News in brief for June 21: New poll – Czechs' support of civil partnerships and gay marriage jumps since 2019

Government to discuss energy amendement, Czech players warm up for Wimbledon, Prague swimming area rash outbreak and more. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 21.06.2023 08:58:00 (updated on 21.06.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

immigration Czech govt. to spend CZK 37.5m on illegal-immigration prevention

The Czech government has today pledged CZK 37.5 million to assist in preventing illegal migration to the EU via donating money to Turkey and Tunisia. 

In addition to previous donations for safe zones in Greece, Jordan, and Lebanon, CZK 12.5 million crowns will be allocated to aid refugees and local communities affected by a severe earthquake in Turkey, offering shelter and basic necessities to those who lost their homes and livelihoods. In Tunisia, Czechia will support an International Organisation for Migration project aimed at supporting the voluntary return of migrants to their countries of origin.

education Academics in Czechia plan strike in October

A group of Czech academics called “The Hour of Truth” has announced a strike alert for October unless the government increases funding for research, student education, and teacher salaries. The fall semester begins in September.

Academics express dissatisfaction with low pay, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. The group, along with the Czech Conference of Rectors and the Council of Higher Education Institutions, also condemn potential cuts to the university budget. The proposed state budget for 2024 reduces the Education Ministry's allocation by CZK 29.2 billion compared to this year.

EVENT Czech first lady meets with female war veterans

Czech First Lady Eva Pavlová met this afternoon several female veterans, including those who served in World War II and various foreign military operations such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. In a meeting at Lány Castle park, she expressed gratitude for their bravery and sacrifices with bouquets. 

Pavlová, a former armed forces lieutenant colonel, highlighted the Czech Republic's 30th anniversary and its army's milestones. She also acknowledged the 80th anniversary of the battle at Sokolov, where Czechoslovak, Soviet, and Nazi German troops clashed. She paraphrased the words of former Czechoslovak President and General Ludvík Svoboda, telling people not to forget how easily freedom can be lost and how difficult it is to regain it.

EDUCATION Pavel gives professor-appointment decrees to 93 lecturers

President Petr Pavel presented appointment decrees to 93 university teachers, including art historian Jiří Fajt and physicist Ivan Ošťádal, whom former President Miloš Zeman had previously refused to name due to concerns about their past. They received the highest academic title – professorship –  at Prague’s Karolinum earlier today.

During Zeman's term, the ex-president refused to sign the decrees on the basis of their past transgressions. In 2021, a court ruled that the non-appointment of Ošťádal and Fajt as professors was not in accordance with the law. 

LEGAL Czech anti-monopoly office to use police wiretapping

The Czech Senate has approved an amendment allowing the Czech antitrust Office for the Protection of Competition (UOHS) to utilize police wiretapping recordings in certain cases. The amendment aims to define the UOHS's requirements and align them with EU regulations, as well as enhance protection for whistleblowers reporting anti-competitive practices. 

It grants the UOHS the authority to utilize telecommunications recordings and data, as well as recordings obtained during criminal investigations, as evidence when investigating secret agreements or actions that distort competition.

CRIME Czech police charge 14 companies with tax evasion worth CZK 20m

The Czech police have initiated criminal proceedings against nine individuals and 14 companies for suspected tax and fee evasion, resulting in over CZK 20 million in damages. Two of the suspects could face a maximum of 10 years in prison, while the remaining seven face up to eight years. Nine individuals were arrested during a police raid. 

Authorities conducted searches of various locations, and seized finances and real estate to compensate for the incurred losses. The Berani Zlín ice hockey club confirmed that one of its executives, Robert Hamrla, is under investigation, unrelated to the club's operations.

LGBTQ+ Eight in 10 Czechs support civil partnerships

According to a survey released today by the Centre for Public Opinion Research (CVVM), an increasing majority of Czechs support the rights of homosexuals to adopt children and enter into registered partnerships or marriages. The survey reveals that 83 percent of Czechs are in favor of registered partnerships for homosexual couples. Additionally, 63 percent believe they should be able to adopt children from institutional care, and 58 percent agree with same-sex marriages.

Compared to a CVVM 2019 survey, the number of people agreeing with registered homosexual partnerships has increased by 8 percentage points. Four years ago, the public was divided into two roughly equal groups regarding the opinion on the right of same-sex couples to get married, but now the number of those in favor is 11 percentage points higher.

Politics Government to discuss amendment to energy bill today

The government will discuss a revised proposal on Wednesday that aims to establish new rules for energy communities, allowing for the sharing of locally produced electricity through the distribution network starting next year. The amended version, to be presented by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, includes limitations on the scope of energy communities and introduces the concept of a vulnerable customer with special protection against disconnection.

The amendment builds upon previous changes to facilitate the use of renewable energy sources and is seen as an important step toward establishing energy communities. Stakeholders have expressed both support and criticism, with some emphasizing the need for pilot projects and practical verification.

HYGIENE Prague swimming area closes after rash outbreak

The Lhotka natural swimming pool in Prague has been temporarily closed after several people developed an allergic rash and intense itching following weekend swimming. The cause of the illness, believed to be cercarial dermatitis, is being investigated by the Hygiene Station of the Capital City.

This condition is caused by a parasite transmitted by water snails and waterfowl. The cleanliness of the waters is not believed to be a factor. The pool will remain closed until June 23, pending further test results. Anyone experiencing similar symptoms is encouraged to complete a questionnaire on the health institute's website.

Sports Czech tennis players see mixed results in advance of Wimbledon

Czech tennis competed on grass courts in Birmingham, London, and Berlin this week as part of their preparations for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament. Jiří Lehečka won his match in the first round of the Queen's Club tournament in London, defeating Alejandra Davidovich from Spain. Linda Nosková lost her match in the first round of the Birmingham tournament to second-seeded Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia.

Barbora Strýcová also suffered a defeat in Birmingham, losing to Polish player Magdalena Frech. Kateřina Siniaková was defeated by fifth-seeded American player Cori Gauff in Berlin. Matches involving Vondroušová, Krejčíková, and Martincová were postponed to Wednesday, reports

Economy 101,600 refugees currently work in Czechia

Approximately 101,600 refugees from Ukraine are currently employed in the Czech Republic, according to Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, 262,600 individuals with protection visas have found employment in the Czech labor market. Nine out of ten working refugees now pay taxes, compared to less than half a year ago. As of the second quarter, there were around 221,500 working-age refugees in the country, with two-thirds of them being women.

Starting in July, changes to benefits for refugees will be implemented, including the state no longer covering emergency accommodation after five months and the introduction of a new housing support model based on the refugee's income. However, refugee aid organizations criticize these changes, stating that they may lead to illegal work and increased risks of poverty and housing instability.

Drivers Czechia sees slight improvement in road accidents

In terms of road safety, the Czech Republic has seen a modest improvement, reducing the number of road deaths by 29 percent between 2012 and 2022. The results were released in the European Transport Safety Council's annual road safety index. This puts the country slightly above the European average of a 22-percent improvement. The Czech Republic's road death rate stands at 50 per million inhabitants.

The safest countries in terms of road safety are Norway and Sweden, with rates of 21 and 22 deaths per million inhabitants, respectively. Poland has been recognized for its significant improvement in road safety, reducing road deaths by 47 percent. However, there is still a need for further efforts to reach the target of halving the mortality rate by 2030.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more