News in brief for June 13: Czech Senate honors tennis great Navrátilová with medal

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 13.06.2023 09:02:00 (updated on 13.06.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

crime Czech police investigate Twitter hate speech by activist

Czech police have today confirmed that they are conducting an investigation into a post shared on Twitter by activist Nela Lisková, which reads: “Our task will be to de-Ukrainize and denazify the Czech Republic." Attached in her post is a photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, calling him a “Nazi monster.” 

Former Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman replied to the tweet, informing Lisková that he had reported her to the police. Lisková’s Twitter biography states that she is the director of the Institute for the Protection of Citizens' Rights in Czechia.

law Former PM of Czechia charged with bribery

Former Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas (formerly of the Civic Democrats party), his wife Jana, and Roman Boček, a former deputy agriculture minister, were found guilty by the Prague 1 District Court today in a case involving the offering of lucrative positions to Civic Democrats members of parliament (MPs). The charges included bribery, carrying a maximum prison sentence of six years. The prosecution recommended suspended sentences and fines; Nečas received a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence and a CZK 1 million fine.

The indictment outlined promises made by Nečas to provide some MPs with attractive company positions and posts in exchange for relinquishing their parliamentary mandates, thus facilitating the government's passage of a tax package that the MPs had opposed. The ex-prime minister was earlier this year charged with lying in court when delivering a testimony for his wife.

politics Pavel – more cooperation, listening need in parliament

In his address to members of parliament (MPs) today, President Petr Pavel expressed his surprise at the intense political battles that occasionally paralyzed the Czech Chamber of Deputies. He emphasized the need for greater tolerance and a willingness to listen and cooperate between the coalition and opposition. The president also highlighted the significant issue of many voters having no representation in the lower house, despite their participation in the general election. 

He urged MPs to keep these voters in mind during their work. Pavel additionally emphasized that MPs can provide a sense of representation to people who abstained from voting by showing interest in their concerns, thereby shaping their perception of democracy. 

honors Navrátilová receives medal from Czech Senate

Today, the Czech-U.S. tennis legend, Martina Navrátilová, was honored with the Silver Medal of the Czech Senate Speaker by Senate President Miloš Vystrčil. He commended Navrátilová for her remarkable performances and her unwavering authenticity. In a lighthearted moment during the award ceremony, Navrátilová humorously expressed her surprise at receiving a silver medal, given her accustomed triumphs in capturing gold.

Having left communist Czechoslovakia and settling in the U.S. after the 1975 US Open, Navrátilová went on to achieve unparalleled success in women's tennis. With an unmatched tally of 59 Grand Slam titles, including 18 singles championships, she also triumphed in women's doubles 31 times and mixed doubles 10 times. She recently recovered from a re-emergence of cancer.

EVENT Czech tourist tragically dies in Tunisia

A 76-year-old Czech tourist tragically passed away on Monday at the beach of a hotel in the Tunisian resort of Zarzís. According to Aneta Kovářová, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, it appears that the woman experienced heart failure while in the sea. 

The local civil defense team retrieved her body from the water, and it was promptly transported to Medení hospital. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the precise cause of her death.

animals Group of monkeys escapes from Děčín Zoo

Around six monkeys are currently on the loose in Děčín, Ústí nad Labem, after escaping from their enclosure at Děčín Zoo. Nine had escaped, two were caught, and one remained on the zoo’s premises. 

Police are investigating a man who is suspected of damaging an electric fence, helping the animals escape. He has been detained by police. Various sightings of the monkeys have been reported by (surprised) civilians, and the local authorities have urged people to not approach the animals.

legislature Govt. to discuss draft austerity package from tomorrow

On Wednesday, the government will commence discussions on the draft state budget for the upcoming year. The available material for the cabinet meeting reveals projected revenues of CZK 1.9 trillion and expenses amounting to CZK 2.13 trillion. This would result in a deficit of CZK 235 billion. Although the approved deficit for this year is CZK 295 billion, opposition parties and numerous economists anticipate a wider deficit.

