News in brief for July 5: Two men lose their lives in separate incidents at Velká Amerika Quarry

The top headlines for Wednesday, July 5, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 05.07.2023 08:47:00 (updated on 05.07.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Law EC report highlights Czechia’s rule of law progress

The European Commission (EC) released its annual assessment of the Czech Republic's rule of law, highlighting beneficial judiciary reforms implemented in the past year. However, the report also noted shortcomings in corruption investigations, particularly those involving high-ranking officials. The report also raised concerns about procedural delays and possible political interference in corruption cases.

Other areas of concern included working conditions for organizations defending sexual minorities and ambiguities surrounding ethical rules for legislators. Positive developments were noted in the justice system, including a transparent system for selecting judges, but the progress of digitization remained slow. The report is non-binding and serves as a basis for recommendations and dialogue with state authorities.

international Czech military doctor fined for alleged groping incident in Korea

Lieutenant Colonel Ivo Kašpárek, a Czech military doctor, has been fined CZK 170,000 for allegedly groping a female hygienist during a South Korea trip in April. The verdict, confirmed by the doctor's lawyer, imposes a fine instead of imprisonment. The decision will become final in a week unless appealed by the local prosecutor. After paying the fine, Kašpárek will be allowed to leave South Korea, reports.

The incident occurred in Busan, after the arrival of a delegation led by Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka, though the doctor was not a direct member of the group. Five businessmen from the delegation defended the doctor, claiming they didn't witness any instance of harassment or assault. 

travel Amsterdam flight cancellations affect Prague flights

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol canceled around 300 flights today due to strong winds, affecting both air and rail traffic. The disruptions also impacted flights between Amsterdam and Prague, leading to the cancellation of two pairs of connections operated by KLM and easyJet this morning. The Schiphol airport warned of potential delays or cancellations for all flights today.

The Prague Airport issued also issued a warning to travelers due to the threat of thunderstorms today in Prague, tweeting about "a temporary interruption of aircraft handling for safety reasons.”

tragedy Two men lose their lives at Velká Amerika Quarry

Two men lost their lives yesterday in separate incidents at the Velká Amerika quarry, located southwest of Prague. The first fatality occurred when a man drowned while diving in the quarry. Emergency services responded to the report received around 2 p.m., but despite their efforts during an hour-long resuscitation attempt, they were unable to save him, according to police spokesperson Michaela Richterová.

As rescuers were engaged in their intervention, another man who was observing and photographing from the cliff fell, sustaining fatal injuries. The incidents are now under investigation by the Beroun District's criminal police, who have ordered a forensic autopsy. Although entering the quarry is prohibited, a marked hiking trail passes nearby, attracting many visitors to the popular area.

economy Agrofert doubles profits thanks to increased sales

Agrofert, a prominent Czech holding company with over 200 subsidiaries at home and abroad, reported a 124 percent surge in profit, reaching CZK 12.97 billion last year. Sales also climbed by 33 percent, totaling CZK 245 billion, as confirmed by Agrofert spokesperson Pavel Heřmanský. The substantial sales increase was primarily attributed to rising prices in the chemical industry, fueled by mounting input costs, ČTK reports.

While the first half of 2023 indicates a decline in performance due to market instability and high energy prices, Agrofert's chairman, Zdeněk Průša, emphasized the group's intention to invest heavily in energy efficiency, photovoltaics, and ecological production to further expand its operations.

tennis Tomáš Macháč cites hand cramps as factor in Wimbledon defeat

Czech tennis player Tomáš Macháč expressed disappointment over missed opportunities following his first-round loss to British player Cameron Norrie at Wimbledon. Macháč revealed that he struggled with hand cramps from the end of the third set, affecting his performance. Despite the 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 4-6 defeat, the 22-year-old received a standing ovation from the crowd for his impressive shots.

Macháč now aims to earn valuable points in upcoming tournaments to secure a spot in the main competition at the U.S. Open. He acknowledged the need to address the recurring cramps and expressed gratitude for the fair and supportive British audience.

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