News in brief for July 3: Top headlines for Czechia on Monday

Police find man who set himself on fire near National Museum, June deficit lower than May's, Russell Crowe praises Czechia, and more top headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.07.2023 10:05:00 (updated on 04.07.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

economy Czechia’s state budget deficit decreases in June

The Czech state budget deficit decreased to CZK 215.4 billion at the end of June compared to CZK 271.4 billion in May. This improvement was attributed to higher corporate tax collection and revenues from the European Union budget, according to the Ministry of Finance. Despite this improvement, the half-year deficit is the second highest since the country's formation, after the one for 2021.

Budget revenues at the end of June rose by 16.5 percent compared to the previous year, while expenditures increased by 16.8 percent. The government plans to evaluate budget management and consider potential savings to align with the projected deficit of CZK 295 billion for the entire year.

tragedy Police find man who set himself on fire near National Museum

In the early hours of Monday morning, Prague police found a young man who set himself on fire near the National Museum. The man, who had run away from a psychiatric hospital, had poured flammable liquid on his body, lit the fire, then jumped into a fountain to extinguish the flames.

"The patrol found a confused man in shock, with burns on the upper part of his body, but he was conscious, communicating, not complaining of pain," police spokeswoman Irena Seifertová said on Monday. The man, who was in a state of shock but conscious, had sustained burns on his upper body and was transferred to a medical facility in Prague.

society Family of Czech earthquake victim to receive 1 million euro compensation

The family of a Czech student who tragically died in the 2009 earthquake in Aquila has been awarded 1 million euros in compensation by an Italian court. The court held the authorities responsible for failing to evacuate the dormitory building after the initial tremors.

Alongside the Czech student, an Italian student also perished in the collapse of the dormitories. The compensation will be paid by the Italian Ministry of Education, the province of Aquila, a provincial official, and the former rector of the dormitories. It remains unclear whether the Czech student's family pursued compensation through the court.

economy ČEZ among Czech entities exempt from anti-Russian sanctions

Amidst the ongoing Ukraine war, the Financial Analysis Office (FAÚ) has provided exemptions from anti-Russian sanctions to 33 Czech entities. Notably, energy company ČEZ sought exemptions to maintain collaborations with Russian-owned engineering enterprises, including those affiliated with Rosatom or sanctioned oligarch Dmitri Pumpjanský, iDnes reports.

FAÚ exemptions primarily pertain to pharmaceutical (45 percent) and nuclear energy companies (37 percent). ČEZ, responsible for operating nuclear power plants, emphasized the challenges of finding alternative suppliers for core infrastructure, leading to repeated exemption requests to prevent operational disruptions.

sport Siniaková improves in WTA rankings after Bad Homburg win

Czech tennis player Kateřina Siniaková moved up to the 32nd spot on the WTA rankings after defeating Italian Lucia Bronzetti  6:2 and 7:6 on Saturday. The win led her to secure the trophy at Bad Homburg Open, which is her fourth singles title and her first on grass.

The highest WTA ranking that Siniaková reached in singles was 31st place at the end of 2018. She is still the clear number one in doubles. Before today's start of Wimbledon, Petra Kvitová was the highest-ranked Czech tennis player in the world, and the 9th in the WTA rankings. 

cinema Russell Crowe praises Czechia after meeting Fiala

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe replied to a tweet from Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and praised the Czech Republic's beauty. Fiala had initially tweeted a photo of their meeting on July 1 with the caption “Pleasure to meet you, Russell Crowe.”

The New Zealand-born actor replied “Nice to meet you too Prime Minister. What a beautiful country you have.” Crowe is the recent winner of the Karlovy Vary Festival's honorary award. 

police Rakušan weighs in on tensions between Roma and Ukrainians

Minister of Interior Vít Rakušan joined the fray after protests broke out this weekend in Pardubice. “Who benefits from fueling disputes between Ukrainians and Roma? To no one except those who love neither Roma nor Ukrainians,” he tweeted. Rakušan added that the Czech police will handle all incidents regardless of who is the perpetrator and who is the victim.

Dozens of protesters, primarily Roma, gathered at the central train station in Pardubice on Saturday in reaction to a conflict that broke out on Saturday between Roma and three individuals alleged to be Ukrainians. The protest organizers said a young Roma person was injured during the altercation.

birthday Czech-born playwright Tom Stoppard turns 86

Happy birthday to Zlín-born British playwright Tom Stoppard, who was born on July 3, 1937. Journalist Ian Willoughby tweeted that Stoppard “supported Czech dissidents, organized a petition for the release of (first Czech President) Václav Havel and in the early 1980s set up a prize for Czechoslovak writers banned by the Communists.”

Stoppard broke his own record by winning a fifth Tony Award for Best Play last month. Leopoldstadt, which chronicles the life of a Jewish family in Vienna from 1899 to 1955, earned a total of four prizes at the annual ceremony honoring the best productions on Broadway in New York City.

weather Warm, sunny week gives way to thunderstorms

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) forecasts that the first week of July will bring temperatures mostly above 25 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will reach 23 to 27 degrees today, 24 to 28 degrees tomorrow, and rise up to 30 degrees Celsius during the weekend.

Skies will start off clear but will gradually become cloudy on Wednesday, bringing showers and thunderstorms. After slightly cooling on Thursday, when they will not exceed 26 degrees, temperatures will rise again and reach 30 degrees Celsius on Sunday. No precipitation is expected for the weekend.

emergency Firefighters put out fire in Pilsen region

Czech firefighters announced on Twitter last evening that they got under control a large fire in a field near Dobřany in the Pilsen Region. The fire, which has destroyed a large portion of the field, was no longer spreading.

The response involved 22 firefighting units, as well as drones used to survey the area, while the operations were complicated by strong winds. The fire covered an estimated area of 17 hectares, but the extent of the damage is yet to be determined. Five units will stay on the scene to prevent any rekindling of the fire until midnight.

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