News in brief for Aug. 29: Top headlines for Czechia on Tuesday

Kundera's books travel from Paris to Brno, energy prices up 62 percent since 2021, and more headlines for Tuesday, Aug. 29. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 29.08.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

diplomacy Canada appoints new ambassador to Prague

Diplomat Emily McLaughlin has been appointed as the new Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic, replacing Ayesha Rekhi. McLaughlin expressed her enthusiasm for working on shared priorities with the Czech Republic. Rekhi, who has held the position since 2019, congratulated McLaughlin and expressed her satisfaction with the choice.

McLaughlin has an extensive background in international affairs, having served as an adviser on various regions and holding positions in different Canadian diplomatic offices according to her official biography. She most recently served as the director of the Inter-American Affairs division.

international Czech president meets North Macedonian counterpart

Czech President Petr Pavel and his North Macedonian counterpart Stevo Pendarovski discussed security, North Macedonia's EU accession, and the importance of the Balkans' integration into NATO and the EU in a meeting today in Prague.

Pavel emphasized the Czech Republic's interest in the region's security and stability and commended North Macedonia's entry into NATO. Both leaders expressed support for North Macedonia's EU integration to prevent destabilization from ethnic tensions and external influences. They also discussed Czech support for migration management and efforts to improve dialogue between North Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Transport Tram fire in Hlubočepy disrupts public transit

On Monday evening, a tram in Prague's Hlubočepy area caught fire, causing an estimated CZK 5 million worth of damage, and leading to the temporary suspension of several tram lines. No one was injured in the incident. The Prague Fire Department announced the incident on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

The fire happened around 6 p.m. on Na Zlíchově Street, where the electric motor of the tram caught fire. By 7 p.m., firefighters had managed to contain the fire. The cause of the fire was determined to be a technical fault. Due to this incident, tram lines 5, 12, and 20 in the section between Smíchovské nádraží and Hlubočepy were disrupted, and replacement bus services were put in place.

investigation Police raid Prague research institute

Police did not detain or accuse anyone during their raid at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) in Prague. The raid was conducted to secure evidence as part of an investigation supervised by the High Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague. The General Inspection of Security Corps and the National Center against Organized Crime are involved in the operation, which involves searching the premises and seizing documents at the hospital.

The investigation focuses on suspected extortion, constraint, manipulations of contracts, and corruption. IKEM is a renowned clinical and research institute specializing in cardiovascular diseases, organ transplants, diabetes, and metabolic disorders.

economy Energy prices up 62 percent in last two years

The average Czech household paid 15 percent more for energy in June compared to last year, and 62 percent more than two years ago, according to a survey presented by Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka. The study found that pensioners, single-parent families, low-income groups, inhabitants of small municipalities, and family house owners were the most affected.

Jurečka highlighted the importance of capping energy prices and providing housing benefits to manage the situation. The Czech Statistical Office reported that the average household in the country has 2.29 members, with a total of 4.49 million households.

sports Muchová advances to second round of US Open

Czech tennis player Karolína Muchová made a strong start at the U.S. Open, in New York Monday, advancing to the second round with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Australian Storm Hunter. After an early break, Muchová faced setbacks but ultimately secured the first set. The second set was one-sided, with Hunter failing to win even a single point after trailing 0-3.

World No. 1 Iga Świątek of Poland dominated her opening match, defeating Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1. The Spanish Rebeka Masarova pulled off a surprise win against world No. 8 Maria Sakkari, while Dominic Thiem secured his first-round victory in over two years, beating Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Business Partners Financial Group obtains license from CNB

Partners Financial Group has officially obtained a banking license from the Czech National Bank. Operations at the new Partners Banka, originally expected to receive its license in September, will commence in the first quarter of 2024. The bank will first pilot its services for management, employees, advisors, and their families by year-end. Partners Banka will closely collaborate with the financial consulting firm Partners, utilizing its branch network while branding them as Partners Banka.

With plans for over 250 branches, it will have the fourth-largest branch network in the Czech Republic. Certified Partners advisors will become Partners Bank bankers, offering a range of financial products and services from different providers.

Travel Technical glitch affects flights from between Prague and UK

Britain's air traffic control authority, NATS, has resolved a technical glitch that disrupted flight planning systems, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations across Europe. The issue compelled manual entry of flight schedules, causing significant slowdowns.

Flights between Prague and the UK were also affected, with several afternoon flights to London delayed until night. Some flights from Prague to the UK were canceled. The disruption triggered flight delays and cancellations at various European airports, leaving passengers frustrated. NATS is collaborating with airlines and airports to manage affected flights as operations return to normal.

culture Kundera's books arrive in Brno from Paris

Almost a ton of books from the personal library of Czech writer Milan Kundera have been transferred from Paris, where the writer died in July, to the Moravian Library in his hometown of Brno. The collection includes books he read and was inspired by, many containing his notes and marked passages.

The transfer was arranged with Kundera and his widow during his lifetime, with the agreement that he would keep his personal library as long as he could read. The collection, weighing 980 kilos and estimated to consist of about 50 meters of books and magazines, adds to the Milan Kundera Library in Brno.

education Four percent of households borrow money for school supplies

According to a survey conducted by KRUK CR and SR, four percent of Czech households need to take out a loan for school supplies, with parents between the ages of 25 and 34 borrowing the most. The price of necessary school equipment for a first-grader may exceed CZK 3,000 this year, an increase from last year's average of CZK 2,400.

The prices of school briefcases, stationery, and art supplies have all risen year-on-year. The unemployed, parents on parental leave, and, surprisingly enough, those in the IT and telecommunications field are among the groups that borrow most frequently.

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