The proposed budget incorporates the effects of the public finance consolidation package, which the cabinet introduced in mid-May and aims to present to the Chamber of Deputies between by the end of July. 

crime Police investigate Ostrava man for child rape

A man in his forties from Ostrava is being prosecuted by the regional criminal police for charges of rape and endangering the welfare of a child. Police spokesperson Soňa Štětínská said that the police are looking for other victims. The accused had been employed for several years in an Ostrava center that provided extracurricular activities for children. 

The police are actively seeking potential additional victims who may have been subjected to his sexual assaults. According to Štětínská multiple instances of rape involving young boys have already been substantiated. If convicted, the accused could face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

crime Man who called removal of Ukrainian flag from museum is charged

In the recent ruling by the Prague 1 District Court, a man who had called for the Ukrainian flag to be torn down from the National Museum during an anti-government demonstration in mid-March has been sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence with an 18-month probation period for inciting violence. The defendant, activist Jaroslav Popelka, has also been prohibited from staying in Prague for the next 18 months. 

During the proceedings, Popelka maintained his innocence, asserting that his actions amounted to, at most, a misdemeanor. Judge Eva Švíglerová emphasized that Popelka's intentions were clear, aiming to agitate the crowd, escalate the situation, and provoke disorder.

diplomacy Taiwanese Foreign Minister begins visit to Czechia today

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu begins a visit to the Czech Republic today, commencing with a meeting with Senate President Miloš Vystrčil. Minister Wu will also attend the Prague security conference on Wednesday, where he will be among the speakers. An unofficial dinner with Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová is scheduled as well.

This visit marks Minister Wu's second time in the Czech Republic, following his previous attendance at a Sinopsis Project conference in 2021. Minister Wu's trip to Prague is part of a broader European tour, despite China's recent warning against official contacts with Taiwanese officials. The Czech Republic has increasingly shown support for Taiwan, including visits by parliamentary leaders and a phone call between President Petr Pavel and Taiwanese President Chai Jing-wen.

Politics Govt. negotiations with trade unions begin today

Prime Minister Petr Fiala and government officials will negotiate with the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) today on a consolidation package and budget savings. The ČMKOS opposes government proposals for restoring state finances and presents its own measures. Ongoing strikes since mid-May, with June protests planned, highlight union dissatisfaction with the government's limited consultation time of five working days.

The government aims to save CZK 62.4 billion through expense cuts and generate CZK 31.7 billion new revenues, totaling CZK 94.1 billion next year. Changes include subsidy reductions, health insurance reforms, and increased taxes. The ČMKOS, representing 31 unions with 270,000 members, and Association of Independent Trade Unions (ASO) will participate.

POLICE Car drives through Prague luxury store front

On Monday afternoon in Prague near Powder Tower, a Mercedes driver crashed into a luxury shoe store, accidentally hitting a tourist on the sidewalk. Police say the driver had parked illegally in the blue zone and, while pulling out of the parking spot, became distracted by an insect in the car and mistakenly pressed the accelerator after failing to put the car in reverse.

A 40-year-old male pedestrian was injured in the collision but escaped with only minor scratches and did not require hospitalization. The police confirmed that alcohol was not a factor and are currently investigating the incident.

history Prague's National Technical Museum unveils 1930s Tatra

The National Technical Museum in Prague unveiled a reconstructed Tatra 80 luxury car from the 1930s on Monday. The car, originally owned by Heinrich Schicht, a factory owner from Ústí nad Labem, was purchased in 1931. Pavel Kašík, a historical motor vehicle enthusiast, led the 28-year reconstruction project and also presented a new book documenting the restoration.

Kašík acknowledged the efforts of numerous individuals, some of whom have passed away. He noted that not all repair attempts were successful, with some tasks requiring multiple attempts to achieve the desired outcome.

Safety Czech national park bans fireworks

Hřensko, a municipality in north Bohemia at amid the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, has passed a decree prohibiting the use of pyrotechnics in its built-up area in response to recent fires, including a devastating forest first in July of last year. The ban will be in effect throughout the year, except for New Year's Eve.

Violators of the decree may face fines of up to CZK 10,000 on the spot or higher fines from district authorities. The municipality will inform residents, tourists, and the Saxon Switzerland National Park about the decree, urging fireworks sellers to stop their sales. Police have already charged individuals in connection with the recent fires.

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