News in brief for May 28: Regulated cannabis market may end up in EU court, says official

Plus: Sparta Prague wins Czech First League despite final loss, Czech Protestant church approves blessing of same-sex couples, and more weekend headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 28.05.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 29.05.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Ukraine Bavarian Minister-President thanks Czechs for Ukraine support

Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine as and thanked the Czech Republic for looking after Ukrainian refugees at the Sudeten German congress in Regensburg today, as the three-day event culminates. Steffen Hortler, chairman of the Bavarian part of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft, also thanked Czechs for their aid to Ukraine.

"I am particularly pleased that the Czech Republic has taken in over 500,000 Ukrainian refugees, which is the highest number of refugees per capita of any country. And as Sudeten Germans, we thank you for that," Hortler said.

Accidents Two traffic accidents claim five lives in Karlovy Vary region

Five people died in two separate traffic accidents in the Karlovy Vary Region last night. The fatal accidents occurred in the village of Dolní Žandov near Cheb and in Žalmanov outside of Karlovy Vary district late last night and in the early hours of the morning, police and firefighters have announced.

Two additional people were airlifted to the Teaching Hospital in Plzeň following the accident in Dolní Žandov, which claimed two lives. One person was taken by helicopter with serious injuries following the Žalmanov accident, which claimed three lives. A total of 11 people have died in traffic accidents in the region so far this year; last year, a total of 13 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in the Karlovy Vary region.

Legal Regulated cannabis market may end up in EU court, says official

The planned introduction of a regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic may end up in the European Court of Justice, national drug policy coordinator Jindřich Vobořil, one of the country's leading experts on drug issues, said at the Cannabis Summit conference in Prague on Saturday.

Vobořil stated that he believes this is the best option, because prohibition of cannabis has not been proven to work and only results in costs and risks. The drug coordinator is currently preparing draft regulation that would oversee the authorization of domestic and commercial cultivation of cannabis, the establishment of special clubs for its recreational use, and licensed sale in shops for people over 18.

Sports Sparta Prague wins Czech First League despite final loss

Sparta Prague ended the 2022-23 season with a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Viktoria Plzeň in Prague on Saturday afternoon, but still had a lot to celebrate as they finished the year atop the Czech First League (Fortuna Liga) standings with 70 points, just ahead of second place Slavia Prague.

Founded in 1893, Sparta Prague is one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in the Czech Republic. The team has now won the Czech First League 13 times, the most of any team. Currently sponsored by gaming company Fortuna, the Czech First League is the top professional football league in the Czech Republic, and consists of 16 teams.

Religion Czech Protestant church approves blessing of same-sex couples

Male and female pastors at the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren will officially be able to bless same-sex unions, church spokesman Jiří Hofman said through a press release issued on Saturday. Church leadership decided in favor of the possibility to officially bless same-sex unions at its three-day meeting in Prague over the weekend.

Catholic Church leadership generally rejects the blessing of same-sex couples. Until now, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren has left the decision entirely up to the pastors and individual congregations. Now, the church synod, the highest assembly of the church, officially approves of the possibility to bless same-sex unions.

Politics Reports of cancelling birth numbers premature, says minister

Reports of the cancellation of the Czech Republic's national identification numbers (Rodné číslo, or birth numbers) have resulted in confusion in recent days, and Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization Ivan Bartoš has clarified that while the country plans to establish new ID cards, they would only gradually replace the existing system, and not result in a sudden change.

The gradual phasing out of birth numbers and their replacement with longer, randomly generated numbers without birth dates or genders has been planned for several years and is set to begin in 2025. However, the government has not yet calculated how much it would cost to build the new system. According to an analysis commissioned by banks and insurance companies, the cancellation of birth numbers would result in significant costs.

Accident Drunk driver runs into group of children in South Moravia

An intoxicated driver hit a group of children near Templštejn Castle in south Moravia on Saturday afternoon. According to paramedics, the children did not suffer any serious injuries. The woman, who did not have a driver's license, had a blood alcohol level of .16 percent, according to police spokesman Pavel Šváb.

The accident occurred on a narrow road between Jamolice in the Znojmo district and Biskoupky in the Brno district. The driver hit a group of four children, but fortunately, they did not suffer any serious injuries, according to preliminary information from the paramedics. Police are currently investigating the circumstances of the accident.

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