News in brief for Aug. 7: Top headlines for Czechia on Monday

Czech foreign minister condemns Russian attack on blood tranfusion center, weak tornado hits Czechia, and more headlines for Aug. 7, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 07.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 07.08.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

CRIME President's Office warns against scams using Pavel's image

The Presidential Office has issued a stern warning regarding the exploitation of President Petr Pavel's image and the ČEZ energy group's logo by fraudsters attempting to extort money from unsuspecting individuals. The office distanced itself from these misleading tactics and emphasized the need for heightened vigilance.

Media reports have previously exposed fraudulent endeavors promising high returns through investments in well-known Czech corporations, exploiting recognizable figures like Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and economist Danuše Nerudová to lure potential victims with false claims of substantial profits.

REAL ESTATE Prague 6 postpones investigation into Zeman apartment use

According to Czech Television, Prague 6 City Hall has postponed the examination of former President Miloš Zeman's office in an apartment that, legally, is intended for residential use. Zeman requires special accreditation to officially make the apartment an office, and he has not obtained this.

However, a spokesperson for Prague 6 stated that no offense had been committed, as occasional business visits do not require new approval. Prague 6 City Hall had been investigating potential building code violations, with fines of up to CZK 500 million if any misuse was confirmed. 

NATURE Over half of Czechs visited Czech woodlands every month in 2022

The Czech State of Forests and Forest Management Report reveals that, in 2022, Czechs collected nearly 39,000 tons of forest fruits valued at CZK 7.8 billion. The most harvested fruits were mushrooms, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Forest visits also surged, with 60 percent of Czechs exploring woodlands at least once a month.

Last year, over 226 million forest tree seedlings were planted with the help of the public during initiatives such as Forest Restoration Day, the report says. Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný recently highlighted intense reforestation efforts due to the bark beetle crisis, with a shift towards planting more deciduous trees in the future.

society One in four young Czechs exercise less than once monthly

New analysis from the Czech Council for Children and Youth reveals that 6 percent of Czech individuals aged 16 to 30 do not do any sports whatsoever, while 18 percent engage in sports less than once a month.

Findings from the Lifestyle 2022 study by the Kantar agency, based on 1,181 respondents, indicate an overall indifferent or negative attitude towards sports among most young Czechs. About one-quarter of respondents participate in sports activities once or twice a week. One in five Czech young people say they exercise three to four times a week, and 9 percent do so nearly daily.

law Pavel postpones nomination of Constitutional Court judge

President Petr Pavel has today announced his decision to postpone naming Robert Fremr as a Constitutional Court judge, despite the Senate’s approval last week. Pavel noted that he wants to study and consult experts on new information about Fremr's work in the criminal court system before the 1989 fall of communism.

Fremr, who is also the deputy head of the Prague High Court, received criticism from some Czech senators due to his past involvement in the Olšany cemetery case. He was accused of knowingly collaborating with the Czech secret services during an investigation into the vandalism of monuments at the cemetery.

SPORT Czech falls short in women's tennis Prague Open final

Czech 18-year-old tennis player Linda Nosková fell short in the WTA Prague tournament final against Japan's Nao Hibino, losing 4:6, 1:6. The match was delayed by a day due to bad weather and faced interruptions from rain during the final. Despite being seeded fourth, Nosková couldn't secure her first elite circuit title.

This loss follows her unsuccessful final in Adelaide earlier this year. Hibino, aged 28, claimed victory as a "lucky loser," defeating Romanian Jaqueline Cristian in the semifinal. Nosková is ranked 71st in the world.

CRIME Czech police investigate Russian for breaching sanctions law

The Czech police have today announced that a Russian individual is under Czech police investigation for violating international sanctions by transferring money to a Russian oligarch who has been on the EU's sanction list since 2015.

The National Centre against Organized Crime initiated the prosecution, also citing the oligarch's ties to high-ranking Russian officials. The incident involves funds moved in 2015 and most probably used within Czech territory. The investigation began on Aug. 2, though the individual in question has not been detained.

WEATHER Hundreds of Czech scouts to be evacuated from Korean jamboree

Czech scouts at the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea are set for evacuation due to an approaching tropical typhoon in the area, according to Czech Scout spokeswoman Barbora Trojak. 

