News in brief for June 7: West Ham fans flood the center of Prague

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 07.06.2023 08:19:00 (updated on 07.06.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

law Court upholds sentence for Katyn massacre denier

The Prague Municipal Court today definitively upheld an eight-month suspended sentence given to former Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia deputy head Josef Skála for denying the Soviet massacre of Polish prisoners of war at Katyn in the Soviet Union. However, his probationary period was lowered from five to one and a half years today.

The 71-year-old Skála, who wanted to run for president in 2023, claimed in a 2020 radio broadcast that the Katyn massacre was "a story constructed by Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels." 

sport Prague readies up for Europa Conference League final

At least 18,000 fans of the West Ham and Fiorentina football clubs will gather in Prague today for the UEFA Europa Conference League final at the Fortuna Arena in Prague’s Vršovice. There is a high possibility that hundreds of fans without tickets will congregate in the center or near the stadium. Starting this morning several hundred West Ham fans flooded Old Town Square chanting, kicking a large inflatable ball, and hanging their club's flags in the cafes. 

Two fan zones are open for both sets of traveling supporters in Letná Park and Holešovice. The aim of the city and the organizers is to separate the two fan camps – the Italian fans are supposed to go to the Fortuna Arena by train from Holešovice – guided by signage – and the English are to take the metro from Hradčanská. The city has also imposed traffic restrictions on several nearby streets near the stadium. 

Business Budějovický Budvar to remain state owned

Budějovický Budvar, a Czech brewery, will contribute CZK 250 million to the state budget this year, matching its profit from the previous year. Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula made the announcement during his visit to České Budějovice, ruling out the privatization of the national company.

Budvar will make the contribution within the next two weeks, having contributed 550 million korunas at the end of last year. The brewery's director, Petr Dvořák, stated that the brewery's profit significantly declined last year. Despite the decrease in beer production, Budvar plans to increase capacity and invest in solar panels and visitor attractions.

prague Dozens protest, lie in Prague 8 court in support of disinformer

Dozens of people came to the District Court for Prague 8 on Wednesday morning to express their support for Patrik Tušl, who is facing charges of dangerous persecution for harassing the head of the Czech Medical Chamber, Milan Kubek, during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

His supporters – joined by former journalist Jana Peterková, who is facing charges for Covid-19-related disinformation – lay on the ground and began singing the Czech national anthem. Those in favor of Tušl accused the government and some sections of the media of suppressing free speech. 

finance Personal bankruptcies rise in Czechia

Figures from the CRIF – Czech Credit Bureau show that in May of this year 1,215 personal bankruptcies were declared in Czechia, marking an increase of 184 compared to April. Additionally, there were 1,271 applications for personal bankruptcy filed, reflecting a rise of 188 from the previous month. 

Among the regions, Moravia-Silesia recorded the highest number of personal bankruptcies, with a total of 183. Conversely, the lowest numbers were observed in Karlovy Vary, with 41 bankruptcies. Over the course of the past year, a total of 12,417 personal bankruptcies were declared, representing a 16-percent year-on-year decrease.

energy Czechia's gas tanks 70 percent full, in good state for winter

Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela announced today on Twitter that domestic gas storage tanks are currently more than 70 percent full, containing over 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas. This marks a significant increase compared to the same period last year.

Síkela further stated that the current rate of filling is satisfactory to achieve complete reservoir capacity before winter. Reduced consumption – down by around 20 percent year on year – has also played a strong role in ensuring greater capacity of the tanks. 

justice Czechia considers two new definitions of rape

Justice Minister Pavel Blažek is considering two options for a new definition of rape in the Czech Republic. The first option would require an element of violence, creating a new crime of non-consensual intercourse. The second option would redefine rape so that the victim's lack of consent alone would be sufficient.

Blazek plans to discuss these options with all parliamentary parties on June 27. The ministry also proposes that sexual offenses against children under five should always be classified as rape. The aim of the modifications is to simplify the traumatic interrogations of victims and ensure a higher reporting rate of the crime.

politics Stamps with Pavel's portrait go on sale today

The Czech Post has announced the sale of a new sheet of stamps featuring a portrait of President Petr Pavel. The sheet, priced at CZK 230, contains ten self-adhesive stamps that will only be sold as a whole. The circulation of the sheets is limited to 100,000 pieces, with the option of reprinting if there is demand.

Designed by Petr Štěpán, each stamp has a different colored background related to various aspects of Czech culture and history. The colors were inspired by elements such as the Czech anthem, literature, and traditional crafts.

economy Average mortgage rate falls in Czechia

The average mortgage rate in the Czech Republic slightly decreased to 6.30 percent in June from 6.32 percent in May, returning to the April level. The Swiss Life Hypoindex reported the data based on the average mortgage loan offer rate for 80 percent of a property's value. Analysts expect rates to remain stable until at least the June meeting of the Czech National Bank.

The cancellation of the income assessment indicator and the potential increase in the CNB's base interest rates may impact mortgage rates in the future. Overall, mortgage rates have remained relatively steady, with minor fluctuations in recent months.

Health Prague hotel guests hospitalized for digestive issues

Around two dozen guests at a hotel in Prague's Strašnice neighborhood experienced digestive problems, with five of them being hospitalized. The exact cause of the issues is still unknown, and health authorities are conducting analyses to determine the underlying factors. The individuals taken to the hospital were conscious, but they reported symptoms such as general weakness, nausea, and vomiting.

The Prague hygiene station is collecting samples for laboratory analysis and is in contact with the hospital where the most seriously affected individuals were admitted. The hotel's catering staff have not reported any health issues thus far.

sports Navrátilová to receive Senate award in Prague

Czech-born tennis legend Martina Navrátilová will be awarded the Senate chairman's silver medal by Miloš Vystrčil next week in Prague for her outstanding achievements and courage as one of the greatest tennis players of all time and one of the first openly lesbian celebrities.

Navrátilová dominated women's singles tennis from 1978 to 1987, winning a total of 59 Grand Slam tournaments, including 18 singles titles. A member of the Tennis Hall of Fame, she retired in 2006 after becoming the oldest Grand Slam winner in history. The award recognizes her remarkable performance and authenticity throughout her career.

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