News in brief for Aug. 31: Top headlines for Czechia on Thursday

Czechs move ahead at the US Open, summer temps to return to Czechia and more top headlines for Thursday, Aug. 31. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 31.08.2023 08:45:00 (updated on 31.08.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

hockey Champions Hockey League starts today in Pardubice

The ninth edition of the Champions Hockey League starts today in Pardubice with the participation of three Czech teams: Třinec, Pardubice, and Vítkovice. The championship features 24 teams from 11 leagues competing to win the European Trophy. 

Two opening games take place today at 5:30 p.m.: Czech powerhouses Dynamo Pardubice versus Finnish Ilves Tampere in Pardubice and the Lahti Pelicans versus the Swedish champions the Växjö Lakers in Lahti, Finland.

work Czech unemployment second lowest in EU

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic was 2.7 percent in July, the second lowest in the EU, and an increase from July 2022 when the figure stood at 2.4 percent. The unemployment rate in the eurozone for that month stayed at 6.4 percent, and in the EU at 5.9 percent, according to the EU's statical office Eurostat.

In the Czech Republic, the unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 decreased from 13.6 percent in June to 9.8 percent in July. The unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 in the eurozone stood at 13.9 percent in July.

emergency Prague club fire leads to evacuation

A nighttime fire in a music club in the center of Prague caused the evacuation of 80 people around 1 a.m. The staff of the club, which is located at the intersection of the Jakubská and Malá Štupartská streets, put out the insulation fire on the stage before the fire brigade arrived, according to Novinky.

No injuries were reported, and the cause and extent of damage are under investigation. Police and paramedics also responded to the scene.

energy E.ON to slash prices for existing customers

Energy company E.ON will discount gas prices for approximately 140,000 existing customers by 16 percent starting in September. The prices will be up to a quarter lower than the government price ceiling. E.ON is also considering adjusting electricity prices.

Other suppliers in the Czech Republic are gradually reducing energy prices. E.ON plans to offer a two-year fixed product with more than 20 percent savings on electricity and over 30 percent savings on gas for customers with long-term contracts.

SPORTS Czech tennis players advance at US Open

The third day of play at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, saw Czech players advance to the third round of the main competition. Karolína Muchová secured a spot in the U.S. Open's third round after defeating Polka Frechová on Wednesday. Jiří Veselý followed suit with a surprise victory over Jakub Menšík.

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitová, ranked 11th globally, bowed out after a fierce battle against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. The match went over two hours, with Wozniacki clinching a 5-7, 6-7 victory. Kvitová cited health issues but praised her opponent's excellent performance.

SECURITY Russian hackers behind Czech bank cyber attacks

Wedneday's banking outages, in which several Czech banks, including Komerční banka, ČSOB, Air Bank, and Fio banka, faced cyberattacks that caused internet and mobile banking disruptions were orchestrated by the Russian hacktivist group NoName057 (16), which demanded that institutions stop supporting Ukraine. The Prague Stock Exchange also experienced a similar attack.

The National Office for Cyber and Information Security confirmed the attacks but assured clients that their finances were safe. Most banks restored services during the day, with ČSOB being the last to recover after 3 p.m. The stock exchange's website was back online in the evening, though with delayed data.

WEATHER Summer temps to return this weekend

After rainy spell, the Czech Republic is set to experience a return to warm weather, with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Celsius over the weekend. However, sporadic showers and occasional thunderstorms are expected. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute predicts a similar weather pattern for the following week. Today, temperatures are expected to exceed 20 degrees Celsius in various areas, with local showers, particularly in the north.

Friday will see cloudy conditions with some clearings, morning fogs, and occasional light rain in Bohemia. Saturday may reach 26 degrees Celsius with showers and afternoon thunderstorms, while Sunday brings more clouds, showers, and temperatures ranging from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius.

legal Czech government mulls regulating kratom

The Czech government has agreed to a change in the law that would create a new category of psychomodulating substances, such as kratom, which will be regulated but not banned. Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš stated that the regulation would include restrictions such as only allowing adults to purchase these substances and prohibiting advertising.

The law will also require the registration of sellers and labeling of packaging with information on effects and recommended dosages. The proposal is expected to receive the green light in the House of Representatives and could come into effect in 2024.

minorities Czech Justice Minister denies racially prejudiced justice in Roma case

Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek assured representatives of the Roma community that there is no racially prejudiced justice in the Czech Republic. He stated that the release of the suspect in a murder case that happened on June 10 in Brno was a standard procedure. The debate, which took place in Brno, centered around tensions between Ukrainians and the Roma community.

The Roma representatives expressed their belief that they do not have equal rights and face discrimination in society. Blažek rejected any claims of systemic discrimination but acknowledged the need for better communication and understanding between the courts and the community.

culture Renovations planned for Smetana's apartment in Litomyšl

The Litomyšl Town Hall is planning to renovate Bedřich Smetana's native apartment in the former castle brewery ahead of the Smetanova Litomyšl music festival. The total costs for the construction work, lighting and sound system, and furniture will be approximately CZK 20 million.

The aim is to complete the renovations in time for the festival next year, which marks the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth and the 140th anniversary of his death. The apartment will be divided into two parts, showcasing Smetana's musical work and his life story.

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