News in brief for June 20: Thunderstorm and high-temperature warning issued across Czechia

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.06.2023 08:37:00 (updated on 20.06.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

public opinion New survey: Czechs broadly in favor of abortion, euthanasia

According to a survey conducted by the Czech Center for Public Opinion Research, the majority of Czech citizens support the freedom to choose regarding abortion and euthanasia.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents expressed support for a woman's right to make decisions about terminating a pregnancy – the highest level since 1990. Just 2 percent called for a complete ban on abortion. Around 75 percent of Czechs favor the legalization of euthanasia, almost 20 percentage points more than in 2007. Additionally, four in 10 Czechs would support the legalization of prostitution as an official business.

event Last escaped monkey finally caught in Děčín

After eight days on the loose, Děčín Zoo has announced that the last escaped monkey from its grounds has been safely captured. Last week, a group of nine monkeys broke free from their enclosure at the zoo, with six making it outside the premises.

The two-year-old escapee was spotted by two members of the public eating a watermelon, who then threw the fruit to lure and ultimately trap the macaque. Police announced earlier that they were looking for a person who had damaged the electric fence of the monkey enclosure after the zoo had closed for the day. Officers subsequently tracked down the suspect at a nearby restaurant.

Czech-slovak relations Pavel reacts to Čaputová's planned departure from politics

President Petr Pavel has reacted to the announcement of Slovak counterpart Zuzana Čaputová to not stand for office again after her first term ends in June 2024. “Personally, I am very sad because we see the same meaning of freedom, peace, and promoting decency in politics. We will continue to fulfill the tasks for the benefit of our countries and I believe that we will build on this cooperation with her successor," Pavel said.

Čaputová, who turns 50 years old tomorrow, said that he did not believe she had enough strength to carry out another five-year presidential term. She was elected in 2019 and is the first-ever female Slovak president.

UKRAINE US pledges millions of dollars for Ukrainian refugees in Czechia

The U.S. embassy in Prague has announced that the U.S. will contribute USD 8.2 million (roughly CZK 178 million) to support refugees from Ukraine and organizations aiding them in Czechia. This funding is part of a larger aid package of over USD 107 million provided by the U.S. to European countries assisting individuals displaced by the Russia-Ukraine war. 

The majority of the allocated funds will be utilized for essential necessities (USD 32.3 million), healthcare, and nutrition (USD 24 million), while approximately USD 10 million will be designated for protection, livelihoods, and socio-economic inclusion. 

Scandal Wine festival striptease causes uproar due to kiddie spectators

A burlesque dancer's performance at the Rosé Wine Festival in Třebíč caused an uproar as children were present near the stage. Despite claims by the event organizer that the dancer's nipples were covered and she didn't remove her panties, a video of the event went viral, showing young children watching the striptease.

Child psychologist Michal Kniha told TV Nova that while nudity may be natural, the concern lies in the fact that children were exposed to an event centered around alcohol. The festival organizer has faced backlash, with the city hall demanding a public apology and police launching an investigation.

SPORTS Czech tennis great beats cancer diagnosis

Martina Navrátilová, the Czech tennis legend, has successfully overcome cancer after battling stage 1 laryngeal and recurring breast cancer. The 66-year-old former player shared the positive news after undergoing a series of tests in New York. Navrátilová expressed her gratitude to the medical professionals involved in her treatment.

The diagnoses were made after a lymph node in her neck swelled last November. In January, she announced that both findings were in the early stages and her prognosis for recovery was excellent. Navrátilová, who won 59 Grand Slam titles during her illustrious career, confirmed in March that the treatment had been effective and the cancer had receded.

politics ANO MEP to stand down due to party direction

Dita Charanzová, vice president of the European Parliament (EP) and member of the opposition Czech ANO movement, has stated in an online interview that she will not participate as a candidate for the ANO movement in the upcoming 2024 EP elections. Her decision stems from her disagreement with the current conservative and nationalist trajectory of the party. 