The Czech embassy in Seoul has ordered 10 coaches for Czech scouts and 20 Ukrainians, which are ready to leave for Seoul, Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Drake has confirmed. South Korea plans to evacuate thousands of participants from the jamboree due to the impending storm. The event, hosting around 40,000 scouts from 150 countries, including 413 from Czechia, has been marred by extreme heat and organizational issues. 

industry Construction production rises in Czechia

New data from the Czech Statistical Office shows that construction production in the Czech Republic rebounded in June, showing a 1-percent year-on-year increase after a four-month decline. Both land and engineering construction contributed to this growth, with a 2.5-percent month-on-month rise in overall construction output. 

Engineering and building construction experienced equal annual growth rates, with residential and non-residential building construction up by 0.7 percent. However, issued building permits declined by 8.7 percent year on year in June, mainly due to a high comparative base from last June.

Ukraine Czech ForMin: Transfusion center attack must be punished

The Czech Republic pledges to pursue justice for the terrorist attack on a blood transfusion center in Ukraine's Kharkiv region. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský condemned the Russian-guided bomb attack that destroyed the center in Kupyansk, resulting in casualties and injuries, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Lipavský stated that the attack demonstrates Russia's inhumane behavior and called for accountability for those responsible. The incident occurred on Saturday, and it followed other strikes, including an attack on the Motor Sič aircraft engine factory in Zaporizhia and a Ukrainian drone targeting a Russian tanker near the Kerch Strait.

Economy Polish pipeline leak won't affect Czech Republic

Polish oil pipeline operator PERN discovered a leak in the Druzhba pipeline, halting oil pumping from Russia to Europe. Repairs are underway, and oil flow is expected to resume Tuesday morning. The leak, found near Chodecz, Poland, on a pipeline carrying oil to Germany, did not pose a threat to local residents. PERN's other infrastructure is operating normally.

The cause of the incident is under investigation. The pipeline, spanning 5,500 kilometers, supplies up to one million barrels of oil daily. Europe remains vigilant after past pipeline disruptions, including those blamed on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Oil also flows to the Czech Republic through the Druzhba pipeline, but in Belarus, it is divided into two branches, and a different branch leads to the Czech Republic than to Poland.

CULTURE Netflix to postpone show based on Czech novel

Netflix has postponed the release of six major movie titles originally slated for 2023, including a film due to be shot in Czechia, Nerdfix reports. The official reason for the delay was not disclosed, but it's speculated that the ongoing strike of actors and screenwriters is a contributing factor. The movies affected include A Family Affair, a romantic comedy with Joey King, Nicole Kidman, and Zac Efron, and Ladies, a fantasy film starring Millie Bobby Brown.

Also delayed are Elevator, a heist comedy with Kevin Hart, Players, a romantic comedy with Tom Ellis and Gina Rodriguez, Shirley, a biographical drama, and Spaceman, featuring Adam Sandler and based on the novel Spaceman of Bohemia by Czech author Jaroslav Kalfař.

Weather Weak tornado hits Nymburk

A weaker tornado was reported near Zvěřínek in Nymburk, Czech Republic. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) shared a video on social media showing the tornado and minor damage, including an overturned trampoline. A field survey will be conducted on Monday to assess the situation.

This year, there have been other weak tornadoes in different regions of the country, with some causing damage to roofs. Tornadoes are rare in the Czech Republic, occurring a few times a year at most. In 2021, an extreme storm with hail and tornado caused significant damage and casualties in South Moravian municipalities.

Prague Exhibition marks 60 years of the Czech Mercedes-Benz club

The Czech Mercedes-Benz Club celebrated its 60th anniversary in Prague's Letná district, featuring over 300 participants and 130 cars. The exhibition showcased cars from Czech collectors, ranging from a 1929 vintage to the newest models from last year.

The club, one of the oldest Mercedes-Benz clubs globally and the oldest in mainland Europe was founded in 1963 by "the magnificent seven." The club's early activities involved finding spare parts, challenging during the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia until 1989. The celebration concluded with a ride to the Kbely Aviation Museum, where spectators enjoyed films on the club's history.

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