News in brief for Aug. 17: Top headlines for Czechia on Thursday

Storm wreaks havoc in Prague, Czechia to send bridges to Slovenia, and more top stories for Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 17.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 17.08.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Labor Czech Labor Ministry to digitize processing of social benefits

The Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry is preparing to digitize the processing of social benefits in the country's labor offices over the next two years. Currently, only applications for parental allowances can be processed digitally, but housing allowance and child benefits will be added by the end of the year.

The ministry will finalize plans for the required number of offices and staff in the Czech Republic in the autumn, with the location of post offices being considered as additional application submission points. The changes aim to reduce the workload of labor office staff and increase efficiency, with the goal of half of all applicants using electronic submission within two years.

culture Russian Opera singer Anna Netrebko cancels Prague performance

Russian opera soprano Anna Netrebko's performance at Prague's Municipal House in October has been canceled, according to the house management and the Nachtigall Artists Management agency, which were the concert's organizers. The Prague coalition representatives opposed Netrebko's appearance due to her presence on the Ukrainian sanctions list.


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The artist said the cancellation happened through mutual understanding and affirmed her willingness to forgo compensation from Prague's Municipal House. The concert was planned for Oct. 16 in the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, owned by the city's joint-stock company, which said that the ticket holders would be fully refunded

sport Last Czech basketball player released from NBA

The Atlanta Hawks have decided to release Vít Krejčí, the only Czech player in the NBA, reducing the number of Czechs in the league to zero. Krejčí, who previously played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, had a non-guaranteed contract worth $1.8 million for the next season. The move was made due to financial reasons as Atlanta needed to reduce its team.

During his time in the NBA, Krejčí played for a limited time, averaging six minutes per game with Atlanta and 23 minutes per game with Oklahoma City Thunder. Other Czech players, Tomáš Satoranský and Jan Veselý, currently play for FC Barcelona. Krejčí represents the Czech national team.

education Czech universities see high number of applications

Interest in studying at universities in Prague remains high this year, with the number of applicants either similar or higher compared to the previous year. The final number of applicants is yet to be determined, given that some universities are still accepting applicants for certain programs. This increase in applicants comes after a decline in the past decade.

Charles University received a total of 68,183 applications, surpassing last year's numbers. The Czech University of Technology and the University of Chemistry and Technology also reported increased interest. Despite the growing demand for university places, the Ministry of Finance's draft budget for 2024 proposes reducing funding for higher education.

weather Storm causes flooding and damage in Prague

Prague experienced a severe storm with hail yesterday that lasted from 6 p.m. to approximately 8:15 p.m., resulting in numerous fire department responses. Fallen trees and flooded basements were the primary issues, with significant damage reported at the State Opera House and Prague's main railway station. The State Opera House suffered water damage in its basement, affecting rehearsal rooms and decoration warehouses.

At the train station, water flowed into the check-in hall and shops, leading to limited operations. Firefighters also dealt with fallen trees and captured images of flooded streets in the city. Meteorologists warned of further storms and potential hail today throughout the Czech Republic.

international Czech Republic sends bridge sets to flood-damaged Slovenia

The Czech government has approved the transportation of three heavy bridge sets to Slovenia, which was recently affected by floods. Along with firefighters and Czech soldiers, a maximum of 40 engineers will be sent to help assemble the bridges on site. Their mandate will initially last 60 days and can be extended if necessary.

These bridges, which the State Material Reserves Administration donated, will improve accessibility in the affected areas and aid in rescue and cleanup efforts. The construction of the bridges is facilitated by a lattice, demountable structure with the ability to span over 250 meters. Heavy rains caused the recent flooding in Slovenia, with as much rainfall in a day as typically seen in a month.

society Czech scouts return from South Korean jamboree

Nearly 100 scouts have safely returned to Prague from the World Scout Meeting in South Korea. Despite complications at the jamboree, the participants enjoyed the event, made new friends, and learned about Korean culture. The jamboree took place from Aug. 1 to 12, and after its conclusion, some groups went on further trips around South Korea.

Poor preparation by the organizers led to difficulties at the start of the jamboree, including medical issues caused by high temperatures. However, Czech participants say that the organizers managed to resolve the problems, though at times at the last minute. The next jamboree will be held in Poland in four years.

energy Czech Republic sees decrease in electricity consumption and production

Electricity consumption in the Czech Republic decreased by 5.2 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, with noticeable decreases in all months and customer groups. Electricity production also decreased significantly, with a 13.1 percent decrease in the second quarter.

Despite the decline in production, the Czech Republic remains an exporter of electricity, although the cross-border export balance is decreasing. In May, imports actually exceeded exports for the first time since 2003. The decrease in consumption and production may be attributed to factors such as energy price changes related to the war in Ukraine.

school Most Czech parents to spend maximum CZK 5,000 on school supplies

A survey by the Sportissimo sports chain in the Czech Republic reveals that around 58 percent of parents intend to spend between 2,000 to 5,000 crowns on clothing, shoes, or sports equipment before the upcoming school year. Additionally, approximately 48 percent of parents anticipate paying more compared to last year.

Quality is a priority for 95 percent of parents when choosing school supplies, while low price matters to 73 percent. Moreover, stationery stores, as well as clothing retailers and hypermarkets, are preparing for an increased demand ahead of the new school year.

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