News in brief for June 26: Greenpeace protestors interrupt ČEZ meeting

Extreme temps return to Czechia this week, elevator incident at Prague hospital leads to broken leg, and Kvitová wins in Berlin. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 26.06.2023 07:04:00 (updated on 26.06.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

PRAGUE NEWS Hospital defends itself after elevator fall

Prague's Bulovka Faculty Hospital has this afternoon issued a statement that its elevator failure on Sunday had not been caused by a mechanical failure, but rather due to overcrowding. 

A spokesperson for the hospital said that 13 individuals had been in the elevator – more than double the permitted limit of six. The hospital also said that the elevator did not crash to the floor, but rather descended at a low speed. The police are still investigating the case for suspicion of public endangerment due to negligence, Prague police spokesman Jan Rybanský said today.

education Prague announces plans to develop capital's school facilities

Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda confirmed today that the capital's councilors have approved a program statement aiming to enhance the city's education infrastructure. The capital’s coalition plans to construct kindergartens and primary schools, and wants to expand existing facilities in various districts. 

Collaboration with city districts will facilitate the development of educational projects in areas like Březiněves, Dolní Měcholupy, Lipenice, Kolovraty, Újezd, and Troja. In secondary education, the focus will be on increasing the capacity of gymnasiums, including the expansion of Gymnázia Na Pražačka and the establishment of new gymnasiums in Suchdol and Prague 7.

foreign affairs Fiala: Russia situation is more unstable than we think

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed deep concern over the current state of instability in Russia, highlighting the recent events surrounding the mutiny of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian Wagner Group. 

During a meeting with his counterparts from the Visegrád Group (V4), Fiala emphasized the urgent need to address the issue of illegal migration and reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Ukraine. As the Czech Republic prepares to assume the V4 presidency from Slovakia in July, the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine will be a key agenda item during their term.

CRIME Man gets six-month sentence for slashing Ukrainian-car tires

The Prague 1 District Court has today issued a verdict regarding a man who vandalized a car with a Ukrainian license plate during an anti-government protest in Prague. The court sentenced him to a six-month suspended sentence with a two-year probation, along with a one-year ban on residing in Prague. 

The verdict, which includes charges of property damage, violence against residents, and rioting, has become final as neither the defendant nor the prosecutor appealed. The man is also required to compensate for the damage caused during his probationary period.

ECONOMY Confidence in Czech economy falls

Confidence in the Czech economy took another hit in June, declining by 3.8 points month on month to reach 90.3 points, as reported by the Czech Statistical Office today. Values below 100 indicate a pessimistic attitude toward future developments in the economy.

The overall decrease in confidence can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the worsening sentiment in the industrial sector, uncertainty surrounding future developments, and the deteriorating economic situation in the Czech Republic. Compared to the same period last year, confidence levels are also lower, as they stood at 98.6 points in June.

crime New report: Drug sales now mainly Internet-based

According to the Czech National Drug Control Centre's annual report for 2022, drug sales have nationwide increasingly shifted to the Internet, with a particular focus on social media platforms and hidden websites. 

Distributors are now using mail order and courier services to deliver banned substances, with payments made in cryptocurrencies. The report highlights a significant rise in drug sales through the Telegram social networking site. This trend started in 2021, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions. "In connection with the arrival of more than 400,000 refugees from Ukraine, the number of Telegram groups has dynamically expanded, with the predominance of Ukrainian and Russian language versions," the police wrote in its annual report.

EVENT Greenpeace activists invade ČEZ general meeting

During the general meeting of Czech energy company ČEZ, Greenpeace activists staged a protest against the extension of mining in the Bílina quarry. The quarry was acquired by Severočeské doly (a mining company) from the ČEZ Group (which is state-owned) until 2035.

The interruption lasted approximately 10 minutes before the activists were escorted out by the police. Two activists held banners with messages writing: “ČEZ, do not extend mining at Bílina," and "End fossil crimes.” One of the activists, who is also a ČEZ shareholder, took the stage to deliver a speech urging the company's management to halt the mining extension. Greenpeace has long criticized the plans for mining in the Bílina lignite mine in Teplice until 2035 and calls them a climate crime. 

RUSSIA Czechia won't impose restrictions on embassy staff in Moscow

Czechia will not impose any restrictions on the staff of the Czech embassy in Moscow, according to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský. The decision comes after Lipavský convened a meeting of the Foreign Ministry crisis staff in response to the rebellion of the Wagner private military group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Lipavský stated that the fight for Russian President Vladimir Putin's successor has begun and a change in leadership is likely to occur through force. The Czech Republic remains vigilant and is closely working with the EU and NATO to monitor the situation. Lipavský will discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.

Sports Kvitová racks up 31st career title with victory in Berlin

Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová emerged victorious in the prestigious Berlin tournament, claiming her 31st title on the WTA circuit. The world number nine and seventh seed defeated Croatia's Donna Vekic in the final with a score of 6-2, 7-6, marking her sixth grass-court triumph without dropping a set.

Kvitová, 33, showcased her resilience in the final, fighting back from a set point down in the second set to ultimately secure the victory. She has been dominant on grass, winning 12 of her last 13 matches on the surface. This win confirms the Czech player's excellent form ahead of Wimbledon, qualifying matches for which begin today.

weather Temps could exceed 30 degrees Celsius today

After a period of weekend cooling, the heatwave is returning to Czechia this week. Meteorologists have issued warnings for high temperatures expected tomorrow in certain regions of the country. Afternoon temperatures are predicted to range between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Particularly extreme conditions of around 32 degrees Celsius are forecast for Polabí, Poohří, the Mostecká basin, and the Pilsen area, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMÚ). Residents in these areas are advised to take necessary precautions to stay cool and hydrated during the heatwave.

Prague Elevator incident at Bulovka hospital leads to injury

An elevator plummeted from the second floor into the elevator shaft at Prague's Bulovka University Hospital Sunday, leading to one passenger, a woman, sustaining a broken leg. The elevator, carrying thirteen individuals, exceeded its maximum capacity of six. Local authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the matter, focusing on potential charges of reckless endangerment.

Confirming the presence of four children among the passengers, the hospital, owned by the Prague municipality, emphasized that the elevator had previously passed inspection and was deemed to be in proper working order. In response to the incident, the Minister of Health has demanded comprehensive details from hospital management to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

tragedy Man drowns in Pilsen river over the weekend

A 33-year-old foreigner drowned in Pilsen's Radbuza river on Saturday afternoon. Rescuers were unable to revive the man, reportedly a foreigner, who died after going into the river for a swim. A regional police spokesperson confirmed the details, stating that an investigation into the causes of the drowning is underway.

A forensic autopsy has been ordered to shed further light on the tragic event. The incident occurred in the Doudlevce district after 4 p.m., while the victim was swimming in the river. His father, who was present at the scene, made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue him.

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