News in brief for Aug. 4: Top headlines in Czechia on Friday

President Pavel apologizes for riding his motorcycle without a helmet, multiple children injured after lookout tower collapses, and more top stories. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 04.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 04.08.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

International affairs Czech embassy in Korea helps scouts during meet-up chaos

The Czech embassy in Korea announced today that it assisted Czech scouts at the World Scout Jamboree after the initial campsite proved unready. It ensured alternative accommodation, food, drink, buses, and supplies for 413 Czech participants. The event in South Korea, hosting 43,000 scouts from various countries, saw many fall ill due to heat, with temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius.

The Korean Foreign Ministry also added that it was trying to respond quickly to the concerns of foreign diplomats. The Czech embassy promptly arranged dormitory stays for 183 scouts at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, alongside aiding in food, drink, and bus arrangements.

SPORT Czech tennis player loses in Prague Open quarterfinal

Czech tennis player Tereza Martincová was defeated by Japanese Nao Hibino this afternoon in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Prague Open quarterfinals, losing 1:6, 2:6 in just over an hour. The 28-year-old Czech could not replicate her success from last year, when she made the final. 

Martincová acknowledged Hibinová's exceptional performance, noting that rankings do not always reflect players' capabilities – the Czech is ranked 109 in the world and Hibino is 136th. Fourth-seeded Czech player Linda Nosková is set to challenge Anna Karolína Schmiedlová from Slovakia in another quarterfinal today. 

LAW Pavel appoints new chairman of Constitutional Court

Today, President Petr Pavel appointed Josef Baxa, the former head of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS), as the new chairman of the Constitutional Court (US). He will replace Pavel Rychetský and will be joined by civil law professor Katerina Ronovská as a judge. This change also introduces two vice-chairpersons, a role formerly held solely by judge Vojtěch Šimíček.

Baxa brings extensive judicial experience since 1984, including serving as deputy to justice ministers and contributing to significant legal amendments. His prior role was chairman of the NSS panel after a 15-year tenure as chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Czechia will assist with Ukraine peace plan in Saudi Arabia

Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Marian will represent the Czech Republic in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this weekend offering support for Ukraine’s peace plan. He aims to aid in nuclear security and the pursuit of accountability for Russian war crimes. 

The summit gathers diplomats and advisors to discuss the peace plan's details and arrange a summit. Marian emphasizes Ukraine's quest to engage global players and highlights Czech expertise in negotiations. Marian said he considers Czechia's representation to be important, given its long-standing and strong support for Ukraine and the role it plays, also in view of last year's Czech presidency of the EU Council.

weather Heavy rainfall to hit east of Czechia this weekend

Persistent and occasionally heavy rainfall is forecasted for the eastern parts of Bohemia, Moravia, Olomouc, and Silesia over the weekend according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Jeseníky (in Olomouc) might experience the heaviest downpour, with around 90 millimeters of rainfall expected in 42 hours. Consequently, rivers in this region could partially overflow. 

Šumperk (Olomouc), Bruntál, Krnov, and Rýmařov (South Moravia) have also been given warnings of “very heavy rainfall.” Other regions in the east of Czechia, such as Silesia, have a low-level warning of flood activity. In the capital, moderate rainfall is expected Saturday and Sunday.

ECONOMY Retail sales fall for 14th month in a row

According to data released this afternoon by the Czech Statistical Office, retail sales in Czechia saw a year-on-year decrease of 4.1 percent in June, a slower decline compared to May's 6.3 percent. However, this marks the 14th consecutive month of falling sales. Lower sales of both food and non-food items contributed to the decline, while fuel purchases increased by 12.2 percent. 

Adjusted for price effects, the decline in June was attributed to reduced sales in household products, clothing, and cultural goods stores. However, there was growth in sales of cosmetic products and pharmaceuticals, as well as a slight increase in computer and communication equipment sales. 

Politics President Pavel apologizes for riding sans helmet

Czech President Petr Pavel was filmed riding a motorcycle without a helmet Wednesday. The incident happened in the village of Rtyně v Podkrkonoší. Pavel apologized for his behavior and said he was on his way to a petrol station to fill up his tires. However, the police cannot fine him because he has immunity.

The president is an avid motorcyclist and has been involved in several motorcycle accidents in the past. In 2013, he even witnessed an accident in which a motorcyclist died. After this experience, Pavel became an advocate for motorcyclist safety and encourages helmet use. The president has apologized for his behavior and said that he will be more safety conscious in the future.

Sport Czech hockey great contemplates run for Senate

Czech hockey icon Dominik Hašek is considering running for a Senate seat within the TOP 09 party, as part of the Spolu (Together) coalition. He expressed his serious interest in political engagement and wants to enter politics at the national level. Negotiations are ongoing, and Hašek aims to clarify his candidacy within a few months.

He aligns himself with the current coalition's values and priorities, emphasizing foreign policy, sports, the environment, and education. Hašek has been actively involved in opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in sporting events due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

ECONOMY Job hopping prevalent among Gen Y and Z Czechs

A survey by Hays reveals that job hopping is common among the younger generations Y and Z in the Czech Republic. Around 8 percent changed jobs within a year, while 17 percent left their employers within two years. Factors include seeking better job offers due to rising living costs and companies' inability to retain quality employees.

Experts believe the tight labor market and lack of candidates contribute to the trend. Employers are now more accepting of job changes and focus on candidate justifications. Company culture, meaningful work, and good leadership are vital for retention.

CULTURE Prague Studios lay off 1,700 due to Hollywood strikes

A total of 1,700 employees at Prague Studios lost their jobs after the Hollywood actors' strike, which started a few weeks ago. The strike's impact reached Prague when American filmmakers shooting the sci-fi series Foundation had to halt production due to actor participation in the strike. The strike, affecting the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members, paralyzed the studios and disrupted production schedules until autumn.

The uncertainty surrounding the duration of the strike remains, as the producers and screenwriters' alliance faces challenging negotiations. The situation has led to significant job losses and raised concerns about the strike's prolonged effects.

ACCIDENT Eight children injured after lookout tower collapses

Eight children and one adult woman fell from the Triangl observation tower near Markvartice, in North Bohemia. Four of the children were seriously injured and taken away by helicopters to Prague, Ústí nad Labem, and Děčín hospitals. The other four children have moderate injuries.

The accident was caused by the collapse of a platform intended for four people. The platform was overloaded with 15 people at the time of the crash. The police are investigating the causes and circumstances of the accident.

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