She told a journalist that she is firmly against the way ANO leader Andrej Babiš conducted himself during the Czech 2023 presidential election and that “she could not explain it to colleagues [in Brussels]."

Internet Around 170,000 Czech children engage in risky behavior online

A survey released today by NMS Market Research reveals that approximately 170,000 Czech children (aged eight to 15 years) are involved in “risky” online behavior. The study found that nearly 40 percent of children have "online friends" whom they have never met or know personally.

NMS notes that one in five Czech children experience cyberbullying, and over one-third of children said they shared photos or videos of themselves online. According to the survey, children spend on average three hours and 28 minutes a day on their mobile phones.

WEATHER Czech Hydrometeorological Institute issues weather warning nationwide

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) has today issued a high-temperature and thunderstorm warning for the vast majority of Czechia, including Prague, as the country anticipates temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius Wednesday. 

The south and southwest of the country will see the highest temperatures, and on Wednesday afternoon – due to warm and humid air – strong storms will arrive from the west and will move across the country until Thursday night. A thundershower is predicted in the capital on Wednesday evening. According to the ČHMÚ, people “should expect strong thunderstorms” nationwide and be cautious of small floods.

politics Thirtieth anniversary of Czech Republic commemorated today

President Petr Pavel and other speakers will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Czech Republic at Prague Castle, emphasizing the significance of security for the country's future. The Jagello 2000 association, dedicated to public diplomacy and security policy, aims to highlight the unique period of 30 years of sovereignty, freedom, and democracy in modern Czech history.

The association also emphasizes the historical challenges faced by the Czech Republic, including frequent interruptions of democratic development by totalitarian regimes and periods of occupation. A conference on security and a focus on the war in Ukraine precede the ceremony at the Castle.

Tragedy Funeral for murdered Romani man to be held today

The final farewell to a young Romani man, who was fatally stabbed by a 37-year-old foreigner during a fireworks display at the Ignis Brunensis festival near Brno Reservoir, will take place this afternoon in the ceremonial hall of the crematorium at Brno Central Cemetery. The funeral service will be followed by burial in the local cemetery.

The incident, involving a Ukrainian perpetrator, has sparked divided reactions within the Romani community. Romani figures and organizations emphasize that it is unfair to condemn the entire minority for the actions of one individual. The investigation is ongoing, and the suspect remains in custody following a court decision.

Firefighters Tram fire in Prague disrupts morning commute

A tram chassis caught fire in Prague's Zlíchov, leading to the interruption of tram services between Hlubočepy-Smíchovské nádraží. Firefighters are currently at the scene, and the Prague transport company has implemented a replacement bus service. The fire was caused by a technical fault, according to the transport company.

Traffic in the vicinity of Zlíchov is severely affected, and tram services and bus schedules may experience disruptions. Commuters are advised to use alternative transportation options.

History Court rules in favor of German citizen shot by border guards

Cheb District Court ruled in favor of Steffen Schlegel, a former East German citizen, who attempted to cross the Czechoslovak border into West Germany in 1989 and was detained and shot by border guards before being handed over to the East German secret service. The court allowed Schlegel to apply for compensation, which would only amount to a few hundred crowns.

Schlegel's lawyer argued that the border protection system violated international conventions. Ironically, a few days after Schlegel was detained, East German citizens were granted permission to emigrate to West Germany through the embassy in Prague.

economy Net profit of Czech banks down in first quarter

In the first quarter of this year, banks and savings banks in the Czech Republic experienced a decline in aggregate net profit, falling by CZK 2.4 billion compared to the previous year to CZK 21.12 billion, according to the Czech National Bank. Bank assets, however, increased by CZK 840 billion to reach CZK 9.745 trillion by the end of March.

The introduction of a windfall tax, which imposes a 60 percent tax surcharge on excessive profit for the six largest banks, may have contributed to the decrease in profit. Analysts suggest that the state's tax collection from the banking sector may be lower than initially anticipated.

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