News in brief for Aug. 8: Top headlines for Czechia on Tuesday

City offices fly rainbow flag, Czechia records coldest summer day on the books, and Czech trade surplus reaches 18.2 billion in June. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 08.08.2023 08:00:00 (updated on 08.08.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

POLICE Czech police head under fire for claims women 'fake' rape reports

Police President Martin Vondrášek is facing backlash today for suggesting that women's reports of sexual violence are frequently fabricated, drawing criticism from experts and media. Vondrášek clarified that he didn't intend to downplay or trivialize the seriousness of sexual violence, and expressed regret for using the phrase "very often" when saying women falsify rape reports.

This afternoon, the police chief emphasized his commitment to addressing rape cases responsibly. Critics pointed out that statistically, fictional reports of sexual violence are rare. However, earlier, Vondrášek – citing official police statistics – said that around 40 percent of all rape claims were “dismissed on the grounds that there was no suspicion of a crime committed.”

diplomacy Former Czech ambassador to NATO passes away aged 62

Martin Povejšil, a distinguished Czech diplomat and former ambassador to the EU, NATO, Spain, and Chile, has passed away at 62, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský announced today. Povejšil’s notable roles included being the senior director of the security and multilateral section at the Foreign Ministry. 

Lipavský praised Povejšil as a respected colleague and role model, lauding his honesty, discretion, and dedication. President Petr Pavel also expressed condolences, remembering Povejšil as a remarkable professional and person. The diplomat served in Chile from 1994 to 1998, and in Spain and Andorra between 2000 and 2004. He was also the ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2012.

international relations Mozambican president meets with senior Czech politicians

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi this afternoon met with Czech Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová during his visit to Prague. The talks centered on bilateral ties and industry collaboration, particularly in Mozambique's mineral-rich sectors. Czechia expressed keen interest in Mozambique's natural gas resources.

President Nyusi also met with Interior Minister Vít Rakušan and leaders of the Czech Senate, focusing mainly on business and economic partnerships. Pekarová Adamová highlighted potential cooperation in healthcare and the defense industry, while commending the presence of local business and industrial representatives accompanying President Nyusi.

work Unemployment increases slightly in July

Czechia’s unemployment rate increased marginally to 3.5 percent in July, from 3.4 percent in June, as revealed by the Czech Labor Office. Prior to July, unemployment had been on a four-month decline. Numbers of people without jobs rose by over 9,000, to 258,933, while vacancies dipped by around 1,000, to 285,627. 

The small rise in unemployment is attributed to reduced company activity during summer vacations and the annual addition of individuals who have recently graduated from university and are searching for a job to the unemployment register.

crime Manhunt underway for man who crashed car with illegal immigrants

Czech police have confirmed that they are seeking a driver who caused an accident in Ústí nad Labem involving a car full of Syrians, injuring eight individuals.

The driver fled after crossing the Czech-German border. The incident occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday. Extensive search efforts are ongoing, as the driver evaded customs officers and later collided in Děčín. Police officers from the special riot unit and dog handlers are involved in the search for the driver who is suspected of organizing and enabling the illegal crossing of the state border and causing bodily harm out of negligence, a police spokesperson said. 

fire At least 190 Czechs staying in fire-hit Portugal

Approximately 190 Czech individuals are recorded in Portugal via the Drozd travel system, despite the ongoing fire in a less frequented area, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry today. The blaze is advancing towards the Algarve, a tourist spot with Czech visitors. The Czech embassy hasn't received any requests for help yet.

Over 1,400 people (from different nations) were evacuated due to the fire near Odemira. Despite deploying 800 firefighters, the flames are challenging to contain due to intense heat and winds. The embassy notified registered Czechs about the fire. Portugal is currently facing about 14 forest fires amid 40-degree Celsius temperatures, with extreme heat warnings across three regions and 120 municipalities on the highest fire alert.

PRAGUE Capital welcomes annual Pride Festival with rainbow flags and more

The Prague Pride Festival has been warmly welcomed by the city's municipality, several districts, and institutions in Prague, which have displayed rainbow flags and created a rainbow crossing in front of the town hall. The festival celebrating the LGBTQ+ community began today and will run until Sunday, with a traditional parade taking place on Saturday.

Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, along with other councilors, raised the flag at the New Town Hall, emphasizing the importance of equal rights and obligations for all citizens. Other buildings, including the Petrín lookout tower, will be lit up in rainbow colors.

Tragedy Man dies after falling onto metro tracks at Florenc

The operation of a section of Line C of the Prague metro was temporarily suspended on Monday evening for about two hours due to a person's fall onto the tracks at the Florenc station. The man suffered fatal injuries. Trains between Nádraží Holešovice and Pražského povstání stations were not running during the interruption.

Service resumed at 7:30 p.m., according to Prague Integrated Transport. Preliminary findings suggest that the man likely jumped under the train. Replacement bus services and extended tram routes were implemented during the disruption.

Weather Czechia records its coldest Aug. 7 ever

Yesterday marked the coldest Aug. 7th ever recorded in the Czech Republic, with temperatures on the thirty-degree scale at approximately 160 long-term measuring stations. Some lower-lying areas experienced maximum temperatures below 13 degrees Celsius, breaking previous records from 1987 and 1985.

The cold weather, accompanied by rain, affected regions in western Bohemia and the Zlin region the most. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMU) forecasts continued chilly weather with temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius until Wednesday, with gradual warming expected from Thursday onwards.

Economy Czech trade surplus reaches CZK 18.2 billion in June

The Czech Republic's foreign trade balance with goods ended with a surplus of CZK 18.2 billion in June, an improvement of CZK 33.4 billion compared to the same period last year.

The positive impact on the overall trade balance was mainly due to a smaller year-on-year deficit in the trade of oil and natural gas, a rise in the surplus of trade in motor vehicles, and a reduction in the deficit of trade in basic metals. However, the balance was negatively affected by a decline in electricity, metal products, and waste product trades.

Politics Research team to examine candidate's communist judiciary background

A research team from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes will investigate the past work of Robert Fremr, a candidate for constitutional judge, during the communist judiciary in the 1980s. The team will focus on the Prague-Olšany Cemetery case and the punishment of emigrants for leaving the republic.

President Petr Pavel has postponed Fremr's appointment until the information about his decision-making during the communist era is clarified. Fremr admits that the StB secret police manipulated the Olšany Cemetery case, but he denies being a pro-regime judge.

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