News in brief for June 12: Tropical temps to hit Czechia this weekend after cooling spell

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Monday, June 12, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 12.06.2023 07:55:00 (updated on 12.06.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

foreign travel Czech visitors to Mongolia to increase, says Mongolian ambassador

The Mongolian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Gansukh Khashkhan Damdin, shared with reporters at the Mongolian Embassy in Prague today that the number of Czech visitors to Mongolia, currently surpassing 1,000 annually, is expected to increase in the coming years. Since January, Czech citizens have enjoyed a temporary visa exemption for travel to Mongolia, which will remain in effect until 2026. 

Notably, Czechia hosts the largest Mongolian community among European countries, with approximately 12,235 individuals residing there. Michal Veber, Director of the Association of Travel Agencies in the Czech Republic, announced during the meeting that a direct flight route between Prague and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, will soon be launched. Fishing is among the activities attracting Czech travelers to Mongolia.

PUBLIC SERVICE Czech Television, Czech Radio propose increase in license fees

Czech Television (ČT) and Czech Radio have proposed a CZK 15 increase in their license fees. Under the proposal, the television fee would rise to CZK 150, while the radio fee would go up to CZK 60. Petr Dvořák, the CEO of ČT, addressed this matter during a roundtable discussion in the Senate regarding the funding of public service media. 

The public television license fee has remained unchanged since 2008, while the radio fee has not seen a rise since 2005. Czechia is one of 11 EU countries that finance their public media through fees, and adjustments to the fee amount are determined by parliamentary decisions.

LAW Pilsen court concludes football-corruption hearing

The Pilsen District Court concluded the interrogation of all 22 defendants involved in the football corruption case, which included former Litoměřice football official Martin Pýcha. The proceedings, spanning ten business days from mid-April, involved charges of corruption in influencing football matches in the second and third leagues in 2019 and 2020.

Originally planned for nine days in April and May, the court heard from Pýcha and one of the main defendants, former sports director Roman Rogoz, who both testified today. Both defendants pleaded not guilty, with Rogoz accused of bribing players for improved results for Slavoj Vyšehrad.

traffic Brusnice and Dejvice tunnels to close for three nights

Starting yesterday evening and every of this week until Wednesday, June 14, until 5 a.m., the Brusnice and Dejvice sections of the Blanka Tunnel Complex will be completely closed due to cleaning works. The detour will lead through the Patočkova and Milady Horákové streets.

The Blanka Tunnel Complex opened in Sept. 2015, some four years behind schedule. It is about 5.5 kilometers long and has three sections: Bubeneč, Brusnice, and Dejvice. Overall, it can accommodate traffic of up to 30 million cars per year.

weather Temperatures will reach 29 degrees this weekend

The Czech Republic will experience a temperature fluctuation in the coming week, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. After cooling down to around 17 degrees Celsius in the first half of the week, temperatures will rise towards the weekend, reaching up to 29 degrees. The weather will be partly clear and cloudy throughout the week, with a chance of thunderstorms.

Temperatures are expected to drop to 19-23 degrees on Tuesday, with the northeast and north of the country experiencing around 17 degrees. Gradual warming is anticipated from Thursday onwards, with daily highs ranging from 19 to 25 degrees. After clear skies on Monday, showers and thunderstorms are forecast for most days of this week. 

economy Consumer price growth slows in May

Consumer price growth in the Czech Republic slowed to 11.1 percent year-on-year in May, compared to 12.7 percent in April. The Czech Statistical Office reported a 0.3 percent month-on-month increase in prices. Higher prices in housing drove the growth, with heat, hot water, and electricity costs seeing significant increases ranging from 41.3 percent to 24.8 percent.

Other increases happened in the areas of gas and solid fuel prices (47.6 percent and 39.4 percent), as well as food and non-alcoholic beverages, such as sugar (58.7 percent) and eggs (32.3 percent). The only category that saw a decrease of 4.4 percent in prices was transport, due to lower fuel costs. Analysts attribute the overall softening of price growth, which happened over the last four months, to last year's high comparative base. 

politics President Pavel to speak in parliament this week

President Petr Pavel is scheduled to address Czech parliament next week, as the Chamber of Deputies continues discussions on tightening conflict of interest laws, known as "lex Babiš." The ANO opposition party of former Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš for whom the law is named has been obstructing the approval of the legislation for several months. Additionally, deputies will convene to debate EU migration rule reforms at the initiative of ANO lawmakers.

The regularly scheduled meeting will focus on government changes to the Labor Code, including the definition of work agreements and provisions for shorter working hours and remote work. Extraordinary meetings will cover various drafts and proposals.

sport Souček wins Czech Golden Ball for third time

Tomas Souček has triumphed in the Czech Golden Ball competition, which evaluates the best-performing Czech footballer of the season. The West Ham United midfielder and captain of the Czech national team claims his third Czech Golden Ball, which is decided by the Club of Sports Journalists.

In the 27th edition of the poll, Souček (aged 28) and captain of the national team, emerged victorious by a single point over Antonín Barák, a midfielder for Italian club Fiorentina. Soucek's previous victories came in 2020 and 2021. 

Ukraine Activists in Prague condemn destruction of Kakhovka dam

Ukrainian activists organized a protest in Prague's Old Town Square Saturday to denounce the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and place the blame on Russia. The Voice of Ukraine organization led the demonstration, during which activists submerged figurines in water to symbolize the damage caused by the dam breach. Protesters displayed photos of flooded areas and held banners condemning Russian aggression.

The demonstration also featured Ukrainian music and chants of "Glory to Ukraine." At the same time, Ukrainian activists from the Kaputin group protested against a pro-Russia rally near the Russian embassy in Prague. Verbal altercations occurred, but no physical violence ensued.

Education Govt. will push to digitize secondary school admissions

Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek plans to present an amendment to the act on digitizing admissions procedures for secondary schools to the government in August. Bek, who aims for the amendment to be implemented before next year's admission procedures, said in a televized interview Sunday that he hopes for cross-party agreement and a proper legislative process without the need for emergency measures.

Bek stated that the initial draft of the education budget for next year does not align with the government's commitments and expects the budget to increase. He emphasized the need for increased funding for teachers' salaries and investment in schools to address the issue of limited access to education facilities near urban areas.

Crime Weekend stabbing in Brno leads to one fatality

A man described by police as a foreigner, stabbed two individuals in Brno-Bystrec Saturday, leading to one fatality. The suspect is in police custody and is facing murder charges. Police are urging witnesses to come forward and provide any relevant information about the incident.

The altercation occurred near the Přístaviště tram stop, and the injured individuals were taken to the hospital for treatment. Saturday evening saws thousands of spectators gather to watch the competitive fireworks display at the Brno Reservoir in the evening as part of the Ignis Brunensis entertainment festival.

Economy Largest gas company in Czechia for sale

GasNet, the largest gas distributor in the Czech Republic, is up for sale, reports HN. The sale process was initiated by the consortium of investors led by Macquarie Asset Management (MAM), the sole owner of GasNet. The valuation of the company is expected to be in the higher tens of billions of Czech crowns.

GasNet supplies natural gas to households and businesses across the country, except for Prague and the South Bohemian Region. The sale is being managed from London, where the consortium is based. The transaction will be closely monitored by the state, as strategic asset sales require approval under the Foreign Investment Screening Act.

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