News in brief for July 25: Top headlines for Czechia on Tuesday

An update on Czech tourists' evacuation from Greece, Czechia hit by supercell storm, and more top headlines for Tuesday, July 25, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 25.07.2023 08:00:00 (updated on 25.07.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

international relations Czech Senate Speaker receives special T-shirt during Taiwan talks

Czech Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil this afternoon received in Prague a T-shirt with his portrait and the words "I am Taiwanese" as a gift from Taiwan's Minister of the National Development Council, Kung Ming-hsin.

The inscription refers to Vystrčil’s statement during his 2020 visit to Taiwan when he said "I am Taiwanese" in Czech and Mandarin. In return, the speaker gave the Taiwanese minister a glass rabbit, as Ming-hsin was born under that sign in the Chinese horoscope. Vystrčil met the Taiwanese minister for bilateral talks about economic cooperation, developments in education and research, strategic visions related to the environment, and fighting disinformation.

companies Czech Knihobot book company expands to Germany and Austria

Online secondhand bookstore, Knihobot, has announced that it has officially expanded its operations to Austria and Germany under the international brand Bookbot. Knihobot aims to capture 25 percent of the book market in both countries by the end of 2023. 

Having previously operated in Slovakia, the founder, Dominik Gazdoš, sees large potential in the German-language book market and the fact there is no direct competition. While the book markets in Austria and Germany differ from the Czech Republic, where Knihobot originated, the company plans to adapt and experiment, focusing on customer needs for success. Gazdoš emphasized in a press release the significance of understanding the consumer purchasing process for developing the company.

cinema Agnieszka Holland film selected for Venice Film Festival

The spokesperson of the Czech Film Fund (SFK), Jiří Vaněk, has announced today that a movie co-produced by Czech filmmakers has been selected for the main competition of the 80th Venice International Film Festival. 

Polish director Agnieszka Holland's new film, The Green Border, will feature at the festival, which is scheduled to take place from Aug. 30 to Sep. 9. Czechia’s participation in previous editions of the festival, including Václav Marhoul's The Painted Bird in 2019 and Jan P. Matustynski's Leave No Trace in 2021 (co-shot with Czech producers), exemplifies the SFK’s consistent involvement in promoting international cinematic ventures, Vaněk says.

incident Cottage explosion injures several Czech children in Slovakia

An explosion occurred this morning in a holiday cottage in the Slovak village of Lehota pod Vtáčnikom, Trenčín, injuring a group of mainly Czech children who were on a mountain-climbing training camp. 

A gas stove exploded, hurting seven children and two adults. According to Slovak authorities, two rescue helicopters attended the scene, and one girl was airlifted to hospital. The exact cause of the explosion has not been determined.

crime Police bust major Czech-Polish marijuana operation

Police in the Hradec Králové region have announced that they recently apprehended a four-member organized group, aged between 32 and 36, accused of manufacturing and distributing marijuana in the Czech Republic and Poland. Three are Czech nationals, and the fourth is a foreigner, suspected to be a Polish citizen.

Two of the Czech men are in custody, and the Pole – believed to be the gang's leader – was also arrested. The group allegedly made millions of crowns from drug sales and invested over CZK 1 million in production technology, producing at least 50 kilograms of marijuana in seven years.

aviation London is most-popular destination in 2023 for Prague Airport

Prague Airport has today released statistics showing significant passenger growth in the first half of this year, handling 5.8 million passengers – a 36-percent increase year on year. London remained the top destination, but the figures fell short of 2019's pre-Covid levels when 7.8 million passengers traveled through the airport.

Air traffic across the Czech Republic has also risen. Italy and Spain were the next-most popular countries. In June alone, the airport served almost 1.4 million passengers, a 20-percent increase from the previous year. 

Crisis Foreign ministry says situation in Greece stabilizing

Prague Foreign Ministry reports no stranded Czech citizens in Greece due to fires on Rhodes and other islands. Over 4,500 Czech tourists are currently in Rhodes, with 800 already leaving. The ministry advises against travel to affected areas and calls for registration on the Drozd travel system for easy communication in emergencies.

Fires continue in Rhodes, Corfu, Euboea, and Achaia, with evacuations and risk of spreading. Lindos was re-included among dangerous areas due to a nearby fire. The ministry can't interfere with travel agencies' flights but offers recommendations. Travelers are urged to stay updated on changing situations.

weather Eastern Czechia hit by a supercell

Severe storms hit the eastern Czech Republic on Monday, causing damage and requiring firefighters to respond to dozens of incidents. The South Moravian region was most affected, with approximately 60 interventions to clear fallen trees and secure loose roofing. The storms also impacted the Zlín, Olomouc, and Moravia-Silesia regions.

Meteorologists issued warnings for strong storms, with hail reported in some areas. Trains between Liběšice and Litoměřice were suspended due to a fallen tree, while other train routes were also affected. Despite the storms, high temperatures persist, posing a risk of fires, but conditions are expected to improve by Tuesday.

transit Transport minister: Prague won't raise fare prices

Prague's public transport fares are set by the city management, not the director of the transport company (DPP), according to Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib. This comes in response to DPP director Petr Witowski's statement that current fare prices are unsustainable in the long term.

While Hřib previously stated that the city has no plans to increase fares, Councilor for Finance Zdeněk Kovářík acknowledged the possibility of discussing fare increases due to the rising costs of running DPP. The price of individual tickets in Prague last increased in 2021, and the city contributed CZK 16.2 billion to DPP's operations last year.

Crime Czech woman detained in Tunisia expected to confess

A Czech woman detained in Tunisia on suspicion of murdering her husband is expected to confess to the crime, as revealed by her niece's statement to CNN Prima. The woman allegedly acted out of emotion during a physical fight with her intoxicated husband. The court proceedings took place in Monastir, and the Czech Embassy in Tunisia is providing support.

The niece believes alcohol played a role in the incident and intends to negotiate with the authorities for the woman's return to the Czech Republic for trial. The tragic incident has left the niece to handle funeral arrangements and other matters related to the woman's affairs.

Business Kellner widow to hand company over to children

Renáta Kellnerová, the widow of PPF group founder Petr Kellner, plans to prepare her children to lead the company, according to the 2022 PPF News Report. Kellnerová said she sees it as her responsibility to preserve her husband's legacy and prepare their children to eventually take over. The appointment of Jiří Šmejc as CEO was part of the group's effort to find new stability.

Notably, PPF successfully exited the Russian financial market and focused on traditional markets in developed countries like the EU. The investment group operates in 25 countries, with interests in finance, telecommunications, media, biotechnology, real estate, and engineering.

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