News in brief for Aug. 18: Top headlines for Czechia on Friday

Storm damages State Opera, Czech air base receives US helicopter, and more top stories for Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 18.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 18.08.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

LGBTQ+ Czech court dismisses gender change case despite constitutional concerns

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) dismissed a cassation complaint from an individual born female but identifying as male, regarding authorities' refusal to recognize them as male without surgery that disables the reproductive function. The NSS noted that such surgery is mandated by law and that the registry office acted within its rights.

The NSS stressed the principle of restraint in such matters, protecting natural family principles. The complainant referred to as "he" by the NSS, argued that the surgery was unconstitutional, violating human dignity and rights. The NSS upheld the Civil Code's requirement and suggested democratic parliament involvement in status-related issues like gender reassignment.

WWII Meeting commemorates Roma and Sinti Holocaust victims

A gathering today at the former Roma internment camp in Hodonín u Kunštátu, attended by Lucie Fuková, the government commissioner for Roma minority affairs, commemorated Holocaust victims. Fuková emphasized that excluding minorities should never be part of political culture, and urged integrating Roma history into education.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the mass transport of around 800 Roma individuals to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The camps of Hodonín u Kunštátu and Lety u Písku were the main places where Nazis concentrated Bohemian and Moravian Roma families. The event included speeches, a walk to the Zalov emergency burial site, and plans for further commemorations.

weather Meteorologists issue warning for strong storms and heat

Severe thunderstorms are expected in several Czech regions this afternoon, with the highest risk in the Šumava region and northeast areas, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ). A warning is active until 10 p.m., with potential wind gusts of 50-70 km/h, hail, and torrential rain up to 40 liters per square meter. The storms will weaken later in the evening, first in Bohemia then in Moravia and Silesia.

Warm air from the southwest will raise temperatures above 30 degrees C starting on Saturday and for the first part of next week, with sporadic rain mainly in the east. ČHMÚ issued a high-temperature alert starting on Saturday at noon for western and southeastern Czechia and for the entire country on Sunday.

economy New bank will enter Czech financial market next year

The Partners financial group plans to launch Partners Bank by the end of this year and open it to the public in the spring of next year. They have met all the requirements for obtaining a banking license from the Czech National Bank and are currently working on the technical steps to acquire the license. The bank aims to be unique by combining banking and consulting services to provide clients with a comprehensive financial management experience.

Clients will have access to a mobile application that allows them to manage their finances and access information about their investments, payments, and insurance offers. Partners Bank will also offer the services of financial advisors and will have a branch network throughout the country. The project has received investments from external entities, including Pale Fire Capital, Reflex Capital, and Tomáš Čupr.

politics Majority of Czechs trust Pavel, study finds

President Petr Pavel maintains the trust of 58 percent of the population, according to a survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research. Confidence in other constitutional institutions has declined compared to November 2022, with a drop of 7 percentage points in trust for the government and the House of Representatives, now standing at 25 percent.

Mayors and municipal councils continue to be the most trusted, with trust levels above 60 percent for a long period. The political situation in the Czech Republic is deemed unsatisfactory by 15 percent of respondents, a decrease of 2 percentage points since last November. The survey was conducted between May and July with 929 participants.

Prague Storm causes significant damage to State Opera

The director of the National Theater, Jan Burian, said that a storm that hit Prague on Wednesday afternoon caused damage amounting to millions of crowns on the recently repaired building of the State Opera. However, he said that the needed repairs would not jeopardize the start of the season.

The underground of the State Opera was affected because the overwhelmed sewers were unable to handle the heavy rainwater. The basement, which houses a modernized stage turntable from the 2019 reconstruction, was also flooded. The reconstruction of the State Opera took three years and cost CZK 1.9 billion. The storm also caused flooding in the vestibule of the nearby main station.

defense Czech air base receives first American multi-purpose helicopter

The Czech helicopter air base at Náměšť nad Oslavou received yesterday the first multi-purpose UH-1Y Venom helicopter from the U.S. This is part of a contract to replace Russian equipment with American helicopters, including the AH-1Z Viper fighters. The cargo plane carrying the AH-1Z Viper arrived early in the morning, preceding the official handover ceremony. An inauguration ceremony, attended by the Minister of Defense, Chief of the General Staff, and other guests took place later in the day.

The Czech Republic is acquiring a total of eight UH-1Y Venom helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper fighters, with the U.S. providing additional modernized machines as a reward for assisting Ukraine. The procurement, which has a total value of approximately CZK 14.6 billion, was approved in November 2019.

justice Czech Ministry of Justice proposes redefinition of rape

The Ministry of Justice has submitted a proposal to redefine rape in the Czech Republic. The current concept of forced sexual intercourse would be replaced with that of non-consensual intercourse. The proposed redefinition is based on the principle of "no means no," indicating any act committed against the will of the victim.

The definition also includes exploiting the defenselessness of the victim, which is defined as being unable to express disapproval due to factors such as unconsciousness, sleep, substance influence, illness, disability, mental disorder, young age, or similar reasons. It would also treat any sexual practices with a child under the age of 12 as rape or sexual assault.

architecture Company faces CZK 300,000 fine for unauthorized villa demolition

AWM Bohemia CZ faces a CZK 300,000 fine for the unauthorized destruction of a significant architectural section within Prague's Vinohrady heritage zone. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the penalty, rejecting the company's appeal. The ruling, temporarily accessible on the official board, solidified the violation under the Monuments Act.

AWM Bohemia CZ, the then-owner, initiated the demolition of the Rondocubist villa on Na Šafránce Street five years ago, despite possessing permission solely for gradual restoration. An anonymous call to the town hall halted the demolition, which attracted notable media and expert attention. The company cited imminent collapse due to reconstruction-induced cracks as a justification for its decision.

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