63 million euros. However, they're guaranteed participation in the European Conference League and might still qualify for the Europa League group stage.

weather Severe storms hit Karlovy Vary region

Severe storms hit the Karlovy Vary region on Tuesday afternoon, causing intense but brief heavy rainfall. Firefighters responded to fallen trees and flooded streets, including in the center of Karlovy Vary. Torrential rains resulted in part of Moravská Street's recently reconstructed paving being washed away.

The storms were moving northward, and firefighters reported 61 incidents from 4 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., which in some instances included hail. Despite flooding in Karlovy Vary, sewer systems gradually drained the water. Moravská Street, with its steep slope, suffered significant damage, necessitating its closure and potential future restoration works.

legends Czech former pentathlete Bártů receives British honor

Jan Bártů, a former Czech modern pentathlete and double Olympic medallist, received the Order of the British Empire (MBE) yesterday for his contribution to British sport from British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Matt Field. Bártů founded the National Training Centre for Modern Pentathlon at the University of Bath in 1998, leading to Britain winning seven Olympic medals since 2000, including three golds.

At the ceremony in Prague, Bártů expressed his gratitude and reflected on his coaching career in various countries before settling in Britain for 24 years. He also mentioned the transformative impact of an Olympic medal and expressed belief in the Czech pentathletes' chances of winning medals at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

economy Czech koruna weakens against euro and strengthens against dollar

On Tuesday, the Czech koruna weakened against the euro but strengthened against the dollar. The exchange rate was 24.11 CZK/EUR and 22.02 CZK/USD respectively. The Prague Stock Exchange ended the day in the red, with slight declines. Negative sentiment in risk markets and rising bond yields were cited as reasons for the koruna's weakness against the euro.

All regional currencies, including the Polish złoty and Hungarian forint, experienced a decline yesterday, likely due to risk aversion towards emerging markets prompted by an unexpected interest rate reduction by the Chinese central bank, according to Komerční banka analyst Jana Steckerová.

international Czechia submits application for Japan-hosted Expo 2025

The Czech Republic has submitted an application for a temporary building permit for its national pavilion at Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan. The building authority in Osaka will review the documents over the next six to eight weeks. The Czech Republic has already submitted a basic plan to the exhibition organizer, and architects and designers are working on the necessary documentation while awaiting the permit.

The Czech Republic aims to showcase a unique wooden pavilion and is committed to delivering it despite rising prices and inflation. Expo 2025 will see the participation of 153 countries and will be held from April to October 2025 with the theme "Designing a Future Society for Our Lives."

Prague Maintenance to blame for changes in tap water quality

Despite the unusual smell, taste, or color of the water flowing from their taps in Prague, the water is still good to drink, the company Prague Water Supply and Sewerage (Pražské vodovody a kanalizace, PVK) told iDnes. On the other hand, the changes in the properties of the water could be due to the hot weather, the shutdown of technologies in the Želivka Water Treatment Plant, or the recent maintenance of the water supply line.

The water conditions may have been temporarily affected on Tuesday due to network manipulation, during which deposits were flushed out of the line. The manipulations occurred in three areas of the city: Prague 1, 2, and 8, but conditions were expected to return to normal by Tuesday mid-afternoon, PVK said. 

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